Almost all of us have a pretty good set of gear to get out on the trail for some quality time in the wilderness. Our dogs though? That’s a different story. Your pup probably loves getting out to chase squirrels, swim in lakes, and sleep under the stars even more than you do. Naturally, wouldn’t you want the best gear for your four-legged adventure buddy so he can keep leading the way into the backcountry for years to come? We’ve been testing some dog gear from our friends at Ruffwear for the last few months. Our trusty dogs logged serious mileage all over the Rockies, and we can say without a doubt that if you want your pup to travel in style, there’s no other brand to choose.
First up, a good coat is our go-to piece for all season use. The Cloud Chaser is a soft shell that will shed rain and snow as well as your favorite Black Diamond or Arc’teryx jacket. It zips up from your dog’s neck to waist, locking out moisture and wind. The protection it affords means you’ll have a happy, and more importantly dry, dog on summit day.
Summit Trex Boots
We know what you’re thinking. Hiking boots for dogs? No, we’re not crazy, and yes, they work. The grippy rubber is perfect for cold winter walks in town (protecting paws from nasty ice and de-icer), but they really shine above the treeline. These boots protect paws against jagged rocks from below, and sharp thorns (and ski edges, which we were lucky to find out) from above with ease. You may go through a short period of adjustment – read: panic attacks – when you first put them on, but your dog will quickly get used to them.
If you’re heading out over night, or simply an epic day of hiking to reach for secret climbing or fishing spot, your adventure buddy will probably need to bring along his own snacks and water. We like the Approach Pack for its strategic padding, reflective strips, and most of all comfort. Your dog should only carry about 25% of his weight, and the saddle bags of the Approach are the perfect size to keep from overloading.
We’ve used the Highlands Bed everywhere from high camp at 10,000 feet to hotels on the road as a travel bed. It is the perfect size to bring along on any trip, and packs into a stuff bag small enough to throw into the Approach Pack. Water shedding material and a touch of insulation make it the best option to give your dog his own space in the tent so you don’t end up with a furry snuggler in your sleeping bag.
Photo courtesy of Austin Parker/Green Goat Group.