Gear Review: The Ruff Wear Approach Pack

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!)

The pack includes an attachment to clip your leash directly into the pack, along with small drainage holes in the event that your pack gets soaked . . .

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.

Comfortable and functional

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.

Snack break in the yuccas

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.

She knows her job is to bring us her treats

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.

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8 Responses to Gear Review: The Ruff Wear Approach Pack

  1. Jennifer says:

    I love it! She doubles as a trusty companion and a sherpa!

  2. Patricia says:

    You should send this blog and the photos to Ruff Wear – they might hire Toki as a model for their catalog.

  3. Gorgeous photos and a very thorough review of the Ruff Wear pack. I agree, the bright blue looks fantastic on Toki!

    P.S. Did you receive my email on Monday re: FIDO Friendly?

  4. furfilled says:

    @According to Gus – thanks for the comment. I just sent you an email about FIDO friendly. So excited that I won a year’s subscription from According to Gus!

  5. Polar says:

    Toki is such a pretty dog! I have a Ruff Wear Palisades pack as well as a SingleTrak, and I agree, Ruff Wear’s construction and design is second to none!

  6. Jeffrey says:

    Hello just ordered the Approach Pack by Ruff Gear and was wondering how old Toki was when you first started adding a tiny bit of weight? My golden retriever Penny is 7 months and I plan on just having her wear it for a couple months.

    Thanks for your blog, it is awesome!

    • furfilled says:

      Hi Jeffrey – Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I was taking a hiatus from the blog. I didn’t really start adding much weight until she was a year old, and then it was mostly treats and lighter stuff. I only really felt comfortable adding more to her pack when she was fully grown. For larger dogs, that’s past the year mark. I think you’re okay as long as you add weight gradually over time and keep in mind the ruggedness and difficulty of the hike. Hope you are enjoying the pack! Would love to post pics of Penny in her pack on The Daily Toki! 🙂

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