Thursday, December 22, 2011

Argos's Gear Blog: Part Deux

Hey guys it's me, Argos, again! Momma said I could write another gear review blog (she's typing of course). Momma surprised me the other day with a brand spankin' new RuffWear Pack for an early Birthday/Christmas gift. I'll be three years old in three days! Momma says I'm a "big boy" even though she still calls me her "Little Man".

The other day I saw Momma folding my pack into a box and sealing it shut. I threw a complete whining fit trying to figure out what this all meant. Where is my pack going? Why wasn't she putting it on me to go for a run? Does this mean no more runs ever?!? She finally explained it all to me and then I was ok with it, though it did sadden me a little to part with the pack.

A hot chick named Cierra is now wearing my RuffWear Pack and wow-zah is she a spicy cat in that pack!

Anyways, we went to The Green Paw  (I love Sunnie & Alex) where my dried dog food comes from and tried on all sorts of packs. Momma cinched straps and tugged on me, and had me walk around (momma asked me not to pee on anything, which is irritating because I never peed on anything inside before. Ok there was this one time...) before she tugged on me some more. It was exhausting; I just wanted to sniff the other dogs and play. Daddy sympathized with me and told me all women are like this while shopping. 

Next thing I know we are walking out of the store with a brand new RuffWear Approach pack! Momma said I looked handsome and Daddy agreed. 

Today Momma picked up my pack and I knew it was time for a run!! YES!! She loaded me into the car and off we went!

When the back hatch opened I saw we were at Mount Galbraith and it was really overcast. I saw a huge pile of snow and headed right for it but Momma caught me in time to slip the pack over my head and leash me up.  Off we went, down the trail! There was only one car in the lot so after we got within a decent distance from the trailhead, Momma slipped the leash off and I got to prance around in the snow. It was about 30 degrees out and starting to snow big fluffy flakes. Snow is my favorite!

There are just a few differences between my old pack and my new one. I feel they have improved the pack but only by small margins. Hey when you have a near perfect pack, why change much?!

1. There are webbing loops on the top sides of each bag. What would Momma clip to these? She has no idea...but they are kinda tacti-cool.
2. The heavy-duty zippers are now weatherproof/seam sealed instead of a flap that covers the zipper. Time will tell if mud and gunk booger up the zipper or if this is an improvement.
3. The bags themselves are more "aerodynamic" and smaller, hugging them to my body better. They are made out of stiffer material (unless my old pack just lost stiffness over use, I can't remember) that keep the form of the bag better. This prevents "bag bounce".
4. The underside of each bag has a small loopie thingie that the chest strap threads through to, again, hold the pack tighter to the body to stop bag bounce. Momma said this was a great idea and thinks if she had the old pack still she would have sewn a bit of heavy duty elastic or loop on the bags for the same effect.

5. The D-ring on top is a bit sturdier.
6. The chest strap, where it makes a "Y" binding the neck to the underbelly strap (connecting the straps that go behind my armpits), is well constructed with a touch of elastic.
7. The underbelly and armpit straps are thicker (a touch more padding- not sure if this makes a big difference but it looks nice) and has a small patch of velcro on it. This adheres to the webbing so the padding doesn't slosh around and rub. This is very nice BUT Momma says it is a "Pain in the A**" (I'm not allowed to say that word or the few others she mumbled when sizing the pack to me) when it comes to adjusting the straps to fit. The velcro kept sticking, making it hard to adjust the straps. Once they were in place with a perfect fit, however, it is nice to not have it move around.

The sun was starting to set. Look at how reflective I am in the camera flash!

The pack fit both of my water bottles with a bit of room to spare. We tried out the SingleTrack Pack but
A) saw there were a TON of reviewers who were disgusted with the pack and how much it moved around/un-cinched while hiking. They had to stop quite frequently to tighten up the straps that had come undone. Not cool and would become quickly irritating for me during a run, not to mention probability of rubbing if not paid close attention to.
B) Had way too little room for Momma's likes. They fit the water bottle just barely. What if I were to go on a longer hike would I need several different packs for each activity? I didn't see a problem with that, but Momma said "At $80-$125 a pack: No Way."

We also tried out the Palisades Pack. Momma really liked this one a lot, however after much contemplation (and me trying it on a few dozen times) she decided the Approach pack was the right fit overall. The Palisades pack was cool because: 
A) bags were big, but not too big. Would come in handy during camping trips.
B) Load compression system, another way to cinch up.
C) The outer pack (with bags) had a quick-attach/detach system that allowed Momma to quickly take off the saddle bags from my back, while a neat harness remained on my body. This would have been cool (Momma said) for an impromptu swim or when I got tired. She could remove the pack but leave a harness that still had a handle attached and a D-ring. The attachment points were fast buckles and easy to clip to the pack.

In the end, Momma said she really couldn't justify spending $125 for the Palisades pack when there really wasn't a significant need for the bells and whistles. She didn't think she would really utilize the buckle system, it was just a cool idea. The bladder that came with the pack was just okay, she preferred the bottles so she didn't have to carry a collapsable bowl. It was also a touch too big and significantly heavier for running compared to the Approach Pack. 

The Approach Pack fit great (I got a Large for my notoriously deep German Shepherd chest). I romped and played in the snow and ran with Momma today. It was so much FUN!


Hundewanderer said...

Very handsome pack Argos!

And you know, flattery will get you everywhere! Thank you for your sweet words :) Someday we'll be in CO and we'll play ball. I'll even talk to my daddy about a helicopter ride. -Cierra

JeffO said...

Argos, you dawg!