Backpacking Gear for Dogs

Next time you trek, pick a route where you're allowed to bring your best bud.

  • Alpha Dog Pack

    When you treat your pup to the joy of romping where few dogs have romped before, marking unmarked spots and smelling a thousand primordial smells in the mountain air, the least he can do is pull his weight. Put Fido's kibble in the GRANITE GEAR Alpha Dog Pack, which has fleece-lined straps to prevent chafing. Just be sure to distribute the weight equally between the saddlebags (when unbalanced, they're prone to crookedness) and to ask the veterinarian how much your dog can safely carry. $63 to $73 (depending on size),

  • Field Guide to Dog First Aid

    DR. RANDY ACKER's Field Guide to Dog First Aid (Wilderness Adventures Press, 1994) can help you decipher and treat your pooch's symptoms when there's no veterinarian nearby. The pocket-size guide lists ailments alphabetically, with concise, comprehensive directions for treatment in the field and an arrow beside the most important action step (e.g., for a foxtail between the toes, "break through abscess and remove foxtail with hemostat"). It also includes a checklist for a canine first-aid kit. $15,

  • Foldable bowls

    Foldable bowls are great for saving space and weight, but when your dog dives into dinner after a long day on the trail, you need something sturdier. The DUBLIN DOG Nomad Travel Bowls open out from a disk-shaped case that acts as a base. Though a tad clunky compared with other companies' soft drawstring bags, these bowls were the most snout-friendly of those we tried, keeping their shape through rapacious scarfing, nudging, and pouncing. $25,


  • Rainbow Trout collar

    The non-stink, waterproof Rainbow Trout collar by DUBLIN DOG won us over with its imitation fish-skin pattern--the canine equivalent of faux fur. The collar also comes in fellow species Brown and Brook. After a month on our mud-loving mutt, it still looks brand-new. One concern: The D-ring is close to the buckle, so if your dog requires a tight fit, the collar's tail might stick out. $28,

  • Leash

    Photographers, rejoice. The Mt. Tam Leash by OLLYDOG frees you up to point and shoot with a steady grip while still keeping your dog by your side. The leash's human end buckles around your waist, while the canine end hooks on a collar or harness. A 20-inch section of shock-absorbing elastic kept us comfortable when our test dog excitedly tugged us uphill on a hike. $30,

  • OllyBottle

    Neither you nor your shorter, hairier buddy ought to gulp water from a BPA-laced bottle. OLLYDOG's BPA-free one-liter OllyBottle has a wide mouth for humans and a removable plastic sleeve that serves as a portable water bowl for dogs. (Ours dug it.) Save the cooties for slobbery kisses once you make camp, 'cause love's bounds end at backwash. $13,


  • Highlands Bed

    RUFFWEAR's Highlands Bed lets your sidekick stay cozy and keeps a trail-worn coat from griming your sleeping bag. It rolls up like a sausage and, at just 14 ounces, can be easily schlepped by you or your dog. The small Australian shepherd testing this bed fit its 35-inch span perfectly, but larger companions' paws will probably spill over the edge. $75,


  • RUFFWEAR's Summit Trex

    Hilarity ensued after our pooch's initial go-round in RUFFWEAR's Summit Trex. The dog's first few steps in these boots were like a terrestrial breaststroke, though the awkwardness eventually wore off. Be sure to strap the Velcro tight; our befuddled tester kicked one off mid-step. While your dog might look funny in shoes, this grippy footwear protects paws from salt, rough surfaces, and sunbaked or icy paths. $55,

  • HURTTA’s Polar Vest

    A polyester jacket has never looked so cute. Whether you select neon orange, yellow, or pink, HURTTA’s Polar Vest helps you and other hikers spot your dog day and night, especially in areas that permit off-leash walking. Fellow trailgoers joked that our orange-clad tester looked like a wee traffic cop. $50,

  • Photos Courtesy of Hurtta (vest); Dublin Dog (collar); Ruffwear/Ben Moon Foto (bed); Muttropolis (booties); Lori Eanes (5); Special Thanks to Jake Abrahamson and Bruno (modeling dog pack)