Sopris Unlimited
Sopris Unlimited
Sopris Lumbar Saddle Instructions

This Amish-sewn pack saddle is made of heavy-duty 1680 denier nylon, which is extremely abrasion-resistant. All components of the Sopris Lumbar Saddle are married into a single, light, easily handled piece of quality pack equipment whose low profile makes it easy to clear low-hanging obstacles. The Lumbar saddle’s split pad eliminates all contact with the spine and creates a vent for the release of body heat. Two quick release buckles on the front of the pad connect to the diagonal strap on the chest strap. Supported by two nylon fabric cylinders, the panniers are hung from hooks located on top of the saddle with a Pannier Stabilizing Bar. This Bar helps distribute the load evenly along the length of the pannier. Two Accessory Straps on the top center of the saddle are used for tying on a top load (tent, rollup table, camera equipment, etc.), secured lengthwise between the two cylinders, while a ring at the rear of the saddle is used for tying animals in a string.

  • Vertical spine clearance: 2 ½"
  • Horizontal spine clearance: 2 ½"
  • Support structure length: 14"
  • Total length:16"
  • Weight excluding cinches: 3 lbs.7 oz.
  • Colors: Red, Green, Navy

It is important for the animal’s comfort that you distinguish between the front and rear of the saddle: The cylinder drawstring closures and the pack string/breeching ring are at the rear of the Lumbar saddle.

In designing a pack saddle to compete with the soft packs on the market, we knew we had to resolve the problems associated with soft saddles—namely poor support for the load and minimal spinal clearance. In order to provide stability and to ensure the animal’s comfort, a fairly rigid support structure is absolutely necessary. Padding used in most soft saddles on the market are not rigid enough to adequately support the load on the back muscles and upper rib cage. Flimsy or compressible materials used by other soft pack manufacturers are often either too flexible for support or they tend to collapse, allowing the load to rest on the spine. We solved these problems with our Lumbar Pack Saddle design.

Our original 1993 Lumbar design consisted of two cylinders made from 1,000 denier Cordura nylon that were connected to each other by 3"-wide pieces of webbing. The cylinders were lined with closed cell foam and tightly packed with wool to form the support structure that rested on the lumbar muscles of the animal. Packing dirty, discarded wool into the cylinders, however, was an unpleasant and laborious job. We discontinued the Lumbar in 2005 because we couldn’t find anyone willing to do it. However, immediately after discontinuing the Lumbar we began hearing from previous customers who wanted to buy more Lumbar packs for their pack string. Thus the design process began again.

The 2008 model looks the same, and for the most part is the same, as the original Sopris Lumbar saddle. The difference lies within the cylinders. The new cylinders create a strong, flexible, and super-light support structure that is not only superior to the original saddle, but is half its weight. They are smoothed and rounded, and curve up and away from the withers and pelvis—the load is carried on the back muscles and upper rib cage without putting pressure on the spine, withers, shoulders or pelvic areas. When the cinches are tightened the saddle conforms to the back, keeping your animal comfortable and the load stable.