Editor’s note: This year’s a bit different—shop early to avoid lines in-store and get your gifts delivered with plenty of time to spare. Shopping in-store? There might be a line. Join the virtual waitlist from anywhere to save time.
You have good gear, why shouldn’t your best friend? Upgrade your four-legged adventure buddy’s kit this year with any of our favorite gift ideas below.
This 6-footer from Ruffwear can be worn around your waist—perfect for hands-free trail running, backpacking or hiking. (Or cinch down the padded handle to carry like a standard leash; pictured above.) A lengthy bungee section absorbs shock and gives your pal some slack, and the talon-style clip is easy to operate on the move. A clever loop along the handle is great for stashing pick-up bags. $39.95
If you subscribe to the everyone-carries-their-share mentality, get your floof on board with a modest load in the versatile Ruffwear Approach dog pack. The saddlebags are fixed to the harness, which has a convenient grab handle (should your little mountain goat need a lift up a tall boulder or into the car) and a strong aluminum D-ring for connecting a leash. This pack is just voluminous enough for longer or overnight adventures (not enough room for a sleep system, though). My dog (above) carries his own water and first-aid kit on either side, plus a lightweight PackTowl and his food. He is also responsible for carrying out his own trailside presents, which is dog parenting at its finest. $79.95
No, this tool isn’t for your dog, but it is a dog, which makes it relevant for the dog lover (or GSP lover, right?) in your life. It weighs next to nothing and has various hex wrenches and rulers, plus a bottle opener, flathead screwdriver and file. Nice: No blades means this Ultimate Survival Technologies tool is TSA-friendly. $6.95
The Tiny Tent is, frankly, exactly what it sounds like. What is surprising is that it’s a feature-rich shelter that could warrant its own review in a tent gear guide. Double doors allow for easier egress, and a removable rainfly lets the air flow. The floor plan serves up 2.25 square feet of space, while a clever architecture with near-vertical walls makes the 12-inch peak height seem roomier than the number suggests. The novelty of the thing is why it sells out quickly each holiday season (so buy sooner than later), but if that should wear off, we bet your feline friend may take up residence. $20
Keep eyes on your best friend after the sun goes down with this light-up collar. Two colorful LEDs (green or blue) illuminate a lightweight polymer tube that you snip to fit around your pooch’s neck. I use mine for my dog on after-dark walks and campsite hangouts, plus as a nifty tool to keep him visible to traffic on before- or after-work runs in winter. Batteries are included, and Nite Ize claims a run time of about 60 hours. $12
Help protect your dog’s peepers from debris, sunshine, glare and haters with Rex Specs. A multi-point connection system loops under the muzzle and behind the ears for a secure, bounce-free fit. (The system isn’t as effective on flat-faced or short-nosed doggos like Chewy, unfortunately.) The interchangeable lenses (each pair comes with clear and dark options) are spherical for a wide field of vision and ultimate drip. My pup pawed his doggles at first but came to associate them with impending adventure and now places them as an offering at my feet when he’s itching to get sendy. Transition your dog into the goggle life slowly and patiently. $79.95
Looking to upgrade your buddy’s harness? Look no further. The venerable Ruffwear Front Range is light and airy enough for everyday wear and also burly enough for backcountry adventures. It’s made of ridiculously tough, 300-denier ripstop polyester (mine has survived everything from ski edges to teething puppies with nary a snag) and is padded with plush, closed-cell foam for all-day comfort. It has two leash-attachment points on the back and chest and comes in enough colors to satisfy the pickiest of hoomans. $39.95
For the dog lover in your life, here’s a tchotchke for your consideration. This wood sticker from Dust City is 2.2 inches by 3.6 inches—ideal for a water bottle or laptop—and made from sustainably sourced wood veneer. And after 2020, it seems like we all could use a hit of that open-gate mentality (while recreating responsibly, of course). $6
No, your dog doesn’t need a $40 bowl (here’s a great option for less than $15), but if you’re feeling generous it’s not as outrageous as it seems. The double-wall stainless steel is durable, easy to clean and—much like your own YETI—resistant to odor, rust and roughhousing. The Boomer 4 has a nonslip ring on the bottom and is dishwasher-safe, too. $39.98; also available in a larger, 8-inch version for $49.98
Help protect your pooch’s paws from snow, ice, granite, melt chemicals and more with the Ruffwear Grip Trex booties. They slide on easily with a hook-and-loop closure and boast a tacky Vibram outsole that’s on par with what’s likely on your own shoes. There’s a learning curve for the first-time wearer, but it tends to result in a funny video, so keep your phone handy. Note: The Grip Trex are sold in pairs because your dog’s front and back paws may be different sizes. $37.50
Fashion meets function in this collar, which has a starry alpine motif that’s perfect for four-legged adventure partners. Other than that, the OverLand has standard specs: polyester webbing, nylon buckle, steel D-ring. Nice touch: Wolfgang Man & Beast’s lifetime warranty. $17.95-$19.95
If you’re the sort of person who browses for holiday gifts for your doggo, then you’ll probably cry, “Take my money!” at this next bit: For every bag of Campfire Feast nibbles sold, GivePet donates enough yummies for 10 shelter pups. The treats are small-batch, grain-free, protein-rich and fish-smelly. $10 for a 12-ounce package.
OK, who lives to serve whom in this relationship? Cart your king or queen around in style with the Burley Tail Wagon, a two-wheeled trailer that hitches to your bike so all members of the family get to enjoy the outdoors. The cockpit has mesh windows on all sides, plus a rollaway cover for weatherproofing or letting your pal feel the wind in her face. Note: The weight capacity is 75 pounds. $400
All photography by Andrew Bydlon, Chewy’s dad.
Need more inspiration? Check out our Best Holiday Gifts for Less Than $50, Best Holiday Gifts for Outdoorsy Kids, Best Holiday Gifts for Runners, Best Holiday Gifts for Hikers and Campers, Best Holiday Gifts for Gadget Lovers, Best Holiday Gifts for Snow and Winter Lovers and more product roundups in our Trail Mix series.