on September 9, 2012
When I adopted my puppy, Cooper, a month ago, I didn't know much about his background (he's a rescue and was a stray prior to being fostered by the person I adopted him from) but my best guess is that he's a Basenji/Rat Terrier mix (~16 lbs) - I knew those were both active breeds but even then I was not prepared for his activity level. He is constantly pulling on his leash on walks and his energy is seemingly boundless, which makes it hard for him to settle down at night for him (and more importantly, me) to sleep. I know the old adage is "a tired dog is a good dog" but even long walks and play sessions before bed didn't seem to faze him, with him not settling down in his crate for a least a half hour after lights out. I purchased this backpack several weeks ago and kind of forgot about it (I had mainly purchased it for hiking but hadn't had the occasion to use it yet) but after reading online about giving your dog "a job" to focus on during walks, I decided to give it a try.
The backpack is easy to put on and adjustable for a perfect fit. Cooper tolerated me putting it on over his head but I can see how this would be difficult with larger-headed and/or less patient dogs. I weighted each side with two cans of tuna (20 oz. all together) and it can definitely hold a lot more. Once we started walking, I found that it was immediately like walking a completely different dog. There was no pulling to get ahead of me and trying to get me to catch up to walk at his pace, instead he walked nicely at my side. The first time he tried to poop with the backpack on, he was not used to the extra weight pulling him back as he squatted, so I had to remove it for him to take care of business but later in the walk he had seemed to figure out how to balance himself and didn't have any issues. Added bonus: after he does his business, he can carry it himself (until we get to the next available trash can). By the time we got home, he was noticeably calmer (my roommate came home and usually he runs and jumps up on her but she didn't even notice him because he didn't even move to greet her at all) and I was even able to enjoy an afternoon nap without constant pouncing and nudging to play. I am definitely adding this to our evening walk routine.
My only quibble with this pack is that I wish there was some sort of D-ring so I can attach the leash directly to the backpack (essentially rendering it a harness with pockets).
My wife and I have more recently made the decision to be more active, which means of course that our little rescue Poppy is along for the ride! We are always looking for accessories that will make our trips easier on all of us, and not having to carry our pup's necessities was something that we both thought would be a good idea. I grew up around working alpine-rescue dogs, and always loved their little backpacks, many of which were custom-made by the Alpine Rescue Team simply because that sort of thing wasn't readily available. This backpack seemed absolutely perfect for our needs! As one of boycott boring's product testers (the distributor), I received the medium size backpack in exchange for an honest review.
As with all Outward Hound products, this backpack is VERY well made. Constructed from what I believe is very durable nylon (think hiking backpack), it is absolutely up to the task of any rough and tumble that can happen while out on hikes/at the dog park, and comes clean very easily. I can't find any official word on whether this is machine washable, but a damp cloth works wonders and we have yet needed to put it totally in the wash. I assume it will be fine, but will update if and when that time comes! All of the buckles and the velcro and equally as pleasing in their quality, and I have no complaints here! Despite only having single stitching, all of the stitches are well done, which is usually a sign of good quality overall.
Well, there are several important points to mention here. The first is that the frame itself is nicely adjustable via the straps included. While this won't fit perfectly every time for every dog, I have found that cutting the straps once they have been fitted and burning the edges will allow for you to dispose of any extra length that may be present depending on your dogs size, without any fraying. The overall design of the frame is excellent, and does a good job of distributing any weight by using a wide surface area, and a harness-type set up at the front with two additional straps around the chest. The inner frame also has a handle, which is excellent for keeping your dog nearby when distractions are present.
Moving on to the backpack itself, there are two large saddle bags that hang down on the sides, each with an interior mesh pocket along the inside. If I had one complaint about these saddle bags, it would be that there aren't smaller interior pockets for better organization, but more on that in my product suggestions. The backpack and frame have a total of four areas that have reflective material on them. This is great for night-time walks, allowing motorists to see that you're not the only one walking!
Our dog is a 25lb whippet-shepherd mix (full grown) and has a pretty awkward body. We have the medium backpack, and while the frame fits very well, the saddle bags are a hair on the large size for her. She's pretty long (therefore tall when on her hinds legs) but pretty low to the ground. Still, I was pleased that this thing fit at all - I can't begin to list the many MANY accessories that simply don't fit our pup because of her awkward shape!
I have already spoken with the distributor about the following suggestions, and I am pleased to say that it seems as though the product designers are thinking along the same lines for one of two of them!
- I think a good idea would be for outward hound to offer some sort of choice in terms of mixing and matching frames and backpacks. The medium frame is perfect for our pup, but as I mentioned the saddle bags are too big and I think the backpack section from the smaller model would be a better fit overall.
- I would love to see some modularity be integrated with this backpack! By this I mean having some extra attachments that can be used besides the large backpack section that comes with the frames. Ideas include some smaller pouches that can be attached for those shorter trips - small compartments for treats and waste bags etc. That way you could attach smaller compartments for walks or trips to the dog park, and the bigger bags for longer excursions/camping etc. Something that I would LOVE to see would be a pouch that could fit a Camelbak-type water bladder that would distribute the weight of water evenly, rather than having a water bottle that pulls to one side.
