The only thing better than placing your feet on the trail is adding a few paws to the mix. Dogs never forget to bring their enthusiasm and can give us the extra motivation or, heck, even a little pull, to make it up that last hill. But just like us, dogs need some gear to enjoy the great outdoors. We’ve compiled a list of essential dog gear—from pet ID to dog packs—for your outdoor adventures big and small.
The first rule of adventuring with your dog: No canine left behind. A sturdy leash is a must to keep Fido safe and stay within the rules at many parks. But just in case the leash slips out of your hand when your pooch spots a squirrel, you’ll want an engraved dog tag with all your pup’s essential info. (See our tips for what to engrave on your Pet ID.) Choose a dog name tag durable enough to stand up to the elements. The ROAD iD Pet ID fits the bill nicely, with laser-engraved surgical stainless steel.
You wouldn’t head out for a day of hiking or trail running without plenty of water and maybe an energy bar or three. So, plan ahead for your dog’s appetite and hydration needs, too. Bring extra water just for your pup and a collapsible water bowl, so you don’t end up creating a makeshift one with your hands (does that just happen to us?). Your standard everyday dog treats should work just fine, but we did spot these nifty protein-rich trail treats. If you’re gone during mealtime, pack your pooch’s regular food, too.
Starting to wonder about all the weight this is adding to your pack? Many paws make light work when you invest in a dog backpack. Many are large enough to fit a collapsible bowl, treats, food, water and the always essential stash of poop bags. You may need to test out a couple options to find the right fit and try out the pack on a few short adventures to gauge comfort. Weight matters, too. How much gear your dog can carry depends on age, breed, size and overall health. Error on the lighter side and start with short distances.
You’re into four-season adventuring, but your dog needs a little help to accompany you on that winter camping trip. A coat can help keep your pooch warm and dry when the temperature drops or there’s rain in the forecast. We dig all the colorful options from Ruffwear. Boots keep paws warm and dry when there’s snow and ice and those paw pads protected on rough terrain. Just be prepared: it may take your dog a little while to warm up to his new shoes.
If you prefer to make a splash with water adventures, a canine life jacket is a must. You never know when your dog will jump off your kayak or stand-up paddleboard for a swim, and a life jacket gives you extra peace of mind even if your pet is a strong swimmer. Many jackets have handles on the back, too, so you can easily lift your pooch back onto the board or boat. Be sure to take measurements and purchase the appropriate size for your dog. Then adjust as necessary.