Horse & Mule Packing School

Class Dates

#1 Date June 10 to June 14, 2024 - Price $1500
#2 Date  July 22 to July 26, 2024 - Price $1500


Please download the enrollment application. Print it out, complete the application, and mail it to the Bridger Institute mailing address. Also please include a check made out for a deposit of 50% of the course tuition payable to Bridger Institute with this enrollment form. I understand the remaining balance is to be paid no less than 30 days prior to the course starting date.

Bridger Institute
P.O. Box 1991
Whitefish, MT 59937


Bridger Institute Horse and Mule Packing School is a unique approach to mastering the skills of packing with stock in the backcountry. This course not only focuses on the basic and advanced techniques of Decker and sawbuck packing but we are the only school that utilizes over ten different pack (tree) systems currently available on the market today. During this six day course, which begins with a thorough review of packing & camping equipment,  students will learn different methods to manty and weigh Decker loads,  and will learn how to pack and weigh twelve different types of soft and hard panniers for sawbuck packing. Students will become proficient in tying five different Decker slings & hitches and ten different sawbuck hitches. To build student confidence and to create a better experience between student & stock, students will master all fifteen slings and hitches on pack barrels before moving to the horses and mules.

In addition to mastering the basics of packing gear, equipment and horse feed in manty loads and Panniers, students will be instructed in more advanced skills of packing lumber, tools, chainsaws, crosscut saws, wheel barrels, propane bottles, S & R equipment,  stretchers, backboards, oxygen bottles, And at least six different methods of packing big game including elk, moose and caribou.

Students will become familiar with rules, regulations, trail etiquette, skills and techniques for horse camping in the backcountry. Another highlight of the course is becoming proficient at setting up low-impact horse camps. Each student will have hands-on experience with setting up and maintaining an eight station backcountry stock camp including: sleeping area, kitchen, area, latrine area, horse containment area, horse feeding area, fire area, wood cutting area and equipment and food storage area.

Additional skills included in this course are: trip planning, meal planning, ropes & knots, splicing, and making rope halters. Students will also have the opportunity to receive a wilderness first aid certification during evening sessions. Whether you are a beginner or experienced packer, this course has something for you.

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