Wilson Creek: Huck’s trip preparation

Our next adventure takes us to Wilson Creek in North Carolina. Huckleberry is taking us on a 3 day, 2 night backpacking trip with his friend, Knox, and their parents. Huck is excited about this trip for two reasons: one, he absolutely loves hiking with Knox, and, two, he gets a break from Sawyer, who recently has upped his ear-chewing and tail-biting game.

So, what about Sawyer?

Sawyer is too young to come along with Huck on this particular adventure, so he will be staying out at Grandma’s farm. By the time we pick him up Sunday evening, I expect he will be fully potty-trained and know how to sit, stay, fetch and do the dishes. Grandma = pup whisperer.

This will be Huck’s first overnight trip where we will be remote camping. He is carrying his own pack, which he is used to. However, there is a bit of a challenge with water on this trip…in the form of multiple river crossings and waterfalls. The last time we went (sans pups), one crossing required a bit of a swim, and others came up to our knees. Of course, any time Huck sees a large body of water he wants to swim in it, so we are hoping to seal and waterproof everything sufficiently to avoid his gear getting too wet.

How do we manage a backpacking trip with a pup? Easy…we carry our stuff, he carries his. At least, that is the basic rule of thumb we try to stick with. Huck doesn’t need much, just food, water and snuggles. Here is his pack breakdown:

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  • Pack: Ruffwear Approach L/XL
  • Food (to be split into two bags for weight distribution)
  • Campsite leash
  • Collapsible food / water bowl
  • Extra doggie bags
  • Toy (beheaded, just the way he likes…he’s a Game of Thrones fan)

The pack we have is fantastic! We have been on multiple hikes with it, and it has yet to rub or chafe. The straps are all easily adjustable, and there is plenty of room for storage. We like the weight distribution as well – it’s fairly easy to balance the pack for Huck. Something else that I’ve noticed about this pack vs. others: the saddlebags are sewn on to the harness itself. Other packs I’ve seen have removable bags, which could be convenient, but I know this way the weight isn’t going to shift and there is no risk of the pack coming off. Also, I like that the saddlebags are shaped to put most of the weight across their shoulders, instead of the middle of their back. This seems as though it would be more comfortable for the pup. Huck has no complaints so far!

All of the other items are fairly straightforward – the collapsible dog bowl is lightweight and easy to store. The long leash is for when we have stopped for the night and set up camp. It wraps around a tree, or we can hook it to one of our packs, so Huck can’t wander too far but still has enough freedom to relax. The doggie bags aren’t really necessary on a trip like this (dig and bury, y’all), but are good to have on hand in case we stop at a visitor center.

What isn’t pictured: water and a first aid kit! Huck will drink out of one of our Nalgene bottles while we are on the trail, and whenever we run out we have the MSR water filter for refills. The first aid kit is for both pups and people, so it’s kept in one of our bags for ease of access.  His trail leash, also not pictured, is a Ruffwear Flat Out leash. We love it because it has an extra handle (they call it an “accessory loop”), so if the trail is crowded it’s an easy handle to grab on to in order to keep him heeled. I love this leash!

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And here is Huck, modeling in his Ruffwear pack…look at that sassy pup! (Sorry ladies, he’s neutered!)

In our next post we are going to cover more of the “human” gear – there are some new products we are trying out this time around, which we will discuss pre-trip and review post-trip!

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