Ruffwear Dog Pack | Hiking with the Front Range package

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  • Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.

If you and your dog love hiking, chances are you’ve considered a pack of dogs, possibly while packing your own stuffed backpack with all your puppy gear. . Letting your dog carry some bags of water, snacks, treats, or manure can make a big difference along the way — and not just when it comes to reducing your load. Carrying supplies gives some dogs a valuable sense of purpose and helps them burn more energy, adding excitement and challenge to the outing.

Around the age of one and a half, my Australian cattle dog, Pepper, was at a great age to get used to the idea of ​​bringing a little gear on our adventures. We put the Ruffwear pack to the test in the wild to find out what works, what doesn’t, and who can get the most out of this pack of sporting dogs.

Ruffwear Front Range Day Pack for Dogs

Have lots of styles of dog packs out there. Some packages prioritize maximum sturdiness and durability for multi-day hikes, coming with their own water powders (such as Ruffwear’s Singletrak) or a dog bowl. Others are for more casual day trips, with an emphasis on removable saddlebags or particularly lightweight designs.

For our part, we wanted something comfortable, adjustable, durable, and from a trusted brand. Ruffwear makes a whole line of dog packs with different perks and Front range specially tailored to our needs. It has three leash attachment points, including one at the front — we use the front clamp harness or Gentle leadership with Pepper to prevent pulling.

underside of Ruffwear dog pack showing buckle and back cushion

Ruffwear Front Range Dog Pack laid flat.

We also consider the capacity of the pack compared to the weight of the Pepper. According to Ruffwear and others, the weight of a pack and its contents should be less than 25% of your dog’s weight. Pepper weighs 40 pounds, which means she can carry 10 pounds at most. Before we begin, we measured Pepper Follow Ruffwear’s size guide. That makes her small compared to the Front Range model.

Before purchasing any dog ​​pack, you should also consult with your veterinarian, who can help you rule out options that aren’t appropriate for your dog’s size and shape, age, or needs. your particular dog.

How to train a dog to wear a condom

Bringing a dog on a plane with a bag is like getting them used to other devices: start slow and keep training sessions short and active.

  • Let your puppy inspect the pack, then set it up for just a minute or so at a time, offering plenty of praise and indulgence.
  • Try going inside at first — it will take your dog some time to figure out how to move and clear obstacles with the new mass on their body; if you’ve ever had to feed your dog wear a hat due to a medical or rehabilitation problem, you are familiar with this idea.
  • Start with the empty pack, then gradually start adding weight. Make sure that the weight is relatively even on both sides.

Ruffwear Front Range Dog Pack Trial

Armed with the tips above, we started with Ruffwear. First, I opened it up and let Pepper examine it; I packed it up and joined her in unpacking the bags on the floor. I gave her a few snacks, then left the pack hanging around with her leash and other gear. Later in the day, I wore it for her. The front of this harness goes over her head, so I used the Gentle Leader trick to give her an item through the neck hole, encouraging Pepper to put her head through it for the reward.

Adjusting the Ruffwear pack was a bit more complicated than we anticipated. Many of the adjustment buckles are well made — and tight. So much so that I can’t really adjust the package with Pepper in it. I have taken it off, adjusted it, and put it back on several times while treating Pepper because of her patience. Good news? Once you’re called into these keys, they don’t go anywhere.

After the package was packed and in place, we walked around the house and out into the backyard. Pepper was a little subtle at first when it came to walking, trying to find new contours of her body through a few runs with the threshold.

Because the sun was blazing in a rainy and extremely unpredictable spring, we decided there was no time like the present to hang on to the leash and take a spin around the block. We also think it helps create a positive association with walking and exploring. But Pepper is quite adventurous and has a high tolerance for our antics (mainly because there are always games involved). For pups that are slower to adjust, try a few laps around the backyard first.

black dog wearing teal pack walking on the street

Start the adventure with Pepper’s first pack of dogs.

Pepper quickly got used to wearing a Ruffwear dog suit. We took her to our local jungle park, and she had a ball, forgetting the pack pretty quickly.

While we chose this Ruffwear model for the front lap, in reality it’s not a great position for the leash, it gets in the way of her front leg and impedes her walk. I switched to the following spin, but if dragging becomes an issue, I can just use her Gentle leadership out of package.

Black and tan dog with a pack of teal dogs standing on a log

We used the back loop for the leash but kept Pepper’s Gentle Leader in case of towing.

As we went on more excursions, I started adding a bit of weight with Ziploc kibble bags. The stretchy pockets in the bag make it possible to reduce jostling. We haven’t finished a full pack yet, but Pepper has seen this one and looks forward to going for a walk, just like when we pulled out her other gear. So get her used to it: Check.

The Ruffwear Front Range are a pack of dogs that are well-groomed to see your dog through lots of hiking. We love the sturdy 300-Denier polyester ripstop fabric, the comfortable foam padding, and the extra pockets inside each saddlebag. While we like the idea of ​​the three well-built leash attachments, in practice the placement of the front ring doesn’t seem to work well for Pepper’s specific build. In addition, the fabric that makes this model sturdy also makes it a bit bulkier than some other types of packaging. So if your priority is a sleek package, you can consider some Other Ruffwear models, like Singletrakoutside other brands.


  • Forward weight design and sturdy straps make for a very stable package
  • Dense padding keeps everything comfortable
  • Elastic inner pocket
  • Reflective accents plus a loop you can attach lights to
  • Low profile upper handle to give your dog a boost when needed
  • Great color options


  • Unlike some packages, this one does not come with its own water bottle/bottle
  • More than some other packages
  • Not all dogs like head-hugging tops

Keep in mind that your dog will probably be warmer with the clothes on, both because of the fabric and because your dog has to work harder with them on. Remember to keep an eye on your dog and give them extra water, especially during warmer weather. Happy hiking!

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