Time to talk about my 2nd and most used backpack I currently have (new one doesn’t have the miles yet), it is the Kyjen Outward Hound Quick Release Dog BackPack. This backpack is also a hand-me-down much like my first training pack, however this one is a better quality and was purchased back in 2010. Since this is an older model some of the features may have changed but I hope to give you an idea of the pros and cons so you can see if they are improved now.
Starting off with the basic build of this pack. The pack has 2 main compartments, 1 on each side. The compartments are closed with a zipper that has 2 heads which I have both meet in the middle for easy access. There is also an outside compartment made of a net that is not sealed and doesn’t hold anything for very long. The compartments are nice and wide giving lots of room for storage and not too deep to cause sagging when you add weight. The packs are made of nylon and that nylon is also used in the section that connects to each compartment to each other over the back. On the top of the pack (top of my back) there is a large handle, I believe this handle is supposed to be used if I need assistance getting over or through obstacles. This handle might work for an ankle biter, but for a doberman its nothing more than an emergency handle. In front of the handle is a little loop with a buckle, this is used a leash keeper. My leash has two handles for short and long holding so Mom loops each handle into the keeper and it allows me to carry the leash still attached to me but not have to be “on the leash” if we are in a place that allows off-leash. The straps on this leash are the typical adjusting nylon straps with quick release buckles, two straps run underneath (girth) and one around the chest (not a Y strap which I think their newer ones use). The only protection to prevent rubbing is a nylon pad that is attached to pack near the buckles and are supposed to be placed behind the buckles to prevent the buckles from rubbing (so they will easily slide out if you shift). Since this is the only form of protection that means the nylon straps are against the skin. This may be okay if the pack fits perfect and you don’t have sensitive skin, however I am pretty sensitive so this is no enough like it was for Trey. To get around my issues Mom doesn’t strap the girth straps down tight, now this might not work for every dog, it is going to depends on the load and your dog because it could cause more rubbing. For me running with it loose is fine, no rubs and the pack only occasionally slides to the side. If this didn’t work Mom was going to make a fleece sleeve to slide over the nylon then strap it down.
The way the compartments are connected to the pack is by the top part of the pack, this means that the pack fill float out if you go for a swim however is also means they will bounce if you carry a lot of weight. The packs are also removable so you can just take them off before going for a swim without having to unbuckle the harness but to be honest we have never removed them before. If I am on leash I can carry a few water bottles, leashes, and poo bags without any issues because it is a serious walk, but if I am off-leash I am jumping around so much Mom normally just loads the pack with poo bags, hand towels to wipe paws and an extra collar.
Carries decent weight (2 water bottles each side and could have done more)
Durable (lots of miles and no tears or breaks yet)
Pack is removable from harness.
No Y strap on chest (but this might be fixed in newer models)
No protection from nylon rubbing and the buckle protection is a joke
Not breathable, although we don’t sweat it will still retain heat so I don’t wear on hot summer days.
Bounces if you are an active dog
Mom got this for $17 on Amazon.com back in 2010
Yes, for a good mid-range backpack. If you just want to add some weight to your dog when walking or carry a few extra things this pack has served me well. If you have a thin coat/skin then if you find this model I suggest making fleece sleeves to put the straps through. If you are serious about packing weight I would go with a higher range model.
Remember to pack the weight on your dog evenly and check for always check fit during your first several hikes. Also this isn’t my first backpack or my last (I have upgraded!). You can ready about my first backpack here My First Backpack, Dickens Closet Review. I will update this with a link to my review of my newest Ruff Wear backpack when I post that.
Outward Hound BackPack, notice the buckle protector out of place
I’ll try to keep this review short as my normal reviews, but I have to warn you, backpacks are a big deal to me so I might ramble on. I think every pup hitting the trails or road for a good run should have one. A backpack is a good place to carry your spare leash, poo bags, water, nom noms, even a GPS all for yourself, and you can help your human out with their stuff too. A backpack is a good way to burn some extra calories and build muscle during your daily routine, after all who doesn’t want a healthier body?
This backpack was my first and it was actually a hand-me-down from Big Brother Trey that was purchased approximately 5+ years ago and I haven’t seen it in the stores since. Trey put a few miles on this pack so by the time I got it, it was well broke in and starting to show. For a first backpack that will get light use I really have to say it is pretty good despite being cheap (compared to other packs). So lets start off talking about the basic build of this pack. There is nothing special to this pack, like most of the lower end packs there is 1 chest strap that goes around the front under my neck. If you look at higher end packs you will notice they now go with a Y design that connects the chest strap down to one of the girth straps to prevent rubbing at that base of neck (check Ruff Wear packs). It also has two girth straps and run under my chest. These girth straps attach to the bottom of the pack which has ups and downs to this design. The up, is that it keeps the pack from bouncing around when you are jumping around. Other packs only connect the bags to the harness from their tops so they flop loose, the reason is for dogs that might go through deep water with their pack, it allows them both to float up (assuming the load floats) making it easier to swim. I have seen some packs give you the option by only connecting the top, but then having loops at the bottom of the packs that you run the girth straps through if you want the load secured down. Each pack is only 1 big compartment that is closed with a zipper, the compartment is big, however I would not load it down with weight. The height and width of the compartments are decent but depth wise it is pretty deep which I think the fault. If you load to much weight the pack sags down and will still bounce the load around which will not make for a good packing experience.
