Horse Trek Camping in Mongolia
Horse Trek Camping in Mongolia for a great Eco Tourism Experience
The summer camping season is still sometime off in Mongolia, but the team at Stone Horse Expeditions is busy checking and up-dating equipment for our horse trekking in Mongolia; the horses in the meantime are busy pawing for grass under the snow up in their valley before they head back home in late afternoon when their internal clock tells them that hay has been spread out for the night.
Equipment for Horse Trek Camping in Mongolia
In our guest reviews you will find many references to the equipment used on their ride with Stone Horse Expeditions. Like Karen S. (Kansas City, US) who wrote: “I went on the 10 day ride in late September. I cannot say enough about the quality of the horses, the equipment (both riding and camping), and the guides. Everything was well planned and provided for.” Read more..
The camping equipment we provide is all modern and high quality. For the horses’ sake we keep it reasonably lightweight without compromising warmth and other functions. For couples and families, or small groups (2-3) wanting to share a tent we provide spacious tents; for single occupancy we have dome tents designed for 2 persons. We provide sleeping bags and cozy inner liners.
Cooler Season Equipment for Horse Trek Camping in Mongolia
In the cooler season, the sleeping bag liners are a warm, soft pile and an outer or over bag is added for extra warmth, creating 3 layers to sleep under. For insulation and comfort, we provide inflatable lightweight sleeping pads. In addition, you can use the horse saddle blankets for extra padding under the tent for extra comfort, but – you have to give these up early in the morning when our horsemen begin grooming and saddle the horses for the day’s ride. A small pillow case is provided to each guest to fill with a sweater or pile or down jacket to make a soft head rest for the night. To keep your sleeping bag and clothing dry and safe for horse trek camping in Mongolia, we provide two 20 liter water proof bags to guests; these waterproof sacks will be carried by the pack horses during the day. Items or clothing needed during the day, such as windproof tops and bottoms, sun hats, gloves, extra sweater, etc., are carried in the saddle bags on your riding horse and are easily accessible during the day’s ride.
Scenic Camp Sites for Horse Trek Camping in Mongolia
We chose campsites to accommodate all members of our expeditions – both people and horses. We have favorite spots where we alternate between different sites from trip to trip so as to keep the foot print as small as possible per site. Good water and grass are the primary criteria for a suitable camp site; these are a must, as we rely on the well being of our horses for a successful horse riding tour. Carrying riders and all our equipment and provisions needed for horse trek camping in Mongolia they really deserve the best sites to graze, relax and re-charge. Mostly, such sites also offer great scenery, nice ground to pitch a tent on, and good water supplies for camp cooking and washing, – or, if you’re a hearty soul, a dip in a cold mountains creek for the brave. Protection from the elements is another criteria for choosing a spot for the night, especially in the cooler season or if clouds and winds forecast a turn of the weather. The campsites all are spacious, allowing for everybody to pick a nice spot and find a bit of privacy. Guest testimonials have commended us for great camp sites.
Horse Trek Camping in Mongolia with Stone Horse Expeditions – Arrival at the Campsite
When we make camp, the first thing that goes up is the kitchen tent to get some refreshments going right away; we usually have table and chairs, biscuits and cool drinks out shortly after arrival, followed by hot drinks as soon as the gas stove is set up. By the time guests are settling in for aprés-riding, we bring out wine and more snacks while dinner preparations are underway.
All you have to do in camp is to get your gear ready for the night, freshen up and gather for snacks while waiting for dinner. If you like, you can choose your own spot and pitch your tent or help with pitching it. On some evenings in camp, we grill and bake, and these are occasions to gather around a small contained fire. We take care to keep open fires small and only in the fire pan; the contained fire serves at the same time to bake in a Dutch oven or other camp oven, to prepare fresh bread or buns for breakfast the next morning, – or to make a desert using wild berries or rhubarb collected along the trail…! Our rhubarb strawberry cobbler on last July’s expedition was very popular, as well as the brownies on a snowy day in September..
Camp Layout for Horse Trek Camping in Mongolia with Stone Horse Expeditions
Upon arrival at a site you will always hear a brief discussion among our team on the lay-out of the camping area. We determine the best site for the kitchen tent, the area for sleeping tents, – and the stretch where the horses will spend the night. The kitchen tent will be at a spot from where access to water is reasonable – far enough from a water source for environmental reasons, but not too far for hauling water buckets to the cooking tent.
The area for the sleeping tents will be sheltered, and if possible where the morning sun hits early. It should be large enough to spread out the tents and have nice ground to make for a good night’s sleep while horse trek camping in Mongolia.
The horses’ night area is typically a longer stretch of nice grazing ground. The horses spend the night tethered along lines that are fixed with pickets. When the horses are arranged there for the night, we say that they go “online”. Each of them will have a circle to graze, and in the mornings these circles look like neatly mowed lawns around each equine herd member. Some members of the herd are just hobbled, or in cases of some characters who don’t wonder off, they are just free and they spend the night hanging out and grazing around at their discretion. When the horses “online” area is a bit further from the main camp area, the horsemen will pitch their tent closer to the horses. I like it when the horses are near at night. There is nothing more soothing when out horse trek camping than hearing a horse munching away close to your tent.
