11 Essentials for Hiking with Your Dog
Chances are, you’ve heard of the ‘Ten Essentials.’ Many outdoor enthusiasts swear by this quick checklist to make sure they are prepared for whatever obstacle(s) they encounter. The original Ten Essentials list was introduced in the 1930s by a Seattle adventure organization, The Mountaineers. Our list builds upon the original list, but it keeps your dog in mind, too!
Be it a day hike or overnight trip, it is a good idea to use this list as a guide to help you with your packing. Depending on the time of year, the length of your trip, and the activity, this list will change, but you will be grateful you have these items on hand if your trip veers off-course.
- Snacks: Eating nutrient-rich food before, during, and after your activities is key to your success and safety. Sometimes you’re out for longer than you anticipate, so be sure to pack a few extra snacks, just in case.
- Multi-tool: It is always a good idea to have a multi-tool easily accessible. Chances are, most of the time its main purpose will be weighing down your pack, but when you need to cut a rope free or pick out a splinter, you’ll be grateful you kept it with you!
- Sun Protection: Protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays is important because not only will it help keep you from burning, but it will help you stay hydrated longer, too. Don’t forget about your dog’s eyes—lighter color eyes are extra sensitive to the sun’s rays.
- Dog Gear: You wouldn’t hit the trail without the right footwear or the right pack; it is important to make sure your dog doesn’t either. Companies like Ruffwear make it easy to outfit your dog for any adventure.
- Navigation: Even if you’re planning on hiking a trail you’ve hiked hundreds of times before, it is always smart to pack navigation tools like a map and compass. These tools will come in handy if you’re forced to take an alternate trail or you are looking for a water source.
- Extra Clothes: How many times have you left for a trip with the sun shining above you only to hear thunder crackling above just a few hours later? This happens frequently. Keeping a rain jacket tucked away in your pack is smart, and it can serve multiple purposes if need be.
- First Aid: Be sure to pack first aid essentials for you and your dog. Hopefully, you won’t end up needing to use these items, but you might be able to help someone else you meet on the trail.
- Headlamp: Having an extra light source is helpful if you find yourself stuck outside later than anticipated. Headlamps are also a great first aid tool. If you are trying to clean a wound, headlamps allow you to inspect the wound area better to make sure you’ve cleared out all the debris.
- Fire: It is smart to keep matches and/or a lighter in your pack. In case of an emergency, fire can be used to keep you warm, help you cook, and even send a signal for help.
- Shelter: If you’re heading out for a quick day hike, it might seem silly to pack an entire tent. We’re not saying you need to go that far, but throwing a small tarp or even a large poncho in your pack could really help you out if you get caught in a storm or need to create an emergency shelter for the night.
- Water: In addition to packing water for you and your dog, you should always have a way to purify water in your pack. There are many ways to purify water, and you will be thanking yourself when you avoid catching a waterborne illness!