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Does anyone have a link or a model of nice daypack for Errow to carry? We did a few hour hike a few weeks ago and he drank a ton of water. Would like a pack for him to carry his own water. I saw Outward Hound has a water pack but wasn't sure if it's any good.
 

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I recently upgraded to the newer Ruffwear Approach. We have a Ruffwear Webmaster harness that we love, and the Approach pack is basically saddle bags on a Webmaster harness with slightly more padding.



The store-bought pack I was using before doesn't hold a candle to this.

So far, the main things I prefer about the Approach are that the first belly strap loops through the saddle bags, holding them flat against the rib cage. Our cheaper pack had smaller bags, but they flopped around a lot more. Second, I like the Webmaster design that includes TWO belly straps. The straps are thick and padded, so you can fit them tight without having nylon straps digging into the dog's chest. Also, the pack just *seems* made so much better. I've seen a lot of packs in pet stores and this one is thicker, better padding in the right spots, lays flush over the back and around the ribs - everything about it is just....better.



 

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I've also got the Ruffwear pack for my dogs. It fits really well and stays in place as long as you balance the load side to side. Some of the cheaper packs tend to slip to one side probably because the underlying harness system isn't contoured to fit a dog's back. The Ruffwear pack is well worth the money.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info so far. It looks like a really nice pack. Would the pack pictured be able to hold a small water bladder? Is that even the best way for a dog to carry water. Pretty new to this stuff but we really need some new equipment.
 

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If you live anywhere near an REI or if you want to shop online at REI.com, you can find them there. I have an Outward Hound pack that I use on my dogs. I put a water bottle on each side to make it evenly weighted.
 

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I usually put a 750 ml. water bottle in each side along with a collapsible water bowl. There's room to put in quite a bit more, but I don't like to load up my dogs too much, especially when it's hot.
 

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I looked at several, including the Ruffwear Approach (saw it in a store and checked it out), and I ended up buying this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Mountainsmith-Dog-...18159129&sr=8-2



I LOVE this pack. It has 3 straps instead of two, like a lot of packs. Two straps fit under the belly, and one across this chest. The 2 belly straps make it much more stable than most packs - it shifts less, although to be honest, I haven't put much weight in it yet, b/c Kodee is still so young (13 months now). It seems comfortable, Kodee pays absolutely zero attention to it while it's on. It could easily hold 2 to 4 water bottles (depending on size). Usually I pack his collapsible bowl, his poop bags, treats and sometimes a long line - all pretty lightweight stuff, and then I carry his water in my fanny pack (til he gets older).

Personally I think this one is better-made than the Ruffwear, but I've heard a ton of people say they love the Ruffwear one, too.
 

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I wrote a "Dog Packs 101" article for my blog awhile ago that might be of interest and informative, and it also has links to recommended quality brands of packs at the end - http://abbyk9.blogspot.com/2008/04/dog-packs-101.html

REI, like another member posted out, is a great place to check out dog packs because they stock different kinds. They generally have the Kelty packs and the RuffWear packs in stock, but also now carry an REI dog pack that is similar in design and size to the Kelty. Worth looking if you want to get a hands-on "look" at the packs.

Regarding carrying water, you can use bottled water and place it in the panniers of your pack - having external cinch straps helps balance them well - or you can use collapsible bladders, such as the large Nalgene collapsibles or the Platypus collapsibles. Those are both excellent and very comfortable for your dog to pack.

I do not recommend the Outward Hound hydration pack. That one seems to be designed for everything except a dog's body. In general, compared to some of the higher-end packs listed in this thread, I've found Outward Hound products to be cheap (in terms of manufacture and materials) as well. If you want a pack that lasts and want to really use it a lot, I would look elsewhere.
 

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I just got a Ruffwear Palisades for my dog a week or two ago. It's the newest Palisades, the "2008" version. So far, we love it.

It actually has its own water bladders, which are in their own zippered compartments, so it might be what you're looking for. My favorite feature is that the panniers detach from the harness, so I end up with both a harness and a backpack.

The only con is that it's possibly the most expensive of all the packs at $99, but I ordered mine from BackcountryK9.com, which had it for $95 and free shipping.

Here's some photos of Kina in her backpack. The backpack is a little farther back than it should be in these pictures because she'd been playing fetch while wearing the harness and it had worked itself a little loose during the strenous running.





 

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If you have trouble with the harness working itself loose - most do with extended activity and also if the webbing gets wet - adjust it to the right size and then tape the straps down using duct tape or friction tape. This works well, looks decent (if you use black tape) and will keep them in place! It's also a super way for securing loose strap ends - roll them up and tape them. (I have to admit, being military, any loose strap ends that aren't tape down make me uncomfortable. *lol*)
 

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Darn it *starts saving for a $100 pack* must...have...lol

After I got the ruffwear harness I was thinking to myself "I wonder if there's a way to attach a backpack to this?" hehe
 

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Originally Posted By: BrennasMomDarn it *starts saving for a $100 pack* must...have...lol

After I got the ruffwear harness I was thinking to myself "I wonder if there's a way to attach a backpack to this?" hehe
Yeah, I'm with you on the $100 thing. I've been "researching" backpacks for about 6 months and saving my money for it. My husband and I kept wanting to get one, but I had a really hard time dropping $100 on a backpack.

