I got Gypsy's from a local outdoorsy store about 4 years ago. I got Jak's about 3 years ago from a local pet store that had ordered it for someone else, but it didn't fit their dog, so the pet store had it on the shelf for sale. I actually got it for Gypsy, because of the 'spiderweb' harness being less restricting to shoulder movement, but it didn't really fit her well either, so I kept the Ruff Rider for her and held onto the Approach II because I figured I'd eventually get another dog, and maybe it would fit them. :lol: You can get either one online, too, though. Try Ebay, even though most of the packs there are those Outward Hound ones. I didn't like them very much. That's what most of the pet stores sell.
Gypsy's is a Ruff Rider, by Granite Gear, and Jak's is an Approach II, by Ruffwear. I like Gypsy's better, now that I have experience with both packs, even though it has the chest strap that *can be* restricting when going up inclines. It holds more, and has adjustable saddlebags with two zippers on each one. That is actually very handy. The saddle itself is also more breathable, and 'softer' than the Approach's saddle. It also has several little places you can put things on the top of the saddle.
The Approach pack, on the other hand, doesn't hold quite as much, and is made more for dogs with a deep chest and thicker middle. It has two girth straps (which is nice, I guess, but if you have a dog that gets....excited.....when you put the pack on, you have to be careful buckling the flank strap because you might touch something you really don't want to :lol: ), and as previously mentioned, a 'spiderweb' harness to allow more shoulder movement. The saddlebags are fixed, and there is really no way to attach anything to the outside of the pack. One thing I DO like is the fleece cover that goes over the straps, to help keep the straps from cutting into the dog's belly or armpits. It also has a nifty handle on top. Both packs have leash attachments, but I don't use them.
BTW, the pics are on Putfile, and if you click them, you can view the full size images.
You ARE right about the fleece attracting hair. The sides of Gypsy's pack that come in contact with her body are fleece lined, and COVERED in hair. Even lint rolling, vacuuming, and running it through the washing machine can't even remove all of it! :lol:
I use 2-Liter soda bottles to add weight. To start with, I fill them partially with water, then gradually add water until they're full. Once the dog's able to carry them full of water with no issues, I dump the water and start over with sand. In Gypsy's pack, I have grape juice bottles from Sam's Club, I think, and it weighs 10 pounds. They aren't full of water yet. I think they hold more than the Coke bottles do, but I'm not sure.
Thats what I am looking to do, put some weight in it for addittional exercise. I didnt want to buy one from leerburg as they wanted between 90-130 plus shipping. I will check out both of the links that you provided.
You can get Outward Hound brand backpacks at PetsMart. They are only like, $30 I think. If all you're wanting to do is use them to help wear the dogs out quicker on walks or whatever, then the Outward Hound packs are probably fine. I didn't much care for them when I was buying packs, but I'm picky. :lol:
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