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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Kayak Camping in Baja Mexico

A kayak trip in Baja has been on my bucket list for quite a few years now.  So, when I decided to make it happen, I first turned to my favorite adventure outfitter, OARS.  Having used them on 4 previous trips, I always check their catalog first!  OARS is a whitewater company, but they also contract in other countries for various adventures like the Galapagos trip I took a few years back.

The trip is billed as the Quick Getaway by Mar Y Aventuras, and by OARS as Sea Kayaking Espiritu Santo Island.  The OARS package was more comprehensive and included a night before and after at Posada Luna Sol, the guesthouse associated with Mar Y Aventuras, as well as some additional meals.

Trip Orientation

The trip kicked off with an orientation and equipment fitting at the inn.  Due to high winds, we shuttled to a farther beach (Pichilingue) for a shorter boat ride to Espiritu Santo Island.  It was about an hour ride before we entered Candellero Bay, our home for the next 4 nights.

When I first heard there would be 17 guests on the trip, that sounded like a crowd, but it was a great group.  There were 3 of us solo ladies, 2 travel buddies, 2 families with 2 kids each, a father/son and one married couple.  Many people are wary of group travel, but I find that adventurous, rugged trips like this tend to weed out the high maintenance types, and you meet people who have some incredible travel tales.  I’m always adding to my bucket list after meeting these explorers!

Candellero Bay Camp

My tent

We all settled in to our cabins, enjoyed the first of many meals, and had a practice kayak run.

More cool rocks!

Each day had a nice rhythm, with what I thought was the perfect balance of activity and down-time.  If you are looking for a full-on adrenaline packed week, I’d suggest one of the circumnavigation trips rather than the base camp option I chose.  (Options vary by time of year)

Coffee was ready each morning at 6am, breakfast by 8:00.  The first morning activity (a kayak or snorkel outing) started around 9am.  We’d then return for lunch and a few leisurely hours before the afternoon activity around 3:00.  Upon our return, Happy Hour snacks and cocktails were served around 6pm, followed by a delicious dinner.

Happy Hour ceviche

Activities included a snorkel, hike or kayak outing, sometimes a combination of those.  We visited the sea lion colony twice, and were amazed at how friendly and playful the sea lions were!  A little too friendly for my taste – I kept my distance!

This trip was a great little getaway from work, winter and internet.  I found it to be the perfect combination of down-time and activity, although 1 more day would have been great!  I highly recommend this trip!

Trip Cost:

  • OARS cost: $1282 (includes single supplement for hotel and camping)
  • Airport Shuttle from Cabo: $47
  • Guide Tips: $100
  • Snorkel Rental:  $15 (wetsuit and sleeping bag rental also offered)

For all of my pictures from this trip, click here!

To read about my time in La Paz, check out my post on Travelettes!

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Kayak Camp Baja

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