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I'm looking into getting a dog pack for Belvie, our 9 month old aussie mix. I'd love to start hiking with him. Nothing hardcore since he is still young. The pack would be pretty much empty until he's a little older.

I've been researching a bit and i really like the ruff wear approach pack. Do any of you guys have a favorite pack? Or any recommendations?

Thanks!

Kat
 

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my favorite pack is the only pack that I own. but I would like a nicer one. the one i have now was just the cheapest one and I realy wanted a pack for the dogs.
 

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Copying and pasting from an old thread..

THAT SAID, you should still do it properly. Start with an empty pack, and build up weight. 20%, give or take, is considered the max body weight. Dogs with joint issues or conformation that lends itself to injury (long back, straight fronts, etc) should carry less- consider going down a size.

It's important to fit packs properly. Packs should NOT be too long - I actually thing that B'asia and Jaia's packs are too long and if htey were my guys, they'd be wearing one size down from that. My rule of thumb is that the pack shouldn't cover more than the first 2/3 of the rib cage, and should sit with as much of the weight over the shoulders as possible.

I really don't care for the Outward Hound packs in general. They're cheap and readily available, but they're much longer than they are deep, and the sizing guidelines seem to me to run VERY large. Petco's "****ens Closet" brand has a set of packs that are $20 that are (IMO) much better sized, although they're not as adjustable. They have a mesh back instead of the solid back with a cord for adjustment, and neoprene pockets. That's my prefered 'cheap' pack.

My favorite pack is the Weneha Jogger day pack. It's big enough to carry two water bottles, a bowl, some food, poop bags, and a mat that's folded up very small, mini first aid kit, cell phone, and spare leash. Unfortunately, this one is kind of hard to find, and it also runs pretty large. (This was Wings' every day working pack and she wore an XS. Kaylee fits in a S, though- Wings was narrower and a bit shorter than Kaylee and was at the top of the size range for the XS.) I really like that you can just snap the packs off the harness, whihc none of the other packs I've owned have. (The outward hoounds do, but their other drawbacks don't make up fro this for me.)

We also have a Ruffwear Approach - it looks (basically, ours is a 2007) like this:

I REALLY like the ruffwear packs for heavy-duty or pack trips. They're very roomy but they're wide (which can be mildly annoying if you're hiking in crowded places or narrow trails) but this means that the weight is centered properly forward. The harness is very adjustable and has good thick straps that are padded. This is THE pack if you actually want your dog to really carry stuff or carry his/her own gear on a camping trip. The only other thing (other than the width) I don't like about this pack is that the dog has to step into the harness- it's a little unweildy to put on. With as much capacity as it hsa and as carefully fitted as it is, that makes sense, though, and is a very reasonable trade off.

In other 'light' packs, we also have a Black Dog pack from Black Dog in Australia.
This is a great pack. It's light weight, and it doesn't hold much, but the design is good. This is a great around-town pack. Unfortunately, it doesn't fit any of my guys (or Lindsay's guys) terribly well - the back plate is not adjustable and it's sized for a broader dog than Kaylee. It *does* fit TxCollies' dog ****on, so we handed it down to him. :p It only comes in two sizes, but the smaller one is great for JRTs and that size range. Also comes in cool colors!

Lastly, our main pack is an OllyDog pack. I don't have a photo of the one we have, but it's a 2007 (I think - I got it on clearance at REI), and it's not identical to the one ono their website. It has an adjustable back, quite small panniers, and is University Of Texas Burnt Orange. It fits Kaylee PERFECTLY and is just the right size for a couple poop bags, a very small mat, and my meds and medical information. (I bought this one for a working pack.)

Definitely spend the time trying on a bunch of different packs. Figure out what fits your dog well, and spend the extra money to get a well-fitting pack before you start putting weight in it.

And a link to that old thread - http://www.dogforums.com/3-dog-training-forum/50933-dog-backpack-lab.html#post532823
 
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