I am considering bringing my dog hiking and possibly build it up to camping overnight. Is there any essentials you recommend I should bring other than the obvious water bowls, food, leash, harness and blanket to sleep on? Are little booties, life jackets etc necessary purchases? Has anyone any other useful tips?

Edit: My dog is a husky, german shepherd type mix so he's a big fella, quite excitable and sometimes nervous. He has a very good recall most times.

  • If there are thorns get kevlar booties. What kind of dog?
    – paparazzo
    Aug 10, 2016 at 6:07
  • @Paparazzi Why not just go around them? I wouldn't force any of our dogs through them even if they'd be safe with some boots.
    – Mario
    Aug 10, 2016 at 6:18
  • @Mario Force a dog to go through thorns? Where are you coming up with that?
    – paparazzo
    Aug 10, 2016 at 6:48
  • @Paparazzi Might have misunderstood you regarding "if there are thorns".
    – Mario
    Aug 10, 2016 at 12:53
  • An "soil hook" could be helpful, in case you need to leash the dog. A device you screw into the ground and to fixate the leash on. Depending of tve area there may be no tree for it. Jan 1 at 1:48

4 Answers 4


The other answers are great and comprehensive. I'm commenting in answer form for emphasis.

If you're going into bear country (and most places are) have a can of pepper spray formulated for bears. The pepper spray could also be effective against other attackers.

  • Interesting. Would the pepper spray be effective from a distance on a bear though? I feel like a bears reach would exceed the reach of the pepper spray. As in if you sprayed the pepper spray, the bear would react by swiping and will more than likely maim you regardless of being blinded or not. Aug 25, 2016 at 2:11
  • 1
    Pepper sprays made specifically made for outdoors people spray very far.. for example, the Mace brand amazon.com/Mace-Brand-Bear-Pepper-Spray/dp/B0002YSWIQ, sprays 30 feet. They've proven effective. But you are correct in your initial thought... pepper sprays for use from your pocket or purse--aren't going to do it.
    – Paulb
    Aug 25, 2016 at 2:58

Personally I'd just say start small and learn yourself.

This also heavily depends on your actual dog as well (partially) on his personality. Whether he's off-leash, where you go, etc.

Boots are often one way to protect the paws from harmful influences such as snow, ice, or salt water. Ever seen wolves with boots outside fairytales?

Try to learn how your dog reacts to different ground, then adjust accordingly.

If your dog gets problems with the paws directly related to the ground, get some boots. Otherwise I wouldn't bother. Your dog should feel far more comfortable and have a more secure stand without.

Other things like swimming vests I'd make it dependant on where you go. If it's a small dog or you expect fast flowing water, I'd think about getting one.

Only thing I'd really take with me is some good first aid kit for dogs. These usually include everything you need in case of cuts or other small wounds. Also plan ahead regarding potential vets near your hiking location, save their telephone numbers and addresses.

One more thing to consider might be local regulations. It's possible you're not allowed to have your dog off-leash during some time off the year and you might have to have clearly visible straps on your dog so hunters can associate it being with someone rather than straying.

  • he is a husky, german shepherd cross and will mainly be on the lead but when we are wild camping he will be off of it. Generally he's good off the lead with a good recall. I will definitely save the numbers of the local vets of the area, another thing I never thought of. Aug 10, 2016 at 11:44
  • @cigarette_unicorn Pure Huskies here. Don't think you'll need any boots then. You could try special paw wax in case of dry paws (or salt in winter), but other than that you should be fine on that front.
    – Mario
    Aug 10, 2016 at 12:56

This link covers it best REI dog tips

Yes the obvious but often camp version. For example a collapsible bowl. Not a blanket - they are heavy - get a camping seat pad. The bulk and weight adds up. If it is a big dog then get a pack for them. Let the dog sleep in your tent or get them a doggy tent.

If you are not going to get a pack then a harness with a handle. If the dog falls in water or a hole you need to be able to scoop them quickly. My dog is afraid of small bridges and I have to carry him.

Kevlar socks are essential in many regions. Thorn, burrs, and sharp rocks.

Check the dogs feet often. A burr or cut can get injected.

  • Excuse my lack of knowledge but what is a pack? A backpack? Also the handle for scooping them up from holes/water is something I never would have thought of so thank you for that! Aug 10, 2016 at 11:40
  • Yes a backpack. You see handles on search and rescue dogs.
    – paparazzo
    Aug 10, 2016 at 11:46
  • WRT harnesses it's important to note that not all are made for lifting and some will just allow the dog to slip out in reverse (intentionally).
    – Mario
    Aug 11, 2016 at 6:09
  • @Mario Really a harness with a handle that is not made for lifting?
    – paparazzo
    Aug 11, 2016 at 6:23
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    @Paparazzi In Germany there are many available that have handles just to hold the dog back. If the dog gets stuck, it's able to slip out by moving backwards (with the harness still being stuck). It's by design.
    – Mario
    Aug 11, 2016 at 6:26

A point I haven't seen made yet: Just as with humans, start exercise in smaller doses and work up to longer hikes. Think of it like hiking with a kid; the dog doesn't know how far you plan to go today and you don't want them getting exhausted early and forcing you to carry them. They need to build up endurance and learn to pace themselves; you need to learn to read how tired they are getting.

And, obviously, before letting them off leash make sure that's permitted... and be prepared to jump in and control the dog if it gets into an awkward interaction with another dog or another human.

  • Thanks for the advice Keshlam! It will definitely be building blocks in terms of endurance for both of us! I am always very cautious of having dogs off a leash because my parents dogs were never good off them as they were extremely protective and territorial so prone to aggressiveness with other dogs. My own dog is very friendly towards other animals but I am still cautious of both him, and other dogs we might meet. Aug 25, 2016 at 7:18

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