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Hiking with Your Dog - MUST HAVE'S for the Trail: What's in the backpack, what's in the truck?

There are endless lists of things that are suggested to keep Fido happy and safe. However, with the competing family members, we've tried to reduce and hone in on what's really needed for little Addison.

The Stuff: Dog Stuff by Where They Are!

Overall, our list is broken down into things in my pack, things on Addison, and stuff for the truck.

Backpack Essentials

Addison Essentials

Truck Essentials

A Run Down on the Dog Essentials

Of the 1,500 miles that Addison logged on her Garmin last year, we were really able to determine what items were needed and what just sat in the truck unused. And some, much like the Garmin itself might be a little pricey, so you'll need to decide how much time you in fact spend on the trail. If it's miles upon miles, then you might want to consider it.

So let's get at it.


Backpack Essentials

The Show Slip is thin, and light, and wraps up into a small bundle for ease of storage and use. If Addison is off-leash and running around, we can drape it around our neck just in case it's needed quickly, e.g., we're about to pass oncoming hikers.


Goes without saying, pack it out. If nature didn't leave it there in the first place, it shouldn't stay there.


Visi-Vest - Mendota Pet (blaze orange vest)

Often times we're hiking in Wildlife Management Areas where Addison has the freedom to run off-leash as a part of the rules of the area. That also means that there are hunters that can be present. This is a must if you are trekking around in any areas that are hunter friendly.


Gatorskin Squeeze Bottle Green Bottle (water for the dog on the trail)

This is a little controversial because many think that the dog drinking from the bottle drips all over the ground and is not reasonable. Water is important and you're method might be with a collapsible bowl. Ours is a squeeze bottle. She drinks more frequently when she can pit stop with it. If we get out of the collapsible bowl, we find she glances over the bowl.

And with enough practice, you can teach the dog to drink from the bottle with little spillage. Start by holding your hand on top of the dog's snout and using your fingers on each side of the mouth to crack open their mouth, insert the nozzle, and gently squeeze. After about 10-20 reps, they will figure it out. The key is to gently squeeze.


Check with your vet for recommended dosage, but we never leave home without it. Should the dog get a wasp bite or run over something that she's allergic to, more times than not, Benadryl has come to the rescue. We typically give Addison 1 mg/lb.


Check out our last blog that suggests a few items for the dog, but doesn't go extensively into a list like this one. HOWEVER, please, please, please bring a First Aid kit that has stuff for both humans and dogs.


Addison Essentials

This is the priciest one on the list. Addison logged over 1,500 miles on the trail last year. It was a banner year for her and it will be less this year, but we should still peak around 1,000 miles.

When you're deep in the woods, it can be concerning if you allow your dog to run free and not have control over their whereabouts and/or an effective way to signal recall (beep or buzz in our case). Especially if you are off-grid and out of cell coverage, this product uses GPS and radio frequency with the ability to use it as a satellite communicator (see prior blogs on our overview).


For those that do not need the full Garmin GPS tracking while off-grid, consider a tracking collar that uses cellular to keep tabs on Fido.


Truck Essentials

By far the best dog water for the car. Squeeze it and it pushes water into the small bowl on top. When your dog is done, it drains back into the bottle. It really doesn't get any easier than that.


Bath Sheet, bath towel, old towel ... it's muddy outside and dirty. We keep a stack of towels in the vehicle for then Addison runs in the water, tracks through the mud, and just generally gets dirty when she is outside. Bring a stack of these, you can never have enough towels.


Paw maintenance is important. Just as much as toenail maintenance. When you get back to the truck, take a peek at the dog's paws. Sometimes they need a little pad rub-down. This can also be done at home, sometimes Addison likes to lick her paws after we put this on.


Don't leave home without some sort of Tick deterrent. Even if your dog is taking a preventative, they are just unpleasant and come out in droves in the summer. Rather than pull them off after you get back, give Fido a generous spraying all over and skip the pulling ticks out.


When you get back to the truck, if the dog is not wet, it's hard to really clean them with a towel. The dust and dirt really don't come off without some type of water. You make go through a half dozen of these, they are worth it for getting grime, dirt, and pollen off the dog for the ride home. And by wiping the dog off after the walk, you can inspect for ticks, cuts, etc.


NOTE: An important dog essential that's at home and not with us is nail clippers. We encourage you to practice regular maintenance on Fido's nails. If they get too long, they can crack when they are out adventuring. Not only is it painful for the dog, the nails actually have blood vessels in them and can start to bleed continuously. Be careful cutting them, but make sure to keep them maintained.

We hope that this list helps and makes getting outside a little bit easier. Enjoy your next hiking trek and go get outside!


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