Argentine braiding traditions, an increasing influence north of the equator, were fueled by a need to survive on the South American frontier, where a strand of rawhide was all that separated a gaucho from certain death.
Bitmakers Greg Darnall and Ernie Marsh agree there's nothing wrong with using vintage or antique spade bits. The market for the better-made bits by known makers has exploded in recent years. And a person might find that his prized Guadalupe Garcia, Raphael Gutierrez or Al Tietjen bit has become too valuable to use on a regular basis.
In the May 2005 issue of Western Horseman, expert packers offered their personal preferences on packing gear. Here are some sources to research and buy the high-quality pack gear recommended in the article.