Which Sopris saddle
I was looking at the Sopris saddle. The standard lumbar saddle will pack 80lbs and costs 219 plus 55 dollars for the chest strap and the breaching strap. But the rookie is only 163 and has all the straps. The rookie says maximum of 50lbs. My questions are is the standard worth is the 111 dollars more To get the extra pounds of capacity? I don’t plan on packing more then 50lbs on my goats but in my experience when something has a max capacity I will wear it out if I am at the max all the time. Anyone have experience with these 2 saddles? Are there differences othe then capacity?
Hello and welcome! I have experience with the Sopris Rookie saddle. The Lumbar saddle seemed like overkill for my needs, and you really do need a full-sized goat of at least 200 lbs. to have a long enough back for that saddle. The snaps and buckles on the Lumbar are heavier duty than the Rookie, but I'm not sure what else is different that gives it more load bearing capacity. It's been too long since I've compared the two side-by-side. I'm not sure why the straps on the Lumbar saddle cost so much. I'm guessing they have more padding or something, but I've found that with goats the padding is not necessary. In fact, it tends to grab hair.

I've been wondering if I could improve the Sopris saddle by inserting some lengths of ABS pipe into the center of each foam bar for a little more rigidity and load-bearing strength while still maintaining the flex in the tree that makes the Sopris such a great fit for any goat. I wonder if having that bit of extra rigidity would also help keep the saddle in place better. Sopris saddles have a tendency to slide off one side if the load gets unbalanced (which can happen any time a goat bumps one pannier on a log or rock). They improve as they break in, but new saddles can be a real pain about sliding off and it makes me wonder if the trees aren't just a little too flexible.

I wish Clay Zimmerman were on these forums. He has a lot of experience with the Sopris packs. If you're on Facebook you may be able to contact him there.
Thanks for your input. I never thought about it wanting to slide around. Have you ever  loaded the rookie to 50lbs or more?
Yes, I had a 4-day pack trip this summer with the Rookie loaded to 48 lbs. (so my goat was carrying 53 lbs. if you include the weight of the saddle). Goat and saddle both did great. I had another goat wearing a wooden packsaddle and I had to load it a bit lighter because the saddle tree was pinching the goat. By the end of the trip, the goat with the wooden saddle was a little sore but my goat with the Sopris was not sore at all. My biggest complaint was that I had several instances where the panniers on the Sopris saddle popped out of their hooks. Usually only the front or back end would pop out so we didn't lose the panniers off the side, but it was annoying to have to keep looking back to check that they were seated correctly in their hooks. There was only one time at the end of an extreme descent where the whole saddle slid forward onto the shoulders and the pannier on one side came out of the hooks completely and was dragging by the tie-down strap. This pulled the whole saddle off to the side. It was difficult to get it all back together because of the steepness of the slope.

What I'd like to see (and I know this idea has been sent to Charlie at Sopris) is spring snaps at the pannier attachment points instead of those open hooks. Then the panniers would never be able to come loose no matter what the goat did. It seems like no matter how tight I cinch them down, the darn panniers pop out of the hooks on one end whenever the goat jumps a log, lays down for a break, bashes a pannier on a rock face, etc. Spring snaps might be a little bit of a pain for removing the panniers quickly if you have a squirrely goat that won't stand still, but the amount of hassle they would prevent on the trail would be well worth the trade-off in my opinion.
I was wondering about them falling off. I emailed Clay he told me to call him so I will after lunch. I appreciate all your input.
Just wanted to say thanks for referring me to clay. I called and talked to him and he learned me on a bunch of stuff.
Awesome! Yes, Clay has a wealth of knowledge and experience and is very generous in sharing is insights. I've spoken to him quite a bit myself. I don't think anyone has yet invented the "perfect" saddle, but since Clay has literally tried all of them, he can tell you which ones come closest and why. I'm glad you got ahold of him.
Doesn't Down under girl run those?  She might have some insight also.
I’m not sure. Do I send her a message
DownUnderGal does use a Sopris saddle. I believe she has the Rookie pack and does not have experience with the Lumbar. She is also a more of a "day tripper" with her packgoats so I don't think she's had the full-load, multi-day experience you're asking about. And none of us have the many years and hundreds of miles of trail experience that Clay's got under his belt. Wink

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