Dogs tend to make great travel companions and adventure buddies with their curiosity and enthusiasm for discovering something new.
If you’re planning your first excursion together in the wild, here’s some pup prep and gear tips to make it an epic (and safe) adventure together.
1. Pup prep
First, you’ll want to make sure your dog is physically ready to endure long hikes or backpacking trips. You’ll also want to feel confident about your dog’s behavior on the trail by asking yourself the following:
- Does your dog bark and/or jump at other people?
- Will your dog pull at the leash, walking in every direction?
- Is your dog aggressive?
Obedience training can help your pup learn the rules of the trail and know you’re ultimately in control. Along with being able to follow trail etiquette, REI’s outdoors experts recommend asking your vet about any vaccinations or flea, tick and heartworm medications to purchase before heading out on your outdoor adventure. This is especially important if your four-legged companion drinks from contaminated water or gets bitten by mosquitos.
Adventures on four wheels are just as exciting as adventures on four paws. Indeed, getting behind the wheel with your best bud at your side, who’s just as excited to explore the great outdoors, are the moments you’ll cherish for a lifetime.
Whether you’re driving to a desolate camping spot or going off the beaten path for rugged thrills, you’ll first want to ensure your vehicle is well-equipped with the proper off-roading gear, including durable tires, a portable air compressor and tow strap in case of an emergency.
Additionally, take the time to pup prep by considering your dog’s temperament and tolerance for motion. Many dogs get anxious and/or sick when traveling over rough terrain. If that’s the case, experts suggest applying a standard chest harness and dog-friendly seatbelt to keep your pooch safe and secure.
3. Proper hiking and backpacking gear
Of course, you shouldn’t have to do all the hard work. Because canines can carry their own food and some light gear, investing in a dog pack can help lighten your load during a long backpacking excursion. Just make sure your pup is used to wearing a weighted pack within a month or two of your outdoor adventure.
Pup prep tip: Let your dog try out the pack for a few short walks in your neighborhood as you gradually increase the weight. Don’t spring a heavy pack on him at your destination.
When it comes to leading your dog through outdoor terrain, use a durable leash like the carabiner climbing rope dog leash that’s manufactured for providing strength and control. Once the sun sets at your campsite, you’ll want to put a headlamp on your pup to ensure he or she remains safe and doesn’t run off.
Additionally, you should also consider dressing him or her in an insulated dog jacket when temperatures drop. And if you’re adventuring out on the water, it’s essential for your canine to wear a personal flotation device while riding on a kayak or paddleboard.
4. ENO hammock
After a long day of hiking, nothing beats kicking up your feet — or resting on paws. In fact, you may want to pack a hammock for those precious cuddle moments while relaxing in nature.
Lying in a hammock can turn relaxation into an experience, so hang your hammock near to a riverbank, where you can hear the soothing sounds of the moving water or lounge in front of a breathtaking view.
Ultimately, no nap compares to one in Mother Nature — especially with your furry sidekick snuggled up close.
With that in mind, opt to spend the night in your hammock versus your sleeping bag, allowing you to fall asleep beneath a starry night and wake up to the warm sunshine.