The best hiking gear for dogs

Get your pup trail-ready with this essential hiking gear for dogs

Most dogs love to be outdoors. They eagerly jump into the car as soon as their owners start putting on a pair of hiking boots or pull out their backpacks. But before venturing out with your canine friends, it’s important to make sure both you and your pup are prepared. Start by packing those dog-specific essentials for food, water, and gear that is suitable for the conditions. Deciding what gear to buy for your dog can be daunting which is why we’ve put together this list of recommended essentials for the trail hounds (and seadogs) we know and love. Here are our picks of the best hiking gear for dogs.

Ruffwear Front Range Harness

Our Pick

best dog hiking gear Ruffwear Front Range Harness

The Front Range harness is padded for comfort and constructed for durability, keeping your dog safe and comfortable for years. A versatile harness, it offers four points of adjustment ensuring the best fit for any breed of dog. It also allows users to adjust these points to prevent uncomfortable chafing and grant a full range of motion.

It features two attachment points — an aluminum V-ring on the dog’s back and a loop of reinforced webbing on the dog’s chest. Best of all, the harness offers extra padding, which is ideal for long days of walking around town or trekking across mountain trails. When it comes to choosing the best hiking gear for dogs, it really is tough to top Ruffwear’s Front Range Harness — and at $40, is quite the steal.

Flowfold Trailmate Leash

The best dog leash

best hiking gear for dogs flowfold trailmate leash

A leash is an important piece of gear for keeping your pup safe while on the trail. It not only prevents them from inadvertently chasing wildlife or approaching other hikers, it ensures they stay close to your side at all times. Most trails also require all dogs to be on a leash, making this mandatory equipment for almost any hike with your dog.

The $25 Trailmate leash from Flowfold is made from recycled climbing ropes, which means it’s not only extremely durable but it’s good for the environment, too. This leash is soft to the touch and provides just the right amount of flexibility, as well. Measuring 5 feet from end to end, it is also the perfect length to give your canine companion room to roam, without wandering too far.

Ruffwear Approach Pack

The best dog pack

best hiking gear for dogs ruffwear approach pack

Ruffwear’s Approach Pack offers 5 liters of carrying capacity, allowing your dog to carry their own gear and supplies on a hike. The pack comes with an integrated harness, features zippered pockets on both sides, and has been ergonomically designed to remain stable thanks to its five different points of adjustment. It also offers two distinct places to attach a leash and is made from a reflective material that makes it easy to spot in low light conditions. The Approach Pack is available in four different sizes.

Those looking for something a little smaller may find the newly-redesigned Ruffwear Singletrack Pack to be more to their liking. It offers many of the same features as the $80 Approach Pack, but in a lighter, slimmer form factor.

Ruffwear Grip Trex

The best dog booties

best dog hiking gear Ruffwear Grip Trex

Like human feet, dog paws require protection when walking on rugged terrain or in extreme weather conditions. Ruffwear’s Grip Trex booties ($75) are comfortable on your dog’s feet and provide outstanding protection from rocks, roots, and other rugged conditions. These all-terrain booties have a flexible and comfortable fit, allowing most dogs to wear them without trying to kick them off.

They also offer a Vibram bottom for protection from hot sand and other damaging surfaces while providing extra grip on rocks and roots. In the winter, the Grip Trex are essential for preventing snow and ice from balling up in a dog’s paws. You can also help protect your dog’s feet by applying Musher’s Secret paw wax, too.

Outward Hound Port-a-Bowl

The best dog bowl for the trail

The Port-a-Bowl costs just $7, fits easily in a backpack or bag, and is durable enough for even the rockiest terrain. The simple fabric dish is also extremely lightweight, weighing less than 2 ounces and stuffs down to the size of a fist. On the trail, the bowl is rigid enough to hold any kind of food and is perfect for a quick water stop, and durable for either day trips or week-long backpacking excursions. With a price tag under $10, Outward Hound’s Port-a-Bowl is as cost-effective a piece of dog hiking gear as it gets.

