Hiking + Backpacking + Camping with Dogs

Hiking + Backpacking + Camping with Dogs

Written by: Brooke of @summitatthesummit

For all you dog people out there, this is for you! I frequently receive inbox messages and story replies about my camping adventures with Summit so I decided to put together a short blog about the essentials.

First off, I am very particular about keeping my car as clean as possible. A seat protector is an absolute necessity. I have a Toyota 4Runner with a second row of seats. I lay the second row completely flat because I am usually by myself or have one passenger that sits up front. This provides more surface area for Summit during the drive and also frees up extra space for our gear.

What do I pack for Summit? Here’s a list:

Day Hiking

Living in Colorado, the hiking trails are endless. We live about 30 minutes from Boulder which has some fairly easy and beautiful hikes. If I am in a time crunch or I don’t feel the need to travel, I’ll find a hike near Boulder or Nederland. For day trips, Summit’s gear is simple. I usually only have to pack his leash, water, treats, dog waste bags, and paw balm to protect his paws from the elements. In the winter months, I don’t worry about him becoming overheated. But in the summer months, I always pack his cooling vest. This helps to an extent but I try to find hikes with snow at high elevation, alpine lakes, or hikes with some sort of water source along the trail. 


For all overnight backcountry trips, I always make Summit carry his own gear. It is extremely helpful as my pack usually weighs around 35-40 pounds. I portion and pack Summit’s food in silicone Stasher Bags. I bring one bottle of water for him as well. When we find our campsites in the backcountry, we always have access to a nearby water source. The water bottle’s main purpose is for hydration during the hike for Summit. He also drinks out of my water bladder. Once we get to our destination, I use a water filtration system to replenish our supply. I pack 2 collapsible bowls for water and food. I throw dog waste bags in his pack and if I need to use them, Summit gets to carry his own waste. Since his pack has two saddle bags, I have to make sure I put an even amount of weight on each side. If the weight isn’t evenly distributed, the pack sits on him lopsided, making it difficult to hike. I also throw in a bag of treats and a couple of chews.


The experience of camping with dogs can be differ dependent on breed. Summit has a significant amount of hair and therefore has no issues with becoming cold during the night. If your dog has short fur, you may want to consider a coat or letting them snuggle with you in your sleeping bag. Summit does fine laying on the ground next to me. I wish I was like Summit in regards to his sleeping abilities. He can sleep anywhere. For camping, I pack the same gear for him (food, water, dog waste bags, collar, leash).

The list isn’t too complicated in my opinion. I’m sure there are a few items that I might throw in for a specific trip but these are the ESSENTIALS!

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