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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
What outdoor adventures does your dog join you on?
Note: I paid full price for this pack and was not compensated for the review.