Are Ruffwear any good?

by | Jan 17, 2017 | 0 comments

Ruffwear Reviews

Hey, thought I’d review some Ruffwear gear as I’ve bought lots of it in the past – some great, some not so good.

Ruffwear is a well known premium maker of performance dog gear ranging from harnesses to backpacks, collars and leads.  Their products are very stylish, very well made and come at a high price.  Ruffwear has quite a keen following.. but are their products any good?


Ruffwear Approach Dog Backpack Review


ruffwear approach backpack

RRP £99.95.  The Ruffwear Approach Backpack is based on the Webmaster harness with a large and small pocket on either side.  It’s recommended that you don’t add more than 25% of your dogs weight into the backpack but in real world terms I’d say it’s way less than that and I’d say you wouldn’t want to add more than a couple of kilos or 5% of your dogs body weight.  The pockets slope to the front so it’s the shoulders that are taking the weight and not the spine.

I’ve tried a few dog backpacks and Ruffwear make the best but they are expensive.  I use them mainly to carry canine first aid kits to complement my canine first aid guide I have on my phone, so I don’t have to carry so much when out I’m dog walking, but if I go hiking I can use it to carry dog leads, dog food and water.  For the dogs it took a few walks to get them used to it starting with no weight in the backpack but they did get used to it quickly and are happy enough wearing it.

The handle at the top is very useful as you can use it to lift the dog over fences which I’ve had to do a few times, it’s also pretty tough and made of Nylon but I have noticed scuffs and small tears forming so it wont last forever especially with my spaniel wearing it.

What makes this a good backpack compared to others is that it stays centered on the dogs back and doesn’t roll to one side like so many others do but you still have to balance the weight out evenly.  The straps are great and you can get a nice snug fit around the dogs body plus they are padded so it’s quite comfortable.

There’s tons of different backpacks around but few are any good, they either slide to one side or put the weight on the dogs back.  If you want the best backpack for your dog, this is probably it.  Suited for day trips and hiking where the dog can help carry the load.

dog wearing ruffwear approach backpack

Ruby wearing her Ruffwear backpack at the beach

dog wearing ruffwear backpack

Ruby in the snow

spaniel wearing ruffwear approach backpack

Flo with her backpack on

spaniel wearing ruffwear backpack

Flo carrying canine first aid kits

Ruffwear Singletrak Backpack Review


ruffwear singletrak backpack


RRP £99.95.  The Ruffwear Singletrak Backpack like the Approach backpack it’s based on the Webmaster harness with two pockets on either side but higher up on harness than on the Approach’s.  It comes with two water bladders and is a backpack specifically for carrying water only.  You can try putting other things in it but the pockets are small and long which makes it awkward and they are designed just for the water bladders.  Because the pockets are higher up the harness, carrying more than just water can make it top-heavy – fine if you are using it as intended, but if not then the backpack is prone to slipping to one side on the dog.  I used this for hiking and hill walking but found the straps would slip and I’d have to constantly retighten them – they just wouldn’t grip the straps at all, really annoying actually.  Maybe this backpack was just a bad egg, as the other backpacks and harnesses were fine. Read my hill walk up Ben A’an where Ruby wore this backpack.

Perfect for letting the dog carry it’s own water on hikes and days out and handy just as a dog harness too, assuming that is, the straps stay in place.  Not for carrying anything else.

ruffwear singletrak backpack on dog

Ruby wearing her Ruffwear Singletrack backpack at the top of Ben A'an

dog wearing ruffwear singletrak backpack

On a day out

spaniel wearing ruffwear singletrak backpack

Flo with her Singletrak backpack

Ruffwear Polar Trex Boots Review


Ruffwear Polar Trex Boots review

RRP £90.95.  The Ruffwear Polar Trex Boots look awesome.  They look like the Nike of doggy boots, shame that’s all I can say about them that’s good.  My dog Ruby had hurt her paw and I bought these to protect her paws at the beach as there can be broken glass there.  I thought £90 would be cheaper than any vet bill from a cut paw, but she hated them.  Dogs hate wearing boots, there’s videos on Youtube with dogs doing the ‘Robot’ as they try to walk wearing booties.  Anyway, she never got the chance to get used to them as no matter what I did, no matter how I put them on, they would just get flung off seconds later when out walking and at nearly £25 per boot I watched her like a hawk to see where they were falling off.  Seems on the Amazon reviews other customers found it as fustrating as I did.  Shame.  Sold them a week later.

