6 of the Best Dog Packs for the Adventure Bound Pooch

dogpacksAs an avid bird hunter, it’s not unusual for me to spend a considerable amount of time in the company of canines. For most folks the family dog is a friend, protector, babysitter, and confidant. For those of us who spend a majority of time out of doors, and in the fellowship dogs, they tend to be so much more. Before the Spanish mustang found its way into the culture of the Plains Indians, it was the humble dog that lugged the extra gear from camp to camp. Modern day sled dogs still provide this essential service to their owners. Depending on the breed and the level of activity, it is possible for the everyday outdoor adventurer to put their dog to work in much the same fashion.

When outfitting your dog for a pack it is crucial to insure proper fit. Doing this is actually pretty easy all you will need is a tailor’s tape. Measure the girth of the dog this is the area just behind the front legs and around the widest part of the rib cage. Depending upon the pack, neck and length measurements may also be necessary. Keep in mind that when loading your dog for a day on the trail it is important that the load does not exceed 25% of the dog’s total weight.

The following are the top 6 packs for the adventure bound pooch.

Ruffwear, Approach Pack; this pack is great for day hikes, and one-nighters. Complete with a padded lift handle and easily accessible pockets, this pack also has enough padding to help Rover haul his own food, water, and of course tennis balls.

Ruffwear, Palisades Dog Pack; this pack is geared toward the multi-day backcountry tour. Complete with two, removable 1-liter water bladders, and removable saddlebags, the Palisades is built on Ruffwear’s Web-Master harness chassis, this ensures a balanced load and proper fit.

Ruffwear, Singletrak Hydration Pack; this pack is ideal for those hot, dusty day trails where creeks and lakes are non-existent. This pack is designed for the thirsty pup, with two removable hydration bladders, and external stash pockets for a bowl, and of course the standard “pick-up” sacks. Complete with a slim, low profile design this is the perfect pack for running dogs, and their cross-training owners.

Granite Gear, Alpha Dog Packa no frills pack that should fit the needs of any dog for 1 to 3 day hikes. Two large saddle-style bags and a padded harness handle all of your dog’s gear, and maybe some of yours. This pack is rounded out with features like reflective strips, a leash clip, and a padded yolk.

Mountainsmith, Dog Pack; with over 30 years in the pack business Mountainsmith’s dog pack is refined, and simple in design. Two large storage pockets complete with rain covers, this pack is rounded out with a 3-point adjustable, fleece lined chest harness. This design will keep Lassie’s kibble dry and her comfortable.

WolfPacks, Banzi; this pack’s top of the line design and rugged, weight-savvy construction make it well worth consideration. Designed for search and rescue hounds, this pack is made to keep loads centered directly over the dogs shoulders, couple this with double layers of Courda at likely abrasion points, this burley pack should stay in service for years.

If you happen to be one who enjoys your free time in the company of your pooch, give theses packs some consideration. Not only does a good dog pack help lighten your load, it also gives your buddy a purpose, and may even improve on trail behavior. Again, be sure to get the proper fit for your dog’s pack, and do several trial runs before heading into the backcountry. Weigh the pack properly; even weight and bulk on each side. For trial runs use water bottles or rocks to simulate the typical load. Some dogs may not take to the pack immediately—use treats and plenty of positive rewards to get Fido in the mood for packing. With a few day of patience, and the proper pack your dog will be well on the way to joining his ancestors as a proud beast of burden.

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