Hygiene and Environmental Conduct for Horse Trek Camping in Mongolia
On hot days, or any day if guests wish so, we set up a simple camp shower, sheltered for privacy and with hot water. And most times with a great view. There are opportunities to go for a dip or swim in a river or creek, but we ask guests not to use soap in the rivers. We have collapsible buckets for an outdoor bucket bath, if you prefer that to a shower. For hand and face washing in camp, we have a simple set-up for running water on demand.
For drinking water, we have a filter set-up or boil water. In many places where we ride and camp, especially in the wilderness of the Khentii mountains, the water is probably as pure as it gets on this planet, but as a precaution, we treat all water served for drinking, by either filtering or boiling it.
Using Nature’s Bathroom while Horse Trek Camping in Mongolia
Probably the most critical aspect for hygiene, health and environmentally responsible camping is the camp “bathroom” and how to use it out in nature.With small groups, like on all our horse trek camping tours in Mongolia, the soundest method is to dig individual holes. As one book on the subject says “Latrines are out… They concentrate too much human waste in one place. They carry a high risk of water pollution. They invite insect and mammal investigation.” The source (Wilderness First Responder – How to Recognize, Treat and Prevent Emergencies in the Backcountry) goes on to say that “cat holes are the best receptacle for your fecal matter.” The hole should be dug into an organic layer of soil where decomposing microorganisms are most abundant. We carry a shovel for the specific purpose and give a little lesson on how to proceed.
There are simple and very important rules for the DISTANCE of your nature’s bathroom FROM THE CAMP, and FROM WATER SOURCES. Our camping rule is AT LEAST 100 meters (300 feet) from water and from camp. For further reading and preparation for your horse trek camping in Mongolia we recommend THE authoritative book on the subject matter, simply and un-mistakenly titled: “How to Shit in the Woods, 3rd Edition: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art”, by Kathleen Meyer. A most practical, humorous and important guide to a very natural procedure that seems to have turned into a real challenge for many people not so familiar with living outside. As for P-Break etiquette, please don’t use wet tissues, or at least don’t leave them behind on the ground if you use them. A small zip lock plastic bag can help with that. You really don’t need them.
Waste Management on Horse Trek Camping Tours
We try to keep the amount of garbage to a minimum and we carry it all out.We try to avoid packaging as much as possible, we carry fresh fruits and vegetables in containers and sacks that we re-use, and much of our dry provisions are in bulk, transported in cotton bags. There is always a garbage bag at the kitchen tent and another one in the dining area. Before we leave camp, we do a final round on horseback to make sure nothing is left behind.
Cool Season Comforts while Horse Trek Camping in Mongolia with Stone Horse
For the September and October horse treks in Mongolia, we carry a large outfitter’s spike tent. Quite spacious and sets up very quickly with one high center post. It’s a great space to sit around a dining table and out of the elements. What makes it really great, and VERY popular in the evenings and early mornings, is the little wood stove! Yes, a wood stove. The collapsible wood stove sets up fast and it takes only a few minutes to have a roaring fire and a VERY cozy tent. Autumn riding tours would not be much fun without a heated tent in camp.
Small Groups for Horse Trek Camping in Mongolia
All our rides are in small groups, with a maximum of 6 guests. This keeps the impact of our travels in the wilderness low, it makes for a better guest experience to enjoy the scenery, the campsites, being with horses, and fellow travelers. For us as the tour leaders, horsemen and cooks, it means we can pay more attention to individual needs and provide a safer and better experience for your horse trek camping in Mongolia.
Park Entrance Fees for Horse Trek Camping in Mongolia’s National Parks and Strictly Protected Areas
Our horse trek camping tours are in protected areas that are not only spectacular scenery but also important wildlife habitats, river basins, cultural landscapes for traditional use of grazing resources, and sites of outstanding spiritual and historical values. The management of the protected areas to maintain these values is an important task; visitors enjoying the parks, like anywhere, should contribute with entrance fees to these efforts. At Stone Horse Expeditions & Travel, we maintain close contact with the park authorities. Park rangers know us and have seen our horse treks for years. Your entrance fees are included in your horse trek tour price with Stone Horse, we pay for the whole group before each trip. The tickets are nicely designed, depicting wildlife of the parks.
Join us on a Horse Trek in Mongolia in 2019 ! Contact Us!
Gorkhi Terelj National Park Riding Tour – 10 Days. Learn more..
Gorkhi Terelj National Park Riding Tour – 8 Days. Learn more..
Khentii Mountains Wilderness Expedition (14 Days). Learn more..
How to Shit in the Woods, 3rd Edition: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art, by Kathleen Meyer
Wilderness First Responder. How to Recognize, Treat and Prevent Emergencies in the Backcountry, by Buck Tilton