glad I can take more stuff than I can carry on my own!
There are two basic types of pack saddles in use today; the Decker and the sawbuck. There are basic differences between the two types and different knots and methods of securing your load. I don't have a preference between the two, since I am quite the novice, but Jerry prefers the Decker. There are lots of straps and leather and ropes to keep the saddle and the packs secure on the pack animal. I am not faking it in the picture, I really can put the pack saddle on a mule.
All your supplies can be loaded into 'panyards', which are containers that you hang from the pack saddle. Or wrap everything in a tidy little package and tie the 'manties' to the saddle. The packages can be referred to as mantees and the canvas sheets can be called mantis. Yep, for you spelling buffs, I did spell it three different ways: mantees-manties-mantis, all are correct.
The Decker saddle is stronger, has metal D-rings to tie to, can be adjusted to fit mules or horses. The cinch goes around the animal's girth and holds the saddle on; the breast collar fits around the chest to prevent the saddle from slipping back when climbing steep mountains; and the breeching is snug around the mule butt to keep the saddle from sliding up on his neck when going steep down hill. A good fit is critical.
Ropes go over, around, under, through, over some more, and tucked: all in a well orchestrated and planned design. I am still an apprentice knot securer. This photo illustrates why I need a short pack animal.
And if the trout out smart you, don't fret, you won't go hungry because steaks, potatoes, corn-on-the-cob and even a romantic bottle of wine are in the cooler that the mule carried up the mountains.
Happy Trails to all!