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The Items You Need For a Very Good Hike With Your Very Good Dog

Photo: Zach Custer

Is there a better trail companion than Fido, the loyal pup whose doggy grin grows extra-wide on hiking days? We think not. Dogs can be the absolute best hiking buddies, but they require care just like humans, and they don’t have any words (or opposable thumbs) to tell us what they need. Thankfully, there is plenty of gear on the market to make trail time with the pooch both fun and safe. Here are some of our favorite doggy-approved hiking items.


Kurgo Journey Dog Harness

Kurgo’s Journey harness comes in multiple sizes, and has four adjustment points to lock in the perfect fit for any kind of dog. It’s padded for comfort, but still tough enough to survive the trail.
Photo: Amazon

Most trails require dogs to be on a leash, but some overly-excited pups may yank and pull which can be problematic if they are wearing a simple collar. A harness like Kurgo’s Journey harness is a great option that won’t break the budget. Thanks to four adjustment points, it fits around your dog’s chest comfortably. Two leash connection points provide options depending on how frisky Fido is feeling. Bonus: It includes one ten-inch seatbelt loop to secure your dog in the car (and prevent distracted driving) but Kurgo notes that it is not crash-tested approved.

Ruffwear Approach Pack

Ruffwear’s Approach Pack features two saddlebags attached to an adjustable harness, allowing your dog to carry his own food, water, and yes, poop bags. Just make sure not to load your pup up with more than 25% of his body weight.
Photo: Amazon

For burlier, day-long adventures where you really need your dog to carry some of his own supplies, take a look at the Approach pack. Two saddlebags attach to an integrated harness that comfortably moves with the dog. It is recommended that dogs carry no more than 25% of their body weight, but our pup proudly totes her own food and water on the trail. Note: The Approach pack is available in four sizes so dogs of all shapes can find the appropriate fit.


Cycle Dog Earth Friendly Pickup Bags

By now, we all now the rules: pick up your dog’s poop. But now that we’ve banned plastic grocery bags from our houses (right?!), finding a bag may pose a problem for your next hike. Fortunately, Cycle Dog makes these earth-friendly bags that are biodegradable and made from corn and plant starches. Plus, they are crazy durable so you won’t have a poop explosion leaking from your backpack.


Ruffwear Flat Out Leash

Ruffwear’s Flat Out Leash can be used handheld or secured to your waist, and is the perfect length for hiking on busy trails.
Photo: Amazon

We know dogs need to be leashed on trail, but sometimes that is easier said than done. The Flat Out can be hand-held or secured to your waist so you can enjoy your hike without a dog yanking on your arms. Bonus: It is six feet long, which is the recommended length for leashes in most national parks.

Kurgo Muck Dog Collar

Kurgo’s Muck collars are waterproof and odor free, and built to survive even the roughest hikes and worst weather.
Photo: Amazon

There are a million dog collars out there and they all do the trick, but what we like about the Kurgo Muck one is its ability to survive the zombie apocalypse. It is 100% waterproof and odor free which is HUGE if you have a dog that routinely finds himself in puddles, lakes, or streams. In fact, this collar sheds everything Mother Nature throws its way, and it is easy to wipe down with a rag when needed.

Mountainsmith K9 Backbowl

Mountainsmith’s K9 Backbowl snaps up in all four corners to create a water bowl on the go,
Graphic: Shep McAllister

Remembering a water bowl for your pup is crucial, especially if you are hiking somewhere that doesn’t boast running water or streams. Collapsible bowls are a dime a dozen these days, but we love the size of the K9 Backbowl. The four sides snap up creating a flexible square with a large enough opening for most dogs to easily drink without the sides aggravating their face. When Fido is done, unsnap the sides; it lays completely flat for storage.

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About the author

Heather Balogh Rochfort

Heather Balogh Rochfort is an outdoor expert and full-time freelance writer and author in the outdoor industry.