Dog Gear


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Family Vacations, Summer 1998

Dog Gear

All the right stuff for canine campers
By Ron C. Judd

Ruff Wear Quencher Cinch Top

Let’s face it. At one time or another, even the most pooch-partial among us fantasize about that one piece of doggy paraphernalia we’d love to see invented — even if it would raise howls from the ASPCA and Friends of the President’s New Hound.

What would be wrong with a rooftop dog carrier? Who hasn’t taken a moment on a long, hot car trip to dream of it? Give it a cool, Velcro-rigged collar attachment to affix Fido, not unlike a surfboard, to the cartop. Call it the Yakima Pooch Porch. Or maybe the Thule Terrier Tote. Either way, dog is fresh and airy, family is peaceful and happy. Bliss!

OK, maybe not. Even if you’re one of those softies who prefer that Bailey the Great Dane ride in the back seat instead of up by the backpacks, these handy dog gadgets really do make travels easier.


Whether you’re in the car or in the middle of the River of No Return Wilderness, canine hydration is as important as the human kind — if not more so. A generation of dog travelers already has fallen in love with the collapsible nylon water/feed bowl, which can be stuffed in a pack pocket when not in use. The old standard got an upgrade this year. Ruff Wear’s Quencher Cinch Top bowl ($20) holds 2.5 quarts of food or water and has a nifty drawstring top to keep the kibbles fresh and bits tasty until the next day. To haul all the essentials, bring one of Ruff Wear’s W.A.G. (Water and Gear) Bags ($62), a tote made to hold food, water, and the odd
bone or ball, with a spigot at the bottom to fill a bowl on the go.

Wenaha Jogger Sport Pack; Ruff Wear Bark’n Boots

Backpackers and day hikers usually equip the dog with its own pack, which can be stuffed with dog food and drink or — if you’re more trusting — human gear that won’t fit in your own bag. A longtime industry standard is the beefy Wenaha Explorer II (large, $60), good for extended hikes. A smaller day-hiker version is the Jogger Sport Pack ($45). Both come in two pieces: a harness consisting of straps and webbing and a separate saddlebag that attaches with Velcro. Another top-of-the-line pack, individually crafted with doggy love in Oregon, is the Wolf Packs Banzai Explorer ($74), chock-full of features sure to make two-footers envious —
ballistics-cloth sides, reflective strips, built-in compression straps, and fleece-padded Fastex buckles. For good performance with less investment, try Caribou’s Woofer I, II, and III packs ($24-$30), with rounded corners to avoid snaring things.

Perry Greene Outfitters dog harness and skijor belt

Having the dog carry its own load has reached a new extreme with city dwellers who’ve taken to canine skijoring on paved trails. With your in-line skates, a dog harness, and padded skijor belt ($42, from Perry Greene Outfitters), the paved world is yours. Warning: They don’t come with brakes.

Too much trail work will leave the pooch with scuffed and irritated paws. Solve the problem with protective Bark ‘n Boots ($30, from Ruff Wear), which have rubberized pack-cloth paw pads and Velcro leg closures.

Finally, it was only a matter of time before the backcountry-nutritional-bar craze tunneled under the kennel wall. A bag of PowerBones ($1.89 each) should keep the pooch powered up all the way to the summit.

Photographs by Chip Simons