BACKPACKING WITH A DOG: PACKING LIST
We have taken our pups on several backpacking trips over long weekends and through trial and error have discovered exactly what gear we need to bring for them.
If things seem pricey, just know that we are really hard on everything we own and these items have survived. We are also in the business of spending a little more up front to have something of good quality so as to not contribute to more items dumped in the trash. Also, check your local outdoor gear consignment spots, they are often quite a goldmine. Also also... we got a lot of REI Gift Cards for our wedding.
We aren't affiliated with any of the brands mentioned, just like 'em a whole lot.
Here is what works for us:
BACKPACK: The dogs feel like an important member of the team when they have these on. Our vet told us that both Osa and Jasper would be perfectly comfortable carrying around 20lbs, but we have never come close to that. We use the Ruffwear Approach Dog Pack. They have large easy to access saddle bags and a comfortable and well fitting harness. There is also an easy to grab handle on the back should we need to grab them in a hurry. Only waterproof and durable items go in the packs because adventure.
Ruffwear Approach Dog Pack $79.95
FOOD BOWLS: We use Sea To Summit X-Bowls. They are collapsible, durable, and lightweight. We tried the soft sided bowls first, but they tipped easily and were a pain to clean the sticky wet food out.
Sea To Summit X-Bowl $15.95
WATER BOWL: For their water we wanted to make sure there was less of a chance for the sides to be knocked over so we use Snow Peak's Titanium Bowl. Having water available to them is important so we make sure to always have 3 bowls with us.
Snow Peak Titanium Bowl $16.95
MEDICAL KIT: The item that is smart to bring, but you will hopefully never have to use. Adventure Medical Kits makes an Adventure Dog Medical Kit, which is what we keep with us. It comes in a waterproof bag so the pups can carry it. Bonus? Most everything in there can be used to treat minor human injuries, too.
Adventure Dog Medical Kit $25.00
LEASHES: Even on off leash trails we always keep these handy. You never know when you are going to encounter a flock of 300 sheep (yes, that has happened) or sheer drop offs. There are a billion options out there, but we went with the Ruffwear Leash because I am obsessed with the quick draw talon clip and the squishy handle. Additional goodness: what they call a 'traffic handle' so you can easily keep your dog right at your side. Also, the cutest patterns. Which, C'mon...it matters!
Ruffwear Leash $29.95
WATER BOTTLES: Again, so many options here, but Nalgene seems to be the lightest option with most pretty great durability, Jasper has only cracked one open so far. We typically hike alongside streams and rivers* and our final destination is at a lake, but just in case we throw these in the packs. *note: check with the local forest department to make sure there are no warnings out for the water sources.
Nalgene Water Bottle $10.95
TOWELS: It's awkward to admit, but we actually share these with the dogs. The REI Multi-Towel works for all of us, and we purchased the Large. They don't have the same comfy feel as a regular towel, and they certainly won't keep you warm, but they dry your body very fast and dirt shakes off them easily.
REI Multi-Towel $19.95
FOOD: This can be tricky. On bigger trips you should be upping your dogs food intake which also means upping what you carry. For this reason we combine their usual dry food with dehydrated food (we don't use strictly dehydrated so as to be gentler on their bellies with the change between food). The dehydrated food we use is The Honest Kitchen which can be purchased on Amazon or at most pet food stores.
TREATS: Everyone's favorite part of hiking is snacking, right? RIGHT! And it's no different for your dog. To keep things interesting we have several types of Zukes minis and mix them up in one bag. We also add the recommended allotment of Zukes Hip Action into the mixed bags to dole out daily. The minis are fantastic to work on recall and reward good behavior throughout the hike.
Zukes Hip Action $9.00
Zukes Mini Naturals $9.00
ILLUMINATION: For night wanderings. Jasper and Osa always come back, but it's fun to watch their little lights bounce around the wilderness so we clip Ruffwear Beacons onto their collars. They have multiple light colors and settings and, while they seem pricey, they are waterproof, romp-around proof, and rechargeable.
Ruffwear Beacon $24.99
BLANKET: This is a large, heavier item than we would normally pack but it has made our lives so much easier. We drape it over the top of our sleeping bags to prevent nails tearing the very expensive ripstop nylon. It can also be laid on the ground to create a barrier between the dogs and the ground on cold mornings.
Blanket...purchased in Mexico...for like 10 pesos.
COATS: Every night before we go to bed we take off our Mountain Hardwear puffys and put them on the dogs. They stay warm and look absolutely freaking adorable. Win-win.
Mountain Hardwear Down Jacket $125.00
OTHER: Our dogs are microchipped. They also wear a tag that has my phone number as well as my dads. This is because if they are found on the trail I very likely won't have cell service, so if they try to call someone my dad knows where our destination was going to be and we set a plan of what he can tell people.