The Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack is easy to fit and has large pockets for all your dog’s equipment.
Pros / Reasons to Buy
- 8 or 10 Points of Adjustment
- Large Saddlebags
- Materials and Open Design Increases Breathability
Cons / Reasons to Avoid
- Weight is Not Always Over Shoulders
- Saddlebags Don’t Detach From Harness
The Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack is a well-designed dog backpack. The adjustability and ease of fitting make it very practical. The large capacity of the pockets means you can fit in all the gear your dog might need. The Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack would be an ideal choice if you are planning a walking trip in a hot climate, as its open design and materials give it high breathability.
Mountainsmith has been making dog backpacks since the 1980s, and they have taken advice from a vet to make this version. It has a more open design than more backpacks, with a narrow, padded strip running along your dog’s spine from which the two saddlebags hang secured by straps. The backpack is easy to fit, as there is no need to pass your dog’s paw through the straps. The chest and girth straps are adjustable to get a good fit, and the straps attaching the saddlebags can also be adjusted. The main pockets are a generous size and easy to access. However, their shape means that the load’s main weight tends to be more on your dog’s spine than over the shoulders. While the open design makes the Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack more breathable, the saddlebags do not detach, so if you want to rest your dog by removing the backpack, you will need to carry a harness or collar.
We have taken a look at the chief requirements for a good dog backpack and looked at how the Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack compares.
Your Dog’s Comfort
The Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack has plenty of padding to make your dog comfortable. The central section along your dog’s spine is padded, as is the sternum pad where the straps meet on your dog’s chest. All the straps are adjustable, so it is worth taking some time to experiment with the best set-up for the shape of your dog. The material against your dog’s body is perforated foam and mesh to increase breathability. This and the open design make this backpack highly breathable and the least likely to make your dog overheat. If you are going to be hiking in hot climates, the Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack would be an excellent choice.
All the straps on the Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack are adjustable. Two straps run over your dog’s shoulders and meet on the chest at the sternum pad. These can both be adjusted. The sternum pad is a long padded section that runs between your dog’s legs and under his ribs to meet the girth straps. The girth straps attach to the saddlebags with a clip-in buckle and are adjustable. The saddlebags are connected to the central section with straps. The small and medium sizes have two straps on each side, while the large has three. These straps can also be adjusted. One thing to note is that if you have tightened the straps a lot, there is no way to secure the excess to stop it from flapping around.
Materials and Durability
The main parts of the Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack are made of perforated EVA foam with mesh panels. The rest is made from high-quality nylon. The saddlebags have a weather and water-resistant interior coating, so while they wouldn’t cope with prolonged immersion in water, they will protect their contents from splashes and showers. The buckles are made from rigid plastic, and there is a metal D-ring to attach leashes.
This backpack has been designed to withstand anything the trail and your dog can put it through. Mountainsmith says their ‘gear is designed to meet the demands of rigorous travel on and off the trail’. They back this up by offering the “Forged for Life” guarantee. If there is any problem with your dog backpack, they will either repair or replace it for your entire life.
A tubular grab handle is on the top of the Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack. This is longer than the usual handle on a harness. It is padded to make it more comfortable if you need to use it to assist or guide your dog. Please do not use it to lift your dog, though, as this is not its purpose.
Leash Attachment Point
At the front of the Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack, before the grab handle, there is a metal D-ring attachment point for a leash. This is sturdily stitched onto the backpack.
Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack comes in a choice of two colors – Caribe Blue or Lava Red. The main part of the backpack is dark grey, so it is just the color of the handle and trim that changes.
The sternum pad where the chest straps meet, and the trim on the top of the pannier pockets are reflective, so they will glow in car headlights and torchlight to make it easier to see your dog in low-light conditions.
The Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack has four pockets. There are two big pockets with a small pocket on the outside of each. Mountainsmith describes the big pockets as ‘pannier compartments’, and they are a generous size. The medium and large panniers can hold a dog bed! The smaller ‘accessory’ pockets are handy for storing smaller items for easy accessibility. The pockets all have zippers to keep them closed, and these close front to back so they won’t be opened if your dog catches them on anything. The saddlebags have a coating to make them water resistant, but they are not fully waterproof, so there is a chance the contents could get damp. The only drawback of these pockets is that they are not designed to shift the weight forward over your dog’s shoulders. This means that you will need to keep an eye on how the contents move during the hike to ensure that the majority of the load is not on your dog’s spine.
This is the storage capacity of the Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack:
- 366 cubic inches (6 liters)
- 610 cubic inches (10 liters)
- 1098 cubic inches (18 liters)
It is essential not to overload your dog. Young dogs that are still growing should not carry backpacks. Care needs to be taken with older dogs as well. It would be sensible to have a conversation with your vet before getting a dog backpack. As a general guide, a dog should never carry more than 25% of its body weight. Remember to include the backpack’s weight when working out how much your dog can carry. Also, consider that if your dog becomes tired, you will have to carry his load as well as your own.
- 16 oz (0.45 kg)
- 2 oz (0.55 kg)
- 4 oz (0.63 kg)
The Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack comes in three sizes – small, medium, and large. Check with the online guides that you are measuring your dog correctly.
- 5 inches (24.1 cm) x 8.25 inches (20.9 cm) x 2.25 inches (5.7 cm)
- Best for dogs over 80 pounds with large girth chests.
- 25 inches (31.1 cm) x 8.25 inches (20.9 cm) x 3 inches (7.9 cm)
- Best for dogs 40–90 pounds with medium girth chests.
- 5 inches (34.3) x 9 inches (22.7) x 3.25 inches (8.3)
- Best for dogs over 80 pounds with large girth chests.
The Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack falls into the middle of the price range. It is not the most expensive dog backpack you can get, but nor could it be described as a budget model.
The Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack is a well-made, affordable backpack designed with a vet’s help to let your dog carry a backpack comfortably. It is very durable, with high-quality materials and a comprehensive guarantee. There are plenty of adjustment points to make sure it fits your dog correctly, and it is easy to put on. The pockets are a good size and are weather and water-resistant. The open design gives this backpack a lot of breathability, making it ideal for hiking in hot climates. The pockets’ design means that care should be taken that the main weight is over your dog’s shoulders and not over the spine.