There isn't much that is easier to enjoy than riding a strong mountain horse from ridge to ridge on a fine summer day. This is an enjoyable way to scout for elk, mule deer, sheep and even mountain goat, while simultaneously conditioning your horse and giving him (or her) a good dose of real mountain riding experience.
These are the type of day rides that made me realize that I really hate carrying a backpack while riding. At the time, I did not have a suitable way to carry a large spotting scope as well as a large tripod on my saddle horse. Standard saddlebags weren't quite big enough for my scopes, and the tripod was a whole different animal when it came time to lash it up. For these reasons, I just threw the stuff in a backpack and let it annoy me all day. On top of the discomfort, carrying a backpack also creates a little more of a shifty rider and is a bit more top heavy for the horse. Most people don't particularly care about such a thing, but some, including myself, do.
These are the reasons that I developed a more efficient way to carry these items on a saddle horse. With our tripod carrier and spotting scope bag, not only can you ditch the backpack, but you can grab the scope and tripod in no time and have it set up quickly. The gear goes back on the horse just as quick, and your off to the next ridge. This setup is designed to attach to our Horn Bag Platform (although the tripod carrier will attach to the Saddlebag platform, it is not recommended due to the nature of the items to be carried in it).
Tripod Carrier mounted to the Horn Bag Platform
The Scout Package also includes the Spotting Scope Bag. This bag will accommodate most spotting scopes. As a reference, the older Vortex Razor spotting scope with an angled eyepiece and 85mm objective lens fits well, but anything larger might give you trouble. By mounting the Spotting Scope Bag opposite the Tripod Carrier on the Horn Bag Platform, you achieve a fairly even balance and weight distribution.
Spotting Scope Bag mounted opposite the Tripod Carrier
While these items were designed for a specific use, they are both very versatile pieces of equipment. The Spotting Scope Bag can function as a deep bag for anything. On a recent winter excursion I discovered that a full size green coffee thermos fits perfectly in the bag (always make sure to balance the other side, your leg and horse will appreciate you not having to tip the saddle back to center all day). You could run these bags on both sides of the Horn Bag Platform or both sides of the Saddlebag platform depending on your needs. That is the point of our entire line of gear: Versatility and functionality.
The Tripod Carrier is also an excellent tool for carrying a cased fly rod, an axe, or even tactical style weapons as shown below.
Axes, tripods, flyrods and more can be carried with this system. And the best part is, these attachments are not permanently fixed to the platform. When you don't need to take these types of items, simply throw a set of our bags on the platform instead. Click on the link if you are interested in learning more about our Scout Package.
Note: Some of the Mesa Horse Gear in these photos is shown during the prototype phase. Production models are very similar, but may have slightly different details and colors.