Ruffwear Top Rope Collar Review


Ruffwear Top Rope Collar review


RRP £34.95.  The Ruffwear Top Rope Collar is probably my favourite Ruffwear item.  It’s a fantastic collar and I doubt you can get better anywhere.  The metal buckle works brilliantly and even with the dogs getting covered in sand at the beach or soaking wet it never jams or shows any sign or rust or weathering, no wear and tear.  The buckle is designed to be slightly heavier than the dog lead clip which means the lead clip is always at the top making it very easy to get the dog on lead.  My two dogs have worn them now for a couple of years and there’s no sign of them wearing away or needing replaced.  Possibly a lifetime collar for my dogs.

I use these stainless steel engraved tags and it’s the perfect dog ID tag, much better than normal dangling dog tags which eventually fall off – these tags are a couple of years old now but show no sign of coming off the collar or the text fading.

Update: After a couple of years the collar snapped.  Maybe it got wet too much with all the walking and swimming but it’s definitely not a forever collar.  But then, what collar is? Still the best collar I’ve ever used with that amazing clip.

dog wearing Ruffwear Top Rope Collar

Flo wearing her Ruffwear Top Rope Collar

Ruffwear Webmaster Harness Review



ruffwear webmaster harness

RRP £69.95.  The Ruffwear Web Master Harness is the basis of all Ruffwear’s backpacks and a very useful harness when out hiking or hill-walking.  The webbing straps make it very easy to adjust to fit your dog perfectly and its very strong, strong enough to lift up your dog using the handle at the top – handy if you have to lift them over walls or fences and you can grab the handle anytime you want to take control of your dog .  The metal lead clip attachment allows you to get the dog on lead easily without having to use the dog’s collar either and you can use the lead clip attachment to clip them in on the car seat using a seat belt connector.  My dogs are happy to wear it all day long.

dpg wearing ruffwear webmaster harness

Flo with her Ruffwear Webmaster Harness

Ruffwear Palisades pack 2017 Review


ruffwear palisades pack 2017

RRP £169.95.  The Ruffwear Palisades Pack is Ruffwear’s showcase product and they have just revamped it with the new 2017 version.  It’s just arrived… Flo, my dog is wearing it and I’m quite surprised how much I like it on my first impression. Multiple pockets, a fantastic compression system that really compresses the saddlebags and stops them from bouncing about. and reduces your dog’s width.  I love the Approach backpack but found it too baggy… it’s too big looking on medium dogs, always made me feel a bit self-conscious.  The palisades fixes that and I see Flo prefers it too.  The new backpack has some subtle changes which really improve things  The clip that connects the saddlebags to the straps to stop the bags bouncing about has been improved a lot and is a lot easier to connect and disconnect.  I love how I can use it just as a harness and connect the bags when I want to and it’s very easy to attach.   I use it to carry a canine first aid kit plus other essential items for dog walking and if you are interested in learning, read my dog walking guide with lots of tips when starting.

After using it though I noticed something.  This isn’t the toughest of packs, where the clips connect the harness to the saddlebags wee tears were developing.  This was due to Flo climbing under fences or through bushes where the pack would get dragged a little.  So I can’t recommend this for ‘action’ dogs like Flo who go over, under and through.

Possibly… potentially… the world’s best dog backpack, but at a huge price.

dog wearing ruffwear palisades pack

Flo with her Ruffwear Palisades pack

dog in grass with palisades backpack

Flo seems happy with her backpack on

dog jumping over wall with backpack

Flo jumping over a wall



Ruffwear probably makes the best looking, most fashionable high-end dog gear around at the moment.  But it sure comes at a price.

Do you own any of these items?  What do you think?

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By Jamie Shanks

BDWS is owned and run by me, Jamie Shanks. I’ve been a professional dog walker since 2010. When I’m not walking dogs, I’m usually at home entertaining my three dogs and attending to five hens and my vegetable garden. 


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