If you have a pup, they’re your life. Or maybe that’s just me. Anyway, I’m always looking for gear that makes sense because my dog hits the trails just as I do. As a result, I can often be found on Amazon typing in “dog hiking gear”, “hiking gear for dogs”, or something similar (sometimes ya gotta change it up).
I base my purchases on what I hear from friends, family, or included reviews from prior purchasers — my guess is, you probably do the same.
Hiking Gear for Dogs
One of my recent searches was for a dog-specific medical kit.
Side story here, to explain that. But I think it’s important to note if you’re hiking with a dog too.
I went out on a hiking/camping trip one year, just the pup and I. We make it to our camp spot. I start looking around and notice very fresh bear marks on the surrounding trees. Now, there isn’t much I’m afraid of, but bears, that’s on my list of animals to avoid. So, I decide this isn’t the spot for us. So, what small amount of gear I had started unpacking, I packed back up and started hiking out. I decided it was a pretty challenging trek, so I’d hike a ways back and camp somewhere closer to where I came from.
Don’t ask me why, but at some point in my journey, I decided I just wanted to go home. I was pretty bummed about my campsite not working out, and then it started to rain. I was young, it was one of my first long hikes with my dog, and I made a stupid decision to double back instead of resting for the night, which left me AND my dog hiking a little over 22 miles.
My day hike in turned into a night hike out. And as tough as my dog was, it was too much. Her poor paws were sore, and she ended up getting a cut a few miles away from making it back to the truck.
The good news, I had a bunch of medical supplies for both her and me. So, I wrapped her paw in a bit of gauze and this self-adhesive tape (stuck to itself, but not to her fur), which worked out great.
Looking back, I’m so glad I had it. I should have just stopped for the night, but young me wasn’t thinking as I do now. And I was afraid both of us would be too sore from walking if we didn’t just finish up (I was right; I didn’t move for two days after I got back home).
Anyway, I tell this story because I didn’t think my dog would ever need to use the medical supplies I brought for her, but I’m so glad that I did. And since then, no matter the length of my hike, I ALWAYS have a kit for both of us. It’s also a reason I’m a believer in having hiking equipment for my dog, just like I have for myself.
Anyway, so that’s kind of what led to this article.
In my last search, here’s what I found. You, of course, can take it or leave it. Note that there are three separate lists here. Though it might seem like they ought to be the same, they’re not. I’ve lined up 3 pieces of gear in 3 different search categories:
Most popular dog hiking gear.
Top-rated dog hiking gear.
Recommended dog hiking gear.
Most Popular Dog Hiking Gear (on Amazon)
I buy a lot of my stuff off Amazon when it comes to hiking gear for my pup. Why? Because it’s generally pretty cheap. And I can typically get just as good quality for a lower price than the same item bought at a PetSmart or Petco.
I love those stores—because I can take my dog in to pick out her treats (it’s a tradition I’ve made for us)—but Amazon has a greater variety.
As of this article’s writing, the hands-free leash is the most popular piece of equipment sold in the hiking gear for dogs department. And from personal experience, I can tell you being able to hike hands-free is so much better!
While I often let my dog hike off-leash (depending on the type of trail, location, and traffic), there are plenty of places and times where I can’t do this.
In cases such as these, I’ll generally take her leash and wrap it through my pack. This way, when I take my pack off, she’s still attached to my equipment, and I don’t have to worry about manipulating my things and her at the same time. Or, I tie her to my belt loop.
Of course, depending on the quality or type of pants you’re wearing, this might not be practical.
What’s cool about this leash, though, is that it’s made to be hands-free. Why is this better than just looping a regular leash through your belt loop or pack?
Because when you loop, you’re taking just a little extra length away from your dog. This leash has a bit of bungee to it as well, which adds some extra length if your dog wants to pull a little because you’re lagging behind, which you are—your dog’s opinion, not mine.
A hiking pack for my dog was literally the first piece of hiking equipment I bought for her. Personally, I love the idea of keeping my dog’s gear separate from mine, as it helps me stay organized.
And it might only be a couple of pounds, but it’s taking a little weight off my own back, which is nice.
You might be laughing at this product but hear me out. Yes, dogs were created with tough pads on their feet. They live on them; they have to be tough. But, refer to my story above. I didn’t have shoes for my pup (at the time), but her paw would’ve never been cut if I had.
More recently, I now live in a location where it snows a LOT! And if you’ve never taken a dog out in the snow for a hike or even an extended bathroom break in the snow, trust me, it’s worth it. Why? Because as your dog walks in the snow, little ice crystals form between their toes, like shards of glass. If you don’t have boots on them, these crystals will hurt them.
You’ll have to get your dog used to them, but it’s definitely worth it if you’re hiking with your dog on a hot surface, rocky terrain, or in snow.
It’s going to be absolutely hilarious when you first put them on your pup, but it will save them from hurting their paws.
Top-Rated Dog Hiking Gear, on Amazon
This list is bound to change as people leave reviews. But here’s a quick look at what’s currently trending on Amazon as their “top rated.”
