*Coach Helder may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post

Rucking and hiking are two of my favorite activities. I’m out there is nature, seeing, smelling and feeling, while simultaneously working of my health.

What makes these mini-adventures even better for me is having my dog by my side. My dog is my companion, best buddy and motivation to get me out there on the trail, more often. But there are certain concerns that we need to take into consideration when rucking with our dogs.

Most of us have a good amount of gear in our pack when we ruck. (I have a list that I made of some of the essentials. Just click on this link to view it.) But I found that most hikers and ruckers, do not give enough thought to essential gear that is needed while rucking with their dog.

I wanted to share with you my list of items, that I deem essential, when rucking with my dog.

Let’s Get Started:

  • Dog Bowl – Good for water and a food/snack container. I prefer a collapsible bowl but any will do.
  • Hands Free Leash Setup – A Well-Made Backpack, Carabiner, Dog Leash, Dog Collar, Dog Harness).
  • Extra water – Take periodic breaks, dogs cannot speak to tell you that they are thirsty, watch for signs.
  • Extra poop bags – Dog strains at times, just like us. That straining makes them poop more than usual. When They gotta go, He or She’s, gotta go!
  • Shovel/ Trowel – When you are deep into the trail, you may not be able to throw the dog poop away. Being able to bury it may be your only real option.
  • Food: Easy snacks. and bigger meals during a midpoint break or chow time.
  • Illumination – Reflective accessories and lights are important to notify on-comers of your dogs presence. A ruck can run longer than expected. It can turn dark before you know it. You may also encounter tunnels and other dark paces throughout your route.
  • Tarp/ Rain Fly – They are super light and will give you shelter in a downpour.
  • Sunblock – Make sure that it is made for dogs. Human sunblock can be toxic to dogs.
  • Dog Bed / Barrier – The ground may be wet, rocky, too hot, muddy. If you are taking an R&R break, then your dog needs one too. Make him comfortable and protect him from the elements. It is worth it just to help keep the ticks off.
  • Dog First Aid Kit – Dogs get blisters, cuts on their paws, broken nails, embedded thorns… you need to address issues right then and there. Have a FAK for yourself but include specific items for your pup in there.

Other Precautions:

-Tick medication- Depending on the season and location.
-Medication and supplements that are specific to your dog. Sometimes you are out there longer than planned.
-Weather Protection Gear- (rain gear, coat, footwear for snow- booties, etc.)
-Life Vest- if ruck involves trekking through rivers, or wading through water.

Lastly, be sure that your dog is well trained and behaves well with other dogs and people. A ruck is a communal event where we work together on physical health, mental health and camaraderie. If you are going out on a group hike, be considerate, don’t ruin the ruck for others just to convenience yourself. Instead, spend some extra rucking time going solo with your dog. This will get you the training and practice that you need and… you will both be joining the regular pack in no time!