Whether you’re a snowboarder or snowshoer, mountain hiker or mountain biker, Nordic skier or Nordic walker, you need gear. Each month, I review, right here, three items that I personally feel are especially cool. Here are my picks for this month.
Unlike most humans, dogs are not fond of wearing shoes. Eating them maybe, but not wearing them. Nonetheless, it is sometimes a good idea to try to protect a dog’s paws, especially in the wintertime, when they are exposed to salt and are prone to ice and snowball buildup. Dog booties are a great idea, but many dogs downright refuse to wear them. If you’ve ever put dog booties on a reluctant dog, then you may have witnessed a waltzing weimeraner, a sashaying Shiloh shepherd, a boogying beagle, or a tap dancing Tibetan terrier. A great alternative to booties is Musher’s Secret, a dense, organic, food-grade barrier wax that is applied directly to your dog’s paws, forming a semipermeable shield that protects from hazards, while allowing perspiration to escape through the toes. Simply apply a thin coat on the pads and between the toes, and within seconds, the nontoxic and nonallergenic wax dries and is ready to protect your pup’s paws. The amount of outdoor exposure will dictate how often you need to reapply, but generally, once a week will do. And although they’re not averse to wearing shoes, Musher’s Secret is also great for horses. $6 (60 grams), $14 (200 grams), $22 (1 pound).
The Ruffwear Quencher Cinch Top is a durable, collapsible dog bowl ideal for use on the trail or on the road. Just fill it with your best friend’s favorite kibble, pull the drawstring, and you’re ready to roll without the worry of stray kibbles rolling around in your pack or on the floor of your car. Made with a recycled polyester outer shell and a guaranteed waterproof liner, the Quencher Cinch Top also doubles as the perfect travel water bowl. Available in two sizes to suit your dog’s build, appetite, and thirst, the machine washable Quencher Cinch Top allows you to have a ready-to-go meal when its meal time, which as far as your dog is concerned, is absolutely any time. $19.95.
Sharing your bed at home with your dog is one thing, but when it comes to camping, sharing your sleeping bag with your wet and muddy canine companion can be less than ideal. The Highlands Dog Bed, at a mere 14 ounces, can be compressed to a packable 12” x 5” in its stuff sack, taking up little room in your backpack or your dog’s dog pack. It still provides a comfortable place for the old boy to bed down that doesn’t impinge on your limited sleeping space. Machine-washable and made with a water-resistant, quick-dry shell that is durable enough to hold up to claws and camping debris, the Highlands Dog Bed is filled with high loft Thermore insulation and has four stake-out loops to secure it to the ground and for hanging to dry, which as far as your dog is concerned, is absolutely not necessary. $74.95.