Monday, January 16, 2017

Product Review: Kurgo Baxter Backpack

Kurgo's Baxter Backpack is a unique design that allows adjustment of the height and angle of the saddlebags. Ours is an older version, the current model features a handle on the back as well as extra outer pockets on either side. This is a very stable dog pack with both front and rear belly straps, making it suitable for helping your dog over large obstacles. The Baxter Backpack is available in five colors and two sizes, for dogs 30-85 and 50-110 pounds.
Dog saddlebag backpack
Photo by Erin Koski

We are planning a backpacking trip this spring, so I'm looking at various options for the girls. Of course I adore our Ruffwear Palisades pack (how do I not already have a review for that?!) but what other options are out there?

I bought this hand-me-down Baxter Backpack on eBay, and it turns out it is an older model. This is fine with me, as the current Baxter seems to have some durability issues. Kurgo's product page is filled with reviews about the saddlebags tearing at the bottom.
Dog hiking pack
Photo by Erin Koski

That said, there seems to have been some improvement in the design, as the straps on my Baxter pack tend to loosen up while walking, while the most recent reviews state that the straps are a big difficult to adjust. I'll take difficult-but-stays-in-place over loosens-over-time any day.

The design of this pack is unique because the straps that attach the bags to the center are adjustable. This means they can ride high, or low, or anywhere in between. Since they attach with two straps, the angle can even be changed. This allows you to adjust them to ride downhill, sitting low and forward to avoid throwing the dog off balance. So awesome!

The capacity of the regular Baxter isn't a ton, 3.75L, so you don't really need to worry about overloading your dog. Think a couple of standard Nalgene bottles, those fit snugly without much room for anything else.

Pros: Very adjustable, bags can be raised or lowered for a custom fit. Rear belly strap adds stability, this pack really stays in place. Multiple buckles mean the dog doesn't need to step over any straps to get it on.

Cons: May have durability issues right now, fortunately Kurgo seems willing to stand by their product guarantee. Relatively small capacity, smaller than the Ruffwear Palisades but bigger than the Singletrack.

Bottom Line: This is a functional pack that works well for dayhikes and short backpacking trips where water is easily available.

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