Trail Mix: Adventure Pup

Our staffers pick their favorite dog gear for our four-legged best friends.


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You have good gear—why shouldn’t your doggo? Whether you’re in the market for a new leash or your fluffer’s first pack, find the perfect addition to Fido’s kit among these nine staff picks. 

Wolfgang Man & Beast LokiWolf CollarWolfgang Man & Beast LokiWolf Collar

Looking to upgrade your pooch’s necklace? Made in partnership with Loki the Wolfdog (of Instagram fame), this collar from Wolfgang Man & Beast is constructed with abrasion-resistant polyester (and pull-tested at 800 pounds, which seems excessive, but neat). The massive buckle is easy to thumb with one hand, and the single D-ring is great for clipping licenses and a leash. Each size has up to 8 inches of play via the easy sliding adjustment. Starting at $17.95, 3 sizes

Ruffwear Knot-a-Leash Dog LeashRuffwear Knot-a-Leash Dog Leash

Ruffwear makes this 5-footer out of a standard kernmantle rope (meaning the rope has an interior core covered by woven nylon, similar to a climbing rope) for durability and general outdoorsy swagger. Reflective elements in the nylon improve visibility at nighttime, while a clever loop near the handle is great for stashing pick-up bags. Attach the Knot-a-Leash to your dog’s collar or harness with a locking carabiner, which is easy to operate on the move. $34.95

Nite Ize SpotLit LED Carabiner LightNite Ize SpotLit LED Carabiner Light

About the size of half a table-tennis ball, this basic key chain from Nite Ize clips to your dog’s collar via a mini carabiner—perfect for nighttime walks or hanging out at camp. Squeeze the housing to turn it on or double press for rave flash mode. You can set it to one of six colors or let it automatically cycle through the rainbow in disco mode. Nite Ize claims 20 hours of burn time on the two included lithium batteries. $9.50

Rex Specs Dog GogglesRex Specs Dog Goggles

Help protect your dog’s peepers from debris, sunshine, glare and haters with Rex Specs. A multi-point connection system loops under the dog’s muzzle and behind its ears for a secure, bounce-free fit. The lenses, which are changeable (each pair comes with clear and dark options), are spherical for a wide field of vision. My pup (sorry, not on Instagram) pawed his doggie goggles 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, 5 sizes

Ruffwear Palisades Dog PackRuffwear Palisades Dog Pack

If you subscribe to the everyone-carries-their-share mentality, get your pooch on board with a modest load in the versatile Ruffwear Palisades dog pack. A two-part system, the saddlebags connect to an included harness, which is just as useful on its own. The snug harness has a convenient grab handle on top (should your little mountain goat need a lift up a tall boulder or into the car) and a superstrong aluminum D-ring for connecting a leash. Nice touch: Since the saddlebags clip to the top of the harness, it’s all but impossible to Titanic the load with uneven packing (say, if your dog carries its water in one side and pick-up bags in the other). Multiple pockets on each side allow for all sorts of packing configurations. (Tips: Never pack the Ten Essentials in your dog’s pack, and try not to load it up at more than 25 percent of its body weight.) $149.95, 3 sizes

Ruffwear Vert Dog JacketRuffwear Vert Dog Jacket

Hey, some dogs need a little something extra in wintertime. The Vert from Ruffwear is a great answer for active dogs. It’s water- and windproof, but lightweight (a fleece lining is the only insulation). Plus, a storm collar can be deployed in nasty weather. The Vert stays put via two leg loops, and a leash portal allows you to clip into a harness. The synthetic liner dries fast, and the whole thing is machine washable (air dry it, though). $79.95; 5 sizes

Cycle Dog Earth Friendly Pick-Up BagsCycle Dog Earth Friendly Pick-Up Bags

Leave No Trace applies to fur friends, too. Luckily, there are all sorts of biodegradable baggie options, so you don’t have to use plastic. These Earth Friendly Pick-Up Bags from Cycle Dog are plant-based, but just as good at removing presents from the trail as their non-compostable counterparts. Each box contains six rolls of a dozen baggies. $8

Mountainsmith Packing CubeMountainsmith Packing Cube

There’s no right way to get your buddy ready for an adventure, but one way to make it easier for yourself is to have a “go bag” ready. Any small luggage will do, but we like the Packing Cubes from Mountainsmith (which you can mix and match and load into a bigger hauler). Keep a spare leash, a first-aid kit, a bowl, enough kibble for a few meals and a water bottle inside, along with whatever accoutrements are unique to your doggo (chew toys, bones, tennis balls, training treats, meds, etc.). The Packing Cube stands on its own and has adjustable handles that you can carry or shoulder. $27.95

REI Co-op Camp BlanketREI Co-op Camp Blanket

Dirty dogs aren’t great tentmates. Whether you’re picnicking, watching a Little League game or taking a trailside snack break, having an established outdoor, dog-friendly blanket can make life comfier and cleaner. This packable throw from REI Co-op has synthetic fill to insulate from the cold ground, plus a Pertex nylon shell with a DWR finish for shedding dirt, light precip and dog hair. (You could even keep the Camp Blanket in your Packing Cube for maximum convenience.) Starting at $79.95; 2 sizes

Need more adventure dog advice? Score more tips and tricks for getting your dog trail-ready for running or hiking at the Co-op Journal. Interested in more staff picks and kits? Find more collections here.