Dog essentials in the backcountry Written by Mike.G on January 3rd, 2011

My wife and I have two dogs, Diasuke and Maggie. We rarely go anywhere without them. This is especially true when we hike, camp, and backpack. Over time, we’ve come to appreciate two pieces of gear that we consider essential when travelling anywhere with our pups.

The 1st, and most important piece of gear, is the Ruff Wear Flat Out™ Leash. Every good dog owner knows that dogs belong on a leash for their own safety, the safety of others, and the preservation of natural environments. This leash wraps around your waist with an adjustable clip. This allows for creating any sized loop and offers a quick connect/release. Above are some pictures of it in use. With the leash adjusted around your waist, your hands are free while your strongest body part (hips) is in control of your dog. Additionally, when you find a place to rest or set up camp, you can adjust the leash to clip around anything, even trees, to secure your dog.

The 2nd must have item is the Ruff Wear Palisades Pack II™ . This bag can serve many purposes because it is actually a harness with a detachable saddle bag. Not only do the bags expand and compress to fit any sized load, but they also have water bladders so your dog can carry water. This has the additional function of cooling your dog off when travelling in hot environments. The saddle bags are easy to disconnect whenever you stop to take a break, set up camp, or cross a stream. The harness can stay on, even in the tent while sleeping. The harness can also serve as a pulling harness. My dog can skijoure with me using his harness, and he can pull my wife up long, steep inclines. A convenient handle is top and center so you can pick your dog up with one strong arm to carry the animal over obstacles, through stream crossing, or to avoid confrontations with other dogs passing by on trail. Sometimes, having all four dog feet off the ground is essential if you have a highly motivated athlete like ours.

Ruff Wear™ does a great job with all of their gear. We also use their collapsable bowls. However, The Pallisades Pack II and the Flat Out Leash work in tandem so well, that they are considered essentials in our pack. They not only offer comfort and safety for your dogs, but they will also give your dogs a job and purpose that can enhance the experience for your entire pack. Consider trying these two products out, I’m confident you won’t regret it.

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