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Mountainsmith Dog Pack : Who Let the Dogs Out?

When you spend a lot of time outdoors you learn to appreciate gear that makes it easier and more comfortable for you to hike. That's why I have a good pair of boots, quality rainwear, a sturdy day pack, and Mountainsmith's Dog Trippin' Kit.

No, it's not fot me; it's for my dog. Why should she miss out on all the fun when my wife and I take our family camping and hiking? And why should I carry her gear when Mountainsmith has come up with a way for her to carry it all by himself?

My dog's Dog Pack, actually, a set of panniers with three adjustable and padded straps, has plenty of room for her water dish, leash, sleeping pad, and food bowl. Since my dog is on the large size (a golden retriever), as well as very independent, she also carries her own water bottle.

I must admit, the first time I used the Dog Pack, I was impressed that my pooch looked so rugged under the bright red panniers with black highlights. I quickly realized the importance of balancing the load between the two bags..better still, packing the bags after the paineers are in place. All I had to do was cinch up the three padded straps to get a good fit. Initially I kept the straps loose. As my dog walked and the cargo settled, I slowly tightened the straps, making sure to allow for free movement and breathing.

After one hour of hiking, sight-seeing, and wild flower picking we stopped for lunch. I pulled out the water and food bowls and filled them up. The dog stuck her snout deep into the two bowls to get a welcome drink and snack. I don’t know whether it was her eagerness to eat and drink or the way the two vessels were constructed, but she tipped over the food bowl as she gobbled her kibble. After she scarfed down her snack she proceeded to roll around on the bare ground before taking a nap on the fleece sleeping mat which I had removed from its stuff sac and placed in the shade. I’m sure she was glad to have a lighter load when it was time to pack up and head back to the trailhead, even if some of it was in her belly.

Bottom Line: Mountainsmith's Dog Trippin' kit is available in three sizes: small=dogs 20-40 lbs; medium=dogs 40-80 lbs; and large=dogs 80+ lbs) and two colors (red and black)..--M.P. (Dec. '05)

Price: $58.95 Dog Pack; Day Trippin' Kit w/accessories: $90 large; $80 medium; $70 small. (including accessories);

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When hiking or camping, always carry the "10 Essentials":

Extra clothing, extra food and water, lighter or water-proof matches and fire starter, map in waterproof envelope, compass, pocket knife, sunscreen and sunglasses, flashlight or headlamp, first aid kit, emergency shelter.

Source: Seattle Mountain Rescue and Seattle Mountaineers.

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