Here comes Spring. Here comes Summer. Here comes Treen with a list of gear she thinks every dog needs to have great adventures. Who can blame her? She comes from a family of gear junkies. We don't have a garage. We have a gear storage room.
To help your dog be properly outfitted for the coming adventures Backcountry K-9 will send one lucky reader a $50 gift certificate. Not to be outdone, TurboPup will send two readers a handful of their tasty meal bars. (Treen assures me they're tasty, but trust me when I tell you not to try them yourself.) Contest entry forms are at the bottom of the page.
Below is gear we believe in as well as gear we want to try. (Each link goes to the Backcountry K-9 online store where we have an affiliate agreement meaning we get a small percentage of each sale.)
These are the products we have, use, and love.
Of course we start with TurboPup bars. Treen's an ambassador for TurboPup and has been loving the meal bars since July 2014. Her biggest test came on a three day trip into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness on which she ate nothing but TurboPup. She did great and I loved not having to carry a huge bag of kibble. Bacon and Peanut Butter, how can you go wrong?
On that same trip she carried all her food, water, and supplies in a Ruffwear Singletrak Pack. The pack is lightweight and comes with two half liter collapsible bottles. It rides high and tight so she was able to navigate the sometimes narrow passages. Important for Treen, who loves the water, it dries quickly and doesn't get stinky.
And why go in the water at all? To play, of course. She's a retriever after all. Yes, there are sticks near most lakes, but the Ruffwear Lunker seemed somehow more satisfying. It's also a lot easier to really get it way out in the middle of the lake thanks to the rope that doubles as a tug-o-war toy. It's even light enough that we were able to carry it all the way to Sprite Lake.
With all that time in the water, Treen's collar wasn't smelling too fresh. However, the Dublin Dog All-Style No Stink Dog Collar came to the rescue. It's not fancy and it's not a gimmick. It's just a rock solid collar that holds tags, attaches a leash, cleans easily, and never, ever stinks. Plus it comes in a great green color (and others) that matches perfectly with Lean Green Treen's style.
Keeping Treen cool in summer, even in the not-overly-hot Pacific Northwest can be a challenge. A dip in a lake or a river helps, but she dries out too quickly. Unless... she's wearing a Ruffwear Swamp Cooler. We first tried this as part of a Washington Trails Association gear test both on a humid day on the west side of the Cascades and in the Eastern Washington deserts. (Yes, we have deserts.) It kept her 15 degrees cooler than without and is part of her hot-weather gear collection.
But wait! It's not always warm or even not-cold in the Northwest and Treen's not the kind of dog that takes the winter off. She wears a Ruffwear K-9 Overcoat when we're in less than ideal conditions. As long as we keep moving, it keeps her warm enough. (See the section below on gear we want for a solution for when we stop for a bit.)
The hardest time for Treen is when we have serious cold. It's not too often, but when it gets into the teens or even the single digits she needs something to protect her feet. Musher's Secret is a wax that protects without being toxic or staining.
Many of our hikes are at night, or at least start or end in the dark. Treen wears an Adventure Light (Amazon.com link, click here for special disclaimer). This is the only light that we have found to last more than a season regardless of whether it's submerged, dropped, buried, or otherwise abused. In fact, the last few that have stopped working are because they've been lost. They are bright and if you flip the batteries around the light flashes for use as a search and rescue beacon!
Sadly, Treen spends some time not out hiking. It's a travesty that we're trying to address. We burn some energy chasing her ChuckIt Flying Squirrel. She'll chase sticks and balls and rocks and rabbits, but if her Squirrel is available that's her favorite toy.
Of course, we don't have everything we
want need. Here's what's on our list.
BOOTS! Treen needs boots! When it gets really cold Treen's feet suffer. It was so bad on one trip that she actually tore a pad and was forced to convalesce for a few weeks. Sometimes even musher's wax won't do the job so that's where boots come in. Ruffwear makes a cold-weather boot called the Polar Trex. With both a lower buckle and a top closure it's less likely to come off than other boots I've tried. (And if it does come off you can buy single replacement boots.)
Sticking with cold-weather adventure gear from Ruffwear, the Quinzee Insulated Coat is a puffy for dogs designed to keep them warm in between normal activity. One of the definite challenges I've had both with Treen and my first dog, Tokul, was keeping them warm when on the summit. Too often the pups get chilled while I'm catching my breath. I'm hoping this coat will help address that problem.
Of course, when we're on the summit we all like to partake in a little liquid refreshment. I've used collapsible bowls in the past that have fallen apart, but the K9 Backbowl from Mountainsmith looks like one that will both last and be super easy to clean and pack.
Water's the most obvious choice to fill the bowl, but I recently received samples of Rehydrate Electrolyte Sports Drink for Dogs that I'm eager to try. I know, I know. An effervescent drink for dogs? We'll see. I like the idea that Treen will be getting some of her electrolytes and salts replenished just as I do when I drink my special mix. Stay tuned to see if she likes it and if it makes a difference.
As I'm writing this we're having a resurgence of winter. (Actually, it's the first appearance of winter-weather we've had all winter and it's technically spring.) However, summer will come soon enough and that will mean mosquitos, especially after the weak winter we've had. Last summer Treen was mercilessly attacked on our trip in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, but this year we'll be trying All Terrain Pet Insect Repellent. It's DEET free and made from only natural ingredients.
Looking ahead to autumn we're already stocking up on orange shirts and jackets for me and the kids. Treen should be no different. Ruffwear makes the Track Jacket High Visibility Vest that can't help but be seen even in the dense woods or brush. I'm almost tempted to get one for the kids...
And finally, for those formal nights out on the town Treen needs to dress up. That's when she'd be well suited to put aside her adventure collar and slip into a Dublin Dog KOA Series dog collar. She might not be a big flyfisherdog (is there such a thing?), but I'm a flyfisherman and a big fan of trout. It's hard to see a classier collar than the brook trout.
To help you flesh out your pup's gear list for their next adventures enter the contests below. TurboPup is giving away two prize packs of five meal bars each and BackcountryK9.com is giving away a $50 gift certificate to their store.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
You might want to bookmark this post, too. It's going to be updated whenever I find new gear for Treen and as I get a chance to test out the stuff on her wish list.
In the meantime, you can kill some time by flipping through her gallery from the time she joined our family in 2011 to the present. (Warning: There's an awful lot of pictures.)