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Saddle Bags for Trail/Camping

This is a discussion on Saddle Bags for Trail/Camping within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • McClellan saddlebags measures
  • Saddlebags 1860s

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    12-24-2012, 08:27 AM
  #31
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by thenrie    
I have a McClellan saddle that dates back to the mid 1860s, from what I have been able to find from several reliable sources. The leather was pretty bad in places and had stitching coming loose at seams. It was not an actual military saddle, but a commercial copy, so it had little actual historical or collector value (they were a dime-a-dozen, so to speak). I stripped it down and am in the process of reinforcing the tree and intend to restore it to as close to original as I can.

I like the way your saddles look and like the way the accouterments fit to it (snaps on the saddle bags, etc). Looks very convenient and light for a long trip. I wonder whether they are better on the horse's back than a western saddle for a long ride. Good question for another thread, I suppose.
We looked at a lot of saddles for the trip. We wanted a decent surface contact with the horse to spread the weight out, but at the same time a lightish saddle not only because we´re lugging them a lot but also because my boyfriend is a big guy and anything we can do to reduce the weight his horse is carrying is great. The saddler worked off measures and photos to get a decent fit (Luna´s got a much more rounded back than Quillay, my boyfriend´s mare, who is older). They are very carefully made and much better than a lot of the McClellan copies we found on offer commercially.

As with any saddle, we started small and worked up - our last trip was five days with between 6 and 11 hours in the saddle (which includes the time we were walking too...). We haven´t had any worries with their backs or girths, and although their comfort for the rider is minimal, we don´t have any problems with them either.

If we hadn´t gone with those ones, we´d probably have gone with another French saddler, Guichard (plenty of stuff on his site if you google it) or with one of the trooper saddle-makers. But because we´re in Europe, it was finally easier to go with the former because we could see them.

Sorry for the thread hijack!
     
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    12-26-2012, 02:30 PM
  #32
Weanling
Sounds like you are doing things the smart way. Rather than take up space here on a saddlebags thread, I'll keep contact with you on your blog or facebook page. I'm getting the groundwork done to start a blog for my trip as well.

By the way, for the OP...was it Raigenp? There is a set of saddle paniers and saddlebag set being offered on ebay right now with a "buy it now" price of $189 for the whole set. Not a bad price if they are in the condition the seller indicates, although I don't think he'll get that much for them. They are florescent orange for safety in the woods during hunting season.

A saddle panier set is kind of nice for someone who would like to go horse camping, but doesn't want to go the expense of getting a pack saddle and panier set. With saddle paniers you can put a regular western saddle on the pack horse and throw the panier set over the saddle, then load the paniers with your camp gear. If you only have one horse, you can hike in to your camp leading the packed horse, set up camp, then ride the horse out on day rides, coming back to camp in the evenings, then pack back out when you're done. If you happen to have an extra horse, then you're set to ride in and out and have an extra saddle horse if needed.

They're nice for a hunter as well, because you can ride in on the saddle, then, if you are successful, you can pack your game out in the paniers and walk out leading the packed horse.

Food for thought.
     
    12-26-2012, 02:52 PM
  #33
Yearling
Thats exactly why I use them Henrie.

Hunting we just tie them behind the cantle and unroll them if we shoot something.

Camping we will pack in and let a couple of folks hike in leading the horse. Once camp is set up, We can still all ride because we have saddle for the horses.

Yes there are better ways to pack, But for what I do they work out really sweet.
     
    12-26-2012, 03:07 PM
  #34
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Painted Horse    
Thats exactly why I use them Henrie.

Hunting we just tie them behind the cantle and unroll them if we shoot something.

Camping we will pack in and let a couple of folks hike in leading the horse. Once camp is set up, We can still all ride because we have saddle for the horses.

Yes there are better ways to pack, But for what I do they work out really sweet.
Great way to go...unless you're the one on foot!
     
    12-26-2012, 07:48 PM
  #35
Yearling
I have a friend who has several teenage boys who go hunting with us in the fall. It takes all the horses several trips to haul camp up the canyon, So when we park the truck, we send the boys hiking on their way. It's 7 miles up a narrow canyon. We saddle up the horses and load the camp gear and then follow them up. Hiking up the canyon is a small price to pay for a wood stove and cots in a wall tent.

One year those boys got pretty nervous about 4 or 5 miles into their hike. It was black out, no stars or moon. We found them sitting on a rock waiting for us to catch up. They had heard something and it had spooked them badly and they didn't want to go any farther with out their dad. I think it was probably an old cow moseying toward the water. But in the minds of those boys, It was a bear or something.

One of my great memories is leading riding one horse with two pack horses while my young daughters hiked into the Uinta Wilderness. They probably were only 8-11 years old. If one of the girls got tired, I put them in the saddle. But they hiked most of them and next couple of days we had saddles for everybody.
thenrie likes this.
     

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