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Almond Joy said:
Hi, I am in 4-H and I've been looking for a cheap, but heavy-duty, pack supplies. How does this one look? http://hoeggergoatsupply.com/xcart/product.php?productid=3512&cat=24&page=1 I'm going to use it on my oberhasli doe, Almond Joy. Thanks, Almond Joy
It says it's a "Soft Sided Goat Pack". Aren't all goats 'soft-sided'? ;-)

Hoegger's has a good reputation, generally. There's much discussion concerning soft-sided packs. (and you may wish to check the archives.) Some people would never use them. Others use them but not for any considerable weight. I think most would agree that if you are approaching 15-20% of the goat's weight that a cross buck is more appropriate.

Northwest has an inexpensive cross buck that I use with cheap bags I get locally. To me the cross buck is more important than the bag for the comfort and safety of the goat. I'll get more official panniers as I can afford them.

If you are just doing Day hikes and want the goat to carry your lunch, you can get a dog pack for less than $10 and lengthen the straps. The bags are small enough you won't be tempted to overload them.
 

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We have some equipment for sale. All of this is from Northwest Packgoats, so it's great stuff.

2 saddles: Northwest "Custom Fit" Aluminum Composite Saddle & Pad. $90.00 each

2 sets of deluxe panniers. $65.00 each

1 coat (small $20; large $25).

These prices are basically 50% off the regular price, and then you'd just have to add shipping (which we'll figure out later). Write us at [email protected] or give us a call if you are interested (435-792-4371).

Steve and Shannon
 

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Bob Jones said:
[quote="Almond Joy":v8j4kpzm]Hi, I am in 4-H and I've been looking for a cheap, but heavy-duty, pack supplies. How does this one look? http://hoeggergoatsupply.com/xcart/product.php?productid=3512&cat=24&page=1 I'm going to use it on my oberhasli doe, Almond Joy. Thanks, Almond Joy
It says it's a "Soft Sided Goat Pack". Aren't all goats 'soft-sided'? ;-)

Hoegger's has a good reputation, generally. There's much discussion concerning soft-sided packs. (and you may wish to check the archives.) Some people would never use them. Others use them but not for any considerable weight. I think most would agree that if you are approaching 15-20% of the goat's weight that a cross buck is more appropriate.

Northwest has an inexpensive cross buck that I use with cheap bags I get locally. To me the cross buck is more important than the bag for the comfort and safety of the goat. I'll get more official panniers as I can afford them.

If you are just doing Day hikes and want the goat to carry your lunch, you can get a dog pack for less than $10 and lengthen the straps. The bags are small enough you won't be tempted to overload them.[/quote:v8j4kpzm]
What is a cross buck again? I'm totally new to this, and don't know much. I was looking at the Finished Wood Saddle there, or the economy wood saddle kit. Which one would be better? Do you just hang the bags on the pieces that stick out? It would probably be a very small hike, and just a light load, but I would enjoy the process of putting the saddle on and everything, plus with NorthWest, it's very easy to upgrade it seems :D
 

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Almond Joy said:
What is a cross buck again? I'm totally new to this, and don't know much. I was looking at the Finished Wood Saddle there, or the economy wood saddle kit. Which one would be better? Do you just hang the bags on the pieces that stick out? It would probably be a very small hike, and just a light load, but I would enjoy the process of putting the saddle on and everything, plus with NorthWest, it's very easy to upgrade it seems :D
The crossbuck is the wooden saddle. I have the unfinished one. You're supposed to sand them and paint or finish them. If you don't want to do that, you can buy the other one. They are the same.
 

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I would not recommend the Hoegger setup. It really doesn't look like it is designed to carry any reasonable load. The weight will end up bearing directly on the spine and if you consider the goat in the picture, imagine those panniers loaded and you can also imagine that the fabric over the spine is going to bunch and put almost the entire weight in the center of that curvature. And even as "training" pack, the size of the panniers just make it too tempting to carry too much (e.g. more than a sandwich) and as Bob mentions, you can find cheaper alternatives if that is your goal.

A cross-buck saddle looks like this:



The cross-buck part is the part that looks like an "x" ... and this is where panniers (the side bags) hang from. Note that the weight will be distributed down to the side boards and onto the side of your goat rather than resting directly on the spine (run your hand on your goats spine and note how bony it is ... you wouldn't want pressure there, right?).

You can get the Economy Wood Saddle Kit from Northwest Packgoats for $48. This is a great project and will be another activity to add to your 4-H record book! When you are done, you will have a really nice saddle that will last for years. You'll want to add a saddle pad (horse felt) and then for training, any cheap bags can be used until you are ready to invest in a good set of panniers. But the good news is that you'll already have the saddle to carry a proper load when you and your goat are ready.

Good Luck!
 

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Hi, Alond Joy! My daughter (14) is also just starting with her new pack goat. He's only 7 months old so we're trying to start him off on the right "hoof" We don't know anyone else here who does this so this forum is great! What area are you from? We are in Northern Michigan. I was so happy to see the responses to your queries--they are our questions as well! Thanks for submitting them. Good luck with your goat!
 

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patti marar said:
We don't know anyone else here who does this so this forum is great! What area are you from? We are in Northern Michigan.
If you are on Facebook, check out the Ohio Regional Packgoat Group. Some of the folks there recently attended a packgoat rendezvous in Michigan and so you mind be able to make some connections there as well.

Brian
 

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I started out with dog packs when my goats were younger. But they didn't work very well. For one thing, they were pretty small capacity. The other bad thing about them was that if they weren't perfectly balanced they would slide off to one side or the other. I finally tried some Owyhee aluminum saddles that a friend loaned me. They worked great. It was easy to just hang fabric shopping bags onto the saddles, and they would stay in place even if they weren't perfectly balanced and even going up and down steep hills, thru the brush, over logs and rocks, etc. So I bought a saddle for each of my boys and they have been using them ever since. Other than the plastic buckles getting busted when the goats crash thru brush, I've had no trouble at all with them.

Owyhee has gone out of business, unfortunately, but you may still find these saddles for sale used. If I were buying saddles now I would look at the Northwest wood or aluminum saddles. I really like the aluminum saddles because they are light and strong and weather proof. But I wouldn't waste my money on dog packs or any other kind of "soft saddle", if I were you. Get real goat saddles and then find some decent canvas or nylon tote bags (check out L.L. Bean). For serious back country trips I have some official Owyhee panniers. They hold a lot of stuff securely, but are a lot more trouble to use than simple tote bags. So I only use them for pack trips, not day hikes. Sometimes people just hang their day packs on my goats' saddles. That works too as long as we all try to keep the loads balanced. The important thing is that his saddle fits him and stays put no matter what the terrain. Then you can hang just about anything on the saddle.

Here's Moose with somebody's day pack hung on his saddle. There's either another day pack, or a tote bag on the other side.



Here's Apache with his pack saddle and some cheap grocery store bags. These wear out right away, so I've gone with better tote bags.



Here's Moose with some $10 Walmart canvas bags. These have worked pretty well.



Here are the boys with their serious panniers on. We're heading down into the Dry Blue Creek area for a few days.

 
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