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Backpacking tips with a Dog

I've got an Aussie pup, and I'm hoping to take him backpacking in the spring. He'll be about 9-10 months by then. What are your must-haves for your dog while backpacking/camping?

I'm planning to get him a pack of his own to carry some of his things. Aside from food and water, any favorite items to have?


3 Replies

@lindsayleebrown Thanks for reaching out!

What a fun experience for you and your pup! To start, we'd love for you to share a pic of your dog on our Favorite photo of your pet in the outdoors... thread! We're sure there are a lot of folks with good advice for you here, but we also encourage you to check out this conversation, Pet First Aid while camping, as being prepared in the event of an emergency is really critical to a positive experience for you and your dog.

One tip that I would recommend is spending some time with your dog in the tent. Practice getting in and out, getting used to not 'pawing' at the door to go out, learning to get comfortable on the ground or sharing a sleeping pad, etc. I've seen a couple of tents damaged by a pup doing what they normally do at home in order to be let out. While mesh can be repaired with some dental floss or a needle and thread, a tear in the body of the tent is a much harder repair to make in the field. It's much better to practice in your tent at home and acclimate your dog to tent life than it is to try and introduce them to that while out on the trail. On the trail they are also learning a ton of new smells, sights, and experiences so their minds are working overtime anyway.

Backpacking with your dog can be incredibly rewarding, we're looking forward to hearing more tips here from the community!


At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Thank you! Very helpful advice :)!

Hey @lindsayleebrown I'll echo what @REI-JohnJ said about first aid and tent repair items being probably the two most important. Tenacious tape is offered in both tent fabric and mesh ( and can be applied to down jackets or sleeping bags in a pinch. I also bring a small down blanket for her. Mostly it is to keep her from getting my sleeping bag completely filthy, but it can also give some cushion if she decides not to sleep on top of me. If you hike in the snow, I suggest getting your dog some bag balm. It keeps snow from forming balls of ice on your dogs pads and also prevents the pads from getting dried out and cracking.