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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.