Advice on What to Bring
Advice on what to bring with you, what to put it in, and how much you can take on a trip.
Having read the description of the weather to expect, you can see that you need to bring light clothing for warm days, and plenty of warm clothing for the evening, or when the weather turns cold. By September you will want to pack a few extra layers. Bring more gear for Altai trips at any time of year, as you will be riding high in to the mountains.
If you do not have a lot of experience in the outdoors (and camping at Glastonbury Festival doesn't count!), we strongly recommend that you talk to us about what to bring, particularly your sleeping bag (see below). We find that people tend to underestimate how much warm gear they really need. If you send us your proposed gear list, we can confirm whether it is appropriate.
Having the right gear is something we take very seriously because of the wilderness environment we ride in. If you get it wrong, you will be cold and miserable, or worse. You could consider buying a traditional Mongolian del – they're not cheap but are very warm and look cool!
You need a good waterproof coat. A proper outdoor one, not something that just looks good on the high street. A light pair of waterproof over-trousers is also a good idea.
More information on appropriate clothing will be posted here.
A good three to four season sleeping bag that lets you sleep comfortably down to zero in the summer, or down to -10 in September is ideal. If you know you are a cold sleeper, bring a better bag. Down bags are superior to synthetic, if you are buying one.
If you're not sure that your bag is adequate, you can buy a 'booster' bag, a light down bag that adds a season to your main bag, or can be used on its own on a warm summer night. If you find yourself short of a decent bag, hiring from a place such as Trekhire in the UK or similar is a good option.
We recommend (from personal experience), a down-filled infatable sleeping mat such as those from Exped.
A pair of light hiking boots is ideal. They can be used for riding, wearing around camp, leading your horse over rough ground, and for wandering around the streets of Ulaanbaatar. No need for serious hiking boots, but trainers (sneakers) are really not serious enough. The stirrup irons we use are 'plate-type' and wide enough to take light hiking boots. Some people do prefer to take a pair of short riding boots, which are also fine (as long as they have some tread on the sole), and keep another pair of boots or trainers for around the camp.
A pair of sandals can also be useful (depending on the time of year). It may sound odd, but a pair of gumboots can be very useful around camp, when the grass is long and wet. We provide chaps, so there is no need to bring long riding boots.
Pack as you would 'normally' when travelling ie. one large backpack, or duffel bag, or two smaller pieces. A suitcase is also fine, especially one with off-road wheels (yes, they are out there), as it would fit nicely in the support vehicle and is easy to work out of. The downside is that it will get a hard time, dragged in and out of the vehicle, so it should be an old one (not your favourite piece of Louis Vuitton). There won't be a lot of carrying, just from the vehicle to your tent at the end of each day.
Having two medium pieces of luggage works well. Pack a duffel bag inside your main luggage while travelling to Mongolia, and for the domestic flight. Once in the countryside, divide your gear into one bag for the things you need daily, such as your sleeping bag, the other for spare clothes and items not used everyday, that can remain in the vehicle. Less fighting to fit everything back into one bag each morning too.
Also bring a small day bag, for items that you would like to keep at hand while travelling from UB, before we meet the horses.
On trips where we use pack-animals (eg Mongolian Altai and Kazakhstan), we provide the saddle bags for loading on the animals. You should bring dry bags (or heavy-duty rubbish sacks) to put your personal gear in to keep it dry.
There will be plenty of room in the support vehicle, so bring everything you think you may need. Don't skimp on warm clothes. We provide washing bowls, warm water and soap powder if you need to wash clothes. There will be rest days when you can do your washing.
For domestic flights, there is an allowance of 20kg per person (including hand luggage). You may need to pay airline baggage charges (about $4USD) for each kg over this.
You won't find the mighty Mongolian tugrik anywhere outside Mongolia, even in China. The easiest way to get cash is from an ATM (as tugriks), of which there are several around Ulaanbaatar. There is also one at the airport, which a good place to stock up as you arrive (if it's working). We can help with this when we meet you. Most cards are accepted, especially if visa-linked. Bring travellers checks or cash (USD) as a back-up in case of emergencies (such as losing your card)
Major currencies can be exchanged at banks in UB, including UK pounds, US dollars, Euros and Australian dollars. Most banks will provide cash advances on a credit card (bring your passport). Once you leave UB, don't expect to be able to obtain cash.
Ask us about how much extra money you might need while in Mongolia. You shouldn't need much unless you plan on being in UB for a few extra days, and are buying lots of souvenirs. See Booking and Payment for extra costs which you may need to cover.
Do you have a question that we haven't answered above?
If so, please don't hesitate to contact us.