We get lots of questions regarding how to choose the right pack for your dog, so we thought we’d post a quick guide to selecting a pack.
First, consider intended use. For multi-day adventures such as backpacking, a larger, more integrated dog pack such as the Ruff Wear Palisades Pack™ is recommended. For longer adventures, consider features such as removable saddlebags, integrated water bladders, larger pockets, waterproof zippers. Also, look for a pack with a compression strap system that cinches the saddlebags closer to the dog’s body. The compression system keeps the saddlebags from flopping around when your dog takes off running. For shorter trips and day hikes, the Ruff Wear Approach Pack™, or similar, one-pocket, no-hassle packs are a great solution.
Second, be sure to size appropriately. An oversized pack is not only more likely to shift and cause abrasion, it can cause injury if over packed. Be sure to measure your dog’s girth (the widest part around their body), and purchase the correct size pack according to your dog’s measurements. Our saddlebags are sized to help prevent overloading; however, a good rule of thumb is 25 – 30% of a well-conditioned and healthy dog’s weight.
Third, fit and design will help stabilize the pack. Saddlebags that attach to a sturdy harness frame will keep the pack secure and prevent discomfort and saddlebag shift.
Forth, look for key features. One key element is a breathable back panel that disperses the load while providing ventilation. Other features to look for are gear loops, self-repairing waterproof zippers, easy-to-grab zipper pulls, and leash attachment points. Reflective trim is another nice feature, keeping your dog visible in low-light conditions.
Finally, fabric choices make a difference in the long run. A good, sturdy fabric will keep your pack clean and abrasion-free for years to come. Look for fabrics and features that resist wear and tear and keep out dust, dirt, and rain. Synthetic fabrics are both UV stable and resist dirt and abrasion.
What other advice would you offer to fellow dog owners looking to select the ideal pack for their dog?