Up for review this week is a pack for your four-legged adventure companion. Here’s a simple fact: outdoorsmen are gear junkies! We like to have all sorts of tools, food, rope, fishing gear, hunting gear, camping gear, and any other gear that strikes our fancy. We then need to find bags and packs to store and carry all of that gear in. Another thing outdoorsmen are known for: our dogs. Most of us (but not all) have adventure dogs that go everywhere with us.
My adventure dog is a yellow lab named Ivy. She fishes on the river with me loves family hikes and loves to go camping. But what most people don’t realize is that a dog will need more water than you (from my personal experience) and like you, she’ll need food and snacks during any physical activity as well. So when I came across this Mountainsmith K-9 pack I thought it looked super cool and would help me pack all that gear we love around, with the help of Ivy. I mean, imagine all the stuff I could put on my dog’s back and turn her into a pack mule! Of course, this isn’t what I did. Even though Ivy is a tough 70-pound lab I don’t want to do anything that will cause injury to her and dogs aren’t built to carry heavy loads on their backs.
Diving into the pack, getting it on Ivy, and my thoughts before using it. This pack is designed to carry your dog’s essentials like collapsible lightweight water bowl, food, snacks and possibly light bedding if going for an overnight. It has big pockets which is nice and getting it on her was easy when she finally decided to cooperate. If you used harness type vests on your dog before this was a similar concept. It has padding on her chest and back and other areas where needed. It has adjustments on all of the straps so you can make sure your dog has a comfortable pack. I was concerned if the weight was not evenly distributed that it would slide to one side. Overall fitment and adjustment were pretty easy and it only took a few minutes to get it on and adjusted properly to Ivy. Mountainsmith does provide a few steps for fitting and adjusting and sends you to their website for more detailed information. As I mentioned before our dogs are not pack mules, and it seems fitting that they should only carry the stuff needed for them. In Ivy’s pack I put a little food and snacks, her water bowl, leash and some water. I tried to keep it at about 3 lbs for this first trek. This was the first time I’ve put anything like this on Ivy and even though she was pretty good getting it on she wasn’t sure she liked it after that and did the whole “crazy dog I’m going to eat this thing” act for a bit. I love dogs…
On the hike Ivy got used to it quickly and before long I don’t think she noticed it much. The pack rode great and the sliding to one side due to weight distribution really wasn’t an issue. I think it did great. It is not waterproof though so learn from my mistakes and make sure that you put her food in a waterproof container or really anything that you don’t want wet. Cleaning it is a breeze and it looks like it will hold up for a while. We’ve been on several hikes now and no signs of issues.
Let’s dive into my pros and cons list that has developed out of the use I’ve gotten from the Mountainsmith K-9 Pack:
I think it’s always good to start here! I like how simply designed and adjustable it is. Ivy, after using it, doesn’t mind it all and gets excited when I pull it out. I’m sure her excitement is due to the coming adventure and not because she loves how comfortable it is to wear. However, I would think if it was a K-9 torture device (even if its use meant fun) she wouldn’t try to muzzle her way into it. So, in short, the good about the pack is:
- Easy to use
- Great fitment
- Doesn’t harm the dog
- Quality made
- Kind of cool to have a dog backpack
- Ivy likes it
- Plenty of room for large but lightweight items.
Following the good always comes the bad. So as far as this pack I don’t have anything really bad to say about it. I do wish there was a warning for those of us with less sense than others that suggested politely not use your dog to carry your own backpack. This pack is to get your dog’s essentials out of your pack and give you more space and maybe a little less mess. Those collapsible water bowls can make a mess! So here are is my cons list.
- Those pads are great collectors for lab hair and tough to clean
- Better instructions and warnings of misuses that can harm the dog
- More colors: I got red, blue is cool, but green, olive, or another choice would be cool
- I paid $20 more than I found it online after my purchase! Take that as a nice little bit of advice.
Overall the pack is great and I see myself getting a lot of use out of it. Mountainsmith did a great job with this pack.