People use dog backpacks for a variety of reasons – to have their dogs haul their own supplies during backpacking trips, to help build up muscle and endurance for their adventure dogs, or in my case, as a DIY cooling system.
My dog, Koa, is a husky mix. When we were living in Southern California I quickly learned that she was very sensitive to the heat (as most Northern Breeds are). My solution was to freeze to water bottles and pop them each in one of the saddlebags on her pack. Her tolerance for warm hikes instantly improved!
Plus, as the water melted, she got some extra refreshing cold water to drink along the way, and her load got lighter as we went.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still important to pay attention to the forecast to make sure temperatures aren’t going to rise too drastically, and that the terrain will be a safe temperature for her paws.
We haven’t had a pack in quite some time, so when I was given the opportunity to receive a free Terrain DOG Adventure Pack in exchange for a review, I jumped on it!
About Terrain DOG
I’d never purchased a product from this company before, so I read a little about them when I got my pack. The “DOG” portion of their name stands for Durable Outdoor Gear.
Their mission resonates with me; “Empower adventurers and their sidekicks to take on any terrain.”
The only issue I found with their brand is that they sell choke chains and prong collars under the “Training” tab of their website. They also have some very outdated training videos on this part of their site, and I’d love to see them evolve and modernize the training equipment they offer.
The Adventure Pack
The backpack feels lightweight and durable upon initial inspection. It comes in an orange/black or gray/black option, which is the color I chose (Koa does not hike off leash so visibility isn’t a big necessity for us). The chest plate is nicely padded without feeling bulky, and the pack also has a handle on top, in addition to D rings for leash attachment, which I did not use.
The feature I was the most excited about is that the saddlebags are removable!
This made the initial fitting a lot easier, as well as putting it on and removing it.
To put the pack on, you do need to place the chest plate over the dog’s head, as well as placing one leg through the front opening. That might be an issue for some dogs who aren’t comfortable with handling.
The chest strap goes behind the dog’s front paws and clips up on one side. This requires a fair amount of handling and may be unpleasant for some dogs.
There is an additional strap that goes under the dog’s belly, too. This strap is a nice addition as it provides some extra stability for the pack.
As I mentioned, we did not use the leash attachment, since I prefer a front-clipping harness (we use the 2 Hounds Freedom harness, which fit easily beneath the backpack).
The handle is a great feature for when you need to hold your dog close, assist them during tricky maneuvers or steep scrambles, or, you know, retrieve them from a shrubbery.
Being quite pregnant and therefore a little less stable on my feet, I liked to use the handle when we were scrambling down a steep hillside.
- Removable saddle bags
- Handle feature
- Secure fit
- Comfortable padding
- Attractive design
- Quite a bit of handling required to put on (over face/head, maneuvering of front paw)
- Company sells outdated and inhumane training products
All in all, this backpack did its job. It’s well made, sits securely on the dog, and I love the removable saddlebag feature!
I will definitely continue to use this backpack when we are out for a warmer hike, or when we are going on a longer trip and I’d like to have my dogs carry some of their own supplies.
However, if the need arises to purchase a new pack, I will likely choose to invest my money in a company with a more modern and humane approach to dog training. I do hope to see Terrain DOG change with the times, and in that case, we would definitely be back for more awesome outdoor gear!
Tressa is a KPA certified dog trainer and writer living in Northern California. She specializes in working with behaviorally difficult dogs, as well as in addressing the challenges that often arise in households with both dogs and children. She works as the Canine Enrichment Coordinator at the Humane Society of Sonoma County, where she also teaches classes and workshops. She lives with her husband, their two dogs, and cat. When she’s not teaching or hanging out with shelter dogs, you can find her hiking with her dogs, or reading books.