There are two types of saddles for packing, soft frames and rigid frames. Our rigid saddle frame is welded. Others use bolts or rivets which over time loosen up and allow the frame to flex or come apart. All of the pieces of our saddle frame are bent in a special fixture so that each piece is shaped correctly. Then the saddle is TIG welded in a special fixture. Our frames do not use tubing that can collapse smash or easily get bent. Ours uses solid 6061 aluminum rod that is very strong, yet light weight, we machine both ends and the pivot points to fit correctly. A ridged frame allows top loads to be attached to the saddle frame securely and easily. Straps slid between the frame and the pad can be fastened over the top load holding items in place. When packing with Llamas in a string the I-bolt or the cross buck makes this very easy. We prefer a bungy type lead clipped to the I-bolt on the saddle.
Some of the saddles have the saddle pad permanently attached to the frame. This makes taking care of the saddle or repairing it very hard. Our pads are removable and they are easy to dry, repair or replace. The saddle pad is built to fit the shape of the Llama. It is thinner in the front for their shoulders and neck and shaped to add spine clearance, back support and comfort. There is a small D-ring sewn to the rear of the saddle pad and is only to be used to hang up the saddle pad and to identify the rear of the pad. DO NOT fasten loads or Llamas to this ring.
Our cinch straps are attached by weaving them into the slots in the frame. Some are riveted or sewn on and
this makes repairs (especially in the field) very difficult. We do not use buckles, or snap type devices on
the cinches that will break. The cinch hitch on ours is very easy to use, and when properly tightened to fit
the Llama correctly, will not come loose. With a little practice you can tie them with your eyes closed.
Our saddles come with some basic Llama Packing instructions we provide during our Llama Packing class that gives additional information on how to use our saddles and how to properly saddle a Llama.