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Ruffwear Approach Dog Pack Review


Aaron Zagrodnick

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Aaron Zagrodnick

While bringing along man’s best friend on our backcountry adventures comes with many advantages, especially when backpacking it also comes with an extra set of dog-specific gear. Dog food, a section of foam pad, dog jackets, bowls, leashes, and perhaps even a sleeping bag for your dog all serve to increase the weight carried. The solution of course is to have the dog carry some of their own gear or other gear to help offset some of the weight – most importantly of course without overloading the dog. Ruffwear, maker of dog specific gear that often fits well with an outdoor lifestyle offers 2 solutions – the $150 Palisades Pack which they’ve designed specifically for multi day backpacking trips, and the cheaper Approach Pack at $80 that they market more for full day hiking. However, over the past 10 years I’ve found the smaller Approach Pack to be all one needs for any length backpacking trip, and as a nice bonus this model is also lighter and cheaper. The Approach pack contains 2 saddlebags that each have...

In Issue 39, we review the Ruffwear Approach Dog Backpack. Check out the full review and rating at the link below:

Ruffwear Approach Dog Pack Review

Ruffwear Approach Dog Pack Review

Issue 39 Page 1

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Hi Aaron,

I have have been packing dogs since the early 1970s. I have used a lot of simple packs over the years with good success. 

I was out last week with my Border Collie Ruby, and used a pack made by Outward Hound that looks similar to the one you reviewed.  Ruby has long silky fur which keeps her warm without a blanket and sheds dirt, but it is also slippery.  I have problems keeping a pack on her even when it is perfectly balanced and pulled snug.  She has even slid it off over her head when she thinks she is carrying too much water weight. 

I have packed horses, mules and donkeys many times over the years as well.  I am thinking about modifying the belly cinches by adding a wide strip of material on each of them that will add some friction .

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Aaron Zagrodnick

Good luck with the modifications! I could see adding something like that on the backpanel that’s weight bearing possibly helping as well. I’ve had good luck with the Ruffwear pack in that regard, as long as both sides are equally weighted. I like to go through my gear and dog’s gear with a scale to make sure both saddlebags are equal in weight and about equal in bulk while not overloading the dog on the weight total. As long as I do that and after getting the harness adjusted it’s been pretty set and forget for me, save for the occasional quick readjustment if the dog runs a saddle bag into a trailside rock or downed tree etc.

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