We had another rainy spring weekend here in Glacier Country, so I watched our new DVD from Bob Hoverson. I was really impressed.
For those of you who don't know Bob Hoverson, he has worked for the Forest Service for over 30 years, riding about 1,000 miles and packing over 100,000 pounds of gear every year. He is a Master Instructor of packing and Leave No Trace and teaches the Forest Service Packing Class out of the Nine Mile remount station. Last year he released The Packer's Field Manual, a book on packing with a Decker Pack Saddle that makes a great companion to this DVD. Bob and I have been friends for years and I can't think of anyone more qualified to make this DVD.
As I said, I was impressed with the DVD. It is a great tool for learning everything you would need to know about how to pack traditional cargo loads on a Decker Pack Saddle. I call these manty loads, but Bob refers to them in the traditional terminology of cargo loads. The video is over two hours long and divided into eight chapters discussing equipment and techniques.
Bob does a great job of showing you the parts of the Decker Pack Saddle and explaining what each part does so that you really understand your equipment. He also does a great job of explaining how to fit the saddle and the rigging to each animal, (which is where I learned something about equine anatomy and cinch placement). He talks about the various hitches a person can use to tie up your load and sling your load to the saddle. And he really makes it clear why the Decker Pack Saddle is so well suited for packing big loads, heavy loads and awkwards loads.
He doesn't just talk about the pack saddle and the pack loads either. There are tidbits here and there on stock management, safety, etc. There is just a wealth of great information in this video. Even for you guys that just want to pack with panniers and a top pack or just pack in a couple times a year, the information presented here is useful and the skills you can learn might save you in an emergency sometime.
Plus, you know, cargoing loads is fun and a challenge and you look great going down the trail. And its an American tradition that should be kept alive for future generations. So, kudos to Bob for doing a quality job of filling a void in horse packing education tools.