Though they’re no camels, dogs can carry up to 25-30 percent of their body weight in their dog pack (initial conditioning with less weight is recommended).  So, how will you utilize all that space?  Here are some suggestions of what we feel are the essentials for a medium-sized dog.  And the best part…total weight is under 12 lbs, which means even a 40 lb dog could haul this much gear!

Packed In...
...Packed Out

1. Dog Pack

Why Bring It: You’ve got a full load carrying your own gear, so why not have your dog carry their gear?

Tips: A dog can pack up 25 – 30 percent of its body weight in a pack, so that’s a lot less sweat off your back.

Weight: 2 lbs, 4 oz / 1.02 kg (Palisades Pack™, Size Medium)

2.  First Aid Kit

Why Bring It: Remember that what you pack in, you pack out.  This includes a long, heavy hike back with your dog on your shoulders if they can’t walk.

Tips: We pack along the Ruff Wear First Aid Kit (available through select online retailers).

Weight: 13 oz / 369 g

3.  Food

Why Bring It: Don’t forget energy snacks for Fido.  How much dog food to bring along depends on your dog’s eating habits. Keep in mind that your dog is likely to expend more energy than normal on a backcountry adventure, so you should consider packing a bit extra.

Tips: Sealing your dog food in a Ziploc bag will help keep moisture and critters out.

Weight: 1 lb (454 g) / bag

4.  Leash

Why Bring It: Even though you may be headed for a canine leash-free haven, you never know when you will need to restrain your dog from distractions such as squirrels, other dogs, people, or unfamiliar sounds.

Tips: Choosing a leash such as the Flat Out™ will allow you to easily convert the handle to a tie-out if needed.

Weight: 5.3 oz / 150 g

5.  Poop Bags

Why Bring It: What you pack in, you pack out…yes, even dog poop.  Some places allow dog waste to be buried, in which case a trowel is very handy.

Tips: Try double-bagging to reduce stink.  We recommend biodegradable dog waste bags.

Weight: .3 oz / 8.5 g

6.  Dog Boots

Why Bring Them: Boots protect paws and keep dogs going farther, longer. Boots also provide traction and comfort.  Recommended when going long distances; in areas where cheatgrass and other paw irritants exist; or on hot, cold, or jagged terrain.

Tips: Bring along the storage bag (included with Ruff Wear dog boots) and store boots inside the bag when not in use.  This will keep dirt and debris in the bag, and out of the pack.

Weight: 7 oz / 198 g (Grip Trex™, Size Medium)

7.  Water

Why Bring It: Some dogs hesitate to drink water in a new environment because it tastes different.  Even if they love the taste of the water from that river, lake, pond, or puddle, the potential exists for that water to be contaminated, so bringing along your own water is the best option.

Tips: For tips on how much water to bring, click here.

Weight: Water 2.2 lbs (998 g) / liter; Bladder 3.2 oz (91 g) / bladder

8. Collapsible Bowl

Why Bring It: Though you can train your dog to drink water out of the bladder, that can add up to wasted water on the ground.

Tips: The Bivy Bowl™ is not only lightweight, but is single-walled, making cleanup a snap.  Just rinse, and shake out; no drips or crumbs left behind. Check out this video on choosing a backpacking bowl.

Weight: 2 oz / 57 g


Weight Totals:

Palisades Pack™
: 2.25 lbs (36 oz) / 1.02 kg

Ruff Wear First Aid Kit: 13 oz  / 369 g

2 Ziploc Bags of Food: 2 lb (32 oz) / 908 g

Flat Out™ Leash:  3.8 oz / 150 g

Poop Bags:  .3 oz / 8.5 g

GripTrex™ Dog Boots: 7 oz / 198 g

2 Liters of Water (plus bladders): 4.8 lbs (76.8 oz) / 2.18 kg

Bivy Bowl™: 2 oz / 57 g

Total Weight of Pack (with suggested gear list): 10 lbs, 10.9 oz / 4.8 kg

8 thoughts

  1. This is a great post. We have an older pack from you and just love it. We have our dogs carry their own water and food, giving us more space in our packs for things we need. I think we need to do an upgrade soon!

  2. Hi – Just wondering if you ever looked into making this happen? I would totally buy one in the spring… 🙂


    1. We are looking at the possibility of doing this for Spring / Summer 2011. We’ll keep you posted!

      1. I’d be very interested in buying such a packaged deal please let me know if you choose to offer such a great idea

  3. That would be fantastic! Obviously, just the type of items you actually sell – especially the first aid kit! What I’d love to see is a package product that includes a pack, first aid kit, Dog boots, water bladders?, and collapsible bowl.

    I’m pretty sure most people already have a leash… but maybe include it too?

    Then things like poop bags and baggies for food could be a cute little reminder in one of the pouches. 🙂

    Thanks for considering!!!

  4. Sooo… any chance this is something you could put together for a package deal? It would be so easy and convenient to buy it all in one fowl swoop for a lump sum (and could be offered with a discount?)

Leave a Reply