Dog Hiking Gear

What is in Goose’s pack? 

I get this question a lot. So I figure I will go into more detail on why he has a backpack and what he carries and why.

Pack: His actual pack is a Ruffwear Approach Pack size small in campfire orange weight is: 1.05 lb  and (9 L) capacity. When I was in the market for a dog backpack I did a lot of research and found that Ruffwear as far as design and material quality was far superior to a lot of pack out there. I know there are some private companies that do custom harnesses and packs that look very nice but the price was pretty steep because you are paying for the customization. Ruffwear also has a great return/exchange policy so if the pack is the wrong size Ruffwear will work with you to find the perfect fit, the customer service is wonderful. There is a Ruffwear Palisades Pack that I almost got because the saddle bags are completely removable leaving just the webmaster harness. But I opted for the fixed Approach pack only cause if I was going to go threw the trouble of taking my pack completely off I would do the same for Goose, and to be honest its a simple on and off if you can put on a webmaster harness its the same thing.


Bear Bell: Ok, so the places we typically hike is not bear country but making that extra bit of noise will scare skunks, javelinas, mountain lions and coyotes and make our presence known.

Bandanna: The bright color is great for visibility and we also spray it with eucalyptus oil or ceder oil both great natural ways for keeping fleas and ticks away.

Collapsible water bowl: I use the Kurgo collapsible water bowl and just recently the collapsible water bowl from Barktastic.

Poop Bags: Cause no one wants to see dog poop on the trail! (Leave no trace)

Comb & Leather-man: Two things I will always have with me when I am in the desert with or with out a dog. The comb is for cactus the most specific type of cactus is the jumping cactus aka cholla and the leather-man cause some times the comb can only do so much and you have to pull the cactus spines out one spine at a time. No matter how careful you are you will have a run in with cactus at least once on a trail in the desert, and using your hands is not an option.

Extra slip lead: Just in case you never know when a leash will come in handy there are so many uses for a slip lead.

Extra dog bowl: Its a soft light bowl just in case one of the collapsible bowls fail.

Carabiner: cause you never know what you might need to attach to your dogs pack.

Soft Frisbee: Hey play time happens! We pack a light soft Frisbee it is nice cause it saves on weight and can be smooshed in the pack.

Rag: Sham-wow rag to be more specific. A great rag to do a quick dry off if your dog gets wet or if you need to wipe paws off or to be used for first aid.

First-Aid: I don’t have a specific first aid kid just yet but I do carry gauze wrap, tape and rubber dog boots. Cause the main thing I have run into on the trail is raw paws or cut pads, it happens when your on rough terrain and these 3 essentials is what works for me and my dogs. I know eventually I will have a nice brand of dog boots but I have yet decided on which brand.

Human Knee Brace: Yup my boy carries this for me. I have a really bad knee and if I ever need it, It is easier to get out of his pack then mine.

(2) 32oz Water bottles: Seems excessive but hiking in the desert winter or summer we use a ton of water. For now he has two REI plastic 32oz water bottles. I have two Ruffwear 1 Liter hydration bladders on order only cause some places we hike there are boulders and his pack does hit the rocks every now and then and when the trail is narrow having the hard water bottles in the pack smack the hard rocks, well this is starting to take a toll on the sides of my pack so I am hoping the soft hydration bladders help save the sides of Goose’s Ruffwear pack.

Food for the trail: TurboPUP Bars the best trail food out there high quality human grade ingredients! Not a power bar, not a energy shot, and not a treat it is  a meal! Goose and my other two pups love love LOVE TurboPUP Bars Peanut butter and Bacon are the two flavors and they are light weight, calorie dense and will keep your pup going on the trail. I never go hiking with out one.

How much weight is right for my dog to carry in his pack? A young and healthy dogs can carry up to 25% of their weight. I like to stick with 10% to 15% for Goose he is 45/50 pounds and his pack weighs in at 7/8 pounds with everything including the pack its self. The weight also depends on breed while other breeds aren’t cut out to carry much weight at all. The amount you should pack also changes with age. This is a good topic to discuss with your vet. 

WHY a dog Pack? So now you know what Goose has in his pack and why he has it, but I also said I’d tell you why he carries one. Well he is more then able to carry his own pack and it helps me out cause then it saves weight for me in my pack which means we can hike longer cause we both can carry more water. He also loves his pack when he see’s his pack come out he knows that we are going on a big hike! And he can’t wait to get it on his back and head out to the trail. He is fulfilled because he is working, Australian shepherds are working dogs and we don’t live on a farm or own cattle so this is the next best thing. A happy dog is a tired dog and a dog that feels like he has a done a good days work is happy, don’t you feel good about your self when you worked hard? Well so do dogs. He is so happy with him self, he may not be able to verbally tell me but his actions speak louder then words.


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