Sunday, November 27, 2011

Argos's Gear Blog

Hundewanderer sent me an email the other day which inspired a blogpost. She asked, "what backpack does Argos wear when you go out?" I'm surprised I hadn't covered this vital information already!

***Please note, if you chose to put a pack on your dog, no matter what- after every single run/hike with that pack make sure after you take it off you do a thorough pat down and check your dog for any signs of rubbing or sores. The pack may adjust during the run and rub your dog under his armpit or elsewhere and cause open sores. It is your job to check each and every time of use to make sure you aren't causing harm to your pup. It may be a simple thing of adjusting the fleece sheath, choosing a smaller or larger size pack, or putting some balm on their skin. Also do not overload the pack and hurt your dog's hips and back! Do not ignore this responsibility, your pup will thank you for it and be more eager to wear a pack if you make it comfortable for him.***

So, here it goes (in Argos's own words):

I wear an old model Approach Pack from Ruff Wear. I highly recommend this company and especially their packs for these reasons:

Yeah, I'd say I'm a dog on the go.

1. Extremely durable. How durable you may ask? This pack is several years old and has yet to show it's wear. No holes, no rips, not even a scuff mark. This pack was Momma's previous dog's pack (Jinx, a female German Shepherd) and between Jinx and I this pack has seen a few fourteeners, has scrambled over, under, and through rough boulders. It has gone through severe mucky mud, been swam in multiple times (I LOVE water), and has spent countless hours in the sun without fading color and becoming brittle. The webbing under my belly and chest has remained intact without a single fray. Momma has laundered the pack a handful of times (no dryer) after scooping out sand, grit, and mud from the insides. Also there are two fleece/flannel type of sheaths that cover my belly and armpit area of the webbing to protect my fine haired spots. These too are in perfect shape even though this area usually gets the worst of the muck collection as I run (hey I'm a frisky pup, what can I say?)

The bag has reflective piping making me look really badass at night, and helps momma find me.
Also, the bag's zippers are rough and tough with a well-thought out flap that folds over the zipper to prevent crud from boogering it up.

2. Fits snug without rubbing and causing friction burns. Many people feel bad for cinching their dog's packs "too tightly", wanting the pack to fit loose on their dog for comfort. They don't realize that packs need to fit snug- with ability to fit two fingers between pack strap and dog- so that the bag doesn't bounce and slide around on us. This hurts! Take a regular backpack for humans, put it on yourself and leave the straps loose. Put two water or Nalgene bottles in it. Now take a quick jog around the neighborhood, really pump your arms and sprint it out.  Feel that horrible bounce? Now imagine doing that for an hour or so, not to mention the hundreds of times we dogs bounce over things, climb, scamper, and slide around in the snow. Think of the chaffing that would happen...not cool.  Cinch up the straps closer to your body tight and take another quick jog. Better? Yep. That's how it feels on us. You want to cinch it tight enough so nothing bounces around, yet doesn't hinder your pups' breathing. Make sure that belly strap is where it needs to be- at the belly, not around our chest where our lungs need to expand.

**this older pack has more "bounce" to it's panniers. Momma has to be careful what she puts into my pack because there is nothing to cinch down the actual bags which are kind of large. The new approach pack has smaller more aerodynamic bags that hold the pack closer to the pup's body. This is especially good for going through obstacles, or when we get curious diving into brush while not having to worry about getting dangerously snagged.

3. Able to carry just enough stuff without weighing me down. Momma puts two Gulpy bottles in my pack (one in each bag) so that I can carry my own stuff.

I also carry my own poop bags. Occasionally Momma will stick her jacket in there or winter spikes. I don't mind helping out. Also, when I was just little, Momma waited til I was at least 6 months old (when my growth plates were fused) to put the pack on me, completely empty at first of course. That way I got used to it and ran around the yard with it on whenever we were out. Now it comes second nature and I know when Momma grabs that pack it's time to play!!! I love my pack!

4. Has a soft sturdy handle on my upper back for Momma to grab ahold of in emergencies or to help me scramble big boulders. Momma uses this quite a bit. Sometimes we climb over big stuff and her legs are a lot longer than mine so when I'm scared and whine she'll grab ahold of my handle and help boost me over difficult obstacles. Then I will yip sharply to tell her how happy and excited I am! Other times, when I am off leash and another dog or person comes into our view unexpectedly, she'll hold me with this handle to keep me still without grabbing my collar. I have been trained that when she holds onto my thick leather collar, that is giving me permission to pull on it. It is part of my protection training- she has control over me but I can bark and snarl ferociously at bad people without fear of being reprimanded. Finally, she'll sometimes take off my pack after a very long hard run to give me a break. She uses a beaner to snap onto that handle (or there is also a light D-ring above the handle) to attach it to her own pack. 

Momma also puts a cool Road-ID (see the left side of Momma's blog to click on their link!) on my pack just in case we are separated. Yes, I am chipped and tattooed but you can never have too many identifiers to make it easier for those locating me right?

So there it is straight from Argos's mouth (I typed since that whole lack of opposable thumb thing).  I really like the new packs Ruff Wear has come up with and even like the Palisades pack for long distance hiking, allowing you to carry food and water. The Approach pack serves our needs the best for it's slim line, small bag size, especially for running. The Singletrack looks great, but I would have to try it on him to see if the Gulpy bottles would fit. I don't like the idea of the platypus bladders since I would also need to carry a collapsable bowl.

One thing about Gulpy: I love these bottles. They are super convenient and just handy-dandy. Love them. However, I have had a few issues with them. They are not very durable, especially if you drop them on hard surfaces. Even just one time...

I eventually had to throw out one of the reservoirs because it became so cracked.

I contacted Gulpy about this issue and they responded that they have since revamped their product to be more sturdy. I was promised two new bottles to replace my damaged products, however I have yet to get them. I am not a fan of people/companies that promise you things and then don't deliver. They also said they are also working on a third upgrade to these bottles to make them even better, again promised a proto-type but haven't heard from them in months. I was really hoping to do a blog on their new product so I could gush about them even more. I'll send them a final "poke" and we'll see what happens.

Any other questions? Feel free to ask me or Argos!


Hundewanderer said...

Thanks Argos! Great information! ツ

WildChildT said...


JeffO said...

I think you once posted a great survivalist website that wasn't full of kooks (like I'd know the difference!) What was that?

WildChildT said...

JeffO- is one. It's pretty good with a lot of scientific stuff, not just redneck gun nuts spouting off the end of the world propaganda. There is a local prepper network also which isn't too bad, not as informative but good if you are trying to pick someone's brain. Utah also has one of their own.
Is the first one the one you are looking for?