Opinions on RustPack?
In my opinion it's important to have saddles that fit correctly. It would be like us packing with boots that are the wrong size. A pack that does not fit correctly will be painful and could cause the goat to not enjoy going. Depending on how much weight you plan to put on the goat you could look at the soft saddle on Packgoats.com. If you are packing full loads I would highly recommend the adjustable pack since your goat sounds like it's a wider biuld. Every time I think goat tach is expensive I look at horse tach and realize I'll have less into 1 goat with all the good tach as 1 saddle cost for a horse and can't haul it in truck bed.

I had a terrible experience with rust pack, as have other people! Don't order from them! I think they must have disabled reviews because otherwise they would all be terrible. But if you search on many of the Facebook pack goat forums for Rust Pack, you will see tons of horror stories. For us, we only received part of our order and that partial order contained two very poorly made saddles with parts missing. After contacting rust pack, he assured us that the missing parts were on the way as well as a prepaid shipping label to return the saddles. None of that ever arrived. I contacted him multiple times, and he just kept lying to me. When I asked for tracking numbers, he ghosted me. I finally filed fraud charges against him with my credit card company and won. I have had to walk several other Rust Pack customers through the process of filing fraud charges as well. Whatever you do do NOT order from rust pack. We have had much better luck with packgoats.com and Bantam Saddle Tack.
I'm sorry to hear this.
So wait.  You're saying northwest isn't selling pack goat equipment anymore, and now its called rust-pack and if you order, you probably wont get the stuff? 

Is anyone selling those big "Acid Rain" panniers by that packing pioneer with the Russia name that I cant remember?

I don't drink beer, but if I did, I'd prefer Dos Equis.  Stay thirsty my friends!
Northwest was bought out by Rust Pack a couple of years ago. But as far as I know, Northwest never sold the John Mionczynski Acid Rain panniers. That was Charlie Jennings with Bear River Outfitters, and he hasn't been in business for several years now. I don't think anyone took over that design since Charlie retired.
Here is my take on saddle brands. If you are not going off trail you do not need expensive saddles. Northwest Packgoat gear will work perfectly for you, or Rustpack whoever owns the company now. Try looking in the classifieds for used saddles and equipment, KSL, Craigslist as well as on here. Also check out the Napga website, which will have just about everything Packgoat.

I started out with entry level saddles from Northwest and hated them!!! When going off trail through steep deadfall and cliffy stuff the saddles would fall forward onto their shoulders and often would flop over upside down and ride on their neck area. It was very frustrating, the only way to alleviate this issue was to tighten down the saddle to the point it would restrict the goats range of motion. Also the straps would wear their coat off down to their skin. I said I would never use the saddles again. Guess what I routinely use my northwest saddles. I currently run butthead Packgoat saddles and panniers as well as northwest.

Here is the reason why I use the northwest still. Goats in the summer get hot! They will overheat, regardless of the breed. I have a Saanen, alpines, La Mancha and hybrids of the two. They all start to show heat stress at 80 degrees. Some people may say that’s not hot but I hike in burned areas off trail in heavy deadfall. My goats are working hard. Saddles reduce the goats ability to shed heat, larger saddles with lots of material, straps, panniers etc hold in the heat. There isn’t a brand of saddle that has less material than my northwest saddles.

There is s reason why I use butthead equipment, the owners are amazing, very friendly, timely and have incredible saddles and panniers, they do have that bulkiness that makes my goats hot. If I am going to pack heavy loads I will always/only use them. You can secure the panniers for off trail use so they don’t flop forward onto the goats neck area. I forgot to mention these saddles are very affordable and you can order custom fitted saddles. Their saddles also have a double cinch. This design holds the saddle securely on the goats back and you don’t get the flop you would get with designs that only have a single cinch.

After getting to my destination and the goats are unloaded and camp is set up all of my goats are only wearing the saddles no panniers. One goat usually my leanest,  carries every set of panniers. Lean goats are more efficient at dealing with heat. I will max out my goats carrying the butthead saddles because they are built to carry heavy loads, my goats carrying the northwest saddles are never near max loads. But, my goats are never carrying max load for long periods, only when packing out heavy loads. I emphasize packing out heavy, packing in all of my goats are carrying a very manageable and easy to carry load, usually 30lbs or less.

Now I have not used Marc Warble’s saddles from Packgoats.com and they are probably superior to any other company for the extreme Packgoat person. I can’t justify paying that price for his gear. There is one massive improvement in the saddle design on his saddles that others do not have and it’s his cross Buck design. They are very low profile compared to the taller traditional saddles. The lower profile design allows the goats to slip under obstacles easier and will not get hung up as often. The more traditional saddles sit higher above the goats back and are always getting snagged up. Some goats are better than others at dipping their backs low enough to clear an obstacle but most are not.

I would say I am an extreme pack goat person and have not found it to be a disadvantage using my two brand system.

If you can afford any brand of saddle and want the best go with Packgoats.com but I can tell you it is not necessary.
Be sure to check out Bantam Saddle Tack.  I absolutely love the craftsmanship of Matt's gear.  The Sawtooth Synthetic Saddles I use only weigh 6# including rigging.  The stay put saddle pads leave an air channel along the spine.

Goatberries Happen!

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