The door of the store (Trailhead Supply) swings open, and in walks one of our favorite customers. He is carrying a used decker pack saddle. He then tosses it in a pile on the store floor and announces that he just picked this up off a Craig’s list ad, and got a screaming deal. All it needs is a little oil and she will be as good as new. So, I grab a tub of my favorite leather conditioner and started to ring it up.
He said “Aren’t you even going to look at it?”
“You’re the one that said it only needed some oil…”
From across the store, one could see it had holes wore through the halfbreed, repair or replace? I flip the saddle over and the tree was cracked, a big long split. The question is, replace or run it? Can’t repair it. Trees which are the backbone of your whole pack outfit start at $150 and go up from there. Remember, you get what you pay for. Then there are the sling ropes, well worn, strands breaking…replace that’s only another $25 each. Rivets are pulling out of the leather rigging, but in the case of this saddle why replace the rivets when the straps are so old and cracked its just time to replace that strap. The cinch is so old and stiff from dried sweat and caked on mud, and its probably not the right size anyway…replace. The breast collar isn’t a pack saddle breast collar its off a riding saddle. (yes! there is a difference)
More times than not a well-used pack saddle is not worth the cost, plus the needed repairs. I know very well that packers are cheap, remember I’m a packer, but I’ve learned that being in the back country, 20 plus miles from the trailhead is not the spot for equipment failures. There are some good deals out there, but our advice to you is be super picky when buying used pack gear. If a packer is selling a saddle and is still packing there is a reason why they are selling “that” saddle. If you need help or advice when looking at pack gear feel free to give is a call or shoot us an email email@example.com Remember we’ve been there.
See you on the trail.