Adventure Medical Kits Trail Dog

The best dog first aid kit

adventure medical series trail dog

One of the major concerns for any dog owner is keeping their canine companion safe out on the trail. That means bringing along a dog-specific first aid kit for those “just-in-case” moments. Adventure Medical Kits’ Trail Dog model provides everything you need to treat simple injuries, cuts, scrapes, insect bites, and other issues that could arise while on a hike, and costs just $25 to add to your hiking arsenal. As with all AMK products, everything is neatly organized, clearly labeled, and easy to find, which is exactly what you want when dealing with a potential emergency.

How we test

When possible, our dog gear recommendations have been field tested across a variety of terrains and weather conditions. We try to test each item under the conditions which it will be most frequently used. When testing the gear is not possible, we look at the features of the item and compare it to existing models in our arsenal of gear.

We examine how each piece of hiking gear for dogs changed and what improvements, if any, were made for the current year. We also comb through product specifications and both manufacturer and retailer videos for insight into any new technology advances that were developed for these latest and greatest dog-centric items.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Click-to-brew beer, comfy headlamps, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses - something no phone…

Here's a few tips to getting the best camera gear on Prime Day

Not all sales on cameras, lenses, and other gear is worth it. But, if you do your research and shop wisely, you might just be able to snag a camera, lens, or accessory you've been hoping to pick up.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 vs. RTX 2080 Ti

Nvidia's RTX 2080 Ti is a beast of a graphics card, packing in RT, Tensor, and CUDA cores to enhance your gaming experience. We'll compare the Ti variant to the standard RTX 2080, and we'll let you know which card to buy.
Emerging Tech

‘Crop-dusting’ drones drop biodegradable sensors instead of pesticides

The future of farming might involve using drones to airdrop hundreds of tiny sensors, called PlantCopters, which can keep track of crop growth, crop health, and surrounding microclimate.
Smart Home

Ex-Rolls-Royce engineer looks to conquer the tiny home market with the Conker

Meet The Conker. Resembling a soccer ball on stilts, this stunningly stylish glamping dwelling will convince nearly everyone who sees it that this is what the future of living looks like.

Polar improves heart rate tracking with its new Vantage wearables

Polar launched its latest lineup of devices. Known as the Polar Vantage V and the Polar Vantage M, both provide a new optical heart rate sensor, additional tracking metrics, and more.

Take your workout up a notch with two new fitness watches from Polar

The new Polar Vantage V and M fitness watches include improved heart rate tracking, better battery life, onboard virtual coaching, and connectivity to allow sharing workouts through social media.

ZenBivy’s new hybrid sleeping bag makes mummy bags look downright primitive

Ditch your traditional sleeping bag in favor of the new ZenBivy Light Bed, a versatile sleep system that combines a quilt, fitted sheet, and a sleeping pad to create a zipper-less option for campers and backpackers.

Drink what nature provides with the best water purifiers

Looking for reliable water purification? Staying hydrated is important, especially when you are hiking or camping far from civilization. Check out our picks of the best water purifiers for your camp, backpack, or pocket.
Emerging Tech

Stay up-to-date on Hurricane Florence’s path with these apps and websites

Looking to track Hurricane Florence's path towards the U.S. coast? This list of the best hurricane apps and websites with help you stay ahead of this or any future storm, and stay safe.

The 10 best windproof umbrellas to help you weather the storm

The rains have come and they have no mercy. Can your current umbrella handle everything nature can throw at it? Here are 10 of the best windproof umbrella deals available now to help keep you safe and dry.

These are the best action cameras money can buy

Action cameras are great tools for capturing videos of your everyday activities, whether it's a birthday party or the steepest slope you've ever descended on your snowboard. These are the best money can buy.

Withings reclaims its brand with the new Steel HR Sport hybrid watch

After repurchasing itself from Nokia, Withings is back with the new Steel HR Sport fitness tracker. The hybrid sports watch may look familiar, but any resemblances to Nokia's Steel HR are only skin-deep.