Gear Review – REI Ultra Dog Pack

Quick and Dirty
Gear Type: Dog Pack
Material: Rip Stop Nylon
Trail weight: 18 ozs (small)
Price: $75, on sale for $25
Link:  REI Ultra Dog Pack
Pros: Light, large storage pockets, well balanced and won’t slide off the dog, somewhat water proof.
Cons: Price, weight distribution is important for proper fit, minor chaffing, straps will drag if not tied properly, belly pads move around a lot.



The first gear we bought for Dakota is the REI Ultra Dog Backpack. We bought her the pack because we wanted her to carry her own food and water when we are backcountry camping. The pack has two main pockets that straddles on both sides of her torso. It is made with durable canvas/ripstop that won’t easily rip even if your dog brushes against branches and twigs. The forward “Y” straps hold the pack against Dakota’s chest, reducing movement and ensuring pack rests right next to her front legs.  The pack comes in 3 sizes (S, M, L). Dakota fits a small perfectly, she is 53 pounds, 18″ tall and 29″ long.


For the backpack to work properly, it’s really important to put the exact same amount of weight in each pouch or else the pack won’t balance. To even the weight out, we usually store one bottle of water and a bag of food in each pocket. This pack is also great for burning excess energy off Dakota on days we don’t have time to go running. We love using the backpack on Dakota and would definitely recommend the pack for all dog owners.


Here’s a quick and easy summary of the pack and the pros and cons.


  1. The material of the pack is very sturdy. Our pack is about a year old and Dakota has climbed in and out of bushes, scraped against rocks and rolled around in dirt with the pack on and we have yet to see any damage.
  2. The pack has adjustable straps which fits Dakota nicely.
  3. The leash clip on top of the pack makes it convenient to clip in Dakota quickly when we are hiking in the backcountry.
  4. The pack has a handle on top to easily grab your dog or control your dog.  We actually use the handle top to strap Dakota’s sleeping pad on her back.
  5. It has plenty of storage space. I love the expandable space on both pockets. We can fit up to 4 days of food for Dakota in the backpack.  There’s also room on top of the pack to fit a sleeping pad on the backpack, see image below. Because Dakota is basically hairless on her stomach, the sleeping pad keeps her out of our sleeping bags at night.
  6. The pack is an attention catcher, Dakota loves getting all the extra attention from bystanders!


  1. Padded straps should be added to prevent chaffing on Dakota’s underside.
  2. The excess straps will drag if you don’t tie them.
  3. The price. Like everything else at REI, this is an expensive item to purchase regular price. We were lucky enough to find hers on clearance for $24.99 when we visited our local store in Southern California. However, being such a specialty item, I’ve also seen the pack go on sale a couple of times over the past year.

P1040338Dakota with her backpack and attached sleeping pad on our recent trip to the Emigrant Wilderness Area.


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