Treat Your Crag Dog to These Five Essentials
This equipment will keep your four-legged spotter safe while you’re on the wall
Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.
Hitting the crag with your pup allows you both to get the zoomies out. But dogs require a little bit of extra care in these environments: Without taking steps to keep them safe and comfortable in the backcountry, a day of climbing can quickly turn into a vet visit. This list of basic crag dog essentials will prepare you and your canine companion for a day or weekend-long adventure.
Ruffwear Doubleback Climbing & Rappelling Harness ($125)
Part harness, part safety device for unexpected rappels, the Ruffwear Doubleback Climbing & Rappelling Harness allows you to take your dog to hard-to-get-to places. This 420-denier ripstop nylon harness has a 2,000 Ibf/8.9 kN strength-rating—essential in a technical climbing environment. It’s specifically designed to prevent pinching and chafing and has extra padding to minimize squirming during technical operations. With leg loops that are similar to those that you’ll find on a human climbing harness, you can expect this rig to keep your pet secure, even in challenging situations.
Mountainsmith K9 Dog Pack ($75)
Finding a doggy backpack that’s actually comfortable for your dog and has plenty of storage space is harder than it sounds. Thanks to a tapered torso, the K9 Dog Pack distributes the load evenly across your pup’s spine, which lets them to stay comfortable even when they’re carrying your climbing cams. Mesh panels and perforated EVA foam helps keep your pooch from overheating. The pockets on this pack each have a five-liter capacity, which means that you can stash jackets, snacks, and other essentials. The K9 holds up to thorns and abrasion without issue thanks to a mix of 420 and 630-denier nylon PU-carbonate—critical for off-trail romps. But our favorite feature is the interior weather-resistant coating, which allows you to pack things like climbing chalk and pet food without worrying about the rain turning it into a soggy mess.
Burt’s Bees Paw and Nose Lotion ($7 for 4 oz.)
It’s not uncommon for crag pups to end up with cracked or dry feet from the heat and sharp terrain after a long trip. On top of that, it can be tough to successfully apply lotion to their paws since they have the tendency to lick it off. The Burt’s Bees Paw and Nose Lotion is a lifesaver in that regard, with a film-like texture that resists licking. And if your dog does manage to remove the lotion, you don’t have to worry about them getting sick, thanks to a 100-percent non-toxic ingredient list headlined by rosemary and olive oil.
Nite Ize Spotlit Rechargeable Collar Light ($20)
Keeping track of your pups at the crag can be a challenge while you’re on the wall and the sun starts to dip. The Nite lze Spotlit Rechargeable Collar Light makes it a whole lot easier. This little rechargeable light has a 10-hour run time and can hold up to rain, mud, and dings thanks to a stainless-steel carabiner that easily clips to your dog’s collar. When it’s dead, it fully charges via USB in just 1.5 hours. Four different color options make it easy to differentiate between your dogs while they’re bounding through the bushes, or to have an impromptu pup-powered light show.
Atlas Pet Lifetime Collar ($44) and Leash ($78)
Crags tend to be places where delicate petwear goes to die. Since they’re often full of snagging brush and prickly plants, it’s not uncommon to lose items entirely. But the Atlas Pet Lifetime Collar and Leash come with a life-long warranty to repair or replace them—ideal for the most active pups. Both the collar and the leash use dry-treated climbing rope for a durable, stylish look that’ll be the envy of all the other crag dogs (or more realistically, their owners).