The last two weeks I have been in Skåne a province in Southern Sweden with my boyfriend and dog. It was our first backpacking trip with a dog and Bobby’s first time in Sweden. We had a fantastic time and Bobby seemed to be the happiest dog on Earth. To make your backpacking trip a fun adventure to look back on, good preparation and planning is key. Some things are obvious and you can find lots of good tips on the internet, however some things you will learn by simply doing it. Here I want to share some things I found useful and important for our trip.
The Destination: Vaccinations, Endurance and Etiquette
Depending on the destination and trail you will have to take different steps to be prepared. Check whether your dogs needs special vaccinations for that country you will be hiking in or whether your dog needs re-vaccination. Simply ask your veterinarian, (s)he will know.
Plan your hike according to your and your dogs fitness level. There is no point in pushing too hard and ending up with injuries. If needed start an endurance training beforehand that will prepare you both for hour-long hikes in different terrain. If you plan on using a backpack for your dog, too collect enough background information about the do’s and dont’s and again, train your dog beforehand.
Check beforehand whether dogs are allowed on the trail. National Parks and National Forests can have different rules. Be a responsible hiker and leave no traces behind. Use a shovel or poop bags to collect all dog traces. Not all hikers are font of dogs and we want to maintain dogs’ welcome at all the beautiful trails.
My packing list:
Backpacking means that you have to make smart decisions about the stuff your are taking with you. Every item that you take with you should have an (important) function. I only take 1 or 2 items with me for comfort (a book and a camera) all the other stuff is necessary. The same should apply for the dog related items. Keep it simple, practical and lightweight!
I am not a big fan of collars. During hikes a harness can be more comfortable and safer. There were several times where we had to carry Bobby and a harness gives you more control and grip over your dog.