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.