Groundbird Gear makes lightweight, minimalist backpacking gear: For dogs.
My dog Vaida and I hiked about 1,000 miles over the last two seasons. We hiked all 272 miles of the Long Trail in Vermont last summer. This year, we put another 200 miles on the Appalachian Trail.
The dog toted a pack the whole way.
My pup’s canine pack comes from Groundbird Gear, a small custom shop in Maryland founded by an experienced backpacker. The owner thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2011, then she got a dog and founded the company.
The Trekking Roll-Top Pack + Harness ($160) has served me and my dog well, despite much use and abuse on the trail.
Thinking of backpacking with your dog or perhaps you need to replace the pack you bought at the box store because Fido now has nasty chaffing? Groundbird Gear is a great option.
Review: Dog Backpack From Groundbird Gear
Groundbird Gear hand-stitches custom canine products. The root of its system is a harness that’s made to fit each dog. Two different styles of bags then attach to the harness.
The result is a lightweight product that fits your dog’s exact build.
And because the packs detach from the harness, Fido is free to go for a quick swim without getting his dinner soaked.
Dog Hiking Packs: Two Styles
Groundbird Gear offers two pack styles: The Trekking Roll-Top Pack + Harness and Weekend Zipper-Top Dog Pack.
I tested the Trekking Roll-Top Pack + harness, as this system’s design is built with long-distance hikers in mind. The pack system accommodates multi-day rations and easily adjusts when your dog has little food to carry.
The pack slips on and off the harness easily. It’s a simple design, including two big pouch pockets that balance each other. They seal shut with roll-top closures on either side.
Depending on the size of your dog and their daily ration of kibble, the pack ranges in size from “extra-extra small” to large, carrying anywhere from 4 cups to 40 cups of food.
Each harness/pack system is hand-sewn from 330-denier, uncoated Cordura, and a 3D mesh (like soft athletic shoe mesh). The harnesses are breathable, quick drying, and durable.
The only thing I could imagine would make this pack better is indestructible material. After 1,000 miles, Vaida’s pack is showing a lot of wear.
Custom Fit Pack For Your Dog
What makes Groundbird Gear different from other canine backpacks? It’s the brand’s innovative “chafe-free” system.
Unlike mass-produced pack systems, Groundbird Gear uses your dog’s specific measurements to build a harness with a chest plate system that sits away from its arm-pits. This keeps each strap exactly in place, thus virtually eliminating rubbing and the possibility of harmful chafing.
Made in the USA, with varying pack sizes that easily remove, I have yet to find a better alternative for my four-legged backpacking friend.
–See the full line at Groundbird Gear.