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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16 days, 7 flights, 3 countries…1 carry-on.

I’ve always been a fairly light packer, so as my SouthEast Asia trip started coming together, I knew I wanted to get by with carryon luggage only.  My first flight involved a 20 hour, overnight layover and a hotel stay – what would happen to my checked baggage?  Not to mention, with 7 flights over 2 weeks, I didn’t want to waste time at baggage claim each time or worse, risk losing my belongings!  I knew I would have to do laundry at some point in the trip, but that’s pretty typical on my longer trips.  I had a few pool days planned where sending my laundry out wouldn’t be an inconvenience.

This was not an easy trip to pack for.  Heat and humidity, combined with modesty guidelines for visiting temples meant no tank tops and shorts, for the most part.

The carry-on I took for this trip is the TravelPro MaxLite 3 International Carry-On Spinner.  It looks and feels tiny, but you can cram a whole lot into this bag!  My “personal item” was my trusty Timbuk2 messenger bag.  I love this bag – I’m wary of backpacks when traveling as I feel like someone could easily get into the back without me knowing and they just scream “tourist!”  Plus, this bag has crazy loud velcro (not so great on a flight!) and buckles so I feel like it would be hard for a thief to sneak into.

Here’s the list of what I took along:

  • Clothing:
    • 1 pair white linen pants (Athleta)
    • 1 pair black linen capri pants (J.Jill)
    • 1 black skort (LLBean)
    • 1 pair gray shorts (Prana)
    • Pajamas – old workout clothes I planned to leave behind
    • 1 swim-suit (Boden)
    • 1 maxi dress (JCrew)
    • 1 t-shirt dress (Garnet Hill)
    • 2 lightweight sweaters (Eileen Fisher and Athleta)
    • 7 Tops – 3 t-shirts, 1 nicer top, 3 tanks
    • Yoga Capri pants and denim tunic I wore on the plane
  • Shoes:
  • Accessories
    • 1 Panama Hat
    • 1 Sarong
    • Pashmina wrap for the plane
    • Extra tote bag for shopping/return carry-on
    • Compression Socks (for the flight)
    • Sunglasses, prescription sunglasses and prescription glasses (ah, life at 40!)
  • Electronics
    • DSLR – Nikon D3000
    • 3 lenses, battery pack, charger, etc
    • iPhone 4S w/ waterproof case
    • iPhone 5S for photos, podcasts and Instagram updates
    • Kindle
  • Miscellaneous
    • Kind Bars and Lara Bars.  For just in case!
    • G2 Powder
    • Lifestraw Water Bottle
    • Laundry bag & Laundry Soap Leaves – for sink laundry
    • Wet wipes, bleach wipes, bum wipes
    • Toiletries – the usual toothpaste, deodorant, face wash…no makeup!
    • First-Aid – small bag with aspirin, band-aids, pepto, immodium

I got off to a bad start when they weighed my luggage at the O’Hare Cathay Pacific ticketing desk.  I hadn’t anticipated this, and of course, my roller-bag was overweight.  So I was that person at the desk, shuffling items from one bag to the other (not sure why, as they were both being carried on!) and was eventually given the green light despite the fact that I was carrying several loose items that I stuffed right back in the roller-bag as soon as I was out of sight of the ticketing agent.  And while I’m confessing my sins, I’ll also admit to bringing 2 1-liter bags full of 3 oz toiletries!  I had strategically packed one of necessities and a 2nd I could live without if I got busted, which thankfully, I did not!

I feel like I brought a lot of items that were more suited to a backpackers trip – as I mostly took planes and stayed in nice hotels, I didn’t need as many wipes or cleaning items as I thought.  I barely used the Lifestraw Water bottle as every hotel provided bottled water on a daily basis, although looking back, I should have used my bottle to reduce waste as recycling wasn’t widespread.

On final reflection, I could have actually gotten by with much less – maybe 1 more swimsuit, more underwear and fewer shoes and sweaters.  In total, I spent about $40 to send out my laundry twice, both times using the hotel service.  (Granted, I could have taken it down the street for $3, but better safe than sorry!)

I never felt like I was missing anything by not bringing a larger suitcase, and it was so nice to bypass the baggage claim area every time I landed.  I did eventually check the roller-bag towards the end of my trip after buying some souvenirs and expanding into a 2nd tote bag, but for the most part was quite happy with my packing strategy!  I’ll never be one of those people who always tries to go smaller and smaller, as there are some trips where I want lots of shoes and clothing options, but this time carry-on only worked perfectly for me!

And, despite what my sister might think, I did not wear the exact same outfit every day for 16 days 😉

Angkor Wat

 

Siem Reap

Are you a light packer, or do you bring everything but the kitchen sink on your travels?

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