Packing and planning for the nitty gritty of a backpacking trip that is also easy on the paws can challenge us to consider exactly what we choose to pack in and pack out. From life changing treks through the backcountry, to sunrise missions up your local mountain, as a community, we can learn how to educate each other along the not-so-beaten path.

Rango scouts the wonders of the Wallowa Mountains in Oregon

So how do we hike responsibly with our furry friends while still embracing the unexpected along the way? Here at Ruffwear, we’ve honed a few tricks to help with planning your canine’s pack logistics and content for your next expedition.

What size pack should I order for my dog? Ruffwear packs are designed to fit based on your canine’s girth measurement rather than weight or length of the dog. We find that all dogs are unique inside and out. Finding the right sized pack for your canine companion is important, that’s why we’re here to help! 

  • If possible, try the pack on at your local Ruffwear dealer Friendly and knowledgeable staff can help you find the right size.
  • Size down to ensure a snug fit. If your pup is in-between sizes, sizing down can often offer fit that will work better for hiking. If a pack is too large, it can cause shifting and a less-than-ideal fit.
  • Adjust the pack to fit comfortably over the shoulders.  Our Ruffwear packs are designed to position the majority of the weight forward over your dog’s shoulders, rather than in the middle of their back. This allows the strong parts of your canine’s frame to support the weight inside. You can adjust the front martingale on all of our packs to find the best fit for your canine’s shape.

How much weight should I load into my dog’s pack? The total weight of your canine’s pack should not exceed 25% of their body weight.

  • Be sure to load both sides of your canine’s pack equally. Keeping the saddlebag load balanced will minimize on-trail adjustments and provide a more stable load for your dog to carry.
  • If you are using our Ruffwear Palisades Pack™, use the built in compression straps. Along with the general weight of the pack, these straps will compress the gear inside leaving more room for weaving through the trees and over rocks.
Compression Straps of our Palisades Pack

In addition to ensuring that your canine has the most appropriate pack to fit their shape and size, we also considered those times when you may wonder; Which Ruffwear Pack is right for my adventure?

Click for a larger view of our Pack Comparison Chart

To truly let loose, and enjoy the trails with our dogs, it always feel great to be prepared. Knowing that our canine companions are comfortable, we can happily watch the dust settle as they zoom through the leaves in fall, pounce over the snow in winter, and wade in the waters of summer.

Where will this year get you packing to?

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4 thoughts

  1. I’ve been using the Approach pack for multi-day backcountry ski trips for quite awhile now with great success. The slim profile of the large size on my big 80lb Kuvasz lets him carry his kit(and bits of mine) without weighing him down too much and still push through the snow without any problem.

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