Adventuring with Dog // Westway’s Top 10 Must-Haves
With the second half of November upon us and cooler winter temperatures ahead, now is the perfect time to #optoutside. I know everyone thinks San Diego is perfect in summertime but not me; winter is my favorite season. It’s cool outside during the day, which means Roxy and I can adventure anywhere, anytime without worry and there are way fewer people out and about… plus, there are warm chai lattes, hearty soups, sweaters, and wood fires. What’s not to love about winter? But I digress… let’s talk adventure!
A big part of getting out there with the peace and quiet of nature is making sure you’re prepared, so Roxy and I have put together a list of our 10 favorite things you need to do adventure right!
#1 Hiking Boots & Socks
On any adventure we take — be it urban or off the beaten path — good footwear is essential to the quality of the adventure. It should be so comfortable that you’re not even aware it’s there but who says it can’t also be stylish?
When it comes to luxe comfort for adventures, my hands-down favorite socks are the Darn Tough Hike/Trek socks. They are incredibly comfortable, antibacterial, breathable, come with lifetime warranties, and are so colorful (I looooove color!) that you’ll almost be sad to lace up your boots… except that Keen knows how to make a boot equally comfortable, functional, and beautiful. My favorite? The Women’s Targhee II. I’ve been wearing these for years and am due for a new pair this season (and hello, that green is my color!). They’re waterproof, breathable, have incredible traction and ankle support, and are guaranteed all-day comfort. Perfection!
#2 Dog Socks and Boots
Footwear for dogs? Absolutely! While Roxy refuses to wear booties no matter what, less persnickety dogs will find a huge benefit to wearing them. When you’re out blazing your own trails, the terrain can get tough. Protecting dog paws from the slippery, sharp, gritty, hot, or frozen ground is essential to ensuring your adventures aren’t cut short.
For an excellent, hardy, all terrain dog boot, consider Ruffwear Grip Trex. Pair them with Bark’n Boot Liners that will protect from rubbing, irritation, and increase comfort (especially in dogs who have dew claws) with their quick drying, reinforced construction.
#3 All-Season Hoodie
Base layers for the winter and a breathable hoodie for the warmer months are invaluable when it comes to enjoying the great outdoors. When you can combine those necessities into one perfect top? Even better!
Great for a summer evening or fall day — and comfortably layered on a chilly winter outing — the Smartwool Women’s Merino 250 Drape Neck Hoody takes the cake for adventure tops. This top helps regulate body temperature and is light, warm, stylish, and even has a kangaroo pocket! And look at the fun pattern! Really, anything Smartwool makes can’t be beat.
#4 Dog Jackets
Yes, more dog clothes! But believe me, it is not just about how cute they look. Dog jackets give protection against the elements, especially for our smaller or shorter-haired doggies who are sensitive to wet and cold, as well as extra protection against pests such as ticks. These jackets also benefit all of us dog parents out there: they help keep Bandit’s mid section clean and dry so hopping into the car or joining you in the tent only requires a quick paw wipe and jacket removal. My favorite go-to jacket for most seasons? Ruffwear Overcoat Jacket. Fleece lined, durable, and water-resistant. It’s comfortable and perfect for chillier days!
#5 Dog Pack
The Ruffwear Approach Pack is so much more than a way to make your dog carry their own stuff (but that’s nice too!). This dog backpack is brightly colored with reflective trim, super hardy, has a harness-style system for stability and comfort, two leash attachment locations, and a convenient handle. It’s the perfect size for a one or two day adventure, allowing your dog to carry their own food, water, and supplies. Pack it in; pack it out!
It’s not a terrible inconvenience for me to carry extra water and snacks for Roxy, but it’s so nice to have quick access to a poop bag, treats, and water. I also love the harness system with handle. These features make assisting our four-legged companions over rough terrain easier for us and more comfortable for them.
#6 Food and Water Dishes
We’ve all been there: cupping our hands to try and give our pup water or sacrificing our own water bottle to their slobbery tongue. When it comes to food and water on the trail, feeding our furry hiking companions can get messy.
There are so many travel bowls that make the job easier. I tend to lean away from the super compact canvas style bowls because all too often they just stay wet and slobbery. My go-to is a collapsible silicone bowl like this one by Good2Go. One feature that really helps on an adventure is the carabiner. A bowl with a carabiner means it can be easily clipped to the outside of a bag or even a belt loop for quick access!
When you and Bandit are out exploring the world, a leash can be so much more than just a leash. The right one is strong, packs up well, is easily adjustable, comfortable to hold, and versatile in case of adventuring snafoos.
Made of thick climbing rope in lengths of 5’ or 10’ and tied off with a hardy carabiner, Wilderdog Big Locking Carabiner Leashes provide all of the must-have features — and they do it in vibrant, fun colors! I especially love the pink “Poppy” one!
#8 For when they’re dog-tired
Sometimes our smaller furry family members simply can’t keep up on our longer, more challenging, adventures. We don’t want to leave our companions behind and are constantly looking for ways to bring them along. Enter the K9 Sportpack! It may just be the answer to your adventuring woes. This backpack/dog carrier crossover is perfect for small-medium sized dogs weighing up to 30 pounds. They get to see what you see and just hang out (which, believe me, they are ecstatic about!) while you do all the hard leg-work!
#9 Camp Blanket
When adventures get tough the tough get cozy! Whether you’re looking for extra warmth or a clean and cozy place to sit next to the campfire, it doesn’t get much better than the Pendleton Roll-Up Blanket.
Wool is a magical material that truly is meant for the outdoor adventure seeker. It keeps you warm even if conditions turn gloomy and wet. The nylon backing on this blanket makes it even more suited to camping as it can be easily wiped clean of dirt and debris. It rolls up nicely and comes in four lovely patterns. My personal favorite? The Badlands Plaid!
#1O S’mores Roasting Sticks
Confession time: I’m a s’mores addict. If there’s a campfire, I’m beside it, roasting my marshmallows to “golden bear” perfection. Whether your favorite is a peanut butter s’more, Nutella s’more, cream cheese frosting s’more, cookie dough s’more, or the good ‘ol traditional s’more, it all starts with a warm, ooey, gooey, melty, roasted marshmallow.
Instead of wasting time hunting down the perfect roasting stick — who has time for that? get in mah belly! — pack these collapsible, stainless steel, color-coded, MalloMe Roasting Sticks. Then the only question becomes: what kind of s’more are you about to devour?
#11 Bonus! The Skye Valley Ranch Experience
Only for the most adventurous pet parents and their dogs, the Skye Valley Ranch Experience is a getaway like no other. It comes complete with a dog-friendly weekend of fun at our private 800+ acre ranch in San Diego, CA; a full-length photo session among the oak trees, rocky hillsides, and wide open fields; chuckwagon dinner cooked over oak wood from the ranch; s’mores (of course); overnight camping; a hearty country breakfast; and beautiful finished artwork for your home to remember your time at the ranch.