Fetch is fine after work, but on the weekend, your best friend likes to get outside and explore, too. With the right gear, you can all enjoy your outdoor adventures. Here's what our hard-playing dogs and their humans have to say about the latest dog gear... (Probably only fair to tell you that this sweet pooch isn't one of our test dogs, but until they send us their head shots, we'll just have to create the mood with a stand-in.)

Ruff Wear
Approach Pack II

I'm pretty easy to please. Give me a few simple things, and I'm happy. A fast car ride. A slow squirrel. A gnarly T-bone with lots of gristle. A funky smell on the lawn to roll in. But a complete joy, the full deal, comes in the form of a good hike.

A hike starts with a drive. Love that. Then the release out the back of the car. The first splash in the creek. The long trek up a winding trail, filled with rodents, and mud, and sometimes some other good smelling dogs. And at the top, the inevitable treats and a bowl of water.

C. always carries this stuff. It just sort of magically appears at the top of the trail - just me being pampered again. But last week before I got out of the car, he brought out this...thing. Like his pack, but with more holes and straps and handles. And he made me wear it.

I'd seen other dogs wearing these things, and I thought, "not in a million years." And here I was. C. put water and treats and some clothes (his, of course) and a leash in it, and it was nowhere near full. I thought I'd hate it, but sure enough in just a few minutes I forgot it was even there. C. fussed with adjustments here and there, and soon it was all snugged into place. It was weird - I'm not used to clothes, but this thing really didn't bother me.

We got to the top, C. reached down to pet me, and 'click' 'click' and this thing came off me - I had forgotten it was there. Out came the water, the treats, a treat for C. and... is that a beer? He made me carry beer?

We got back to the bottom of the trail, and the lake was right there. It's the final reward. C. unsnapped the pack and I dove in. Then he waded in and rinsed the pack off - I'd gotten it muddy running through the bushes and creeks. Then C. carried the pack back to the car - the big handle on top makes it easy for him to carry it. Of course, there's no beer in it on the way down, so it's light.

Red, Sept 07

Price: $49.95-59.95 (sizes S, M, L)

Buy Online: Altrec.com Outdoors Gift Certificates , 88x31 REI Logo, Sierra Trading Post

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