Saddlebags in the day of the cowboy was a pair of leather pouches that were tied on behind the saddle used to carry food, medical supplies, clothing, extra ammunition, cooking utensils and many other items that the western cowboy might need while being out on the range for extended time periods.
Horsemen and horsewomen who trailride will always need a pair of western leather saddle bags to carry necessities needed on the trail. Our fine quality saddlebags fit close to the horse's body, yet provide you with plenty of room for your halter, leadrope, hoofpick, raincoat, sandwich and drink or any other items you will need.
Sturdy, strong and well-built saddlebags are available in black or brown top grain leather.
Saddlebags also are available in nylon, canvas, insulated models and in beautiful complimentary colors.
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Testimonials and/or Comments
Carl Foster - Washington, DC
You are the best. My saddlebags arrived late yesterday. When I opened the box this morning, the whole office stopped and of course now everybody wants them. These are perfect. You should raise the price. I would have paid much more for this.
Don't be surprized if I email you saying send me the tan ones too. I think I am going to put a handle in the middle of it so I can carry them with one hand when it's not draped over my shoulder. Do you make these yourself? This is fabulous.
Note from Shari: Carl Foster is a city slicker who loves his equestrian saddlebags. He carries them everywhere inspite of the fact that he hasn't ridden a horse since he was small enough to ride a pony at the local county fair. Carl is the "volunteer director" of The Little Blue House and he's also a producer at the C-SPAN networks.
Ivan - Nevada
Happy New Year Shari. Just to let you know that I got the box on Saturday and they look great. Thanks for shipping it so fast. I will send you a picture of my horse and me on a trail ride.
The Design of Good Saddlebags
As a saddle repairman, I have been asked to repair all kinds of
saddle accessories as well, including saddlebags. I saw a lot of
saddlebags in my shop. I also saw a lot of saddlebags on the
trail. And I heard a lot of saddlebag complaints. Worse yet, I
had to use these same saddlebags and experience the same
frustrations as my customers because there weren't any
So What Makes a Good Saddlebag?
There are five
points that I think are critical for a good saddlebag:
They have to fit the saddle. The saddlebag connector
needs to be curved to fit snugly around the cantle. The
saddlebags should not be so far apart that the bags no longer
rest on the saddle skirts. The saddlebags cannot be too long or
the weight will ride low on the animal and be uncomfortable.
They can't be too wide or the bags will irritate your horse or
inhibit his movement. They have to stay put. So
many times I would be riding down the trail and meet another
rider with their saddlebags hanging off to one side. Or I would
follow someone who was constantly reaching around to shift the
bags back in place. And forget trotting or loping with these
bags. They looked like a bird trying to take off. Worse than
that, they would slap and bang against the horse's flanks. At
best, this is annoying, but with the wrong horse, it can be very
dangerous. Good saddlebags will be able to be tied down with the
saddle strings to keep the bags snugly behind the saddle. They
should also have some way to secure the bottom of the bags so
that you can trot or lope without the bags slapping.
They have to be able to carry stuff. I have seen a
lot of saddlebags with neat little pockets and features and what
not, but when it came time to actually load up my gear to go for
a ride, I couldn't fit in what I needed to bring. Make sure the
pockets are large enough for your gear. They have to
be easy to handle and easy to access. How many times have
you wanted something in your saddlebags while you are going down
the trail? Nobody wants to stop and get off to get into their
bags. Nor do you want a set of bags that is difficult to take
off your saddle to carry into camp. Good saddlebags are designed
to be easy on, easy off and easy to get into. Velcro closures
allow easy access, but are not as secure as buckles and zippers
and the Velcro can clog up and stop working. Buckles are
classic, but time consuming to open and close. Zippers are the
most secure closure. They can't fail 10 miles from
the trailhead. Classic leather saddlebags have always held
up, but not everyone wants leather, especially if you are
conscious about weight. But many of the saddlebags made from
lightweight materials were not built well enough to last. Good
saddlebags are built of material that can stand being scraped
along rocks and trees. The zippers, buckles and straps should be
durable. And the saddlebags should be reinforced at all stress
And they have to be good looking! But that's just my personal
The importance of good gear
Nothing can ruin a
perfectly good ride like gear that isn't working properly.
Customer complaints and input, as well as my own frustrations
and experiences, are what led me to design and build the
TrailMax System and what keeps me improving it all the time. So
when shopping for saddlebags, remember to examine the features
for access and gear storage, the fit on the horse and saddle and
the construction for looks and durability.
About the author:
Russ Barnett has ridden and packed extensively for over 20
years, primarily in the Bob Marshall Wilderness area. He is a
Leave No Trace Master Instructor and has taught many packing
courses at the local college. Russ is also the president of
Outfitters Supply and more of his trail riding and horse packing
tips can be found at www.OutfittersSupply.com.