Friday 26 September 2014

Ruffwear Singletrak Pack Low-Profile Hydration Review

Review by Emma Harrington 

Your dog is part of your family. If they could, they would probably choose to be with you 24/7. Either leave your dog home alone all day or bring him/her out with you to the great outdoors on your sandstone climbing trip? I know what one I would choose! Don't forget to keep your dog on a lead as to not disturb other climbers, belayers, walkers or other dogs. Also not everyone is keen on dogs running up to them at full speed, even if your dog is friendly.
If you are out for a full day on the sandstone then you will need to take your dogs essentials (food, water, poop bags etc), or maybe get your dog to carry their own stuff... Now there's an idea...

It gives my dog a job to do and a purpose when out on hikes or the long walk to the crag.  By carrying her own essentials such as water bottles, poop bags and snacks, it leaves me with more space in my own backpack for more of my climbing gear.

What sold this pack for me is that it’s streamlined and low-profile, it still looks like a harness without the bulk of big packs either side. It’s good for small loads as I didn’t want my dog to carry too much weight.

The Ruffwear Singletrak Pack contours close to my dog’s body giving the pack a streamlined effect, so she can still run through narrow spaces, up gullies and through vegetation without any problems of getting caught up. It doesn’t shift to one side as much as a bigger pack would, although it will shift a little if one side is heavier than the other.

The Ruffwear Singletrak Pack features an easy grip handle on the back, which gives me more control when assisting her up awkward terrain and the lead attachment loop is located on the back.

The Ruffwear Singletrak Pack consists of 4 zipped pockets. Two of which includes 0.6 litre collapsible water bottles in each pocket. These have a pop-up squirt lid that makes it easy to fill her water bowl. I would recommend emptying the water bottles evenly, to ensure both sides of the pack are an even weight distribution. It makes my life hassle free as I don’t have to search for the water bottle and bowl in my backpack every time she needs a drink. In the other smaller pockets I store her poop bags and sometimes her food and snacks, depending on the length of our outing.  

She doesn’t seem to notice when wearing it and the harness is easy to adjust. The straps under the belly and for the chest are padded for extra comfort. The straps clip in using snap-on plastic clips, making it easy to unclip and take the harness off quickly. Jayda the Labrador is modelling the L/XL Singletrak Pack.  

The pack is great and there are only a few minor inconveniences worth noting.
One is having to lift my dog’s right leg through the chest strap before clipping the pack on. This could be solved by having an extra buckle.

Secondly the harness comes in grey with green trim, the light colour is designed to reflect heat from the sun and looks great when it’s clean. Although on muddy days in the UK, the pack can get pretty dirty in all that tempting mud she likes to run through.

Thirdly once the straps are adjusted, there can be some long loose straps dangling, it would be convenient if these loose straps had somewhere to tuck away more easily.  

Overall the harness is robust and practical and is the best low-profile pack I've found so far. Giving my dog a job to do by carrying her own essentials, leaves me with more space in my own backpack for more of my climbing gear. She can wear it all day with no chaffing or marks appearing. I would recommend this harness but do check what the maximum weight your dog should carry before loading the pockets. This will vary depending on your dog's size. As a guide it's recommended that a healthy fit dog carries no more than 25 - 30% of their body weight in their dog pack.

Low-profile saddlebags ride close to the body, allowing dogs to be agile.

Two soft-sided 0.6L collapsible water bottles are BPA-free and taste-free.

Customizable fit with five points of adjustment allow for full range of motion.

Foam-padded chest and belly straps for comfortable, extended wear.

Light color is designed to reflect heat from the sun.

Low-light visibility with reflective trim.

RRP £94.99 - Initially this may look pricey but it's worth it for a good quality pack.