Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Animal Companion Gear > Dog Packs > Kelty Chuck Wagon Dog Pack > Owner Review by Suzi Gibson

Kelty Chuck Wagon Dog Pack

Owner Review May 12, 2008

Name: Suzi Gibson
Age: 30
Gender: Female
Height: 5'6" (1.7 m)
Weight: 165 lbs (74.8 kg)
Email address: suzi_q_jones at yahoo dot com
City, State, Country: Anderson, SC, USA
Date: May 12, 2008

Dog Bio:
Name: Maize
Age: 5.5 years
Gender: Female, spayed
Weight: 65 lbs (29.5 kg)
Breed: Yellow lab mix

Backpacking Background:

I've gone on many family camping trips to various places up and down the east coast of the US since I was a child. The backpacking bug was always there, whispering in my ear until finally in my early twenties it bit me! I have since done several backpacking trips in Florida, Washington, Virginia, and North Carolina. I typically backpack with around 30 lbs (13.6 kg) of essential gear (sleeping bag and mat, tent, stove, and clothes), food and water and usually go for a 2 to 3 days at a time. My current tent and bag comprise almost half of the pack weight.

Product Information

Manufacturer: Kelty
Year of Manufacture: 2006
Listed weight: 14 oz (0.4 kg)
Weight as Delivered: N/T
Product description (from Kelty):
  • Colorways: Red/Black
  • Size: Medium Dog
  • Weight Range: 35 lbs- 65 lbs / 15.9 Kg-29.5 kg
  • Dog Girth Range: 22 in- 35 in / 56 cm-89 cm
  • Standard Volume: 500 cu in / 8.2 l
  • Expanded Volume: 620 cu in / 10.2 l
  • Body Fabric: nylon ripstop
  • Packbag Features: front 3M reflective tape, padded buckles, sdjustable harness, expandable saddlebags, grab handle, removable bear bell.
  • MSRP: US$50.00

Field information:

This pack was used on my dog predominately in the Blackwater State Forest in Holt, Florida, USA. The Blackwater State Forest is known mostly for its long-leaf pines and wiregrass ecosystem, however, the North American Black Bear ( Ursus americanus ) also calls the area home. The streams and rivers that run through the forest are spring fed and have a sand bottom. What few hills that may be encountered during the hike are usually very gentle, however underbrush can be a bit thick in spots. Our outings were restricted to sunny days, with temperatures ranging from 65 F (18 C) to 90 F (32 C) plus humidity (it's Florida after all).

Pack Design and Construction:

The pack is constructed of nylon ripstop construction and is red on black. The top of the pack is black with a red handle consisting of two d-rings on opposing sides of the handle; one for the bear bell and another for a leash or whatever one might wish to clip onto the dog's pack. At approximately 0.5" (1.3 cm) thick, the top is also well padded and is constructed of a mesh like top layer, a foam mesh inner layer and 3/16" (0.5 cm) mesh under layer. Combined, these three layers provide adequate padding as well as ventilation. The breastplate attaches into the top of the pack with two, 1" (2.5 cm) nylon straps and nylon backstitching each one attached to either side of the top of the pack. The ends of the straps have been treated to prevent fraying prior to being folded over and stitched into the top of the pack. The breastplate straps each have a 1" (2.5 cm) triglide to customize the fit for the dog. The straps then merge onto the breastplate, which is red nylon exterior, with black interior. The breastplate padding has a 3/16" (0.5 cm) mesh under layer, followed by a foam mesh inner layer, nylon ripstop top and fleece piping covering the outer edges. One, 1" (2.5 cm) strap exits the breastplate pad and goes to the girth which consists of a 1" (2.5 cm) nylon strap with adjustable plastic buckles on opposing ends, elastic band keepers for excess girth strap (bight), and double backstitched and sealed ends to prevent fraying. There is padding on the girth where the girth intersects with the bottom of the saddle back with a plastic clip. The padding is of the same construction as the breastplate padding, minus the fleece piping.

The saddlebags are red, ripstop nylon with a 1" (2.5 cm) black strip with 1/16" (0.2 cm) reflective threading woven in a single line down the strip. The Kelty logo and product identification is also stitched into the side of the saddlebags. The backstitching has been tucked away nicely on the inside of the pack and covered with nylon piping to further prevent fraying. The zippers are heavy duty with two per full zipper strand. Zipper pulls can be found on each zipper as well. The two storage compartments provide adequate room for storage.


Overall, I've been very pleased with this pack's performance. The pack design allows for unencumbered movement of the shoulder while hiking. The girth buckles have girth pads to prevent chaffing. Our dog always went with a full pack containing her dishes, food, rawhides and a tennis ball and this pack always managed to hold everything very well thanks to the expandable saddlebags. I liked the adjustable breast collar, as it seemed to keep the pack in place, especially when she would go racing through underbrush. The handle on the top of the pack was secure enough to provide the dog with a little help in scaling a steep riverbank. The nylon material makes for quick drying while the reflective tape adds an element of safety to the hike, although I would like to see a bit of it on the front and back of the pack as well. On several of our hikes, we didn't return to the car until dusk or even well after dark and the reflective tape not only helped us spot her with our headlamps, but also helped oncoming motorists near the trailhead spot her and avoid a potentially tragic situation. The bear bell is also a nice feature, as it not only warns bears of your approach, but also hunters in the area. If I could have a dialogue with my dog then I could provide more details as to what she though of the pack, unfortunately, that's not possible. I can say that she didn't seem to even notice the pack was on her and happily carried her necessities on many occasions. I concluded that she was rather content with the pack, its contents and the fit. The only negative comment I have is that the girth straps seemed longer than the product description and the bight was hard to keep stowed in the keepers. Overall, I think it's a quality pack I fully expect it to last many more seasons.


  • Quality construction
  • Safety features (handle, bear bell, reflective tape)
  • Expandable saddlebags
  • Adjustable breastplate


  • Pricey
  • Girth straps were too long despite following manufacturers guidelines.
  • Only one color combination
  • Not enough reflective material for low light backpacking

Read more reviews of Kelty gear
Read more gear reviews by Suzi Gibson

Reviews > Animal Companion Gear > Dog Packs > Kelty Chuck Wagon Dog Pack > Owner Review by Suzi Gibson

Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

All material on this site is the exclusive property of
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson