1. Capacity.

For multi-day adventures a large capacity pack is recommended. For short-duration, high activity adventures, choose a lighter-weight, more breathable option with smaller saddlebags.

2. Load dispersion.

A properly fitted pack will not shift or rotate. This is achieved through features such as a 5-point adjustable harness base, adjustable straps, and proper saddlebag location. Never use packs that place weight directly on the spine.

3. Front-loaded saddlebags.

Front-loaded saddlebags put the weight where the dog is the strongest—towards the torso.

4. Waterproof zippers and drain holes.

Waterproof zippers will keep rain out, and food and contents inside dry. If moisture does penetrate inside the saddlebags, you’ll be grateful for drain holes to promote quick drying.

5. Removable saddlebags.

Removable saddlebags that expose a usable harness underneath, like in the Palisades Pack™, allow saddlebags to be removed for adjustments to the load during water crossings, camping and rest stops. The harness can be used alone for day trip activities.

6. Compression systems.

Compression systems cinch the saddlebags tightly to the dog’s body, giving the dog a narrower clearance and helping prevent saddlebag flop.

7.  Gear and leash attachment points.

Leash attachments and gear loops are helpful for cinching down extra gear, attaching a leash, and tying out to a tree or post.

8. Onboard hydration.

Hydration is extremely important for hot or cold weather, especially when a dog is wearing a pack which could cause them to exhaust sooner.   There are numerous hydration options, such as integrated water bladder and hose systems, included dog-friendly soft water bottles, or saddlebags large enough to fit your favorite water receptacle.

9. Reflective trim.

Reflectivity allows you and others to see your dog in low-light situations.

10. Washable fabrics.

Look for fabrics and features that resist wear and tear and keep out dust, dirt and rain. Nylon fabrics are both UV stable and resist dirt and abrasion.