Dog backpacks. Need recommendations? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Dog backpacks. Need recommendations?

I have a 5 month old German Shepherd. And want to get her a backpack. Any recommendations?

Looking for something big enough for say a 3 day backpacking excursion. Just needs to hold her food and blanket. And I guess water bottles while training. I assume I'll get more professional backpacks from this forum on search & rescue.

In the mean time. We decided on this one. Just for now. Just to get her used to wearing a backpack. And for our walks basically. Maybe some short day hikes. We also aren't loading her down at this young age. Although she's probably in the 40lb range right now. She's still developing. and I don't want anything to weigh her down to much. So we'll probably just put a couple water bottles in it. Just to get her used to wearing one. And give her something to do on walks. She needs all the exercise she can get at this point. lol. She has energy for days.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...ZOTEVXGRPHMP4Q

For $16 it's a good starter pack into the world of dog backpacks I figure. I was reluctant to buy a $100+ one not knowing how my dog would take to it - or not. This gives us a chance to see how well she does with one. I think the bad reviews are from people trying to use this as their leash attachment too. I would never do that. I think collar's are the way to go with dogs. Harnesses are for pulling. And if your into that - hook up a cart. lol. In the meantime, we'll test this one out on her. And see how she does. For $16 it was a no brainer. But I'd really like to get a run down on what the professionals use. Eventually we'd like to take her with us backpacking. And having her own pack would be helpful.

Lastly, I don't know what kind of purple tongued hound this is. But this is just a pic of the cheap one we bought. Pretty funny pic though.

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 02:48 PM
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One of my SAR teammates had that pack for their GSD puppy and it works pretty well for the price and for introducing the dog to backpacks. It doesn't hold up too well if you are into doing heavy duty backpacking and are going to be in backcountry areas in rough terrain, though. Or in harsher weather conditions, etc. But it will do for now. It doesn't have a lot of leeway size wise if your GSD ends up being on the larger end though.

If you are looking for a much higher quality, more professional pack I would recommend the Ruffwear line. We haven't tried their backpacks yet but their Web Master Pro Harness is standard issue for our SAR team. The harnesses still look fairly decent after a year in the brush, thorny bushes, cactus, snow, rain, mud, rivers, dirt, puppy teeth, etc. The quality is definitely there and they are very secure so I would trust that the backpacks are just as high quality and secure on the dog. I am going to eventually purchase the Palisades pack for my GSD for personal backpacking trips as well. They also sell additional accessories such as a Brush Guard, Rain Cover, Collapsible Water Bottles, etc. They are definitely a bit pricey but I feel that they are worth it. The L/XL sizes fit dogs fairly well all the way up past 130lbs.

Kurgo makes some decent packs for a bit lower price but they also can be limited size wise if you end up having a larger sized GSD.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 02:49 PM
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I would not put extra weight on that pup until her growth plates are closed. Do not let her jump higher than her back or run her on hard surfaces for the same reason. Joint problems can result.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 03:17 PM
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Highly recommend the Ruffwear Approach pack. I own two, and one is coming up on 8 years of considerable use. I bought the second one second-hand, it's going to last a long time yet. You can sometimes find them used on eBay for a steal.

Before you buy a pack, take a close look at the quality / padding / straps that go underneath the dog, near the buckles. This is the part most likely to chafe or slide around if the construction is poor.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 08:18 PM
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I wouldn't buy a backpack for a 5 month old dog even if you're having her wear it empty, just to get used to it. I'd save the money and wait to buy a good quality one that she can wear for years since she'll outgrow this one before it's really safe for her to carry any weight in it.

I second the recommendation of Ruffwear packs. They're pricey but you can't beat the quality, and the fit is very good too. It's important that most of the weight is over the dog's shoulders vs the back. I bought Halo's when she was about 15 months old, when I she was close enough to her adult size that I knew which one would fit. She wore it empty for 3 months, and then at 18 months old I put a water bottle in each side. Even at 8 years old she's never carried more than 10-15% of her body weight. I think it's especially important to go for quality if you plan to eventually do multi-day trips with her.

Here's Halo modeling hers the day I got it:

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 10:38 AM
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I don't have any experience with or use of packs. I do well to keep vests on my dog.
FWIW the new model of the Lighthound vest (LED lighted vest) is heavier duty and the power source is not pulled out by brush like with the older model.

If you are on a SAR team and want to buy anything from Ruffwear, get with them and get their professional discount. it is impressive (like 40% if I recall correctily)
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 04:14 PM
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NancyJ is right about the discount for Ruffwear through their Pro Purchase Program. I don't remember what the amount is though. The discount not only applies to SAR teams but to ALL working dogs such as police, fire, military, etc. as well as industry professionals (outdoor sports like fishing, hunting, cycling, mountain climbing, and pet industry professionals and employees), service dogs, veterinarians, and human societies/rescues. So if you happen to qualify for any of those you can submit an application via the Ruffwear website on their Pro Purchase Program page.

Kurgo also offers a discount (or used to anyways) for working dogs but I don't think the discount was as much as Ruffwear's discount.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-16-2017, 02:09 PM
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I would not put extra weight on that pup until her growth plates are closed. Do not let her jump higher than her back or run her on hard surfaces for the same reason. Joint problems can result.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-12-2017, 03:36 PM
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I hike with my shepherd. Guess who wears the pack? Me. I wouldn't load the pup up too much. Maybe something of a light harness with some Velcro or some molly webbing for glow sticks, granola bars, anything you don't mind going in a lake or in a big mud puddle.
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