As I prepared a list for our three-day backpacking trip in the Sawtooth National Forest, I realized how much additional weight I would be carrying for my 100lb Yellow Lab, Ozzy. I began searching for a pack that would be a good fit while also providing enough space for ten cups of food, a water bowl, leash, waste bags and dog friendly tick and mosquito repellent. I had researched tips on what to look for in a pack and knew that finding a quality backpack would be a priority for our adventure. A friend recommended that I give the Kurgo Big Baxter backpack a try and it surely did not disappoint.
When I received Kurgo’s Big Baxter in the mail, I was impressed with how light-weight the pack was and how many adjustable points there are to guarantee a proper fit. Ozzy reacted to the unboxing as if he knew it was an exciting gift for him (thanks to Bark Box) so we immediately tried it on and adjusted the straps. I might be biased because he is my own, but I have never seen a more handsome adventure dog—the red pack on him was stunning!
I have to admit, leading up to our hiking trip, we did not take it on a test run to make sure it would hold up for the intensity and length of our hike. After reading mixed reviews, I had mentally prepared myself of the possibility of it all going wrong and having to pack his necessities myself.
Before we headed to the mountains, I packed the Big Baxter with all of the essentials—food, bowl, leash, waste bags and repellent. The size of the two saddlebags was impressive. There was plenty of space for his necessities and more. I brought enough fresh water for him and I both on the hike in and filtered water the rest of the trip. However, there would be enough room for a water bottle in the Big Baxter as well.
When we got to the trailhead and strapped on our boots and loaded Ozzy up, I was again impressed by the adjustable straps that allowed for his Big Baxter pack to fit properly after we added weight. The chest pad was a nice addition. I was not at all concerned that the straps would dig into his armpits or cause any chaffing thanks to the additional padding. The chest pad also comes with the perk of a bottle opener for the obligatory beer at the end of the adventure. The material of the Big Baxter is durable and water resistant with a heavy-duty handle on top for when your pawtner needs an extra hand. The pack has a rear mounted leash hook which I appreciate over a front leash hook though I was lucky enough to not have to have him on a leash for our hike.
Within minutes of being on the trail, Ozzy ran straight for the river and laid down. I was surprised and thankful that everything inside of the bag was dry—wet dog food would have been an issue. The material held up for the entirety of the trip after taking the beating of branches, lots of dirt and hours of being wet.
His load was much lighter on Sunday when we left the high mountain lake. I of course took advantage of his space and was able to fit all of our garbage along with his personal items in his backpack for the hike out.
What Would I Change
My only suggestion would be to make sure to either take the pack off or support the bottom of the saddlebag when unzipping the pack to prevent the zipper from derailing. I would also watch the sizing when you order based on your needs. I went with the Big Baxter according to his weight and the ability to fit 7.5L for longer hikes. He could have easily fit in the Big Baxter with smaller saddlebags fitting 3.75L.
Overall, very happy with the quality and durability of the Big Baxter Pack. Ozzy is looking forward to our next adventure!
Kurgo’s Big Baxter can be found on their website and a large selection of Kurgo items can be found on Amazon.com. The Big Baxter comes in three colors to beast suit your dog’s personal style and two sizes. Ozzy is wearing Red.
Article written by Britney Smith