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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Ode to Colorado

I have been visiting Colorado on family vacations since I was a youngster.  Despite the fact that I rarely visit the same place twice, I keep coming back to Colorado year after year.  Here are just a few reasons why Colorado is my favorite state in the US!

1983 Colorado Springs

1983 Colorado Springs

Ghost Towns

Colorado is full of old mining towns to explore.  Some are cheesy tourist traps, others  offer intriguing glimpses into another era.

Crystal, Colorado is an old mining town in the Elk Mountains. Accessible only by 4WD Jeep road (or a 4 mile hike from Marble) there are a few remaining summer cabins.  I was lucky enough to rent one of these cabins a few years back!

Crystal Colorado

Crystal Colorado

On my 2015 trip, I visited St. Elmo ghost town, outside Buena Vista.  This is more accessible, therefore more crowded and touristy, but still cool to look around a bit!

St Elmo Colorado

St Elmo Ghost Town

Hot Springs

Thermal springs aren’t unique to Colorado, but they are definitely part of a true mountain experience!

There are roadside hot springs, hot springs you have to hike into (like Conundrum Hot Springs), and larger built up hot springs, like Glenwood Hot Springs.  All heavenly, especially after a day of hiking!

Glenwood Hot Springs

Glenwood Hot Springs

Aspen Forests

Maybe it’s because we don’t have these in the Midwest, but there’s something I just love about standing in the middle of an aspen forest.  When the breeze blows through, the leaves shimmer in the sun, and almost sound like a trickling stream.  

Colorado Aspen Trees

Colorado Aspen Trees

And aspen fall colors in Colorado are notoriously magnificent!

Mt Elbert

Mt Elbert

Country Roads

Colorado is the best place to grab a Gazetteer and start exploring!  You never know where these little roads will take you…

Lake County, Colorado

Lake County, Colorado

Independence Pass, Colorado

Independence Pass, Colorado

Blue Skies

You don’t even need Photoshop for Colorado photography.  The skies really are that blue!

St Mary Glacier Colorado

St Mary Glacier Colorado

Dry Air = straight hair!

Ok, pardon my vanity, but seriously?!  I left the house with wet hair on this day! Yes, you do need to double up on lip balm and body lotion, but I’ll take it!  Frizz free!

Mayflower Gulch Colorado

Mayflower Gulch Colorado

Dog Friendly

Colorado folks love their dogs, so nobody bats an eye if you bring your four legged friend out for a bite to eat!

Breckenridge

Breckenridge

Night Skies

When you get up into the mountains, there’s just no comparing the night sky.  You can find much better pictures than mine on the Internet, but if an amateur photog like me can capture the Milky Way, imagine how great it is in person!  The hardest part is staying up late enough after a full day of adventure.

Milky Way over Crystal, Colorado

Milky Way over Crystal, Colorado

Snow

Some people hate snow, but I say if you’re going to have snow, have Colorado snow – so light and fluffy!  Anyone who grew up skiing on the icy “slopes” of the Midwest can appreciate the glory of falling down on soft Colorado snow.  Colorado ski towns are legendary for a reason!

Breckenridge

Breckenridge

Crystal River, Marble, CO

Crystal River, Marble, CO

Memories

And last, but definitely not least, I love Colorado for all the memories I have there.  I’ve shared some pretty special adventures with people who are no longer with us, and will cherish those memories for ever and ever!

My grandma was the first one to take me to Colorado, way back in 1983.  Her love of travel definitely inspired me and she even helped me pay for my first trip to Europe.

1983 Royal Gorge Colorado

1983 Royal Gorge Colorado

I have so many memories with my Aunt Donna, I wouldn’t even know where to start.  Suffice it to say she’s a huge part of why I love Colorado and the outdoors (and food!) as much as I do!

Lead King Basin

Lead King Basin

Above Beaver Lake

Above Beaver Lake

Crystal Mill,Colorado

Crystal Mill,Colorado

If you haven’t been to Colorado yet, what are you waiting for?!

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