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@TheAdventureK9

You're the only one that I know on here that backpacks so I have some questions! We are finally able to get back into hiking/backpacking since I'll be done with school in June!

My concern is that I'm getting my puppy in May. I'll be bringing her with us but obviously want to limit what she does.

I have this pack and was thinking of getting this carrier

Do you think the straps would be an issue? Any DIY ideas for carrying her (safely of course) on my pack?
 

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Additionally, I'll take any other tips you have :)

Favorite equipment, equipment you hate, etc.

We're big hikers so we have all of the typical hiking gear, now working on getting backpacking gear. I love my pack so much! I've taken it out a few times to condition myself to carrying it.
 

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YAY! I am so excited for you.

Okay so I love Osprey packs, the weight gets distributed well, their lightweight and really seem to last. I got a day pack of theirs two Christmas's ago and I love it. It really had taken a beating. My next backpacking pack most likely will be one of theirs. The 65L is a good amount of space for any trip you want to take. I'm planning on the JMT (220 miles) with my REI 65L.

As for how to carry the pup, thats a hard one, I would be concerned with adding more weight onto your shoulders pulling in an opposite direction. IMO it would hurt. There is a reason they have the backpacking packs to weigh on your hips and not your shoulders. That carrying harness is only going to tweak your back and shoulders.

We used to put Teddy on the top of the pack behind our heads, but that would bother his our necks.
tumblr_n341k048fb1qcnzawo1_1280.jpg
So we found out that shoving him inside the pack itself was the best way to go.
tumblr_n1hpf0hoAG1qcnzawo1_540.jpg tumblr_ndaq9uuMc21qcnzawo1_540.jpg
We would layer all the uncomfortable stuff on the bottom and then put the sleeping bag on top and let Ted sit/lay on that. He was always pretty content, he just couldn't keep up with us and would get sore so we carried him. I would have to carry all the communal gear, tent, cooking supplies, first aid...ect while Danny got her personal stuff and Ted.

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Okay so I have a lot of opinions on what I do/don't like. Yet for most of the non-doggy stuff its all about learning how to only pack the essentials, and what to pay more money for light without sacrificing comfort. You learn over time what you do and do not need. I started backpacking with a pack weight around 55lbs. Now it's around 35lbs, that is even with luxuries like a book and extra yummy (and a little heavy) snacks.

Invest in a good tent, sleeping bag and pad. Being able to sleep comfortably is so important to me. Its all has to do with my happiness.

Tent: Know that the extreme lightweight BP tents are very flimsy and can be easier to tear/break poles because of how light they are. Yet your sturdy basic tents are heavy and not worth that. Find a middle ground. I didn't bother with a footprint, and just bought a tarp. Its multi use to cover myself/pack in the rain as well as act as a footprint.

Sleeping bags: Whatever temperature is says it is, you will be cold if it drops 15* ABOVE whatever is says it is. I have a 15* bag and I'm cold below 30* A sleeping bag liner can keep you a little warmer. So with my liner, good base layers and the sleeping bag I am comfortable to 25*

