In the summer of 2008, Pico had his first trip to the Adirondacks. We made a stop in Piseco Lake, and did a couple of warm-up hikes in the southern Adirondacks. At the end of July, we hiked into Jockeybush Lake. According to my trail log, “there is an easy way to cross the outlet across two logs.”
I remember this crossing well (but still had to look it up in my log book), because as we were walking across, with Pico in front of me, he decided that he just didn’t want to go on the logs any more. He stepped off to the left onto what must have looked like solid ground to him, but was in actuality a field of lily pads. As the scrawny wet dog looked up at me with that pitiful and helpless (and honestly, pathetic) look that he gets, I grabbed the handle on the back of his pack and lifted him right back onto the logs.
The Outward Hound Dog Backpack was one of the first things I bought when Pico pounced into my life, and it is the most durable thing I have ever bought for him. He has carried it hundreds of miles, sometimes through snow, streams and mud, often filled with food and water, and he loves the thing. Nothing makes Pico better behaved than when I start packing his bag, because then he knows we’re heading out.
The handle on the back has come in handy numerous times, mainly while lifting him out of the water and up rock faces. I have used it to hold onto him during countless stream crossings as well. Plus, the large clips make it easy to put on and take off, but Pico has never once been able to work it off.
There are two downsides to this pack however, especially if your dog is like Pico, and just can’t stay dry on hikes. It is not waterproof. Just be aware that anything you put in there will, in most likelihood, get wet. The second is that you have to keep the two sides balanced. Otherwise it starts to shift to one side or the other, and it seems to be pretty uncomfortable for the dog.
I use Pico’s pack to carry his food, bowl, an extra length of rope, as well as bags to clean up after him. And the best part is that I put the full bags right back in his pack so that I don’t have to carry them!
I got the bag when we lived in Florida, and as training for our Adirondack hikes, I would fill two Nalgene bottles with water, put one in each side pocket, and have Pico carry that when we went for walks. The first time I put the bag on him, this was the setup I used, and he initially hated it. He kept walking into things and startling himself. I decided to just start putting the bag on him while it was empty, then put small things in it to build up the weight a little bit at a time. Now, I could put two bricks into the bag and he’d still be happy to go hiking.
Check out my Flickr Photostream to see pictures of Pico and his backpack… He’s wearing it in pretty much every picture.