In this blog we will be sharing some awesome gear to have for your hiking dog such as harnesses, leashes, goggles, packs, and jackets!
Harnesses can be extremely beneficial when hiking with your dog. Most hiking harnesses are designed for strenuous activity, and we recommend getting a harness with a built in loop or handle on the back so you can easily grab, lift, and maneuver your dogs when you face challenging obstacles on the trails.
Ruffwear: They have several harness each designed for a different purpose but our recommendation for everyday hiking and adventures would be the Web Master Harness. It has 2 attachment point, handle, padded chest area, and is very comfortable and durable.
Hurtta: Hurtta has 10 different kinds of harnesses, but for hiking we recommend the trail harness. It's durable, has a handle, and a padded chest area, and one attachment point at the back.
Kurgo: They have 4 harnesses designed for hiking and out of those we would recommend the Journey Air Dog Harness. It has front and back attachments, a handle, padded chest area, and is v shaped for a comfortable fit at the dog's neck.
When choosing a harness you want to make sure your dog still has full range of motion and fits them comfortably while still being able to perform all you need it to. You should also consider the material the harness is made out of. If you tend to choose dirty hikes and don't want to wash your harness often Kurgo is great, and just needs to be wiped off rather than washed.
The Ruffwear and Hurrta harnesses, while need to be washed when they get too dirty, have reflective material on them which can be very beneficial for hiking in low light and poor visibility conditions. All three brands do excellent if you have a dog that loves to swim. They hold up great in water and don't restrict the dog's movement.
Goggles for you hiking partner!
While goggles aren't necessary they can be a great addition to your dog's hiking gear. Most dogs will end up have some kind of eye issue by the time they are 8 years old, whether it's from the sun, dirt build up, you name it. Goggles can help protect your dog's eyes from the sun, debris on the trail, punctures, and trauma that might occur when running through forests, deserts, and tall grass. A brand we highly recommend if you are interested in goggles for your dog is Rex Specs.
Pack it up!
There are tons of hiking packs for dogs out there and it can be fun to let your dog have their own pack and carry some of their own gear and will make great teamwork building between you and your dog out on the trail!
If your dog has never carried a pack we recommend starting small, you want to get them used to having extra weight on them. Have them carry treats, poop bags, and maybe a small bottle of water to start. From there you can slowly add more weight with each adventure. Things you put in are up to you and can vary depending on if you are hiking or backpacking with your dog. The important thing is to be aware of your dog's limits in what they can carry.
Some things to keep in mind when putting packs on your dogs:
Don't put packs on puppies. They are still growing and won't stop until 1-2 years old depending on your dog's breed. It's best to wait until they are at least 8-9 months and even at that point try to keep packs small and light.
If your pack is falling over constantly you probably have too much weight on one side, try to keep an even amount of weight on both sides to prevent it from sliding around.
Make sure the pack fits right and your dog is comfortable. This might cause and imbalance with the pack, also causing it to tip or move around.
What Pack to Get
Ruffwear: 4 different packs, for everyday hiking we recommend their Singletrak Pack, for backpacking with your dog we recommend their Palisades Pack. All their packs have a comfortable fit, multiple connection points, a handle, and are made with reflective material like their harnesses.
Kurgo: 1 pack called the Baxter. It can be used for day hikes or backpacking trips, but probably does best on day hikes. It has a handle, is light weight, and has reflective material strips.
Outward Hound: 3 different packs. We don't recommend their packs for backpacking trips but they all are good for day hikes. For longer, all day hikes we recommend their DayPak. If you plan to do a shorter hike we recommend their Crest Stone Explorer Pack. All of their packs are comfortable and adjust easily, and are light weight, however correct sizing can be tricky with their packs.
Wolf Republic: 1 pack called the Ranger Pack. Great for both day hikes and backpacking trips. Their pack has a handle, breathable mesh lining, and is made of cotton canvas.
Putting jackets on your dogs is a great way to keep them warm, especially those who have short coats, but also cool coats can be great to keep your dog cool!
Brands we recommend for jackets are Ruffwear, Hurtta Collection, and Voyagers K9 Apparel.
Ruffwear has 8 different kind of jackets designed for cold weather. Most of these jackets are waterproof, insulated, and designed for snow, rainy, and cold weather hikes. They have 2 different coats for warm weather that are comfortable and designed to keep your dog cool while hiking with fabric that reflects solar radiation, and is light weight.
Hurtta has a variety of jackets for cold weather, rain, and vests to keep your dog cool. They have 5 different coats for rain that are designed to keep your dog dry, are waterproof, and can be worn by both long and shorthaired dogs. They have 8 coats for cold weather, they are water proof, range from shells to quilted coats and are breathable. While they don't have a cool coat they do have 2 kinds of cooling vests.
Voyagers K9 Apparel has 1 winter coat and 1 rain coat. They can be a bit more tricky with sizing as it is based off of your dog's breed and is not always accurate so you need to measure and select your size correctly and carefully. Because of this the jackets usually fit tailored exactly to your dog's body and are comfortable.
We hope this give you guys ideas into what gear to add and have for your hiking dogs!