Embrace the unexpected, thrive on the serendipity, and take the first step into the unknown-off trail and unleashed. Celebrating spontaneity requires certain finesse as you and your canine companion relish the smiles, wags and challenges along the way.

Here at Ruffwear, we’ve filled our two-story office space with 20+ of the finest outdoor-savvy dog lovers this side of HWY 97. With that said, none of us here are exempt from unwelcome surprises along the way. From the weekend that Ruffwearian Will Blount grimly watched his tent float down the lower Deschutes River (Cinder at his side) to my inept ability to pull together any snow sport tenacity while skijoring:

These are the moments when life’s deck does not seem stacked in our favor. Yet, they always seem to be the ones we remember with a smile on our faces.

So, with all of our seasoned tales and trails, our staff has put together some tips to help YOU along the way.

1. Kaya tends to collect plenty of dirt, mud, moisture, or snow on our outings, depending on the time of year. I’m no neat freak, but I like to have all her funk contained on a dog bed and not on our floor. So I’ll towel her off, then have her lay on a bed with a water-resistant bottom like the Mt. Bachelor Pad. She dries, the funk falls on the bed, I shake off the bed outside, and my floors stay pretty clean! – Lindsey Clark

2. Using our Roamer Leash and Bivy Bowl allows us to have the dogs leashed, but also be hands free! With most of our adventures, having your hands free is crucial to being able to keep our dogs hydrated when needed and quickly! – Debbie Manies

3. I believe the activities that lead to the most enjoyable outings are inclusion as often as possible. That is by including our dogs in and on as many trips, travels and excursions, Mavis and Gordo are always prepared for whatever comes their way. With a few basic gear items, (food and water bowls, leashes, toys and beds, a towel or two, we also travel with a pet first aid kit and vaccine documents when heading across the border) we have set expectations and a familiar routine associated with our activities and gear whether we are heading on a month long road trip, camping out of tents and sleeping in the dirt or heading into the city and staying on the 9th floor of a hotel, the dogs just roll with the flow and fit into the natural rhythms of our shared and inclusive adventures. From riding elevators in downtown Portland to bombing down the Dread and Terror Mt. Bike Trail on the North Umpqua, it is all just a part of our shared existence. I will say that the time that Gordo rolled in a decomposing sea lion while two humans and two dogs were camping out of the van for a week up in the San Juan Islands required more then a little composure. That said, Gordo was about as proud of that moment as we were horrified. What is it they say? Every dog has his day. – Patrick Kruse

4. Using the Flat Out Leash waist-worn makes all my outings better. I can run, walk, and hike hands-free! – Susan Strible

5. Joanna and I ski with Baker a lot. Sometimes we are out all day so there are a couple of things we have learned to do while keep Baker comfortable and happy: Snacks: She needs snacks along the way to keep her energy up just like we do. We have found that carrots work very well.  I usually put a bunch of carrot chunks in my pocket that I can give to her on the go.  Carrots work great because we can all eat them and they are easy to grab with a gloved hand.  Also bringing something for her to sit on, off the snow at rest stops helps keep her warm and makes her rest rather than running around.   The highlands bed works well or I use a piece of a ridge rest pad when weight is important. –Ian McWilliams

In the end, although we prepare ourselves for the unknown, it’s the moments when we weren’t prepared that we remember forever. As they say, the adventure begins when things go wrong.

What do you do to prepare for your outings?

2 thoughts

  1. Pam- Without giving her a DNA test we’d say that Kaya has a little bit of Samoyed in her, possibly a little Chow, and definitely part human 🙂

  2. Good tips. I especially like the carrot treat one. I’m curious what kind of dog is Kaya? She looks a lot like my Maremma, Neko

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