The Ultimate Guide to Backpacking, Hiking and Camping With Your Dog

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Woman on mountain top with dog and backpackWhen we adopted our dog, Sally, we knew she’d be the perfect hiking companion. As we prepared for some outdoor trips with her, we researched all the latest hiking gear to have with us and here are the top picks for each category.

Article Overview

Best Leash For Hiking With Dog: Chaco Dog Leash

Chaco Dog LeashView on Amazon

If you want a leash that will be more convenient while hiking, look for a hands-free leash like this one from Chaco.

If you’re staggering and/or falling on the bumpy terrain, you’ll want your hands to be free so that you can catch yourself.

And if you have Chaco sandals, you and your dog will be styling together 😉 . This leash is convenient with a waist size that’s customizable, so you can tether your dog up to anything (tree, fence post, etc.) and it can quickly adjust to fit around anyone.

We also bought the matching collar in the same design (Arrows Slate).

Warranty Experience

After 3 years of using this leash almost daily, the Chaco buckle broke on one of my husband’s runs with our dog. Fortunately, our dog didn’t get away. I emailed Chaco asking if we could get the leash repaired or replaced and they offered to send us a brand new leash. I was thoroughly impressed with Chaco’s customer service and the fact that they were willing to replace the leash entirely.



  • Reflective material
  • Waist clip is adjustable
  • Machine washable
  • Sturdy
  • Assembled in the USA
  • Previous model had a bad clasp, but they seem to have fixed this


Best Dog Hiking Pack: Outward Hound Review

Outward Hound PackView on Amazon

After you pack your rain gear, water, snacks and camera into your day pack, you don’t have any space left over for the stuff your dog needs. Why not get a special hiking backpack for your dog to carry his own stuff?

This saddlebag-style pack has reflective accents and is adjustable to fit your dog perfectly, which is why it’s our pick for best dog backpacks for hiking.

The four pockets expand to fit more stuff when he wants to bring more gear along. The harness is made out of breathable mesh to help keep your dog comfortable.

Dog hiking packs allow your dog to store his water dish, food, treats, poop bags, medical kit and any other necessities himself.



  • Reflective accents
  • Simple to adjust
  • Pockets expand
  • Breathable mesh
  • Easy to clean
  • Some customers complain of the bag tearing
  • Not waterproof
  • Doesn’t stay on straight


Best Dog Hiking Boots: My Busy Dog Review

My Busy Dog BootsView on Amazon

Protecting your dog’s feet is important while hiking. Weather and rough rocks and dirt can impact your dog’s comfort as he walks.

Hiking boots are a definite must for any trek, and these are among the best dog backpacking gear. These boots have an anti-slip sole to provide your dog with stability and traction.

They also protect the paws from hot surfaces and sharp objects like thorns. The boots are water resistant, so your dog’s paws will be kept dry and warm.

Make sure to acclimate your dog to the boots inside the house several times before going on a hike (see video below).



  • Anti-slip sole
  • Protection from sharp objects and hot and cold surfaces
  • Water resistant
  • Easy to put on
  • Reflective accents
  • Some complaints about them not being durable


Adapting Your Dog To Boots

Your dog may need some help adjusting to his boots at first. Have him or her wear them around the house and gradually increase the time. Just watch the video below of these dogs walking funny in their boots.

Dog Camping Tent: Petego Umbra Pet House Review

Petego Umbra Pet HouseView on Amazon

Your dog deserves their own canine cabin. That’s where dog tents come in handy on hikes.

This particular camping tent for your dog is versatile in that it can be used in the car or outdoors. It has an umbrella mechanism to make setting the tent up easy and breaking it down fast.

The mesh vents are claw proof, so if your dog likes to scratch around, this tent will hold up. It packs into a messenger style bag for easy storage and carrying. It also includes a rain cover to keep your pup dry during a rainstorm.

This tent doesn’t have any padding on the bottom. We recommend getting a pad or tarp to place underneath to prevent your dog from losing too much body heat to the ground.



  • Easy setup and tear down
  • Durable, sturdy
  • Great travel crate
  • Lightweight
  • May want a pad or something to cushion the bottom for them
  • Fasteners get stuck sometimes
  • Screen doesn’t allow tons of airflow


Dog Camping Gear List

Below is a list of 16 things you should bring with you when you’re camping with your dog.

  1. Water/food dishes
  2. Food and treats
  3. Water & water bottle
  4. Leash
  5. Collar with tags
  6. Reflective vest/glow sticks: to help your dog be more visible at night
  7. First aid kit and book
  8. Boots for pavement and winter dog boots (in colder climates)
  9. Backpack for dog
  10. Brush: in case you need to remove burrs, leaves, etc. from your dog’s fur
  11. Stake: to attach leash to and keep your dog within range while you are busy setting up camp and cooking
  12. Hand wipes, paper towels, carpet spray: many dogs get car sick, so it’s best to plan ahead so you can take care of it immediately
  13. Poop bags
  14. Towel: in case your dog hops in the water for a swim or gets muddy
  15. Toys
  16. Tent

Make Sure Your Dog Is Allowed

Keep in mind that not all camping locations and hiking trails are dog-friendly. Be sure to do your research ahead of time, so you and your pup don’t show up uninvited. For instance, while you might assume that National Parks are dog-friendly, they aren’t always so check in advance.

7 Tips For Hiking & Camping With Dogs

  1. See the vet beforehand to make sure Fido is fit for activity
  2. Know the rules of the area
  3. Pack lots of water
  4. Keep your dog leashed
  5. Take breaks in the shade
  6. Do not leave your dog unattended
  7. Check your dog after every hike for injuries, ticks, burrs, etc.

Dog Hiking Tech Accessories

What to make your dog an even more tech-savvy hiker? Why not track your dog’s activity while hiking? It’s fun to see how many steps they get in and make sure they are getting enough exercise regularly (not just while on hikes). Another pro tip is to get a dog GPS tracker, that way in case your pup gets off their leash, you’ll be able to find them in the wilderness.

What’s your dog’s “must have” when camping or hiking?

About The Author:

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. She has been writing about dogs since 2014, covering subjects such as dog insurance, training, health, accessories and more. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing and personally testing canine products and services. With every piece she writes, her goal is to help our readers find the best fit for their unique needs.

Kimberly grew up in a family that loved Labrador Retrievers and remembers running and playing in the yard with them as a child. In 2017, she and her husband adopted their Coonhound mix, Sally, from a local shelter. Kimberly's research was put to good use since Sally faced some aggression issues with other dogs and needed some training to be an inside dog. She worked daily with Sally and sought help from professionals to help Sally become the happy pup she is today.

One of Kimberly's favorite pastimes is spoiling Sally with new toys, comfy beds and yummy treats (she even makes homemade goodies for her). She tries to purchase the safest products for Sally and knows that each canine has their own specific likes and dislikes. Kimberly is passionate about dogs, and knows the bond between humans and canines is like no other.

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Steph G
I just got a dog and love hiking so excited to take him on the trails this summer!