Trailhead Supply Blog / Coffee with Andy

Old Man Winter

Well old man winter has finally showed his face….and in Northwest Montana he came roaring in.  As snow was starting to fall and the temps were dropping I along with everyone I know spent the day outside picking up everything that should have already been put away and battening down the hatches.  You know getting stock tank heaters in place, moving hay a little closer to the fence, and splitting a little extra wood to help keep us warm and toasty.  What about your horses and mules?  What can you do for them when the weather gets chilly or at my place down right cold? Cold to me is different than cold to you. Like this morning I was messaging my nephew who lives in CA. and he said hey its cold here too…..It’s only 55 out I said we are 80 degrees colder than you are, with the wind chill.  This isn’t about do you blanket or not blanket, there is a lot of good information out there on this subject, every person and situation is different. The whole blanket subject is almost worse than discussing politics.  I was at the Vet on Saturday with a horse and I asked them about salt…..Because at Trailhead Supply the sale of salt blocks almost dies off in the winter.  No one wants to spend good money on a salt block just to toss out in the snow and have it slowly dissolve away. Plus there is a good majority of folks that don’t think the stock needs salt in the winter because they are not out working and sweating.  Do you still salt your food in the winter?  Of course you do you need it to survive it is an important mineral.  The vet told me they don’t really see a lack of salt or mineral issue due to most people supplementing their animal forage with some type of grain or pelletized feed. Whether the animal needs it or not it makes us feel better giving them a little something extra.  But the real benefit is that feed has some of the minerals in it that the animal needs.  Check their water supply make sure it isn’t frozen good clean water is a must!!!  Even though its bitter cold out go check on them!!!  Provide a wind break even if it’s just moving them to a pasture with trees.  Take care of yourself when out caring for them, you don’t want to slip and fall in the ice. Keep gates shoveled open and don’t plow the trailer in, if you do you’ll need it.  Hang in there spring is only 3 months away.

Now that you have checked on everyone, and all is well, go pour a hot cup of coffee.



Photo Credit: Kathy Young

Read more →

Tis the Season

Well it is that time of year, the 3 biggest days of Christmas shopping are almost upon us...Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.  It’s everyone’s favorite time of year when you fight the crowds and take a chance of losing your life, getting trampled racing into the big box stores.  For those taking a more cautious approach and stopping by Trailhead Supply, drinking my world famous coffee, and asking what kind of great deals are we going to have on sale this weekend.  Well to start with, you won’t find our store open this Friday, we are opting out of Black Friday, unless you are shopping us online (  I myself, along with the whole staff, will be out playing and spending time with our families.  But I’ll be here for Small Business Saturday. We are huge supporters of small business and most of our suppliers are small businesses right here in the USA. Then it’s back to the hills on Sunday…. So, here are my helpful hints before you head out to shop for that packer or trail rider in your life.  If you are buying someone a saddle, riding or pack…..get on it!!! Most saddle builders just don’t have those quality hand built saddles lying around.  I’m also a big fan of items that have more than one use…..Like say a metal coffee cup. It’s of course a cup, but can be used as a bowl.  The kids or grandkids can dig with it, mold sand castles, and unlike plastic cups you can cook in it.  Let us not forget a good cup is great for that adult beverage around the fire at the end of the day.  I also highly recommend buying folks the items they keep borrowing from you… know what I’m talking about, your brush when your saddling, fly spray, hole punches, hobbles, highline swivels and of course #1 on the list a pack scale

As we all get ready to jump feet first into this BIG holiday shopping weekend, have fun, be safe, and enjoy a big cup of coffee with those you love!!!  Life’s too short; make the most of it……

God Bless and I’ll see you on the trail.



Read more →

Coffee with Andy- Skillet

What’s In Your Skillet???

So, last weekend I was out hunting with my youngest daughter. We sat down to catch our breath after successfully chasing every deer off the hill side without firing a single shot.  She asked if I would like a snack? I said what do you have, and she started laying out a small buffet….. In turn I started pulling out as much or more delectable goodies from my pack.  While basking in some unseasonably nice weather for late November in northern Montana and eating way to much great food, my daughter asked why do people eat so much better in the back country than at home?  I totally understand the question…..My grocery bill is like a hundred and change a week but a weekend in the woods $200 plus, before beverages.  We all know food taste better camping …But we really do eat better camping. It has always been that way.  I remember camping with my folks in the 1962 Aloha camper and mom had that little stove just pumping out the 5 star white linen cuisines. So, around Trailhead Supply’s coffee pot this week we were all talking about food!!!  Great subject and people work on recipes all year long not only to impress their friends around next summer’s campfire but to truly enjoy theirselves.  What is becoming my favorite endeavor is that one pot cooking.  There are some truly great meals you can cook using just one pan.  A great example of this is Dutch oven cooking.  Those truly gifted folks who have mastered the art of dutch oven cooking, God Bless you!!!!  I’m pretty good at it, but like everything those masters of the art are a blessing to have in camp.  For those of you that say cast iron is to heavy to pack into the back country GSI is putting out some great anodized aluminum dutch ovens that way 60% less than cast, and they don’t rust!!! We are going to post some great recipes soon! If you have a great dutch oven or camping recipe share it in the comments. Or if you are looking for a specific idea let us know. We are getting hungry just thinking about it!

