For Christmas, Toki received the Ruff Wear Approach Pack from Santa Jenny. It’s become a staple piece of gear for all of our weekend adventures.
First, let me say that the workmanship and durability on the Approach Pack is extremely high. These days, it’s hard to find well-made, tough gear that’s not meant to fall apart after two or three uses. The handles, buckles, fabric, zippers and straps of the Approach Pack are all made to withstand some serious use. (Plus, I think the bright blue version looks awfully cute on Toki!)
To determine the size for Toki’s pack, Jenny followed Ruff Wear website sizing instructions, and it was a perfect fit. The straps are adjustable to fine tune the pack fit for your dog. I was a little worried about the strap that runs under the dog’s abdomen — it seemed like it might be a little uncomfortable — but Toki didn’t seem to notice or mind the strap. For the most part, the pack stays nice and snug on her body. However, I usually have to adjust the load in the pack a few times at the beginning of our hikes to ensure that the pack doesn’t slip to one side or another due to an unbalanced cargo. One improvement that could be made to the design would be the addition of a few internal pockets or compartments in the pack. In the current design, the pack consists of two, pretty roomy compartments. The addition of some sub-compartments or pockets in the two sides of the pack might keep objects from shifting. It would certainly help me keep better track of the contents.
Because Toki is still fairly young and also not used to carrying loads, we kept the pack pretty light. By her most recent outing, she was up to carrying some freeze-dried raw food (extremely light and portable), her folding bowl, an extra long lead, a few chews and treats, and her obligatory roll of poo bags. We carried her water, but there would have been plenty of room to include it if we had wanted to. The pack was as roomy as you would want it, especially considering the rule of thumb that your dog carry less than 25-30% of her body weight.
In addition to keeping Toki’s gear in a single, easily accessible location, the pack gives Toki a fun job to do. I notice that when she’s wearing the pack, if she’s off-leash, she stays closer to us and seems more responsive when we need to get her attention. Whether it’s the little bit of extra weight, or the understanding that when we call her, it’s likely that we’ll open her pack to fetch some freeze-dried goodies, it works.
In addition to her pack, Toki also sports a Ruff Wear leash on her regular walks about town. I guess we love Ruff Wear gear that much. : )
These photos were taken on our hike to The Bridge to Nowhere.
Note the old asphalt road that was washed away in the 1930’s.