2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – November 2011

The Manual: Winterize Your Dog

Learn how to prepare your dog for cold temps and tricky terrain with this guide.

by: Kristy Holland and Rachel Zurer

Illustration by Supercorn
Illustration by Supercorn

Gear Up for Protection
>> Prevent heavy ice buildup on your pet’s chest and legs with a coat like the full-coverage Ruff Wear Cloud Chaser ($75; Fit the jacket by measuring back length and the widest part of the chest (see below).
>> The Dog Buff ($11;, an eight-inch long neck gaiter made of polyester microfiber with a reflective stripe, helps prevent chilling and snow buildup on floppy ears and shaggy necks.
>> With a properly fit pack, a dog can carry up to one-third of its body weight. Reduce his load if the snow is soft or he’s postholing excessively. Fit the pack: Adjust the harness so it’s snug across the forelegs (you should be able to fit two fingers between his chest and the straps) and slightly snugger across the belly; weight both sides equally. The pack should fit the same if he’s wearing a jacket, but watch for chafing where straps overlap seams. Try Mountainsmith’s fleece-lined Dog Pack ($50 to $60;
 >> At night, make your dog visible so you can find him more easily. The Nite Ize Magic Marker light ($15; attaches to a collar so you can spot him from afar.

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):
Reader Rating: -


Corey T
Jan 10, 2012

I hike with my dog all the time, the longest hike he has endured is 43 miles from garden of the gods to lusk creek canyon in southern Illinois. And I gotta say I use mushers secret on his paws every hike hot or cold, I haven't used the boots on him yet, but I run with him a lot of asphalt and concrete so his pads are conditioned for rough terrain and he will still get nicks and cuts on his pads. He def needs a dog coat in the winter there is no shelter for him to get out of the cold, unless he goes in the tent and sleeps in the sleeping bag, but he likes to be by the fire too! So it's not bad to get some gear for your dog, especially their feet. Carrying a large dog back to the vehicle plus your other gear sounds dangerous and avoidable. If you love them you want them to be as comfortable as possible in the back woods. Your dog doesn't require much to be safe on the trail take care of them!

Marylyn D
Jan 10, 2012

To meanolddog. We have made our dogs pets. Their pads aren't concrete hard and they don't have layers of fat to protect them from the cold. So we have a responsibility to protect them from harm.

Jan 09, 2012

Gee I wonder how we dogs survived before all this marketing of dog gear came about..We must have suffered horribly in our fur coats and concret hard pads...Those poor Coyotes and Wolves that run about the forest everyday must be suffering a horrible life maybe we should start a Foundation for Cold dogs....And those poor Country dogs whose masters leave them out in the Kennel all winter maybe we should get PETA after them and those Alaskan sled dogs as well..Well I guess it just goes to show, like Metro Humans, Metro Dogs have special needs too....Lols

Jason W.
Jan 06, 2012

Be careful skiing with dogs, have seen several sliced dog tendons from sharp ski edges. Not good.


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Health and Fitness
2014 fitness updates
Posted On: Aug 22, 2014
Submitted By: RebeccaD
Rocky Mountains
Who Has Plans in the Winds This Year?
Posted On: Aug 22, 2014
Submitted By: OldBill

View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions