How To Prepare Your Dog for Their First Backpacking Trip

How To Prepare Your Dog for Their First Backpacking Trip

If you’re anything like us here at RMD, chances are you’re thinking about hitting the trails to put in some miles with your adventure pup this spring and summer to experience the beauty and wonder that nature offers in the warmer months. Curious about how to prepare for longer adventures? Here’s some ideas about how to ready your dog for their first backpacking trip!

Get in Good Shape (both of you!)

Physical training and preparation are key to a successful outdoor adventure. Building up endurance and confidence is vital to preparing your dog for their first backpacking trip. Your dog needs be a ready to walk on a variety of different terrains and incline levels. Be mindful of the fact that not all breeds are naturally meant for extended exercise and even active breeds need conditioning for good performance. Some of the best breeds for hiking include Huskies, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds and Retrievers, but if you own a different breed that doesn’t mean you can’t train your pup to also be a great trekking companion! Backpacking trips tend to involve hiking many, many miles and physical limitations can undoubtedly get in the way. Start off the season with shorter hikes to warm up for a longer trip and with a little training, you’ll be ready in no time! Our favourite local training hikes include Lillian Lake, Chester Lake and Plain of the Six Glaciers. 

Grab Your Gear

Just like you, your dog needs the right gear for the adventure ahead and luckily, RMD has you covered! We build gear that is meant for the mountains, for the outdoors and for the harsh conditions of rain, snow, heat and cold. Our backpacking essentials include: 

  • A Hands-free, adjustable leash that includes a D-ring and barrel lock for accessories/poo bags, zero shock, stretchy webbing and a traffic handle for more control over difficult terrain. 
  • An All-terrain harness with front and back clips and four points of adjustment to allow for a customized fit, full range of motion and importantly, comfort.
  • A Dog Backpack with 8 stash pockets and external gear loops to carry all the essentials, but don't overload your dog; it’s recommended that your dog carry no more than 25% of its body weight in the backpack.
  • Dog Goggles that offer protection from harmful elements such as the sun, snow, debris, grasses and brush.

Don’t forget about other trail essentials such as doggie booties and an emergency sling should your dog get hurt and be unable to walk. Your pup will need to be familiar with this new gear beforehand, so get your dog comfortable wearing these items before you hit the trails.

Choose the right trail

The Rockies are the most beautiful adventure spot in the world (ok, maybe we’re a little bias) and offer endless opportunities for backpacking, so how to choose the right trail? You need a trail that’s dog-friendly, a suitable difficulty level, and doesn’t put either of you at an increased risk. Some of our favourite backpacking trips include: Mount Assiniboine and Lake O'Hara!