Product Review: Ruffwear Palisades Pack

When it comes to outdoor adventure, being able to bring my dog along is always a plus!  Bailey’s first backpacking trip was an overnight winter trip in Wisconsin.  Carrying her bed, food and blanket in addition to my own heavy winter gear was just too much! After that trip, I decided to purchase the Ruffwear Palisades Pack for our outdoor adventures. I’ve always trusted the Ruffwear brand, as their products are high quality and well tested for outdoor adventure.  My favorite dog training guru, Cesar Millan, also recommends a pack for your dog as a way to tire them out.  (A tired dog is a happy dog!) To that end, I have used the pack for long city walks, too!

Outdoor Adventure Dog Backpack

The Palisades Pack comes with a separate harness to which the pack clips in.  It’s a good idea to start out with just the harness so your dog can get used to wearing this.  I’ve read of other dogs getting hot spots where the harness rubs.  This hasn’t been an issue for us, thankfully, but definitely something you need to watch out for.  There are plenty of straps you can adjust to get just the right fit.

The pack itself then attaches at 4 clips on the harness.

Outdoor Adventure Dog Pack

Each side has a large main pocket, plus small zippered pockets on the outside.  The smaller pocket is good for things like treats and poop bags.  There are also several lash points on the pack, which I’ve sometimes used to attach an extra blanket if we’re expecting low temps at night. Inside the pack, Ruffwear also includes two plastic water bladders.  These are awesome and eliminate the need to get out a water bowl at every stop.  I let Bailey drink from streams along the way, but it’s always important to have backup water on hand, as we learned from a very hot, dry hike in Colorado.

Outdoor Adventure Dog

The biggest issue with the pack, which I suspect is the case with any pack, is that it’s tricky to get the bags balanced out exactly even on both sides, especially as you use up water and food throughout the day.  You can see in this pic that the saddles leaning to the right. I have to fidget with them quite a bit when starting a hike until I get them just right.

Outdoor Dog Backpack

From what I’ve read online, a dog should not carry more than 10% of their body weight, and it’s very important to check with your vet, especially if you have a puppy as strenuous activity can affect development.

So, what’s in our pack?  Bailey carries her own food (pre-portioned into 1-quart Ziplock bags.)  Her food dish is a plastic Tupperware container with lid (the kind lunchmeat comes in) and she has a collapsible water dish. When we’re camping in bear country, I just string the pack up with my own food bag to hang from a tree.

So, even though my dog’s backpack actually cost more than my own,, it was money well spent as the quality is quite good and I think this will last us for many years of outdoor adventure.

Dog Backpack Review


What outdoor adventures does your dog join you on?

Note:  I paid full price for this pack and was not compensated for the review.

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Product Review: Ultra Paws Durable Dog Boots

If there is one pet product I am asked about the most, it is Bailey’s winter boots.  Before you laugh, I should show you how the salt from two winters has eaten through the copper boot tray I keep in the foyer.  Chicago winters can be harsh, and the salt used to de-ice the sidewalks is awful.  In the suburbs or the woods, I tend to use Musher’s Wax to keep the snow from balling up in Bailey’s paws, but in the city, boots are a necessity once the salt trucks hit the streets.

Bailey - Ultra Paws Dog Boots

Normally, I am all about Ruffwear – we use many of their products on our camping adventures, and even our everyday collar and leash came from Ruffwear.  However, their highly rated boots ($75 a set) would not stay on my dog.  They have great traction, but only one strap.  Luckily, I found Ultra Paws Durable Dog Boots.  At half the cost of the Ruffwear boots, I hardly expected these to work.  My motto in life, after all, is “you get what you pay for.” Much to my surprise, they are fantastic!

These boots do not have traction on the bottom, so they do take some getting used to, but I believe the 2 velcro straps on each boot are the differentiating factor that make these the best dog boots.

About twice a season, I throw them in a mesh bag and toss them in the washer.  We’re in our 3rd season with this original pair.  I also carry at least two on our backpacking trips, just in case Bailey gets an injury or cracked pads from hiking on rocks.  (so far, so good, though!)

CampfiresAndConcierges.comProduct Review:  Ultra Paws Dog Boots

I bought ours from, which sadly went out of business, but these are also available directly from UltraPaws.

So…what other dog products should we try?

Note:  I paid full price for these boots and was not compensated for the review.


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