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-   -   Decker or Crossbuck pack saddles? (http://www.horseforum.com/trail-riding/decker-crossbuck-pack-saddles-150207/)

thenrie 01-16-2013 07:44 PM

Decker or Crossbuck pack saddles?
 
I've been doing some research on Decker pack saddles. I have always used crossbucks, because that's what I learned on. New pack saddles are not cheap, so I have just continued with what I had at hand. I like them, have never had a problem with them, hauled large packs and never sored a horse with one, and they are traditional, which I also like.

However, as I prepare for a very long trip, and will have to acquire my own equipment (rather than using my dad's), I have been looking at possibly buying or building Decker-style pack saddles. I have found several sites that talk about them a bit, but they don't do a very good job explaining all the parts and pieces.

It would be nice if someone could explain what "half-breeds" and "quarter-breeds" are, their uses and purpose, and explain in long-hand how a Decker-style pack saddle is rigged, mounted, and packed. Also, there are different styles of "bows" for a Decker-style. I'd like opinions as to their different purposes and what your preferences are.

I would also like to hear experience and opinions from those who prefer either the Decker or Crossbuck style.

You might even venture into opinions regarding paniers: Utah-style (my preference)? Hard paniers? Canvas, Iron Cloth, or Cordura?

Thanks in advance.

Darrin 01-16-2013 09:07 PM

I have a Decker but never used a crossbuck so can't really weigh in on what is better. I will say I like my Decker due to the ease of putting packs, makes it much easier for the beginner packer I think. I've been told by experienced crossbuck users they can load up in minutes but takes tyros forever.

As for panniers, I've learned to appreciate hard panniers for several reasons. They give you a seat in camp, keep your stuff dry and most importantly if you keep the lid on at all times they are mouse proof. On the flip side, when a mouse gets in they cant get out again.

TrailheadSupply 01-17-2013 12:16 PM

This may require a phone call....I own a packing supply store and build both decker and sawbuck pack saddles if you have any questions feel free to give us a call. There is nothing wrong with a sawbuck been around forever and ever. The decker was invented in 1903 to haul rails into the silver mines of northern Idaho. That is the history of the decker in one sentence !!! Bottom line you can pack anything on a decker with a little know how, there are limitations to what you can pack on a sawbuck. Really feel free to contact us , we teach packing classes, we can answer your questions. I pack for the forest service, Park Service, Montana FWP and a list of volunteer groups. So ask away that is what we are here for.

Andy

TrailheadSupply 01-17-2013 12:52 PM

But to answer your question on 1/2 and 1/4 breeds....Sawbucks typically have neither. Deckers have whats called a half breed, which is a canvas cover that contains padding and a board that run from front to back on both sides. this padded cover adds protection to the side of your pack stock the board distributes the weight of your load across the side of the animal, Remember a decker was invented for packing odd cargo that would not fit into a pannier. a quarter breed is a single layer of typically canvas that goes over your half breed to protect the half breed. For example if you are packing spools of barbed wire, cable bridge planks etc. hope this helps.

thenrie 01-17-2013 01:08 PM

Yeah. That helps a lot. Doesn't that add a lot of heat retention for the pack animal? Then again, I guess having a pack on does that anyway.

TrailheadSupply 01-17-2013 01:21 PM

If you are running either a sawbuck or a deck you start with a thick larger than normal pad. Both types of saddles run similar bars the difference would be the half breed and it does hold in some heat, but not that much more

thenrie 01-17-2013 03:47 PM

I notice that a lot of Deckers are advertised with a single cinch. Some advertise that a double cinch is available. Having only used a crossbuck with a double cinch, I wonder why the difference. It seems to me that a double cinch would be easier on the animal. What's your take?

TrailheadSupply 01-17-2013 04:12 PM

All our Sawbucks are double rigged. With a decker you have that option to double rig. Mule guys tend to lean toward double rig since mules are typically flatter backed than a horse. Therefor a wider cinch provides more friction more grab. Remember most riding saddles are single rigged except for a handful of double rigged mule saddles. I run all single rigged pack saddles, for whats that worth.

thenrie 01-17-2013 06:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TrailheadSupply (Post 1849037)
All our Sawbucks are double rigged. With a decker you have that option to double rig. Mule guys tend to lean toward double rig since mules are typically flatter backed than a horse. Therefor a wider cinch provides more friction more grab. Remember most riding saddles are single rigged except for a handful of double rigged mule saddles. I run all single rigged pack saddles, for whats that worth.

Well, yeah, so do I, but I had never done it with a pack saddle, and I was wondering why one would. I guess it's just a matter of taste...or withers.

thenrie 01-17-2013 07:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thenrie (Post 1849162)
Well, yeah, so do I, but I had never done it with a pack saddle, and I was wondering why one would. I guess it's just a matter of taste...or withers.

Hmmm. I misread your last line to read single rigged riding saddles. My oldtimer's disease kicking in. I have never used a single rigged pack saddle. I suppose that if you don't have a problem with them, they must be ok. I guess the horse's withers would make a difference.


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