Dutch Oven Breakfast

Read more →

Coffee with Andy- Ratchet

Good Morning!!!!

Wow more of you than I thought …..Well this is great. Welcome to the first of what I hope becomes a never ending weekly gathering around a good ol cup of coffee.  So, this is kind of a work in progress and I not only think, I know, that the format will be always evolving; since what I had envisioned has only lasted 44 words now. 

So, I had started to write on a safe topic to kick off “Coffee with Andy” with just to test the water so to speak. “The weather”, since NW Montana broke every known record in rainfall this October for this part of the world, 4.86” if you are keeping track.  But then, by accident, I stumbled into a discussion on Facebook that became a debate….Which then led to talks around Trailhead Supply’s coffee pot and on and on and on…. Because we all know packers are always right!!!!

The questions was asked……..Who out there packs using ratchet straps?  Immediately I leaned back in my chair and said “What???????”  Why would you…how would you even do that?  I hadn’t even looked or considered the whole safety side of this thought process. There would be no quick release knot.  All I could picture is some guy losing his teeth as he tries to wrestle the ratcheting mechanism to release everything during a wreck. And boom!!!...hoof…teeth…hand over mouth….while mumbling adult adjectives.   I’m starring at the monitor trying to just get a visual in my mind…..Now don’t get me wrong I love to look at packing pictures floating through my facebook news feed.  I enlarge them and study them just to see what folks are hauling, where they are headed and how they are securing the loads to their pack saddle. But the only place I’ve ever seen a ratchet strap used before other than on a flatbed trailer is on my friend John’s top pack, which I don’t understand and probably never will.….He just won’t conform to tradition and use rope.  See I’m a decker guy we like rope. So, when one starts in with tying a load on with ratchet straps I don’t get it…. at all!!! I basket hitch almost everything the rope goes around and then under. Not feasible with a ratchet strap.  Even if you barrel hitch I could see if you had 2 ratchet straps maybe but then again, why???  Then I actually found a picture of this online, someone was hauling lumber, using 2 ratchet straps but still, why?   I was then sent a picture after a discussion with friends, and a ratchet strap was used to secure five gallon jugs to a metal rack hanging on a sawbuck…..Note, I took interest in this since I have the same metal racks.  I liked that idea… a lot!!!   Even though I’m a traditionalist and use rope for many different reasons I’m always looking for something faster and easier……which I really haven’t found yet.  Except for maybe a short ratchet strap on a metal rack.  

Remember an uneducated guy and a donkey settled the west.  There are folks out there making this whole packing thing seem difficult…Only to sell more books or videos…..   If it works for you, do it.  If you and your stock can keep safe, use it.  If it helps you get out on the trail more, I’m all for it.  Until next week………..

See you on the trail.


Cancer affects us all, we are either fighting it, surviving it, or lost a loved one to it.  Trailhead Supply is wrapping up our annual Breast cancer T-shirt sale all proceeds are donated to our local Cancer Support Community. There are only a few days left to help someone in need and get a great looking Trailhead Supply – Breast Cancer T- shirt in the process.  Thanks you in advance for your support. Get your shirt here.

Read more →

Coffee With Andy

For years now, starting with my grandfather, who called everyday ….I mean every day, at 5:30 am to have coffee with me no matter where I was in the world. Now there were days this drove me flat nuts and my wife wasn’t thrilled back when the girls were small and he woke them up. In years to follow he still woke them up just so they could say he’s not here he is still packing in the Bob Marshall….yes!! Again. Then he would talk to them at 5:30 in the morning while he had his coffee……………What we all wouldn’t do just to have those talks today……

Over the years somethings have changed but not really that much in the overall big picture. I still get up and have my morning pot of coffee and share that special time with friends and family but just not across the table but around the world via the internet. Just like days gone by at the old coffee shop, sitting under the covered porch in front of the general store, or sitting around the fire. Topics and thoughts cover the gamete and change from day to day. You can be part of these conversations and thoughts in the privacy of your own home or as you ride the bus to work in some big city (where I will never live again) on that mobile device. So, starting next Wednesday at 6am MST I’ll share the discussions and stories I get to be part of throughout the week as I enjoy that big mug of Joe and visit with my back country friends around the globe. Pour you a cup, put your feet up, and get ready… here comes the coffee wisdom.

Have another cup. ~Andy

Trailhead Supply coffee with Andy blog

Read more →