Sawbuck versus Decker Pack Saddle
Some differences between a Sawbuck Pack Saddle and Decker Pack Saddle are obvious. A Sawbuck has crossbucks made usually of oak or metal that form an X shape at the top of the saddle tree, while a Decker has metal arches. A Sawbuck Pack Saddle does not traditionally use a pack saddle cover known as a “half-breed” (or “1/2 Breed”) while a Decker style does. Lastly, most Sawbucks are “double rigged”, while a Decker Pack Saddle traditionally is “single rigged”.
Crossbuck or Arches: The X-shaped crossbucks on a sawbuck pack saddle are great for packing with panniers, and top loads and have been used in packing for millennia. The metal arches, either traditional or modified, are specific to the Decker style pack saddle. These provide versatility to either use panniers, or the ability to tie a manty load using ropes to secure it to the pack saddle. The metal arches also give rigidity and strength to the Decker which, in the event of a wreck, could protect the pack saddle.
Pack Saddle Cover: Traditionally on Decker pack saddles only, this pack saddle cover known as a half-breed has 2 main functions. Because the half-breed contains a wooden board running along either side, the load that you are packing is more evenly distributed across the length of your stock animal reducing its burden. This also gives you the ability to pack a larger load on a single animal. The other function is that it simply covers the pack saddle, reducing the amount of dust and debris that can and will inevitably be encountered on the trail which can provide protection to both the animal and your equipment.
Double or Single Rigged: A Sawbuck pack saddle is double rigged, has 2 rings on either side of the saddle, and requires a double cinch with 4 latigos. This rigging would be locked into a fixed position with a Sawbuck pack saddle, meaning that cinch used cannot be adjusted forward or backward on the animal. A Decker pack saddle, generally speaking, is single rigged with a single ring on either side of the pack saddle, and requires a “decker” cinch with 2 latigos. A single rigged pack saddle gives you versatility to adjust the position of your cinch from full rigged (the front most position) to a “center fire” position (the center of the pack saddle), and anywhere in between.
We make our pack saddles using the finest leather, Hermann Oak harness leather. We double stitch all of the stress points, and hand rivet using solid copper rivets to ensure strength and longevity of our equipment. Our Decker pack saddle trees are designed in the O.P. Robinett style, which is the gold standard in the industry. Our wood Sawbucks are made with solid oak to ensure their durability. Whether you are more comfortable with a Sawbuck style or Decker style pack saddle, Outfitters Supply has you covered.