There are two types of sawbucks:
Humane and Teheam. The forks on a humane tree have a
little slant forward and back. The forks on a teheam are
straight up and down. They both have a double cinch, and made
to fit a mule or a horse.
There are three types of Deckers.
The original decker has a D shape
iron bar. This is the only decker that requires decker hooks
to hold on a pannier. If you were to put a panniers strap over
the D ring it would slip off, there would be nothing to hold
it down - it is smooth and round. We sell these.
With a modified decker the D ring is
shaped to not allow the panniers strap to slide off. On these
you do not need a decker hook. Another way to put a pannier on
a decker is to unbuckle a strap on the panniers and run it
through the decker D ring. This is a little harder
to remove in a hurry. We sell
There also is an adjustable bar
decker, this allows the bars to adjust to the animals
back. You normally fit a sawbuck or a Decker to the backs of
the animal you want to fit by taking off the high spots on the
underside of the bars. With the adjustable decker it'll
move in and out to fit the rib cage of the horse or mule. This
way you can use it on different animals, it's not adjusted to
just one animal. We sell these!
A Decker uses a half breed which covers up
the rigging. It also has a board that fits along the rib cage,
and the load weight is distributed all along the rib cage of
the animal. There are four different adjustments on a Decker
tree itself. Also the cinch rings are to fit halfway onto the
board, this way it does not dig into the animal side in one
spot. You also have six adjustments on your spider, and your
breast collar. All this equipment we sell.
A sawbuck only has adjustments on the
breast collar and the spider. You can also use the halfbreed
on a sawbuck. If you have a hard pannier set and you want
to carry the weight on the rib cage a little better this is a
nice way to do it.
There is also a quarter breed that fits
over the Decker, this is used to cover all your rigging on top
of your halfbreed. You can use a quarter breed on a sawbuck to
accomplish the same purpose. It is basically just a piece of
The cinch on a Decker is normally a single.
The Decker was designed for mules who have a shorter back. The
blacksmith that designed it also had a problem
with breakage of the bars on the sawbuck. This is
why he came up with the metal the rings; they were a lot
tougher to break.
You can use a basket hitch on a Decker or a
sawbuck and tie on a Manty load to either. You can also use a
barrel hitch on either. By using a barrel hitch and a Manty
load you can then use a top pack. We sell these.
On hard panniers there are bars on the side
these are called sling bars, when you tie them on with a
basket hitch. We sell hard and soft sided pannier sets,
as well as slings.
By using a basket hitch, when the
load hits a tree it can swing back, and as the animal
walks, it will work its way back into
position. Hard panniers will not move much
because they are hooked on at two places on the pack
saddle. There's not a lot of give using hard
panniers. Soft panniers also have issues -
sometimes if you hit a broken tree branch it can rip the
panniers, and tear holes in it. This is why the higher-end
panniers have leather on both ends, and they seems to hold up
better when hitting tree branches. By adding legs to the
hard sided panniers, you have a convenient table and storage
set - also items we sell.
The choice is yours, it's what meets your
need and what kind of packing you do. Also a lot depends
on what kind of country you'rr riding in whether it be in
the brush or through lodgepole pines in the mountains.
Sometimes you ride on narrow trails through large rocks,
which makes it tough to get a load through.