Well, the way it attaches is through standard plastic buckles like this one:

There are 4 of them on the harness, and the pack snaps into those. I was actually thinking to myself that in theory, I could make some smaller/lighter packs and put the buckle pieces on those, to have two separate backpacks that I could snap onto the harness.

If you want, I can take some closeup photos of how the pack attaches for you, if you like.
 

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I'd appreciate that! I am so tempted to get one! As it is I have 3 of the harnesses, one for Brenna, one for Mollie, one that was for Mollie but was slightly too big but would fit either dog in a pinch if one of theirs got broken or lost or something.

I'd love to get her a better backpack though...I got the outward hound one and it sucks. The bags flop everywhere and the leash always gets caught under the bag which causes it to flip over her back.

And it does this crap if the weight is even slightly uneven.

(note: there was no tension on that leash)
 
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Nice to see news of the Approach. Looks like RuffWear has actually managed to improve what I thought was great already. I have a Palisades I that's a dozen or more years old now. It was Willie's before it was Odin's. Still in great shape too. I bought a Palisades II for Frigga last year. Looks like we'll be buying an Approach in a year or so when we have DW's new dog.
 

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Photos of the Ruffwear Palisades

Originally Posted By: BrennasMomI'd appreciate that! I am so tempted to get one! As it is I have 3 of the harnesses, one for Brenna, one for Mollie, one that was for Mollie but was slightly too big but would fit either dog in a pinch if one of theirs got broken or lost or something.

I'd love to get her a better backpack though...I got the outward hound one and it sucks. The bags flop everywhere and the leash always gets caught under the bag which causes it to flip over her back.
Sorry, took me a couple of days to get them uploaded. Prepare for a bunch of photos, I hope it's not too many.

This is the harness without the pack attached. The two larger buckles that are buckled are for the underbelly straps. The two plastic pieces in the corners are the buckles that the pack snaps in to.


Another view showing the buckles on the one side.


You can see all 4 of the buckles here.


The underside of the pack. You can see the 4 buckles that attach to the harness. Also, on the very edges are velcro tabs that you can use to attach the bottom edges of the pack to the underbelly straps. That keeps the packs from flopping around or flipping up over the dog's back.


Here I attached the pack to the harness, and lifted up the bag so you can see the buckles attached.


And last (just for fun) "I love wearing my backpack!"


Also, to address your issue of your pack getting unbalanced and hanging crooked, that will happen with the Ruffwear ones too. Would assume that it happens less because of how snugly the harness fits, but balancing the two packs is something that you will have to adjust from time to time. I've heard people complain about it, but I don't have that much of a problem with it.

The up side is that because the Palisades has a water bladder on each side, you can use those to adjust the balance of the pack. Even if you don't need water, just fill one a little bit to even them out. And if it's too heavy, you can let water out of the bladders without removing them from the pack.
 

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Re: Photos of the Ruffwear Palisades

I think Ruffwear is the best. I have not bought a pack from them yet but bought a lot of other things, everything is very good quality and sturdy and their customer service is excellent. Another good one is Wolf Packs. I have their "saddlebag" which is a very small pack. It works well for my Golden because she carries very little weight in her pack-- we were going for a packing certification and they require specific items but not a certain weight. The saddlebag is good if there is not a lot of bulk. I use two small Platypus water 'bags' for water, one in each side of the pack so it balances out the weight.
If you're going to be doing a lot of distance or more weight, be sure to get a pack with a non-restrictive harness. This is the type that looks like a "V" when viewed from in front of the dog's chest-- the Ruffwear ones are a good example of that.
If you're just trying it out and don't want to make a big investment, check ebay... I've bought several pack on there for less than $25 each (much less than normal cost.)
 

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Re: Photos of the Ruffwear Palisades

ah man, it looks really cool, I guess I have to start saving up! :p
 

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Re: Photos of the Ruffwear Palisades

Originally Posted By: Link's MomHow old should your dog be before they wear a backpack??? Link is 8 months.
You can put a backpack on your dog that young if you're just trying to get them used to the idea of wearing while they're young, but that's too young to have them carry any weight in it. Before 1.5 - 2 years, there is still too much development going on in their joints, and carrying any extra weight, even a few pounds, can be damaging.
 

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Re: Photos of the Ruffwear Palisades

Oh, I want one of those as well!

Also, I got to be carefull to not show the pictures of Kina to Thor, he will fall in love immediately, she is stunning
 
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