This summer I have learned what my pup needs to head into the backcountry with me. The essentials I would pack for myself, ranging from a casual day hike to emergencies, I now have one for me and one for my dog.
And if my pup is going to have a bunch of extra gear, I think it’s only fair she pulls a little of her own weight. The Outward Hound DayPak (Rocky Mountain Pet Shop, $49.99) is a perfect pack for the dog on the move. The saddlebag style pack has four expandable pockets, great for water pouches, some kibble, poop bags and a few of the other items needed on the trail. There is also a D-Ring to clip a leash too, and a conveniently placed handle for when you need to hold your dog close by or give her an added lift. I like this option because it is ultralight, keeping straps and material to the bare minimum, with a breathable mesh harness, it might have a nicer fit than some of my own human packs.
One of the first essentials to add to those expandable pockets is the Adventure Dog Series Medical Kit (Ute Mountaineer, $24.99). This is your typical first aid kit, but catered towards injuries dogs would face most often on the trail. Unlike human’s fancy hiking shoes, pups paws are susceptible to harm, so the Kit includes self-adhering bandage which doesn’t stick to fur, dressings, and tool to pull splinters, ticks and porcupine quills.
When it comes to leashes there are a myriad of options, but the Ruffwear Roamer (Only Natural Pet, $38.49) is a perfect choice for the trail. The leash is made of stretch webbing to give your dog some room to roam without pulling too much. It is also designed to be hand held or around your waist, and depending on conditions it’s nice to keep Rover nearby while still being hand-free for your own balance. I also like the traffic handle on the Roamer Leash, a handy grip for those moments they must stay close (other animals, wild or not).
As humans, we always pack ourselves some emergency snacks, and super foods in case we find ourselves out in the wild longer than we expected. So, in addition to some kibble, I also keep an extra bag of EasyRaw (Only Natural Pet, $3.99). The dehydrated food comes in a 4 oz pack and adds barely any weight or space to your pack. Just add water, one part food to two parts water, so have an emergency meal of freeze dried raw meat fruits and vegetables, sweet potatoes and nutrient rich broccoli, carrots, and cranberries. It’s probably a lot healthier than anything I have that’s dehydrated.
Last, but not least, you need a bowl for your pup. Collapsible bowls are a great gizmo, but the Grrowler Bowl and Collar (Rocky Mountain Underground, rmuoutdoors.com, $39.99) is a great two-in-one. The material is durable and pops out as a bowl or stows into a zipper pocket with a paracord loop to attach your leash. Once you are packed and ready, you and your pup are ready to hit the trail.
I am a photographer and journalist and have traveled all over the world, only to end up in a little place called Aspen. I work hard and play hard in the outdoors. I am a long time snowboarder (park, all mountain, and back country) and a new addition to skiing. I also Stand Up Paddle board mostly in the rivers (class I-III) but also in the ocean when I can escape the mountains. I also hike, rock climb, wakeboard, surf and do yoga and generally explore my backyard in the Rockies.
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