Photo of Golden Retriever dog playing in the creek.

A Peek In My Hiking Pack

by Kris Phillips

A. Backpack- Invest in a solid pack with chest and waist straps. You’ll be surprised how much they help distribute the weight off your shoulders.

B. Travel Hammock- Ok, so this one is just a luxury. But and AWESOME luxury. It’s such a treat to find a nice set of trees and just chill out for a bit during a long hike. And this hammock is designed not to damage the trees.

C. TP- this one’s pretty self explanatory

D. Paracord- Any survivalist will tell you this is a great addition with endless uses. Broken shoelace-fixed! Broken Back pack strap-Fixed! I even repaired Floki’s collar once after he chewed it apart.

E. Extra Socks- Nothing will destroy your feet faster than getting wet.

F. Poo Bags- Yes, it’s nature. But if everyone left their dogs poo behind it would be a pretty unpleasant hike, not to mention the disease for local wildlife. There is no poo fairy

G. Canned O2- About a year after moving here Robbie and I found ourselves and the dogs on a near vertical ascent out of a box canyon. We were traversing narrow ledges and hoisting the dogs up to each-other by their harnesses as we went. It was NERVE-WRACKING! When suddenly Robbie looked at me and said “your lips are blue!” Thin air+ physical strain+ anxiety = hypoxia! We stopped for a long rest and did some deep breathing but ever since then I’ve carried O2 just in case.

H. Park Maps- Many of the more popular parks will provide maps at their main trail heads. Always good to have on hand as long as you know how to read them.

I. Meal Bars- You never know when you’ll need an extra boost. I like Clif Peanut Butter Crunch bars because they are safe to share with the pups. If your planning to share make sure to avoid dog dangerous ingredients like raisins, chocolate, or peanut butter containing xylitol.

J. Sunscreen- Pick your favorite brand

K.Rescue Whistle & Compass- Just in case you get lost or injured and need rescue. Mine also contains a signal mirror inside the lid, and holds waterproof matches.

L. Yak-Traks- Or some other brand. The important part is being able to safely traverse icy trails. These little babies pull over the sole of your hiking boots and dig into the ice.

M. Light Sticks- Just in case your out past dark or need rescue.

N. First Aid Kit- You can pick up a hiker focused first aid kit at your local outdoor store. Also, consider adding a doggie first aid kit. You can even make your own.

O. Baby Socks- WHAT?! There’s nothing worse than watching your pup hobble back with a paw injury, especially if they’re too big to carry. Baby socks are the perfect size for medium to large dogs. They provide cushion and comfort in the case of an injured paw or protection over hot or rough terrain. You may also need a rubber band to keep them on, just make sure it’s not too tight. If you hike on rough terrain a lot consider picking up some actual dog boots.

P. Hot Hands- Especially if you hike in the winter these could save your fingers or toes.

Q. Emergency Solar Charger- Ever made it to the summit and tried to take some photos of the killer view only to find out your phones roaming mode has killed the battery? Plus, if you need a rescue your gps only works as long as there’s a charge.

R. Rescue Straw Water Purifier- Nothing will kill you faster than dehydration. This little gadget makes it safe to drink from any water source. At least in theory.

S. Extra Leash- In case yours breaks. Or you find a lost dog along the way.

T. Water Bottle(s)- You’ll probably need more than one. It’s recommended that you drink at least 1 liter of water for every two hours of hiking. And it’s been my experience that each (70lb) dog will drink about as much as I do if not more. If it’s a warm day, strenuous hike, or higher altitude you may need even more water.

U. Collapsible Dog Bowls- I carry one for each dog so they don’t have to take turns on our water breaks.

*Not Picture. Fine Toothed Comb- Just a standard plastic comb will save your fingers if your dog steps on a thorn bush or cactus.

Did I forget anything? What’s on your “must have” list?

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