It’s been less than a week since I debated with a pretty good hunter on the subject of the best hitch for securing panniers to a packhorse.  It’s an age-old argument and ranks right up there with Ford vs. Chevy.  I’ve learned to just let people tell me what is the best, and then use my tried-and-true basket hitch anyway.


I first learned this hitch from a “real” cowboy by the name of Bill Kelly.  Bill was born and raised on a Wyoming ranch in the late 50’s and is still packing to this day. When a guy like that offers me advice, I listen.  I’ve used the basket hitch since the early 90’s and can’t see a day when I’ll quit it.  It’s particularly good for a guy less than six feet tall and who hunts alone a fair bit (that would be me on both accounts.)

Here is a 10-minute video on the basket hitch if you’d like to ever give it a try.


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Robby Denning
Robby Denning started hunting mule deer in the late 1970’s, only missing one season in 35 years. At 25, he gave up the pursuit of all other big-game to focus on taking the best bucks possible. He began hunting the West on a DIY budget hunting an average of 30 days a year for mule deer. Robby loves the hunt as much as the kill and the entire process from research to scouting to hunting. He’s killed four bucks over 200 inches in the last 15 seasons, mostly on easily-obtained tags. He owns a public-land scouting service and runs a private-land outfitting business helping other hunters in their pursuit of deer and elk. Robby has scouted and hunted literally thousands of square miles of mule deer country and brings a wealth of knowledge about these experiences with him. To him, the weapon of choice is just a means-to-an-end and will hunt with bow, rifle, or muzzleloader – whatever it takes to create an opportunity to take a great mule deer. He is also the author of "Hunting Big Mule Deer" available on Amazon. Robby believes all of creation is from God for man to manage, respect, and through which to know its Creator


  1. Good stuff Robby. I’ve had quite a bit of experience packing using decker saddles and manti tarps (we always used old wall tent canvas!) using mainly a “Crows Foot” for securing the packs… never packed using paniers before but I imagine it’s more simple if you’re only using your own gear and got it dialed in. When you got 5+ guests and unpredictable gear you end up with a lot of awkwardly shaped loads! Just what I was taught and learned on, anyway that you can get gear safely into the back country is a good way! Good video it’s not easy work packing animals for a trip!

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