Saturday, July 9, 2011

Product Review: Ruffwear Singletrak

Today I'm going to share my initial product review of the Singletrak Pack.



Made by:
Ruffwear
Price: $89.95 (though I did find mine for $65 through REI.com and BackCountryK9.com)
Available Colors: Orange & Grey, Light Brown
Available Sizes: Small (23-28 girth), Medium (28-34 girth), Large (34-45 girth)
Description: A small, lightweight pack that has enough room for two platypus water bladders... and not much else. Perfect for day trips where your dog doesn't have to carry much. Two large compartments for the water bladders, two smaller compartments for miscellaneous items.



Initial Impressions:
Lightweight but solidly made, strong stitching, highly customizable fit. Lots of "open space," which leads me to believe it won't overheat the dog. The straps have elastic keepers, and padding to prevent chafing. The harness portion is very similar to the popular (and rightly so!) Ruffwear Webmaster harness.

The platypus water bladders seem cheaper than I'd expected, but they're still functional. (Field edit: They were a lot more appealing in the tallgrass than they were in my living room! The water tasted clean and pure, no hint of "plasticy" aftertaste!)



On the Dog:
I bought a Medium for Kaylee and a Large for Jayne - both in the dusty tan, "Dry River Brown" color. I have always loved the way Ruffwear products fit, mostly because they're made for muscular, fit dogs. There are five separate adjustment points that allow a very precise fit. The first thing I noticed about the Singletrak is how well it "hugged" the dog. The pack fits high on the torso, with the weight centered on the shoulders and anterior ribcage. I love this, because this is where the weight should be. So many other brands have their weight centered mid-back, which is not the strongest or most comfortable place for your dog to carry a load.

My only complaint is for the strap that runs down from the chest plate and down between the front legs. Since my dogs' rib cages taper a bit, the strap seemed to slide around a bit and move slightly toward the armpit area. I would have preferred a thicker, padded strap here.



In the Field:
The Singletrak shifts a bit to each side, but all dog packs seem to do this so it's not a huge concern of mine. It was sturdy enough for us to tether Rocket to Kaylee, and stayed secure even when the tether was taut. Despite the scattered showers we encountered, everything in the pack was kept dry. Since it fits so well, it was quiet and didn't have that "loose-pack-shuffling-sound" I've heard so many times from other packs. Kaylee seemed to be very comfortable all day, despite the high humidity and temperatures.



Overall:
This is hands-down the best dog pack I've ever seen. It's perfect for a day trip, especially if you want your dog to be able to run around with ease. It doesn't carry much, but rarely do my dogs ever carry much to begin with. It fits like a glove, and the cargo pouches are perfectly aligned with the strongest and most stable part of the dogs' anatomy. If you can find it on sale, you'd be ill-advised not to buy one. The only improvement points I see are to widen the lower chest strap and to be offered in more colors!

3 comments:

  1. We have this one for our smaller dog Lacey and I agree - it is awesome! My only issue is trying to drink water evenly from each side as it becomes unbalanced very easily. I found even a light, collapsable water dish shoved in a pocket made a huge impact on balance. But in terms of comfort, it is perfect. My larger dog has the Palisades and she can carry everything the two of us need for a day hike, so all I'm left carrying is a camera. :)

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  2. Ah darn, even the small wouldn't be small enough to fit Izzie anyways. So we'll just have to alter her Approach Pack to make the saddle bags smaller. Oh the joys of having an "in between" shaped dog.

    It looks awesome on Kaylee! Can't wait to see it on Jayne and with a Firefly patch too! I just love the quality of Ruffwear products.

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  3. Thanks! I might look into one of these for Steve. I have a cheap backpack but I don't like the way it fits.

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