Ruffwear Palisades Pack – Review

You’ve all met this adorable furry face:

Photo by Will Rochfort

And if you are a long-time reader or friend, you know that Tals is my baby. I’ve owned her for over 6 years and this crazy mutt comes everywhere with me: backpacking, hiking, camping, mountain biking, road trips, and even to work on occasion. This doesn’t mean she is an angel of a pet; in fact, she is far from it! She is terrible on a leash, needs ridiculous amounts of exercise (do NOT get a herding dog!), barks at anyone that comes within 10 feet of her mother, and seriously needs to stop chasing rabbits when I am biking her. However, none of that matters to me: I love her to pieces and I take gear very seriously when it comes to purchases for my pup.

Ruffwear contacted me during the summer and allowed me to choose a few items to test out with Tals. Yes, my dog is a gear-testing wonder dog! I’ll save my opinions on the Highlands Bed and the Bivy Bowl for another day; instead, I want to chat with y’all about the Palisades Pack.

Photo by Will Rochfort

The Palisades Pack is a larger dog pack that is intended for multi-day trips with your pup or when your dog’s carrying capacity is of the utmost importance. Tals has been spoiled for a long time because I’ve never found a pack that we both agreed on; as a result, I have always carried her food and water with me while backpacking. Y’all, this is no bueno because my dog drinks water like a fish!

Tally tested the Palisades Pack out on multiple trip over the past few months, and I finally arrived at the following conclusion: I seriously love this pack!

Here are a few of the noteworthy features:

1. The third chest strap is clutch!

We previously owned the smaller Approach Pack and while sturdy, it had a tendency to slide around Tally’s rib cage. Tals must have really hated it because she eventually chewed off the buckle one night, rendering the pack useless (I told you she was a demon in disguise!) However, the Palisades Pack has an additional third strap that wraps around the more narrow part of Tally’s chest. I’m not a scientist, but this third strap seemed to work wonders: she didn’t mind wearing the pack and I didn’t have too many issues with sliding. Win-win.

2. The pack comes with 2 1-Liter collapsible water pouches that fit snugly inside the two saddlebags.

I thought this was genius! The two pouches have their own pockets inside the saddlebags and the weight dispersion is pretty spot-on. Tals truly didn’t mind carrying her own water, and even better? I think the collapsible pouches are useful too! I plan on using one myself for our upcoming winter backpacking trip!

3. Removable saddlebags.

Photo by Will Rochfort

This is pretty self-explanatory, but I think it is a feature worth noting. The saddlebags attach to the chest harness via clips, and it is super easy to unsnap the clips in order to remove the bags if needed. I took them on/off Tals a few times when she was splashing around in some deep water or running up and down a mountain (like photographed above). It was always a smooth process to get them back on securely.

4. Safety Handle.

Photo by Will Rochfort

I’m not sure if it’s really called a safety handle, but the top of the harness has an accessible handle that rests on the top of Tally’s back. My friends and I jokingly call this the “Oh, s**t handle” because I had to grab onto it when Tals saw a porcupine! Additionally, it allows me to provide Tals with a little additional support when crossing deep water or snow. I like knowing that I can pull my baby girl out of trouble if need be.

At $129.95, the Palisades Pack is obviously not the cheapest dog pack out there, and I understand the hesitation at shelling out so much cash for a piece of dog gear. However, I feel comfortable recommending it to other dog owners who regularly take their dogs into the backcountry. The pack is very sturdy and most importantly, Tals didn’t mind wearing it at all! In fact, I think my little furball started to strut around the trails with an inflated sense of importance while wearing that red pack!

Ruffwear provided me with the Palisades Pack at no cost to myself. However, as usual, all thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

Do you take your dog into the backcountry?

Why type of gear do you consider to be a must-have for your pooch while hiking?


  • Reply Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family at

    Awesome review! If we had more areas to hike I would for sure get one for our German Shepherd!

  • Reply Kierston at

    Very cool review! RUff! 😉

  • Reply Beth Bault at

    Niiice. Sprocket has a Ruffwear pack he uses and we love. I’m not sure what model it is (we bought it in a thrift shop) but it’s been clutch. The additions of the water pouches and the removable saddlebags though sound like GREAT advances!

    Glad Tally likes it! (And hurray for puppy babies.)

  • Reply Ed at

    That looks like a nice set up…I actually like the fact that the saddle bags come off! I think it is a great way to get a dog out working a little extra on hikes and walks…I think if I had more of a sporting breed I would be all over one of these!

  • Reply Chase Adams at

    Great review. I did not even know these existed. Once I got a dog, now i know what to get. :-).

    • Reply Colorado Gal at

      Oh man, Tals has a whole bunch of fun toys that I didn’t know existed until I became a dog owner 🙂

  • Reply E at

    Great review! Ruff wear has some really great products for our 4-legged loves. Pretty amazing that you’ve been able to review for them.
    Thanks for the great images and breakdown on the pack, too!

  • Reply Jill at

    I don’t have a dog, but if I did, I would want one like yours….wearing that awesome pouch. He could carry all my crap on my long runs so I wouldn’t have to! 🙂 Great review!

    • Reply Colorado Gal at

      So…. you said you wanted a dog? Perhaps a black mutt that runs everywhere and misbehaves all the time?! 😉

  • Reply at

    This is very helpful! Our dog is just about old enough to start coming into the backcountry with us, and we haven’t found a pack we’re completely comfortable with yet!

  • Reply Bean at

    Tals is so dang cute! I think it is so cool she gets to go backpacking with you, even cooler if she can carry her own stuff:).

    • Reply Colorado Gal at

      Oh man, this dog wouldn’t accept NOT backpacking with me! I bought her when I lived in the mountains so she grew up backpacking/hiking/etc from day one. I also think she channels her mama– MY happy place is HER happy place!

  • Reply Ali Mc at

    That pack is AMAZING!!!! the one we have for Rex is a Kelty and it SUCKS compared to this – I LOVE the idea of the removable saddle bags 😉 convenient!

  • Reply Suz and Allan at

    I’m so glad you and Tals found something you can both agree on!

  • Reply Miz at

    I caint wait.

  • Reply Lee Goetz at

    How does the Ruffwear Palisades Pack work on short haired dogs like my Vizsla?

    • Reply heather at

      Tals is considered a short haired dog as well, and she didn’t have any problems with it! Are you thinking in terms of their fur in the clasps? Or do you have another concern?

  • Reply Rough and Tumbling Creek Loop - Just A Colorado Gal at

    […] and although she knows how, she is not efficient or confident in the water. Usually, she has on her backpack with the handle on top, so I can just guide her across. However, because it was her first trip of […]

  • Reply Stan at

    Thanks for the review. Was looking at a LLC pack and ran across this on Rayallens page.

    • Reply Stan at

      Ack forgot. Any trouble with the bags tearing? Bought my aussie a cheap-o bag and he ripped off the sides on the 1st trip in the woods

      • Reply heather at

        The bags like the saddlebags? Or the hydration bladders inside? Regardless, nope! Neither have torn at all!

        • Reply Stan at

          The saddle bags. And thanks! 🙂

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