Pad: Get an insulated pad. Cold coming from the ground will chill you.
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For dog items, I'm still playing around with what I bring.
  • I do not like canvas bowls for food/water. I like those collapsable rubber ones, or a regular backpacking bowl.
  • If you don't want or your dogs do not want to sleep on you or in the bag with you, then I suggest getting some type of pad and a down blanket. (I have one from Costco) Aayla will not curl up with me and I don't like her on my feet so I have the Alcott sleeping bag (too heavy, do not suggest) and the down blanket. I plan to replace that sleeping bag with a foam pad cut to her size.
  • Dehydrate dog food is your friend. I typically do Stella and Chewies raw, but there are a lot of options. Try to find the most calorically dense ones you can. Plus if you make it like soup, you know they are getting some extra water in. Which for Aayla is important because she gets dehydrated easily.
  • Lightweight leashes! I made aayla carry her own food, water and supplies. I found her leash always through things off balance. I have switching to a thin, lightweight one for when I have to leash her. Climbing rope leashes are a no go. Lol
  • Booties, even if just the rubber ones. If any of the pups get hurt, having something to protect their paws until you get out is important. The sierra's granite rocks are harsh on Aayla's feet so I've had to use them.
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Tips: (you probably know most of these, I always tell them to everyone)
  • Always check water reports. Make sure you know where multiple sources of water are, and how they are running.
  • You don't need as much food as you think.
  • Don't let your dogs bother people/wildlife
  • Bury your dogs feces as well!
  • Pack out your TP, if you're using it. Don't bury it, and for the love of god do not just put a rock on top of it. ((Doggy poop bags work great for storing used TP))
  • Bring a waterproof map
  • Bring TWO forms of fire starting. I always have a flint and lighter. Its no fun if you can't cook.
  • Instant Miso soup is the best thing when in the back country. My life changed when I was shown that.
  • Watch out for hunters/packers. Not always the nicest people, I've almost had to fight off some packer's dogs when they surrounded me and Aayla.
  • Putting hot water in a nalgene and shoving it in the bottom of your sleeping bag is amazing for cold weather. (Make sure you have enough fuel to heat the water and all your meals)
  • As tempting as it is, do not camp right next to water (plus most laws state 200 feet away from trail and water). Waking up with everything damp from the moisture sucks.
  • Don't forget bug spray...
  • Don't forget hand sanitizer
I'm sure there is so much more, but I can't think of much else right now and This post is already crazy long. :D

I'm really excited you're getting into backpacking, no question is stupid so feel free to ask any more!
 

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@Aspen726 I actually bought that carrier quite a while ago when Mia was a puppy, hoping I could carry her in it but she was way too squirmy to sit in it lol. Back then it didn't have the upgraded padded straps. Since I couldn't use it anymore now that Mia is too big, I gave it to my friend who has a pom/yorkie mix and it fits him perfectly (I bought the medium sized one). He's about 7lbs. He seems to like it, it looks comfortable, the mesh is soft and stretchy.
 

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Accidentally deleted the quote part haha @TheAdventureK9

So we found out that shoving him inside the pack itself was the best way to go.

Interesting thought about putting the dog in the pack.. I'll have to play with that in the woods near my house

Tent: Know that the extreme lightweight BP tents are very flimsy and can be easier to tear/break poles because of how light they are. Yet your sturdy basic tents are heavy and not worth that. Find a middle ground. I didn't bother with a footprint, and just bought a tarp. Its multi use to cover myself/pack in the rain as well as act as a footprint.

We have been looking at tents. We need a 3 person because my bf is 6'4" plus we'll have the 2 dogs haha... I saw a Big Agnes one that I liked... probably go check it out within the next few weeks.

Sleeping bags: Whatever temperature is says it is, you will be cold if it drops 15* ABOVE whatever is says it is. I have a 15* bag and I'm cold below 30* A sleeping bag liner can keep you a little warmer. So with my liner, good base layers and the sleeping bag I am comfortable to 25*

I have a liner and from tent camping forever I have an idea on temperature ratings. There was a Big Agnes sleeping bag that I also liked.

Pad: Get an insulated pad. Cold coming from the ground will chill you.

Insulated. Good point.
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For dog items, I'm still playing around with what I bring.
  • I do not like canvas bowls for food/water. I like those collapsable rubber ones, or a regular backpacking bowl.

    Also hate canvas bowls. I have collapsible ones for her from camping
  • If you don't want or your dogs do not want to sleep on you or in the bag with you, then I suggest getting some type of pad and a down blanket. (I have one from Costco) Aayla will not curl up with me and I don't like her on my feet so I have the Alcott sleeping bag (too heavy, do not suggest) and the down blanket. I plan to replace that sleeping bag with a foam pad cut to her size.

