What is your go to trail equipment?

Some background. I’m fortunate enough ( or unfortunate enough) to have a husband that is willing to ride with me so long as things go well. Recently we’ve had problems with boots coming of in deep mud (he really hates to retrieve it from deep mud and walk in it) and a trail I’d been bugging him to go on (1.5 hour drive too), it was great until we hit a downed tree right at a point where there was no way round it. 80 degree rocky tree filled drop of 30 feet to the right and 80 degree rocky tree filled slope to the left, so what was going to be a nice 10 mile ride became a 4 mile one.

I’ve decided to put together a pack to help deal with these things. First the tree I discovered something called a pocket chainsaw. It can with one person cut a tree trunk 6 inches in diameter with two people 12 inches. From the ads it seems to be just what we would have needed. Any one have any experience with it and would the NPS or Forest service object if I used one minimally to clear a trail?

Next thing I’ve found is a gravity hook. You lower it with a cord it opens when it hits the ground and then closes as you pull up. Admittedly I’d have to practice this maneuver ( I can see this being a judge trail ride test) but my husband’s horse uses scoot boots and there are some close loops on them I could connect to without too many swear words hopefully. Any one out there tried this?

I’m also wonder about pruning shears. (I almost got strangled by a vine once thank heavens my horse at the time has a good stop and back)

I do wear a gardening vest when I ride, so lots of places to put things (though not thrilled about landing on pruning shears should my horse and I part ways)

What else do people find useful to have on the trail. And how do you carry it?

I get the tree thing for sure. On backcountry trails I carry a folding hand saw, fits in my saddle bag (about 10x4 inches), I can get through a 6 inch branch, but 12 inches would be far too much (You’d probably have to do 2 cuts to be safe, and spend a lot of time). I have no experience with the pocket chainsaw. In my area we are not supposed to clear trail, but if I need to get somewhere and I’m clearing a hazard I doubt someone would track me down!

I always have pruning shears, and a multi-tool with screwdriver, knife, pliers, etc. Both are wrapped in a bandana and in my saddle bag. Sometimes pruners go in my tights leg pocket, but they are the blunt-nosed type! I also always carry a horse and human first aid kit, including benadryl (bees!), extra string/rope.

The boot issue is separate. I use boots, and yes, they can be a hassle, but I think I lost two in the last year, even in deep mud, etc. I don’t see being able to retrieve them covered in mud, etc from the saddle with any sort of tool being easier than getting off, plus you’ll have to get off again to put the boot back on anyway! But it would be great practice for a trail trial!

It is great to have someone to ride with, but I have found my backcountry (not local) trail rides always have an element of the unexpected, not bad, just change of plans: now taking this trail instead, stopping here for lunch instead of the next bridge that is washed out, oh, the water source is dried up, oh, a huge running race has closed this trail, etc. Luckily my riding companions are like minded, and we just shrug and continue. I don’t mean stop riding with your husband, but maybe gradually working in the “horses and riding are unexpected” element so the expectations can be a bit different?

I like the Derby Originals English AP Quilted Horse Saddle Pad because it has pockets on each side.