How to Outfit Your Adventure Pup
Want your pup to grow up into an outdoorsy mountain dog? This is the gear you need.
In Colorado, where I live, it sometimes seems as if it's almost against the law to not have a dog with you all the time. So this summer, we adopted a mini Australian Shepherd, named him Rio, and immediately started taking him hiking and camping. (Actually, that's a lie. We started an Instagram for him, then started taking him hiking. We are millennials, for sure.)
We like to say he has 3.5 legs. He lost his fourth paw in an accident at birth, but he gets along just fine on three limbs. In the two and a half months we've had him, he's already gotten in five nights of camping, and he loves rolling in the dirt and sprinting through the grass more than just about anything else. At dusk, we tie a mini Petzl headlamp onto his collar to keep track of him. When it's time to go to bed, he always seems to end up in my sleeping bag.
If you want to help set up your dog for success in the great outdoors, here are a few products we've loved that might work for you, too.
Bring your pup along for the ride with Burley's Tail Wagon, a cozy dog trailer that attaches to your bike. It collapses for easy storage and is a cinch to put back together. While you're towing your pup, make use of the leash attachments on the inside to make sure they stay safe. We like to line our Tail Wagon with a cushy dog bed to make Rio more comfortable and insulated from bumps. Photo by Nick Cote
BUY IT: Amazon, $399
Sometimes you just need a third hand for a leash. Chaco's dog leash has one key difference over other similar flat leashes: The adjustable hand strap unbuckles to easily secure the leash around a table leg, tree, or even your waist. No more unclipping the leash to tie a knot, then having to figure out how to un-tie that knot after your pup has pulled it super-tight. If your dog is a big chewer, rope leashes like Ruffwear's Knot-A-Leash, with a locking carabiner to attach to your dog's collar, will hold up much better. We have a simple carabiner clipped onto the handle of ours to easily clip it to itself to secure it. Photo by Nick Cote
BUY IT: Amazon, $14 and up
It's always important to have fresh water available for your dog. Ruffwear's collapsible dog bowls are lightweight, durable and a no-brainer. We're not entirely sure why, but Rio loves his beyond comprehension. He often prances around the yard or campsite with it quite proudly. Photo by Nick Cote
BUY IT: Amazon, $25
Whether you're standup paddleboarding with your pup on board or just heading to the pool to teach them how to swim, a life jacket can give your dog the confidence to brave the water for a swim. We've had a tough time persuading Rio that a dog named after water should probably like rivers, but we've watched some of that panic melt away as he realizes he can float while wearing his Stunt Puppy life jacket.
BUY IT: Stunt Puppy, $89
On cold nights, you might want to rely on your dog to keep you warm. But they can get cold, too. Enter the Highlands Sleeping Bag from Ruffwear, which is a dog-sized, zip-up sleeping bag to keep your pup cozy. On warmer days, he or she can sleep on top of it for a lightweight alternative to a dog bed. It packs down to about the size of a lightweight human's sleeping bag. Photo by Nick Cote
BUY IT: Amazon, $100
Booties are a great way to keep your dog's sensitive paws warm and protected from sharp rocks, especially in the Southwest where you never know when you might run into some cactus or, as we've learned the hard way, burning hot sand dunes. Ruffwear's hiking boots are designed to give your pup better traction out on the trail.
BUY IT: Amazon, $75
Rio's pawless leg ends in a little calloused stump. Whenever we hike, we're constantly checking it to make sure he hasn't cut it on a rock and left it open to infection. Adventure Medical Kit's Me and My Dog first aid kit provides dog-safe essentials for treating wounds and a book with advice on how to care for an injured pet.
BUY IT: Amazon, $49
Rio is always getting tangled around trees and table legs whenever we try to set up a tether system for him that's attached to a low point on the ground. For more freedom, try Ruffwear's Knot-A-Hitch. It easily sets up between two trees and attaches to your dog's collar or harness from above, creating a tangle-free area for him or her to roam.
BUY IT: Amazon, $60
For nighttime walks and whenever your dog is off-leash by the campsite, you're going to want some kind of lighting source to help both your dog see better, and you see your dog better. There are loads of small lights you can easily clip to your dog's collar made for just this purpose, but I've really liked using Petzl's tiny e-Lite Headlamp instead, for two main reasons. First, it has a wide range of settings so you can turn it on in either a solid or blinking red or white light. Red is great for night vision, and blinking lights are easy to spot from a distance. Second, it's versatile: It's small enough to attach to your keychain or fit in even the tiniest pocket, and it works as a headlamp for you as well as for your dog. Photo by Nick Cote
BUY IT: Amazon, $46