Function and Fashion in equal measures!
My medium-size Welsh Collie has worn his for eight months now, so I felt that was adequate time to test and post a short review based on long-term use by a working dog.
Measurements are accurate and the sizing gauge is pretty good. I did find I had to alter the female ends of the belly straps to get a sufficiently secure fit as well as tidying away the loose male ends, but the latter is more an old Army habit. This fit will obviously vary with different diameter dogs and my Collie is quite lean.
The length is good, the neck adjustment perfect. The bags sit high enough to avoid fouling the dog’s legs and forward enough that he can maintain balance.
When you first unpack them, the saddlebags actually feel quite light and you start to wonder if they’re actually cheap tat… But the stitching is solid and the canvas is of definite quality, which just means it won’t especially burden your dog. I’ve had normal dog coats that weigh more.
The zips are both secure and smooth in operation, the seams do not strain when loaded, the main compartment linings are a nice touch. I think the best aspect of these is actually the soft flexibility of the bags, though, since that adds to the comfort for the dog and lets them work without impediment.
The Carrying Capacity
This is probably the most subjective aspect to these saddlebags as a lot depends on your dog’s own capabilities, the load you require him or her to carry and especially your ability to balance your packing.
Our Collie typically carries two 500ml water bottles (one either side), a collapsible water bowl, his lead, some treats, a lightweight microfibre towel (for wet dogs and muddy paws), poo bags, a doggie jumper/pullover and a lightweight jumper or cardigan for the Mrs. That’s about 2kg, give or take and there’s still room for ancillaries.
With 2-4 kg of weight, my Collie is still easily free to bound around the fields and up the hills with almost no perceptible hindrance to his gait. He loves being given the duty of carrying our most valuable possessions (ie, The Treats!!) and every time I get the vest out he knows we’ll be out for the whole glorious day!
You will have to remember that your dog is now wider and better placed to knock into things/people, as he will certainly forget!
As mentioned above, the vest load does need to be balanced, as even a half-kilo will see it fall lopsided. It may also go without saying, but lightweight canvas will *not* be 100% waterproof – Showers and light rain have not proven an issue, but all day out in heavy rain, or a good dunking while swimming across the river may dampen things just a bit… unless you thought to put things in plastic bags first, of course!
Mud is best left to dry before being brushed off, while more ingrained dirt can be hand-washed out. Lay the vest out flat and let it air-dry.
The Customer Service
For the UK market, OneTigris kit is mostly stocked and fulfilled by Amazon.co.uk. This means very fast delivery, often arriving next day. It also means simple and easy returns, if you need to exchange on sizes, colours or something.
OneTigris themselves are very friendly and open as well as keeping a close watch on their product pages, so if you have any problems, questions or perhaps even a custom requirement they do respond to feedback and direct contact, as well as being very active on the various social media sites.
The only criticism I can find for this is the D-rings, on the ends of the straps that secure the outer pockets. They are heavy and can catch on low branches or dog leads, pulling the pockets open.
My dog is already a happy, handsome lad… but wherever we go, be it out working, going hiking, camping, to a show or just through town, his saddlebags are forever catching peoples’ attention – Seriously, they love seeing him as much as he loves being seen and remarks on his attire range from ‘clever’ to ‘cute’, ‘gorgeous’ and especially ‘awesome’. It’s a little weird, but even visiting Bath last month, we had more than one person asking if they could take a photo!
To sum up – A fantastic product that serves its purpose very well and is very typical of the quality and features present in OneTigris outdoor kit. Highly recommended and I’d buy this again in a heartbeat… Luckily I have two other dogs to spoil!