A hydration pack for that’s perfect for your pooch | AspenTimes.com

A hydration pack for that’s perfect for your pooch

Katie Redding
Aspen Times Weekly

I know what you’re thinking.

My dog does not need a hydration pack. We’re in a recession, for crying out loud.

But I beg to differ, and here’s why.

This spring, as the Aspen economy went into a nose dive, my husband and I canceled a proposed Mexican vacation in lieu of a cheap backpacking trip in the desert.

And in order to keep the $150 it would have cost to board Ginger, we headed to the dog-friendly Escalante Canyon area.

At some point, it did occur to us that dogs who are invited on backpacking trips should learn to carry their own food and water, but neither of us ever bothered to order a pack for her before we left. It was an oversight we soon regretted.

Ginger already takes some heat for being the only one in our family who doesn’t work, make dinner or clean the bathroom. But dancing through the desert while we lugged all her food and water was beyond the pale.

At the trailhead, we made things worse by leaving her bedding behind in an attempt to cut back on dog weight. She could just sleep at the end of our sleeping bags, right?

Wrong. Each night, a shivering dog talked her way into my sleeping bag, then proceeded to snore like a freight train until dawn. After two days, we decided Ginger wasn’t getting invited back until she started pulling some of her own weight.

The Ruff Wear Palisades pack caught my eye as a great option for future desert trips because it actually comes with dog-friendly hydration packs. They look just like human hydration packs, and come with hoses designed to squirt into Ginger’s collapsible bowl.

And so far, it has passed some serious dog-testing.

Whoever made the pack had sense enough to design it so the saddlebags can be compressed, keeping the weight close to Ginger’s body. It also has nifty strategies for keeping the straps from dangling. Both those features mean my vision of having to disentangle Ginger from trees every five seconds has not come to pass.

And a clean design means the pack goes on in a few seconds ” a bit longer, if she is carrying a lot of weight that needs to be balanced and compressed.

If I’m not careful, the hoses will leak in the pack. But after I had that problem the first time, I’ve taken care to put the hydration packs in exactly the way they’re supposed to go, and the issue has gone away.

The pack also comes with a durable handle that allows me to lift Ginger over obstacles or persuade her into the river ” both handy features for canyon or mountain travel.

And as long as I’m careful about balance, the sidebags actually carry a fair amount of weight. The other day, for example, she carried some groceries home from the store.

As we passed a little kid on the street, I heard him say, “Hey, those people make their dog carry all their stuff.”

Now that’s more like it.