Personally, I’m not sure that I would pack this in my own pack. I’m already carrying enough, and chances are, so is the pup (she packs her own food and gear on the trail). I guess this depends on where you’re hiking and if you’re carrying a 2-liter bottle around.
I let my dog take a quick bath in the nearby river or stream. I’m not likely to hike with water intended only for bathing, so to me, this isn’t practical for hiking. And if my dog happens to get dirty while hiking…umm, okay, I’m dirty too. We’re outside. And it’s inevitable, as soon as you wash your dogs, he’s rolling in a puddle of mud anyway.
Again, it’s a personal opinion, I’m not trying to carry more than necessary on my hikes, and this seems like it could potentially be an unnecessary item. Not saying that it isn’t cool. But if my dog is too messy to get in my car after a hike, I have the wrong vehicle for hiking/camping adventures.
Of course, I might also be the only one who bases my vehicle purchase on hiking and dog-chauffeuring.
Now, where this would come in handy is if you keep it in your car. And at the end of your hiking trip, when you get back to the vehicle, you give the pooch a quick rinse. Of course, they aren’t muddy anymore, but they are wet. You might have to spend a little time letting him dry before packing up the vehicle to head back home. Of course, if you’re out on the trails a lot, you might consider getting some all-weather mats. This is what I did. Otherwise, I’d always be scrubbing mud out of the floorboard.
*This also might come in handy if you have a dog that’s dirty but doesn’t like getting in random bodies of water.
Now, this is a product I can get behind. Not saying you have to get this exact brand. But getting a lightweight backpack for your dog to hike with is a smart idea. I’ve packed anything from treats and medical supplies to a couple of days’ worth of food and a collapsible water bowl in my dog’s pack. Generally, that’s only a couple of pounds, which should be fine. And it takes a couple of pounds off your back.
Another reason I like these little packs is it helps with organization. I can quickly access what my dog needs without sifting through my own gear in the process.
And finally, and probably what your dog will like about the pack, there’s typically a ring to hook their leash to. So, the backpack acts like a harness, which means it won’t pull on your dog’s neck.
If you do any hiking at night or camping with the pooch, having a dog collar you can see is a good idea. I personally like these sorts of things for dogs because I often let my dog travel off-leash when the trails aren’t busy. It’s a lot easier to hike up and down steep slopes when I don’t have a dog attached to me. Mostly it’s easier for her because I’m not holding her back.
And despite how well my dog listens to me, if on the off-chance something happened, I would still be able to see the glow of her collar.
Recommended Dog Hiking Gear, on Amazon
I’m not necessarily recommending these brands, as I’ve not used enough brand-specific items. But this is my personal list of recommended items you can find on Amazon and should be considered for your pooch before hitting the trails.
In my opinion, this is one of the most important things you can get for your dog if you’re taking them with you on the trails too.
Yes, you should have your own medical kit, and a lot of the stuff you use for yourself you can use for your dog, like gauze. But, some things will be specific to them, like self-adhesive tape (you could use it for yourself, but it’s one of those things that’s great for dogs because it won’t stick to their fur, causing them pain when you take it off).
Side note: It’s a good idea to add things to your dog’s kit. I’ve added Tuff Paws to mine, as well as my dog’s medication (in case we end up on the trail longer than expected).
Of course, you can always add these extras to your own medical kit. But again, I like to keep things organized. It also helps me keep better tabs on what supplies I might need to restock (for both of us).
While your dog might be drinking out of the river, here’s something I was taught and keep in mind wherever I go. “If you wouldn’t drink it, neither should your dog.”
There have been plenty of times where I’ve drunk out of a fresh-flowing stream of water. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t parasites you can’t see swimming in there. This also isn’t saying that I didn’t get really sick after, either. If the water can make you sick, it can make your pup sick too.
After that first time, I got sick drinking from a river (even one on top of a mountain that had flowing water), I decided to get myself a filter.
If you’re on a long hike, you’re not going to be able to pack enough water to get you AND your dog through it (if you’re both drinking as much as you should).
The water I filter for myself is the same water I give to my dog.
And if you’re doing this, you need someplace to put that water, so your dog can easily drink too, which is why I have a collapsible dog bowl. It’s lightweight, and it’s small, meaning I can pack it in my dog’s backpack.
Another item I recommend is some type of light or reflective gear to put on your dog. I personally have this clip-on. It lets me set it to a constant shine or one that pulsates. It’s lightweight, small, and it ensures I can see my dog if she gets too far away in the night.
Hiking Gear for the Pup | Conclusion
So, there you have it. A list of the most popular and highest ranked hiking items you can find on Amazon (currently) for your little hiking buddy. And a list of items I recommend.
Again, this isn’t an article about the brands as much as it is the type of item.
The first two lists are based on the recommendations people made on Amazon. Yes, you might be able to find a better version of this item elsewhere. But this was more of a way to get you thinking about what you should consider. And hopefully, it helps make things easier when it comes to hiking with a pup.
Read more from our In Dog We Trust series.
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