Now to the material, the part of the pack that touches my back is mesh and the rest of the pack feels like a very light weight neoprene. The soft mesh makes up the part of the pack that goes over my back connecting the packs and makes up the back sides of the packs. This mesh makes the pack nice and comfortable to wear, it conforms nicely to my figure, it’s soft and VERY breathable. The down side of this mesh is that is snags and will pick up loose materials it brushes up against (think running through tall grass or bushes). The outside of the packs are made of this neoprene type material that is also nice and soft but doesn’t pick up material like the mesh. This neoprene also gives it the appearance of being water resistant but just remember the part of the pack against my back is mesh, so it’s not. The straps are made of the typical nylon, however each strap has a some of the neoprene that wraps around it and secures with Velcro so the neoprene should stay between my skin and the nylon straps/buckles however those straps don’t stay in place (look at pic with of Trey wearing it). This brings me to the buckles, CHEAP, yeah so far my review has been fair, but the buckles are a big disappointment. By the time I got the pack one was already broken and not long after a second one also broke.
I now have two other backpacks I will talk about in the future, lets just say I have been working my way up learning what works for me. This one now just sits in my toy box for spare parts and possible use in a future costume.
Great for training if you are worried about a good pack getting destroyed
Buckles really cheap
Wouldn’t carry to much weight
The neoprene wrap that should protect you from rubbing against the nylon doesn’t stay in place
No one remembers the price and it is no longer available new.
Only as a training pack or if you are only looking to carry a leash and doggie bags, it is not something I would trust with weight. So if you can pick a used one up for a couple dollars it would make a great trainer if you pack is with light weight stuff, like towels or even shipping/packing material just to fill it out.
With any pack, make sure you balance your weight on each side. So if you choose to carry water, make sure you try to take equal amounts out of both sides when you stop for a drink. If you are looking for a higher end pack check out Ruff Wear, if you are looking for an in between pack look for Outward Hound packs. I will follow up with reviews of those.
Trey in the Dickens Backpack
Dickens Closet Backpack
Dickens Closet Backpack
Dickens Closet Backpack, notice the wraps that are supposed to keep the nylon strap from rubbing doesn’t stay in place.
If you go out hiking/walking/running in the rain or snow you really should get a slicker (its also nice for potty time too). My pink one was purchased from Petco a few years back so we don’t remember the price and we just can’t remember where Trey got his yellow Dickens brand slicker. Both are pretty much the same quality wise the only difference is that Trey’s has a pocket on back. Here are my thoughts, overall it accomplishes what it was made for, keeping me mostly dry during rainy day hikes and mostly dry during potty time on rainy days.
I feel I should explain what I meant by “mostly dry during rainy day hikes”. Perhaps it is because I am very fit with a big chest and small waist (I would be a hot human!) but this coat slips sideways on my constantly while hiking. I have to admit on hikes I am running all over, up and down hills and jumping every which way so I really test the fit of anything I wear. The chest strap on this will not stay in place, it slips back towards my waist area so Mom just straps it back by my waist while hiking. However if I am just going outside for a quick potty or a walk on the leash the coat doesn’t slip as far to the side or as often as it does when I am running like a mad women.
The design does have some strong points, it’s nice that it doesn’t hug the body so rain just rolls off the coat instead of rolling down the side and onto my belly, but that is where the good design stops. First on the down sides is the rear strap that is supposed to keep the coat down on windy days, this is the biggest downfall. First the strap on Trey’s broke after a few uses, mine lasted long but was well stretched and useless before it broke. Trey also has a complaint about the rear strap, he says it is very close to his manly bits so on some males that may be an issue if you choose to use the strap.
As far as additional useless features there is a hole on the base of the neck for a leash to go through, perhaps this would work with a short neck dog, but for my neck, it is no where near my collar and putting the leash through would cause the slicker to ride up. If you are built like me and need to wear a leash with this it just has to go through the front with your face so it might cause the neck part of your slicker to not fully protect your neck. The second useless thing is the pocket on Trey’s slicker. Putting anything in the pocket (if you had something that small) with weight would cause the slicker to shift side to side unless you have a wide back or put something like paper in there.
For wear and tear the chest strap on Trey’s appears to be detaching from the coat itself near the pocket, which means it may be dead by the end of this winter if we ever get rain. Also both Trey and I have torn a small hole in our slickers, however the size of the holes hasn’t changed and probably wont unless it snags and could easily be repaired with duct tape (you could probably even find a matching duct tape color now).
Keeps my back and neck dry mostly dry
Useless back strap
Rides sideways I am really active
Would be nice they could redesign the back leg straps. Perhaps individual leg straps made similar to the chest strap otherwise don’t bother unless it is really windy.
Would I recommend?
Yes… No… Maybe, it’s cheap and it mostly works, if you are just looking to cover yourself during potty breaks or walks on the leash the go for it. If you are really active like me then you might try one, see how it works for your body type. Mom may continue to buy when the previous one is beyond repair but she might consider making me a custom one combining the good features of this raincoat and some of the other types of blankets (she’ll post that if it works out).
A few more notes are that our winters here are not cold, so if you need something that also provides warmth then I would look at other options or you could wear a blanket under this. I am also not sure how well these would work on thick or short necked dogs like rotties or bullies, the neck hole fit me fine, however I have a thinner long neck, so I would strongly suggest short or thick necked dogs go to the store to try it one before buying.
Trey and I in our slickers
Trey and I in our slickers
My Rain Slicker
Trey Rain Slicker
Slicker slides sideways if you don’t snug up the chest strap