Gear List: Dogs' Top 11
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This list is obviously my opinion of the 11 must-haves for Tybee and Tyki. If you ask them it would more likely be 4 items: food, us, comfortable place to sleep, and a sweet place to hang out. But these items are things that have made our life on the road with them easier. Only one of them was purchased after we hit the road and specifically for the road. Everything else we’ve had and used before.
The items are not in order of importance.
REI Adventure Dog Dream Bed
Disclaimer: The dogs have a total of 5 beds. We know this is a total overkill but we think they deserve it.
We have two REI Dog Adventure blow up beds (REI discontinued making these but we found these on Amazon that are pretty much the same exact thing.) The beds are great for outdoor use because of the double-sided cover. The top side of the bed is made of a fleece-like material so it’s soft and warm for the dogs to lay on. The other side of the bed is made of nylon and is water and abrasion resistant. The nylon side of this bed is my favorite feature because I can put the bed outside on any terrain and not worry about it getting dirty, ripped or soaked (obviously it will eventually soak through since it’s not waterproof). Dirt just brushes off or can just be hosed off and the fabric will dry quickly. This is nice since we don’t have a washer and dryer anymore. The blow up portion of the bed is also made of nylon. The dog beds can be deflated and rolled up for easy storage and transport (I’ve brought it backpacking). It’s a great versatile dog bed for outdoor use. When we bring Tybee out in the snow, we like to place the smaller one inside her Croozer trailer (see below) to keep her warm from belly up.
Note - it’s not fire proof. Embers from a campfire will melt holes in the dog cover and the mattress inside! We’ve been able to patch our cover with duct tape on the inside, and the inner mattress with a Therm-a-rest repair kit.
Croozer Dog Trailer
I initially got this trailer for a 100-mile bike tour that I brought Tybee on. After that, I used it to haul her around town when we wanted to bike instead of drive. But over the years this piece of gear has become invaluable for Tybee and recently both dogs. While Tyki can usually run alongside when we bike somewhere (greenways or neighborhood roads), Tybee can’t. So this is her way of getting around whenever we bike to and around town. This trailer is a Croozer brand that has been discontinued. We love this one and find it to be irreplaceable because of its nice large square shape, which gives Tybee enough headroom and space to turn. Most dog trailers are a sloped shape that just isn’t big enough for a large sized dog.
Since we’ve been on the road we’ve taught Tyki to ride in it with Tybee. This is wonderful because it now means we can bring both dogs with us when we bike to places. For example: we were staying in north Portland but wanted to hang out in downtown Portland; it was about a 7 mile one way trip. We were able to stuff both dogs in the trailer and haul them into downtown for the day! This trailer also has an attachable handle and front wheel, converting it into a stroller. Now it’s great to have because we can go for long walks and still bring Tybee. We can put her in the trailer if she gets tired or starts limping too much. Before, we would have to turn around, put Tybee in the truck or RV, and then turn back around to keep going with Tyki. When we don’t have the dogs with us, the trailer is great for hauling groceries or doing errands by bike.
The downside of this trailer (and most dog trailers) is that it’s not made for off-road trails. While the trailer actually does pretty well on trails when hitched to a bike, it obviously wears it down a lot faster. The front wheel is the failing point on the trailer when used as a stroller on singletrack because there are two plastic pieces on the front wheel that acts like a fork of a bicycle. That plastic piece is breaking on ours because we essentially abuse it by using it beyond how it’s meant to.
We use this Nalgene container as a dog water bowl and it lives in the truck. The main reason why we got this is because it has a screw on lid. The dogs never drink all the water we pour them, no matter what amount it is. We always end up tossing out the water that’s left over in a bowl and it bothered me how much water we were wasting. Now with this container, whatever water they don’t finish we just screw the lid on and leave it for next time. It is tough enough that it can tumble around the truck without spilling everywhere.
This is the most important piece of gear during hunting season! I’ve heard too many horror stories of dogs getting shot while on trails during various hunting seasons. It’s an absolute must-have. The two I have for the dogs are cheap ones I got in a pet store. The material isn’t tough like Ruffwear’s safety vest, but it was all I could find at the time that I needed it and it’s lasted for years (there are a couple of rips and tears).
Ruffwear K-9 Float Coat
Safety was the initial reason why I got a lifejacket for Tybee. But after I used it I realized the greatest thing about the lifejacket is being able to use the handle to pull her back onto a paddleboard or boat. It makes life so much easier for both of us! Tyki got his own lifejacket pretty much right after we adopted him. Nowadays, I put a lifejacket on Tybee even if we just playing in a lake because it helps her stay afloat so she doesn’t have to work as hard and can stay in the water longer.
