One of the first things that I read when I researched Maestro's breed is that these dogs like to be right in the thick of the action. That is certainly the case with him.
When he's not working with me, my Lakeland Terrier is raring to go on an adventure. As soon as he sees me loading up his dog pack, he gets very impatient.
Product Features of the Canine Equipment Ultimate Trail Dog Pack
The Canine Equipment Ultimate Trail Pack consists of three parts: the harness and two saddle bags. The harness can be used separately as an ordinary walking harness (it has a thick D-ring for the leash). It has three adjustable padded straps: the neck strap, one that straps around the chest and the third straps under the belly.
There is reflective piping on the edges and mesh webbing on the underside of the harness and padding. The handle on the top can be used to carry the pack when you want to give your dog a break.
The two saddle bags have several compartments. There is a poop bag port on one dog pack and gear loops on the other.
The interior of the saddle bags are sectioned off, with pockets large enough to hold a small water bottle. There is even a ring inside to hook your keys.
Each saddle bag has a loop on the backside, to thread the chest and belly straps through. This secures the bags and prevents them from flapping wildly.
Like the harness, the saddle bags have mesh padded lining. The Ultimate Trail Dog Pack is made of 20D rip stop nylon and 210D PU nylon lining. One last feature: the zipper pulls glow in the dark.
This dog pack comes in three sizes: Small (30-55 lbs, girth 16-24"), Medium (55-80 lbs, girth 25-34") and Large (80+ lbs, girth 35-44"). It currently comes in two color combinations: red/black and black/grey.
Using the Ultimate Trail Dog Back
Maestro and I use this dog backpack on trips of all sizes, from weekend trips to visit family and friends, as well as day trips around the province.. I like how Maestro can carry his own gear and "dog stuff".
A common question we get from strangers is, "What kind of stuff does he carry?" His saddle bags carry all his trip essentials, such as: poop bags, pet wipes, a microfiber towel, a t-shirt (or windbreaker or raincoat), snacks, food, vitamins, Benadryl, Gas-X, activated charcoal, wound and infection gel, a styptic pencil, bug repellant, toothbrush, toothpaste, paw wax and his water bowl.
I have read that a dog can safely carry up anywhere between 10 to 25% of its weight. This figure depends upon the dog's size, breed, age and physical fitness.
Maestro is a middle-aged dog. He can't wear the pack as long as he used to. That's when that handle on top comes in handy. I either clip the entire pack from the handle or clip the saddle bags straps onto my backpack and we carry on.
Apparently, you can also use it to pick up your dog. I've tried it just once, lifting Maestro approximately two inches off the ground. Although the handle is sturdy enough, I can't imagine that he feels comfortable being carried around like that.
Sometimes, I'll place the dog pack on Maestro when we are at home and we have visitors. Cesar Millan, AKA "The Dog Whisperer", recommends that wearing a dog pack is one way to calm a hyper dog.
Pros and Cons of the Ultimate Trail Dog Pack
Maestro and I have tried several backpacks. The last one he used was an old Outward Hound dog backpack. He overheated very quickly. The buckles were rough on the edges, so I cut myself on them a few times. Plus, it just wasn't pretty.
On the other hand, the Ultimate Trail Dog Pack is aesthetically pleasing. The mesh lining allows airflow, so Maestro doesn't overheat as quickly. The pockets (I love pockets) are well thought out. Things stay fairly organized inside. The saddle bags sit nicely on his body. Have I mentioned how sturdy and slick the design is already?
It was also the only dog pack on the market that had the belly strap properly positioned. All of the other ones we tried must have been designed for longer dogs, as the belly strap went right one his penis.
We get plenty of compliments on the backpack and inquiries of where to purchase it. We bought ours at Pet Planet. Pet Valu has been known to carry it occasionally. Amazon carries it as well. the CE Ultimate Trail Dog Pack is in the Top 25 for Dog Backpacks.
I do have one complaint regarding the straps. All of the straps are too long. At least, with the chest and belly strap, I can cut them down and secure the edges. Unfortunately, I can't do that with the neck strap. This means the dog backpack jostles more than it should.
Alternative Dog Packs
At a price range of $50 - $57 USD, the Canine Equipment Ultimate Trail Pack is the most expensive of the bunch. The most popular dog packs on the market are significantly cheaper (all prices are in USD): Kyjen Outward Hound Backpack ($27.17 - 35.23), Kurgo 00028 Wander Pack Dog Backpack ($27.50), Dog Backpack/Harness Deluxe 2 in 1 Large Red ($17.88), ABO Gear Aussie Naturals Dog Backpack ($36.34) and Guardian Gear Polyester Dog Back Pack, Medium, Green ($30.94).
However, with its thoughtful design, craftsmanship, fit and coolness factor, the Ultimate Trail Dog Pack was the best dog pack for us out of when I purchased it nearly two years ago.