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September 27, 2011

RC Pet Products, located in Vancouver, British Columbia, sent me this terrific dog pack to try out with Lilly. I love it. Lilly? Not so much.

Dog Product Review: Canine Equipment Ultimate Trail Pack

Dog Girl Perspective

OMD … there are so many things for a Dog Girl to love about this pack.

  • It’s incredibly well-made from quality materials.
  • It’s designed for both comfort and functionality.
  • The panniers come off, so you can use the base harness as a plain walking harness.
  • The panniers can be adjusted to ride higher or lower on the dog.
  • The panniers feature internal compartments to prevent load shifting.
  • There is even a port to dispense poop sacks easily
  • Lilly could NOT look any cuter wearing it.

best dog blog, champion of my heart, border collie wearing canine equipment ultimate trail pack

Dog Perspective

Alas, despite my best efforts … Lilly tolerates but is not keen on wearing the pack. (Canine Equipment Ultimate Trail Pack Video Clip of Lilly on the trail.)

Often she becomes a total boat anchor on hikes, dragging behind like the queen of lollygagging.

Each time when I first put it on (with nothing in it), she walks like a German Shepherd with bad hips, but I’ve sent detailed photos of her wearing the pack to the company, and they assure me it’s fit properly.

We tried the pack on several hikes in recent weeks, and I thought MAYBE she was getting used to the idea and making good associations between the pack and hiking.


Well, Labor Day Weekend … Lilly rocketed to the high point on our hike. She flew right up the trail … an hour straight up, with me huff-puffling behind HER.

Then, when we turned to come home, I tried to adjust some of the pack’s many adjustable straps, and Lilly nearly snapped at me … like it was freaking her out or hurt or something.

So, I took it off and carried it.

The next time we tried just the harness, without the panniers, on a normal walk, Lilly was S-L-O-W as molasses. So, I took it off.

The time after that, she again balked, so I took it off.

Now, Lilly is a smart cookie, and as our friends at Frugal Kiwi are fond of saying, “Three points on a line make a trend.”

Lilly figured out that if she fussed, then I would take off the pack.


BUT, I’m overriding Lilly’s oh-so-sensitive assessment because this Ultimate Trail Pack is AWESOME. Seriously, seriously awesome.

Plus, it fits Ginko, and other than he gets twitchy about the sound of plastic buckles snapping, he loves wearing packs.


best dog blog, champion of my heart, lab mix dog wearing canine equipment ultimate trail pack
Of note ... I'm a doofus and put the panniers on backwards here.
best dog blog, champion of my heart, lab mix dog wearing backpack and overlooking mountain valley
Ginko loved his old pack from puppyhood. He is only about 3 years old in this picture (before he blew both knees and had to give up hiking). Tom, alas, ruined this pack's straps/buckles when he carried the pack on a motorcycle, and the heat melted a few things.

So, the final verdict on the Canine Equipment Ultimate Trail Pack is that I’m keeping it and loving it, even if Lilly never wears it.

Either Ginko can wear it just for fun on his short walks, or maybe someday … I’ll have another dog who’ll love it as much as I do.

best dog blog, champion of my heart, border collie wearing the harness only from the canine equipment ultimate trail pack
One last picture of Lilly wearing the harness only, without the panniers. See how well the reflective piping shows up.

I have many more photos of the various fit adjustment points. Holler if you want to see them.


FTC Disclosure

RC Pet Products sent me this Canine Equipment Ultimate Trail Pack for FREE. It retails for about $80-$90 Canadian dollars ($77 – $87 U.S. dollars). Many thanks to them. Otherwise, I was not compensated in any way for this review.

P.S. I’m sorry you have to click and then click, and maybe download to see the video. With all the medical worries around here, I did not have time to make a fancy Champion of My Heart Video for YouTube.

About the Author Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related.

I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

  1. Not recommended for use as a harness with a lead with a dog larger then thirty pounds. The “D” ring should be located at the back end of the handle too. My 20 month Majestic Treehound pup on a lead (required in the Reservation we were hiking) pulled an tore the handle off the vest without much effort. If this vest is to be used by a large dog the vest should be reinforced with nylon straps and the “D” ring relocated, otherwise it is suitable only if used as a backpack.

    1. Hey, Phil. I’m sorry you had a bad experience with the harness. We haven’t had any trouble at all over tehse many months, including having to use the handle to help our border collie walk after her neurological condition began in January 2012. Did you contact the company? I wonder if they would replace your torn harness.

  2. Corky doesn’t like any harness (always backs away when she sees one) but doesn’t seem to pay it any mind once on. They say the trick is to introduce them to it slowly: just the harness, play..just the harness, walks..add the bags, empty, to the mix..gradually add some weight.

    I bought this pack a few months ago & the problem I have is the neck pad & the chest pad keep slipping out of place: The neck pad will completely invert so it is facing outward. The chest pad just slips to the front so as not to cushion fully.

    Other than that, the bags are great. The piping is very effective. I hung the harness from a tree branch while hiking in Algonquin Park recently & scared the kibble out of myself when I went out for a pee in the middle of the night!

    I found this site through a google search for this bag & was saddened to hear of Lilly’s troubles. From the latest updates she seems to be improving & I wish her all the best. Your love for her, Roxanne, is very evident.

  3. Hi Roxanne:
    I’m sure you know that backpacks can be used for dogs that pull alot to slow them down.

    And with Lilly being as smart as she is, I’m sure she knows this too and figured “hey if she wants me to slow down, WATCH THIS!

    She absolutely did not like it did she? Her ears were flat to her head in that first picture.


    1. Well, you’ll notice that her head looks wet, so I likely just dumped what water she did not drink on it. She is not a big fan of that either, but I do it to help keep her cool when we hike.

      Her ears, relatively speaking, are at half-mast. If she was really upset, they’d be so flat … you wouldn’t be able to see them at all. Her head gets VERY round when she is nervous or upset.

      BUT, good catch. With Lilly, the ears are really the key.

      I hadn’t thought about the slow + harness thing like that. I know some people use them for anxious dogs, like a thunder shirt or anxiety wrap, as well.

      I figure, we gave it a good try. And, if she doesn’t like it, she doesn’t have to wear it.

  4. Every time I read a review of a very cool but potentially expensive product, I think someone should start a pet rental business–like companies that rent expensive gowns to women via mail order.

    If you were considering buying this pack or a crate or a Nina Ottison toy, wouldn’t you love to try before you buy? This is just the kind of product that would be great to test with your own dog before investing in it.

    My hope–if I post this idea on enough comments someone with more entrepreneurial skills than I have will start it up and I can become their customer.

    I can’t see Honey liking this either. She doesn’t even like it if I tie a poop bag to her harness.

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