By Chris Davis Explorebigsky.com Staff Writer

I’ve taken my dog Gunner out on several hikes with his new Ruff Wear Palisades pack this year and have had plenty of trail time to decide if it was worth weighing him down with his own water, food, waste bags and tennis ball, or if it’s more effective for me to just throw them in my own day pack.

Gunner is an extremely energetic working dog, and he gets anxious if I don’t give him some sort of task to accomplish. Considering his desire to please me, I never felt bad for assigning him to carrying his own things. In fact, he seems to wear the pack with pride.

Not too long into our first hike I had to fill up one of his waste bags, and being in a “pack it in, pack it out” situation, it was only appropriate for him to carry his own waste bag out.

With a little bit of tinkering, the Palisades’ adjustable straps make it easy to get an exact fit, and there are endless sizing options. Gunner seemed comfortable while he was wearing it on the trail, although the extra weight made it harder for him to navigate steeps and narrows, which he quickly adjusted to. Perhaps most of all I appreciated how effortlessly the bag unclips from the harness, making it easy to relieve him of the weight if he wants to play or if we find ourselves in a technical spot during a hike.

The only downside of the pack is that the supplied one-liter water flasks have push/pull lids, which leaked.