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If you are willing to spend the money, the Ruffwear brand is high quality, well designed and durable. the one that is a combination of a removable pack and a harness provides a lot of options and is very useful.

For a basic pack with lower cost, I have used the MountainSmith brand and found it serviceable. The front straps under the belly rubbed the front "armpits" but a bit of fleece wrapping solved that easily enough.
 

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MountainSmith pack was on Amazon. A local hiking store carried Ruffwear stuff, as does of course Ruffwear's own website. I bought Ruffwear brand items online from Altrec. I would think REI would carry that line.

I'd say 18 months is fine for using a light pack (no more than a couple pounds in it for a large dog). Then you can get them used to the pack and at about age 2, add some weight. I stick to no more than about 15% of body weight in the pack (balanced side to side) but start with just a single can of soup in each side (so, about 10 ounces each side).

Remember that a pack adds to the effect of hot weather (although it can help keep them warmer in cold weather which is a plus)
 
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