May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine

Family Vacations Guide


Cutting-edge essentials for the pup on the go


Camp Mat Your thinking: Pookie, being a dog after all, doesn't really need a fancy-pants padded bed to sleep under the stars, or especially in the tent. His thinking: Neither do you and the kids! Keep the mutt warm--and out of your own bag--with Caddis Pet Products's Camp Mat ($32.50; 30" x 40"). Beneath its cushy faux-fleece top sits a floor of water-resistant nylon packcloth. And for those midnight strolls around camp, outfit him with a snazzy new 3M Scotchlite Reflective Collar ($12) from Bison Belts.


Just your luck. The new maxivan comes with an LCD DVD player and at least 17 cupholders--but no room for that big, trusty plastic dog crate, essential for preventing summer road trips from turning into outright mutt-astrophes. Solve the problem with a Doggone Good portable Cabana Crate. In the time it takes the hound to do his/her/its business after escaping the car, it converts from a compact storage bag into an aluminum-framed kennel crate. The mesh walls provide great ventilation, and you can choose from a range of Cordura accent colors in such pleasing shades as teal, hunter, and burgundy. Available in mini ($98) to XL ($192).


Do your driving-challenged spouse's knee-jerk stops make you cringe? Try riding one out unbelted, with your head out the window and your tongue flapping in the breeze. Anyone who's attempted to secure a dog in the back with a leash appreciates the futility--and hazard--of having a seat belt tethered only around his neck. Solve the problem with the Ruff Rider Roadie series of car safety harnesses ($37–$91), which attach into existing seat belts.


PetSTEP The people who invented the high-clearance SUV clearly failed to communicate with the folks who designed the low-clearance dog. Getting doddering Clarence into the back of that new sport ute can be hard on the back (yours) and bad for the hips (his). Enter the PetSTEP ($150), a foldable plastic ramp that reduces your old pal's ascent to the rear of the Durango from a harrowing summit pitch to a leisurely stroll. The nonslip ramp is made of plastic and claims to support porker pooches up to--ahem--500 pounds.  —Ron C. Judd

Photography by Douglas Merriam

Filed To: Dogs

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