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Backpacking 101

Start here for your ultimate guide to backpacking with your dog. From planning and training to sleeping under the stars, we've got you and your pack buddy covered.

Whether you're looking to introduce your dog to backpacking or curious about discovering a new love for it together, we have the tips, gear, and inspiration you need to hit the trail.

Our Best Dog Packs for Backpacking

  • Palisades™ Pack

    A top pick for dogs hitting the trail for a multi-day trek. It has the largest carrying capacity of our packs, removable saddlebags, and two 1-liter collapsible water bladders.

  • Approach™ Pack

    Plenty of room for the gear needed on full-day hikes and even those overnight treks. A great option when the packing list is shorter or you're looking to keep your dog's load a little lighter.

Video Clinic: Backpacking With Dogs

Ruffwear Ambassadors Nathan and Turkey joined us to talk about all things backpacking: gear, tips, training, and the scoop on their 120-mile backcountry trek together in the San Juan Mountains.

Frequently Asked Questions

With the right preparation and planning, you can set you and your dog up for a fun and memorable time in the backcountry. We always recommend checking in with your vet ahead of your trip for any questions you might have specific to your dog's health.

It's best to keep the total carrying weight (including thepackand its contents) under 25% of your dog's body weight. First-time barkpackers may want to go even lighter. And, as always, it's a great idea to check in with your vet.

Example: A 45-pound (20-kg) dog's pack should weigh no more than 11.25 pounds (5 kg) including food, water, gear, and the pack itself.

Leave No Trace are our go-to pros on this topic, and they recommend that dog waste be packed out in poop bags. Regulations might differ depending on the wilderness area you are in. Check their website or call in and speak with a ranger before heading out.