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Trail Dog Hiking Gear Reviews

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Most of these items were not designed for pets in particular, but I find them better suited for trail doggin' than for their originally intended purposes.

Squishy Bowls - These are wonderful food & water bowls. I prefer them over fabric portable dog bowls/dishes as they last a lot longer, are easier to clean on the trail, can go in the dishwasher and don't leak! I've used fabric bowls in the past but they always tend to get dirty, worn out and stinky really fast. They don't hold up to many cycles in the washing machine before starting to breakdown and there isn't really any other way to thoroughly sanitize them after each trip. Squishy Bowls, on the other hand, don't hold bacteria and are made from silicone designed for human use so you know their standards are very high. They fit compactly into any pack space you can stuff them into, are brightly colored and easy to see in low light-conditions and best of all weigh only 3.3oz for the Large Bowl. The bowls are sold in a package with a cup that weighs 1.7oz. Squishy Bowls can be bought online and in-store at most backpacking/camping retailers starting at $15.

Large Carabiner - I always have a large, padded handle carabiner attached to the handle of Ripley's leash. I can quickly attach him to the hip belt on my pack to have both hands free, loop him around a tree or other object at rest breaks or anytime I need to focus on something else for a few moments and can easily attach two leashes to the carabiner when temporarily walking another hiker's dog. I like to use trekking poles and Rip has learned to walk nicely in front of me attached to my hip belt. At trailheads, with the car door open, the 'biner attaches to the latch bar on the frame of the car (not the actual latch or door itself) to keep Rip from jumping out of the car while I'm loading and unloading gear. Prices range from $5-$10 and these can be bought in pet stores, hardware stores and various places online.

Platy Bottle - If your dog wears a pack and carries his/her own food & water, these soft bottles are a perfect fit for your dog's panniers. Weight and balance are important but so is comfort. Hard sided bottles press into your dog's ribs and chest when the panniers bounce or when he runs into trees, rocks... legs! These soft-sided bottles from Platypus are the prefect solution. Platypus makes screw on lids as well as push-pull caps.

I recommend using two .5L bottles, one for each side, to make balancing your dog's pack easier. I do not recommend dogs carrying more than a liter, but large, well-conditioned dogs can carry up to 2L. Keep in mind that a liter of water weighs 2.2lbs, so don't over burden your pup! Read more about the importance of pack weight here. Platty bottles can be bought online and in-store at most backpacking/camping retailers starting around $7.

Handy Scoop - If you're on the trail for long stretches of time and are in a place where waste burial is appropriate, the Mont Bell Handy Trowel is an excellent and indeed handy tool to have on a hike. At only 1.4oz and 6 1/4 " long, you won't even notice this attached to you or your dog's pack. It is strong for being so tiny and breaks through rocky or frozen ground with no problems.

When using the trowel, make sure to adhere to Leave no Trace principles. The Mont Bell Handy Scoop can be purchased from for $8 plus shipping and tax.

Biobag Dog Waste Bags - Pet waste is one of the biggest, if not the biggest contributor to water pollution in the US. Poo is one of the most biodegradable substances on the planet yet each year pet owners throw away millions of plastic, poo-filled bags a year which sit in landfills unable to breakdown naturally.

As pet owners who travel in the woods with our companions, it's our responsibility to ensure that dog waste does not contribute to a negative impact on the environment. Leave no Trace outdoor ethics call for removal or burial of pet waste. I carry a trowel with me and often stop to bury Rip's waste, but that is not always convenient. I'm then left with carrying several bags of poo - sometimes for the next few days if we're out on a multi-day trip. In the past I've horded bags then cut them open and emptied the contents into a 'cat hole' dug 6-8" deep and then carried the now empty, stinky bags out to civilization to dispose of.

BioBags meet US and international standards for composting plastics. If you're using a 'biodegradable' plastic bag that does not meet ASTM D6400-99 certifications, your bag is not really all it claims to be. Only bags with the ASTM certification are truly biodegradable. What I like about BioBags is the fact that they are made from essentially a starch based material which will degrade under normal, rich soil conditions. This means they can be buried while on the trail for extended periods making it easier to pick up after your dog and to properly bury waste away from trails, campsites and water sources.

When your dog poos on a hike, if it's not convenient to bury it safely away from the trail and water sources, bag it and take it with you to either dispose of in a composting environment, in a trash can or bury it 6-8" deep in rich soil. These bags need natural microorganisms found in soil for proper breakdown.

Please remember the rule of thumb for whether you should pack it out or bury is if there are facilities along the trail or at trailheads where humans should 'do their business' or trash receptacles for waste, then you need to pack it out. If you're in the backcountry on on a trail system where it's acceptable for humans to bury their own waste, then you should also be burying your dog's waste as well.

BioBags can be bought online and in several pet store chains starting around $.14 a bag.

ExOfficio Buzz Off Paisley Bandana - Review coming soon!

Nite Ize SpotLit LED Clip-on Light - Review coming soon!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- - Review coming soon!

Aqua-fur Bowl - Review coming soon!

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Puppies!!! December 17, 2013 7:16 PM Alex
Trail Dog Hiking Gear Reviews December 17, 2013 7:19 PM Alex
Healthy Dog Policy December 17, 2013 7:17 PM Alex
Off Leash Dog Activities January 31, 2013 9:26 AM Alex
Previous Trail Dog of the Month Winners October 9, 2008 7:13 PM [Amy]
K9 Charity Events April 14, 2008 5:03 AM [Amy]
Trail Dog of the Month April 4, 2008 10:01 AM [Amy]
Tips for Trail Dog Safety December 17, 2013 7:19 PM Alex
Trail Rating System December 17, 2013 7:18 PM Alex
K9 First Aid Kit April 27, 2009 10:23 AM [Amy]
Trail Dog Gear April 27, 2009 10:22 AM [Amy]
K9 Training April 27, 2009 10:22 AM [Amy]

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