- I would also be very pleased if there was a way to attach a felt/flannel lining to the inner frame. That way the frame could be used by itself to keep a pup warm. Our dog is part whippet, and we often have a jacket on her in winter to keep her nice and cozy, but of course that adds extra bulk that makes the backpack a little uncomfortable. If they added the softer side of velcro to the frame, it could be worn by itself without discomfort, but also have the ability to add the warmer lining during the winter months! This is something that I will do to the internal frame anyway, hopefully I'll have pictures that I can put up soon for inspiration!
Simply because there is room for improvement, I would rate this product at four and a half stars if Amazon allowed it. The design and quality is simply fabulous, with a few areas of improvement (in my eyes) that can be made on the organizational aspect. Overall, however, I do love this product and therefore have awarded it five stars with a strong recommendation as a great product overall. If you are active with your dog, enjoy long hikes or camping, this is an almost-perfect accessory that is made to last!
on November 26, 2014
We have a 80 pound female German Shepherd.The size of extra large dog pack fits her just right. We have her to wear the pack when we go on a hike and to the park. We can put treats, her water, a tennis ball, and things that we bring to hikes. We don't put heavy things in the pack since she just started with it and we are training her to be comfortable with it. I recommend to treat the dog when they wear it, that way the dog will slowly build the positive association between pack and treats. Also, it looks really good and is made of good materials. Great buy.
on January 2, 2014
I recently purchased this pack for our new pit mix. I ordered a large after reading reviews. Our boy is a year and a half old, 51 lb solid piece of muscle! The pack is a little big on him (The straps are tightened almost all the way b/c he is pretty lean). I didn't want to order a medium b/c I expect him to fill out and get slightly bigger. He doesn't mind wearing it around the house but when we tried to load it up and walk him around the neighborhood he was thrilled. I think we will have to work up slowly to him carrying things. Overall i think it is a well-made pack. I gave it 4 stars b/c i wish there was a way to secure the pack tighter to his chest (i.e. it slides down his back some when walking).
on November 26, 2014
I don't understand what these negative reviews are complaining about! I use one with my 120lb American Akita and have had ZERO issues!
Here are pics of him LOVING it! https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.505757982889275.1073741861.379285572203184&type=3
"It's too thin and rips easily!"...I got this pack precisely BECAUSE it is thin because my double-coated dog over-heats easily! It is also very lightweight on its own! I have also never had a single stitch rip! When we aren't hiking, I use it on walks with a frozen 2 liter of water in each side! No issues!
"It falls to one side if it isn't balanced well!" BOOHOO! It's called PHYSICS! Balance it! Of course if I put all of the water in one side, it'd lean to that side! DUH! Even if it didn't slide to one side, why would you want to do that to your dog?! As much as some of you complain and want it to be comfortable to your dog, you certainly don't sound like you are trying to make him comfortable! You should always try to put the same amount of weight in each side FOR the COMFORT of your dog! THINK!
The pack is obviously designed with the dogs comfort in mind. The pouches are designed so that the majority of the weight will rest forward over the dogs shoulder rather than over their back. I know many other packs that aren't designed this way.
Also, for all of you that say it slides around with nothing in it, you obviously need to tighten it. You put a trail pack on yourself once with loose straps and/or all the weight to one side and see how YOU feel!
If your dog is chafing, try tightening it. If it is fitted properly and it still chafes, this pack isn't for your dog. Not all packs fit all dogs. This pack is perfect for a deep-chested double-coated dog like mine. Too much padding or too thick of material would be uncomfortable for him and cause him to over heat more easily.
The ONLY reason I did not give this pack 5 stars is because it has no leash attachments.
I have to use an Easy Walk Harness between the harness and removable packs instead.
Definitely recommend this pack! Don't listen to the few haters at the bottom!
Here are a couple of pics to show it in use. In one, you can see how the Easy Walk Harness fits on top of the Outward Hound Harness.
on March 26, 2014
My hiking buddy is a 70lb Golden Retriever named Kaizer.
He is shown in the customer images wearing his green size L (which fits him perfectly).
I was surprised by the amount of space in this pack. Although I don't plan on having him carry much outside of his own poop bags and water, it will be nice to have the extra room just in case we go on a longer hike. The "y" design at the front is much more stable and comfortable for him than many other packs I've seen as well. We plan on kayaking this summer with him as well and the secure belly straps and handle on his back will help with getting him "back on board" incase he jumps out of the boat after something.
The pack itself is nicely constructed and doesn't appear cheap, but I will be cautious about him getting too hot as it doesn't appear to be very breathable. Outside of that, I love it!
on March 21, 2015
I have a small Pitbull mix, he is just under 40 lbs. This pack was a perfect fit for him. He hauled 3 days of food and his dishes in his pack for several miles across rugged terrain and several creeks. It occurred to me, on the way back out of camp, that I could easily remove his pack and chuck it across the creeks so he could manage a bit easier, which I did for some of them. It is helpful to balance the weight evenly, but close enough is good. The straps didn't cause him any visible irritation, For the price this is an excellent pack, I suspect it will last a good long time.
on July 22, 2013
The pack itself holds sufficient room for backpacking but the two pouches are only held on by cheap velcro. They fall off extremely easy, making it difficult to hike long distances. So I sewed the back directly to the harness, solved that issue. The clips on the strap buckle but if any load is applied, such as tightening the straps, they immediately unbuckle. Lastly the straps are so thin that they rub the dog raw.
Do not purchase if you intend on backpacking with your dog.