When you backpack or hike with your dog, you know that your dog’s safety and comfort depends on the quality of his gear. In some cases, your dog may be exposed to extreme temperatures or surfaces that can endanger your dog. And when you’re ready to call it a day at the end of a long day hiking, you want to offer Fido a comfortable place to sleep. While our list isn’t exhaustive, we hope it helps you identify what type of gear you should purchase for your dog prior to your next outdoor adventure.
Our Favorite Dog Camping Gear
In our list below, we share some of our favorite gear and point to online stores, such as Amazon and Ruffwear, where you can purchase the items we discuss tomorrow.
1. Palisades Multi-Day Backcountry Pack for Dogs
When you enter the backcountry with your dog, it’s all about the Palisades Multi-Day pack. Ruffwear has been making the Palisades pack for years and with every new iteration, the pack becomes better. We’ve owned one for more than five years and we can’t speak highly enough about the pack’s durability, fit, design and size. The Ruffwear Palisades Pack comes with removable saddlebags, two collapsible water bottles, and a load compression system. This top-of-the-line Ruffwear pack uses a modified Web Master Harness frame with four points of attachment to ensure load stability and comfortable weight distribution. We recommend that you limit your dog’s load to no more than 25% of his/her body weight in their dog pack. The Palisades Pack is available in 3 sizes: Small: 22-27 inches; Medium: 27-32 inches; Large/X-Large: 32-42 inches.
2. Zuke’s Mini Dog Treats
Zuke’s Mini Dog Treats fuel your dog. While you’ll need to pack enough food, you lso want to make sure you bring treats to reward him for good behavior. Our favorite treats are Zuke’s since they come in a variety of flavors and sizes, are affordable and are loved by even the most discerning pets. When you’re ready to let your canine partner know that he’s please you, you can toss a few of these in his direction. Zukes are made in the USA with USA-sourced meats, grains, fruits and vegetables. They are made without artificial colors, flavors or by-products.
3. Ruffwear Slackline Leash
Ruffwear products are truly special and deserve top billing on any list of dog hiking gear items. So, if you’re wondering why the majority of our gear recommendations are from Ruffwear, don’t be surprised. The Ruffwear Slackline Leash is an adjustable-length leash that can be hand-held or waist-worn. The 6 to 3.5-ft adjustable length can be fully extended for relaxed walks, or shortened for more control as needed. An ergonomic metal slider allows for easy one-handed length adjustment on the go. A convenient accessory loop is included for pickup bags or small clip-on items.
This leash is strong, reflective and can adjust to accommodate different preferred lengths. The collar clip keeps even the craziest dog clipped in safely and the wrist strap section is nicely padded with what feels like gel pad. This leash unhooks so that you can wrap it around a pole or sapling for use as a back leash. The mid-leash length-adjusting buckle is comfortable and if you’d like to choke up on the leash, you can slip your hand below the buckle to shorten the leash.
4. Ruffwear Highlands Sleeping Bag
Ruffwear’s Highlands Sleeping Bag is lightweight and like a sleeping bag, it rolls up into a compact sack. The sleeping bag’s light weight and compact size makes it easy for most dogs to carry it on their own by attaching the sack to their backpack. We also think the sleeping bag option is better than the Ruffwear Sleeping Bed if you’re expecting relatively cold weather at night. If you choose the Ruffwear Sleeping Bed (as opposed to the sleeping bag), the bed accommodates the Ruffwear Highlands Pad (sold separately) for additional insulation in extreme cold with an integrated sleeve on the bed. To simplify cleaning and transport of the bed, the sleeping bag and bed are made with a durable polyester fabric shell that repels water and cleans with a quick shake.
5. Rex Specs Dog Goggles
If you spend time in high altitude, at the beach or anywhere else where there is a lot of sun, consider getting your canine buddy a pair of Rex Specs.
Not only will your dog look like a rock star, but you’ll be doing your dog a favor by keeping debris, grasses, and harmful UV rays out of their eyes. Keep in mind that the goggle lenses are interchangeable. Each pair of goggles comes with two lenses. One pair of lenses is clear and the other is based off the color combination you choose. Additional lenses can also be purchased online.
6. Ruffwear – Trail Runner Ultralight Collapsible Dog Bowl
The Ruffwear Trail Runner Bowl is a must have for anyone who takes their dogs with them everywhere. Whether you’re running, traveling, flying, in the car, backpacking or out to eat, it’s always wise to have one of these handy. Ruffwear’s collapsible bowl comes with a carabiner, so you can clip it to a bag or backpack. These last forever and can be compressed into its own pocket. The interior of the bowl is coated with an impermeable material that makes it easy to wash and probably difficult for bacteria to stick.
7. Ruffwear – Grip Trex, All-Terrain Paw Wear for Dogs
Ruffwear Paw Wear Boots are highly recommended accessories if your dog regularly accompanies you on backpacking or jogging trails that are rocky or unusually rough. These high-performance boots feature a rugged and resilient Ruffwear-designed Vibram outsole that provides exceptional traction on varied terrain. Breathable mesh on the upper part of the shoe provides ventilation and keeps dirt and debris out. The closure system combines hook-and-loop with hardware, cinching around the narrowest part of the dog’s leg to provide a secure fit. Just as you would with your gear, check closure system and adjust fit as needed 15 minutes into your activity and throughout the adventure.
8. Ruffwear Hoopie Dog Collar
This is the highest rated dog collar on Amazon. The Ruffwear Hoopie Dog collar comes with a side release buckle that simplifies taking the collar off or securing it to your dog’s neck. The single-piece aluminum ring provides a strong, secure connection to your favorite Ruffwear leash. The Hoopie Collar also features a separate Quick Ring for ID tags that’s designed to make it easy to add and remove tags. The silicone tag silencer means less jingle.
9. Ruffwear Gnawt-a-Rock
The Gnawt-a-Rock is designed to dispense small treats or kibble from the internal chamber as your dog plays, creating a fully interactive and rewarding experience. Part treat dispenser, part throw toy, the Gnawt-a-Rock by Ruffwear is a toy that is perfect for camping with dogs. The rubber surface massages the gums and is easy to clean. Keep in mind that these aren’t designed for small kibble, so you may need to stuff some strips of fabric or something else in the toy to help keep the food in place. Also, we don’t recommend allowing your dog to play with these toys outside of their feeding times as the toy’s lifespan will shorten pretty quickly if you don’t limit how often your dog can use this toy.
If you’re going on an outdoor trip with your dog, you might want to go for broke and make it a road trip. Camper-rental offers a list of camper rentals in almost every state. And, don’t forget to make sure you have a way to carry sufficient water for both you and your dog when you hit the trails.