Ruffwear Quinzee & Cloud Chaser
Tybee and Tyki each have the Ruffwear Quinzee insulated and the Ruffwear Cloud Chaser softshell jacket. These jackets are great for cold weather activities, chilling by a campfire in the snow, snowshoeing, or hiking sand dunes on windy days (keeps the sand out of their fur). Both jackets are water resistant. The only downside to the softshell jacket is that when Tyki is wearing his jacket and pees, he pees on the underside of the jacket. I can’t figure out if it’s him or the jacket, but it’s aggravating. The only way to prevent this from happening is to fold (or maybe cut) and sew the part of the jacket that covers his belly. But then it doesn’t keep his belly warm.
Nite Ize SpotLit Clip-on LED light
I fell in love with this LED light years ago when I saw it on my girlfriend’s dog. This is a Tyki-specific piece of gear. When we stay somewhere remote we love to be able to let the dogs loose and let them run around. Tybee never roams far. But Tyki runs, hops, and bounds through the woods, desert brush, etc. Having this light clipped onto his collar helps us keep track of where he is in the dusk or dark. And it’s also really entertaining to watch an ever-changing color light pop up randomly around the darkness – it’s like watching a firefly.
WATER-Resistant ORTHOPEDIC MEMORY FOAM DOG BED
Getting old means leaky pipes. So it was time for a bed upgrade for Tybee. I found a water-resistant dog bed on Amazon made by Dogbeds4less at a good price for a 4-inch memory foam bed. The bed has a "waterproof" cover that goes directly over the memory foam and under the micro-suede cover. A handful of the reviews said that it’s actually not waterproof which made me hesitate in my purchase. I called the company about this and they said that I would be able to return it if there’s a defect. After receiving the bed I tested out the waterproofness of the nylon cover by pouring some water on it and leaving it there for an hour or so. The puddle of water remained a puddle and didn’t soak through. Worked for me! The bed also comes with a spare microsuede cover and more can be purchased separately if desired. So far the bed has been great for Tybee, she’s really enjoys sleeping on it and I don’t have to stress as much when she does pee the bed. Update: the waterproof cover isn't truly waterproof like an outdoor raincoat or a tent rainfly. If you leave the wet spot on the bed for long, or your dog lays on top of the wet spot, it will eventually soak through the "waterproof" cover. I insert a layer of puppy pee pads inside the bed on top of the "waterproof" cover to be extra safe. Nothing is worse than trying to wash memory foam soaked in pee.
We’ve had sleeping bags for the dogs for years (actually Tyki got Tybee’s hand-me-down when we adopted him two years ago). One of the bags we have is a kid’s bag and the other is an adult sleeping bag (that I got at an REI Garage Sale). These were before Ruffwear came out dog specific sleeping bags. The sleeping bags are great for backpacking, camping or hanging outside in cold weather (don’t forget the sleeping pad for them). But we also use them for inside the RV when it gets chilly. They each get a sleeping bag wrapped around them.
Summit Trex Ruffwear Booties
Tybee has had booties for years. I realized the importance of them when 5 miles into the same bike tour I mentioned above, her pads tore (due to the crushed gravel we were on) and I had to haul her the entire 100-mile trip instead of intermittently as I had planned. Over the years the reasons for putting boots on her have changed: originally it was because of the rough terrain she was running long distances over, now on bad days she drags her back feet because of her arthritis and this can tear up her nails and make them bleed. The boots protect her nails and quick. Yes, getting old blows.
Ideally I would love to also have booties for Tyki. Except Tyki turns into rabid dog whenever we try putting boots on him for sizing. It was such a stressful ordeal, for him and for us, that we just didn’t see the point of buying boots for him. We knew there was no way in hell we could do this more frequently without first tranquilizing him. Our goal is to work with him with his feet issues (I can’t cut his nails either) and then get boots for him. So far the only times I’ve really wished I had them for him is when we’ve gone snowshoeing and hiking in the desert (cactus!). He gets cold so easily that it would be nice to have boots to help his feet stay warmer and drier.
We keep two small plastic Tupperware filled with a dinner for each dog in the truck. This is great because if it’s a traveling day or we’re getting back to the truck from a trailhead, the dogs always have their dinner right there! No need to make them wait for their dinners if we can help it.
Leave us a comment about your favorite dog gear!