In many pet-stores in the lower mainland of British Columbia, they carry products from a company called RC Pet Products. There are about three different lines of products. The most common line is called Canine Equipment. I cannot speak for the quality of their products I have only bought a martengale and a folding water-bowl from them two years ago until recently.
Since Wholesale Sports didn’t have the next size up for reflective orange safety collar by Gear4Dogs Online Store for a collar from Mendota and a backpack from RC Products to make up for the difference in shipping costs. A Hutterite leather-worker will later add some cow-hide along the inside of the collar behind the riveted ID-plate for comfort of the dog. Apart from the off-topic mention, why RC Products?
I don’t normally buy backpacks, and the one I did end up buying for the older dog a few years ago was an orange backpack for dogs by the company Eco-Gear since it has a reflective tape on and is not an orange mesh. Plus, Eco-Gear’s version was cheap (retail: $30-$45 CAD). However Eco-Gear no longer produce their line of backpacks in orange these days. Red is the closest alternative.
I remember hikers, backpackers and hunters using the Ruffwear products, however some of my hunting acquaintances started using the Canine Equipment Ultimate Trail Pack. Apparently the reason why they like using the pack is because the panniers can be de-attached to be transformed into a tracking harness for finding wounded deer. Then the panniers can be re-attached to stuff the dog’s bags with parts of deer after field-dressing to lighten the load off the hunter’s backpack on the trek back to the quad or truck.
The backpack is kind of cool. One can order them in either red or black. Although red is preferred, there is a shortage of red ones lately since only the Small is available in that colour at the moment. Medium, Large and Extra-Large comes in black. There are little tabs where the height of the bags can be adjusted to accommodate the size of the dog; and tabs on the under-side to adjust for the width. There are two pockets on a saddle-bag [or "pannier"]. The largest pocket has an additional mesh pocket on the inside, and there is a sub-divider for load-distribution. Both panniers have the pockets. On one of the panniers is a daisy-chain where one can attach things to it with carbiners. There is also a D-ring on the back where one can tie a long para-cord or some kind of rip-stop nylon rope to it to let the dog lead. Plus, the harness is padded so the dog can lead the owner on a blood-trail in comfort. In addition, the handle-bar feature is nice for pulling a dog out of a pothole or a crevice (which is sometimes a problem in the mountains). It’s definitely worth pouring in the extra money (retail: $60-$80 CAD) for a higher quality product.
I have to see if it’s worth the praises hunters give it or if it will end up being a a fancy gear for a thru-hike during the summers. At the moment, I can see the next size-up being used by labs or other common large-breed dogs for such purpose of carrying the carcass out. However, it is easy to under-estimate the volume of the bags and the weight of the contents. So, a field-test during the next deer-hunting season is in order.
Here is a collage demonstrating the Canine Equipment Ultimate Trail Pack on a young Laika named Pavel who is being trained on treeing upland birds and mustelids as well as retrieving (hopefully water-fowls); this spring or next fall, he will be put on black bears. The other dog in the photograph is a two-years old Swedish Vallhund named Riley; he has a season of bear-hunting behind him, but is on the way to being retired due to concerns over early arthritis caused by the twisting of joints [valgus deformity] in the front legs.
Next time, I would like to get a pair of Ruffwear DoubleBack Harnesses for the rock-climbing hobby of mine. [Video link of harness being used here] Most of the ones from fellow rock-climbers for their dogs I have seen in action are the Webmaster, but I feel the plastic buckles is not enough security. Metal ones would ease the mind at peace for such high-risk activity.