Brenna Backe owns and trains at Koa Fit Studio in Boulder. Her studio works with athletes of all types to keep them strong for their activities. She also plans monthly community events that inspire people to try new outdoor activities through her Be Balanced Community Series. She is a board member for Cyclists 4 Community, a non-profit group that raises money for communities in need and a Liv/Giant ambassador for the Boulder region. She enjoys cycling, snowboarding, and hiking with her dog.
This updated Mountainsmith Dog Pack has four adjustable points to keep your favorite Fido chaff–free and well-balanced. It’s also made with sturdy Ripstock nylon and offers plenty of ventilation.
What Is It?
The 2015 K-9 Dog Pack allows your dog to have saddlebags to carry supplies for your day or overnight trip. With a 4-point adjustable harness, a padded sternum strap, and air mesh panels to keep your pup cool, this pack allows your dog to carry supplies while keeping him or her comfortable. Thanks to the single strap at the belly, this pack is also easy to get on the most excited (and wiggly) dog.
The hardy cargo pockets of this pack are roomy even in the small size I tested. Each saddlebag can easily fit my Minus 33 baselayer and my Rab down vest on each side respectively. The ergonomically tapered torso shape of the pack kept my pup well-balanced even with an off-balanced load.
Who Is It For?
This pack is for any dog-loving, outdoor enthusiast. It has enough space to carry extra food and water for an overnight trip, but it not so cumbersome to take along on a day hike to carry extra layers, keys, and phones. It is also useful to help tire out a young pup. Adding a little “weight-training” to my 2-year old pup’s hike definitely wore her out a little more than usual and because of the air-ventilated panels and the padded chest strap, my dog was not hot or uncomfortable.
The pack comes with all the strap adjustments you would expect to find. The most helpful for me was the single strap under the belly. Once I had the harness sized to my dog, it was so simple to slip it on at a trailhead.
The pockets are roomier than expected. Even in the small size I tested, there was a ton of space. Thanks to the Ripstock fabric of the panniers, my dog can bump into rocks and trees and I am never worried about a tear. Also, because the design is streamlined, she doesn’t get hung up on stray branches or in brush.
Adjusting the sizing to your dog was probably the hardest part, not to any fault of the pack. My dog just didn’t want to sit still why I kept checking to see if it was too loose, too tight, and seeing how much I could stuff in the pockets. Once it was fit, the rest was a breeze.
Thanks to the top carrying handle, you can pack the panniers and just walk out the door carrying the pack like a handbag. Once at the trailhead, the pack is easy to slip on.
This is the first pack my dog has ever worn to my knowledge (she was a rescue) and she took around 30 seconds to get comfortable with it. After that, she hiked for the day without a much difference in her movement or demeanor. The only thing I noticed was the extra load tired her out a bit more and that was a welcome addition.
It’s like Mountainsmith tested this on high-energy dogs. They made the adjusting so easy and quick to do, like they knew we had impatient K9s waiting to get on the trail. Attaching the pack to your furry friend was also non-complicated and fast.
The durability of this pack really shines. The fabric is tough and the construction is well done. We went through forested areas and mud and at no time was I nervous that my gear was going to get damaged or wet.
I wish the zippers opened two-ways not one. The zippers on this pack open from the back to the front. When trying to open the zippers “on the move” it would be nice to be able to grab your dog’s collar and open them in any direction. Having a two-pull zipper on this pack would be helpful.
Should You Buy It?
The Mountainsmith K-9 pack adjusts easier than other packs I have seen and it does not rub or chaff my dog like other harness designs. The price tag is completely reasonable for all this pack has to offer. It is also durable, so it will be something you can have for your dog’s lifetime. Mountainsmith also offers a lifetime warranty on materials and defects so there isn’t a whole lot to lose here. If you’re looking for a pack for your pooch, this is definitely a winner.