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Reviews > Animal Companion Gear > Dog Packs > Ruffwear Palisades Pack > Test Report by Leesa Joiner

Ruff Wear
Palisades Pack
Test Series

Long Term Report: December 2008

Tester Information
Leesa JoinerChip Joiner
leesaj@gmail.comBreed: English Shepherd
Southwestern Maine
47 years old7 years old (49 dog years)
5' 7" (1.7 m)/ 150 lb (73 kg)75 lb (36 kg)

My Background:
     My outdoor experiences include trips varying in length from one-day hikes to two-week trips.  Most involve my three children. While my style isn't as 'high adventure' as some, I do enjoy the time we spend outdoors.   My load used to be HEAVY - think pack mule.  Now that the kids carry their own gear, plus the two oldest help carry the food, etc, my load is lighter.  I go for durability over weight when selecting gear.
    While outdoors, I spend time hiking, geocaching, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and camping. I spend almost as much time outdoors during the winter as I do during the summer.  

Chip's Background:
      Chip is a 7 year old English Shepherd (Old Fashion Farm Collie).  These dogs historically have been farm dogs, that can herd, in comparison to Border Collies that are specifically bred to herd.  English Shepherds are extremely loyal, and have a high energy level.  Chip has been known to take himself for hikes around the lakes and path behind our property.  He loves to hike - and once we are on a trail, it is about the only time he is allowed off leash.  He can go for miles without tiring, and loves carrying a pack.

Due to unfortunate circumstances, the original dog tester was unable to finish and Chip stepped in. The initial and field reports are in the same folder, under 'Andrew Buskov'.

Product Information

Item: Ruff Wear PalisadesWeight - Harness: 11 oz (.35 kg)
Manufacturer: Ruff WearWeight - Pack:    1 lb 8 oz (.75 kg)
Website: Total Weight:    2 lb 3 oz (1.00 kg)
Date of Manufacture: 2008Size:    Small
MSRP: $99.95Color: Red Currant

Long Term Report
When we received the pack, it was still in very good condition, without much sign of wear.  Considering its use by a dog, that is notable.   I first tried it on Chip, expecting to have to spend some time letting him get used to it.  Turns out, Chip loved it.  I took him for a short walk, checking to make sure the fit was good, and that it didn't seem uncomfortable.  When we got home, I went to take it off, and he moved away.   I left it on to try and take pictures, but getting him to stand still was difficult.  The following pictures show (not very clearly) how the pack fits, and its condition after months of use. I believe taking pictures of dogs is more difficult than children.  I took quite a few shots while hiking, only to find that either it was too blurry because the dog moved, or the sun was causing shadows.

side of dog, with packharness on dogpack off dog
Chip trying to stand still before going outside.  Pack fits well over his shoulders for the most part.  Chip is a sturdy dog, with a long frame.Just the harness, without the pack attached.  The
white piping shows where the harness' straps go around his body (behind front legs, in front of rear legs).  The harness also has a 'handle' on the upper back.
The pack removes from the harness very easily, allowing for packing and unpacking.

Our first hike was up the local 'mountain'. Bond Mountain is about 1300 ft (396 m), with some twisting, turning portions.   The weather was in the low 60s F (15 C) so there was no worries about over heating, but we still brought plenty of water. Once we get away from the road, Chip is off leash and loves it.  He zigzags all over the place, but never goes out of sight or sound if we are in an area with heavy foliage.   On this trip, as most, we filled the water resevoir on one side of his pack, and put treats, camera and snack bars for me in the other side.  The items in the pack weighed 5 lb (2.5 kg) added to the packs weight of 2 lb (1 kg), meant Chip was carrying about 7 lb (3.5 kg).  He didn't seem to even notice the weight.   The harness fits snug against his body, yet doesn't slide or rub at all.  The pack itself easily detaches from the harness, allowing easy access to water and other items stowed in the pockets.

On three occasions, we hiked the trails behind our property, and covered about 5-7 miles (8-11 km) each time.  Chip carried the pack with no complaints.  On one hike, a small branch got stuck between the pack and Chip.   Thankfully, it was a flexible, thin branch and not dried out to the point it could have stabbed into him.  This did not injure him in any way, but he thought he couldn't move.  He sat down and waited for me to untangle him.  

Chip went with us to climb both Province and Picket Mountains.  Province straddles the New Hampshire/Maine line, while Picket is in Maine.  Both are about 1500 ft (457 m).   Chip enjoyed the climbs, which although not strenous, is slippery and steep in spots.  He especially enjoyed having lunch at the top.  On the way down from the second mountain (Province Mountain), Chip discovered something very smelly to roll in.   He got the pack covered, but very little on himself.   I was able to slip the back off (barely touching it) and rinsed it when we got to the pond at the bottom.  It wasn't completely clean, but I could at least throw it in my trunk.  When I got it home - I hosed it off and hung it on the line to dry.   I was amazed that it dried clean, and without any lingering smell.

The pack did pick up some burrs from local plants as we moved into fall and things were drying out.  I was surprised that the pack had so many, and Chip so few.  I much rather pick them off the pack, than the dogs.

We've taken at least 6 hikes of over 4 miles  (6 km) each.  On each trip, Chip carried at least 5 lb (2.5 kg), if not a little more.   He never once balked at carrying the pack, and if he sees it assumes we are going for a hike.   It is sort of funny to see him sit up and stare at it, until it is either put on, or put away.   I was very impressed with how well the pack held its fit, and rarely needed readjustment.   Any dirt wipes off with a wet rag, or if it really dirty, I hang it over the clothes line and spray it with the hose, which also works well.

One other thing that I noticed about Chip and the pack.  Chip loves to wander by himself if he gets a chance at freedom.   We have never been able to break him of that.  If he has the pack on, he will not take off.  We fill the resevoirs with water, and he stays in the yard with us.  Although that is not what the pack is designed for, it is definitely a huge benefit.

Fits well
Holds the adjustment
Pack holds needed items

Chip couldn't think of any

This pack has worked out very well, and I plan on continueing to use it.  Chip still loves seeing it come out, which I guess is a good sign that he likes it.  Thank you to Ruff Wear and for the opportunity to test the Palisades Pack.

Read more reviews of Ruff Wear gear
Read more gear reviews by Leesa Joiner

Reviews > Animal Companion Gear > Dog Packs > Ruffwear Palisades Pack > Test Report by Leesa Joiner

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