Have Dog, Will Backpack: Guide to 'Packing With Man's Best Friend




Introduction: Have Dog, Will Backpack: Guide to 'Packing With Man's Best Friend

About: A firm believer in the teachings of the great sage, MacGyver, I found instructables almost 6-ish years ago, and it quickly became my favorite site (replacing google and cracked.com in my "most visited si…

Are you a dog lover, like me? Do you have tons more fun doing stuff with your dog, as opposed to not? And, most importantly, do u like to backpack?

Well bringing Spot along with you on your trip might be "just your speed" (and other analogies). Dogs require special care on backpacking trips, but I assure you, he/she will LOVE you for it.



**ALSO** If you have a little programing experience, check out this 'ible for an insane dog backpack mod!

Step 1: Your Dog

First of all, take a good look at your dog. What physical condition are they in? What breed of dog are they?

Keep these in mind throughout the planning of your trip.

Some dogs are more suited to the hiking and the heavy duty exercise that is backpacking, some are more suited to sitting on your lap and yipping at everything that exists. You can bring any dog you want, just remember: Some dogs LOVE the outdoors, some don't. Just like people, there are "city-dogs".

Remember that you need to bring everything with you while backpacking. Bringing a dog means extra water, extra food, extra bowl, extra sleeping arangements, maby extra clothes, and a chew toy (unless you bring one normally... To each their own, amiright?)

Now you have to carry all of that extra weight, while your dog chases all of the birds...

There has to be a better way... Oh, wait!

Step 2: Gear: Enter, the Dog Backpack!!

You can pick up one of these absolutely awesome packs at most camping specialty stores, like REI, or Gander Mountain. Also, you can find some pretty sweet deals shopping online.

They run about $40-$80, depnding on the model, brand and size.

Dog packs usually have a capacity of 2-10 liters, and they don't weigh more than a few pounds. They are very nice, specially designed to keep your dog comfortable (if used and fitted properly). Best of all(!), doggy can carry all of his/her stuff!!

When you buy a dog pack, you need to train your dog to wear it...

Step 3: Training Your Dog to Wear Their Spiffy New Pack!

The first thing you should do when you buy the pack is put it on the dog. They will probably do something funny, like freeze, or try to run really fast to get out. Some dogs are just cool with it. Either way, take the dog for a walk with an empty back. Try to do fun things with your dog, so they associate the pack with adventure time(!).

Then, fire up your Rocky-Style Training Montage-o-matic! and start training with your dog. Run them with the empty pack, then start putting light loads in it, like a few water bottles or some food. Or treats and their favorite toy. They'll like that.

When your dog gets more used to the pack, start taking them out on day hikes with a pretty decent load. pay attention to how much your dog can carry, though... we don't want to hurt them.

That's a good point: some dogs shouldn't have packs. I have 3 dogs, and my oldest is almost 12. She can handle a really easy hike, but no pack for her. She's never had joint problems, but I don't wanna push her. :) I'll gladly carry her stuff.

Step 4: Planning the Trip With Canis Lupus Familiaris in Mind

Remember when I told you to think about your dog's cappibilities? We'll really put it to use now.

Get a map of the trails you'll be hiking on. You'll need to plan a corse that will challenge your dog, but not hurt them. A topographic map will help you decide a good route to take.

After that, you'll need to think of your dog's predicted water needs. Pay attention to how hot they will be (also, how sunny it'll get, humidity, the color of your friend's fur).

Then, how much food does your dog usually eat? You'll probably want to bring more, unless your dog usually exersises this much. Hiking burns tons of calories.

A dog first aid kit will be a must on your trip. include things like, gauze bandages and pads for wounds, styptic pencil to heal seal minor cuts, sterile eye wash to clean minor debris and dust from your dog's eye, medical scissors, small bottle of hydrogen peroxide, adhesive tape, gloves, ice pack, tweezers for pulling out thorns or stickers, various ointments for pain relief, bug bites or to clean wounds, sting relief pads, small emergency blanket that you use for shock or to carry out your dog if injured, identification card including current vaccinations, any medications that your dog is currently taking, and a canine first aid book.

Try to keep the first aid kit lightweight but usable. Be flexible and add the items that your dog might need.

Check to see if their might be a danger of ticks in the area you're going to. Get the proper flea/tick/mesquito/whatever pretection for him/her.

Dogs are simple creatures, who are entertained by simple things. Bring a ball.

Lastly, is your dog a "runner"? Will he/she bolt away from you at warp speed if let off the leash for even one second? Remember the leash, and make sure their tags are up-to-date. I'd sure hate to loose my best friend.

Step 5: Properly Packing the Pooch Pack

Packing the pack is pretty simple. The goal is to try to minimize shifting, and to try to get everything as compact as you can.

Really, packing this pack is just like packing a normal backpacking pack. Distribute the weight evenly, and try to place the heaviest items in the middle, this will keep the center of gravity as normal for the dog as possible.

I suggest putting the toys and treats in your pack. After all, those are half the reason dogs stick with us humans, right?

Step 6: We Who Are About to 'Pack, Salute You!

Go have fun! Go have all the fun you possibly can, and if you did this right, you could never have as much fun as your dog will have when you spend time with them.

Thats ok. 

Thats how its supposed to be. 
Its the absolutely stunning beauty of owning a dog. They're your best friend, they will always be, as long as you're theirs.

Anyways, enjoy this video of two of my dogs, Abby and Bailey, playing in the yard. :) Abby love her pack.

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    7 years ago on Introduction

    You also should have said that a (healthy, minimum 12 months old) dog cannot (shouldn´t) carry more than 15% of it´s own body weight! A dog has a different anatomy than humans!

    I´m (my dog is...)doing this since a few years and it´s perfect. When you´re going to try on and buy such a pack i would recommend to fill it with a few towels or so, because i´ve seen many dogs having problems with empty bags( it´s making a lot of noise when not filled). And DON´T buy the cheap ones( they´re too shaky especially when loaded, dont´t have comression straps, no possibility to help the dog at difficult passages, and so on...) but at least one with an additional strap that goes "behind" (near the stomach) the costal arch.

    My dog (so I) owns the older version of the Pack from your last picture under "Step 5" since 6.5 or 7.5 years and in that period of time she has worn it for about 2.5 years daily and since then for about 5 to 6 Weeks a Year and it´s still in good condition( except one "Klick- Mechanism" which I had to replace). The only problem my dog( and of course I) had, was that she had problems to realize that she is a bit broader when she wears it.

    Additionally, if you´re interested in dog sports, this is a good possibility to start serios work with your dog( dogs love it todo sth. for their masters).

    Sorry for any possible mistakes, but my school-time is long ago (I´m not from an english speaking country).

    Have fun while doing this and don´t overcharge your (hopefully) best friend.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for the feedback. :) I actually learned the lesson about an empty pack with my friend's dog... Big great dane mix loved training with an empty pack, but it was like we had to train him all over again with his gear in it... Such a pain. And your English is perfectly fine, better than some native speakers I've met. ;p


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Another great dog for this is the weimaraner


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I have 3 weimaraners, and they LOVE being at the beach, I agree with that!


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I've never actually heard of this breed... Google! Do you know?.... Of course you knew. :P