    I have a ChuckIt! sleeping pad for her but I hope that she snuggles with me :)
  • Dehydrate dog food is your friend. I typically do Stella and Chewies raw, but there are a lot of options. Try to find the most calorically dense ones you can. Plus if you make it like soup, you know they are getting some extra water in. Which for Aayla is important because she gets dehydrated easily.
  • Lightweight leashes! I made aayla carry her own food, water and supplies. I found her leash always through things off balance. I have switching to a thin, lightweight one for when I have to leash her. Climbing rope leashes are a no go. Lol

    I use THK
  • Booties, even if just the rubber ones. If any of the pups get hurt, having something to protect their paws until you get out is important. The sierra's granite rocks are harsh on Aayla's feet so I've had to use them.

    I have some Outward Hound boots for her. I'll have to get the puppy a pair. I haven't really had to use them much which I'm grateful for because she REALLY hates them haha
---
Tips: (you probably know most of these, I always tell them to everyone)
  • Always check water reports. Make sure you know where multiple sources of water are, and how they are running. How do I check water reports? How far in advance should I check it?
  • You don't need as much food as you think. Agreed
  • Don't let your dogs bother people/wildlife Agreed
  • Bury your dogs feces as well! YES
  • Pack out your TP, if you're using it. Don't bury it, and for the love of god do not just put a rock on top of it. ((Doggy poop bags work great for storing used TP)) Yes!
  • Bring a waterproof map Good tip!
  • Bring TWO forms of fire starting. I always have a flint and lighter. Its no fun if you can't cook. Also a good tip!
  • Instant Miso soup is the best thing when in the back country. My life changed when I was shown that. I'm actually worried about my food because I can't have gluten so I need to figure out what is best to bring
  • Watch out for hunters/packers. Not always the nicest people, I've almost had to fight off some packer's dogs when they surrounded me and Aayla.
  • Putting hot water in a nalgene and shoving it in the bottom of your sleeping bag is amazing for cold weather. (Make sure you have enough fuel to heat the water and all your meals) A nalgene baby!
    I read this online! haha
  • As tempting as it is, do not camp right next to water (plus most laws state 200 feet away from trail and water). Waking up with everything damp from the moisture sucks.
  • Don't forget bug spray...
  • Don't forget hand sanitizer
Great tips! Thanks!! I'm looking forward to starting... really looking forward to having the time to hike again at all.

I think my next purchases will be a tent and sleeping pad
 

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For the tent, I have the BIg Agnes Fly Creek UL 2
( I think, I'll have to double check. Mine might be an outdated model)

But let me say that it has plenty, plenty of room. Enough room that I have slept with 2 people and Aayla comfortably. (adding another pup wouldn't be a problem.) I'm 5'8" and I feel like there is a whole foot before the end of the tent. I normally will shove my pack down at the end, Aayla sleeps next to me. I've been in some crazy small 2 person BP tents, it makes this one seem massive.

It HAS to be staked out from 8 different points, which is a little annoying. The fabric also gets stuck in the zipper a lot until you learn how to open and close it. But since I got used to staking it out and how to unzipper quickly when I have to pee in the middle of the night, I love it.
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For food, I really suggest you learn to make your own. I've just started getting into that. (if I remember correctly, gluten is mostly found in wheat?) Can you eat rice and potatoes? I can try and pull up some recipes.

I know that REI has a gluten free section for their food online. Click Here

I may some curry over lentils on my last trip, which was great. I've also made burritos, chili, wraps, gnocchi....and so on. Mostly try to avoid heavy foods that are moist, avoid cans. Don't bring cans of anything unless you hate yourself. Packets (I'll do tuna packets, one of the only thing that is moist that I'll bring), dehydrated is your best friend. Think of things you have to boil and add water to at home to make.

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Also on another side note. Something I've learned the hard way. Make sure you're eating fruit, a good amount of it. I have IBS and I get constipated a little easy. Eating backpacking foods pretty much means a little hell for GI, even your average person can have some issues with this. I've brought packets of olive oil (tastes really gross to try and eat alone...make something with it. I think I gagged for a few hours after trying to down it) and a lot of dehydrate fruits. Apples and mangos are my favorite and I'll much on them several times a day.
 

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I combined two different instant soup type packets. I'm trying to remember what they were. I think it was a no bean chili mix and added a black bean soup together. I know what the boxes look like but have no idea what it is off the top of my head. Its not as hearty as normal chili, but still good!
 
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