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Man's best friend

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  • Man's best friend

    Ended up getting a new pup recently and plan on having him go with me on winter trips. Any tips, tricks, suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Extra food, booties, ground insulation, blankets......?

    Hes a Husky/Blue Heeler mix. Ideally he should love it.

    Share some winter camping dog picture also!
    Last edited by Berner9; 09-07-2020, 11:22 AM.

  • #2
    I'm interested in this as well. I am a first time dog owner, I got my dog Joe (a 40lb brittany) just last year as a three year old. I'm hoping to take him out this winter as well. I thought I'd cut up some foam to fit in his crate and then toss a few blankets in there for him to sleep on and stay warm. Maybe wrapping the crate with an extra blanket would be a good idea as well?


    • #3
      First, let me state that I'm no expert here so feel free to take my comments for what they're worth to you. I too want to take my dog on a winter overnight. She's almost 5 and does well overnight in our shelter but we've only been out during the warmer months. To get your dog ready, do you know how they will tolerate the cold? At least in my case I know our dog loves being out in the winter. I've had her out in -15 F and she's been fine as she has a thick double coat of fur to keep her warm. That said, I do have a fleece jacket for her that I use as much to keep her belly from developing snowballs on her fur while out. I've never used booties with her as she seems fine without them but again, we've only done day trips. In the end I'd suggest you take your dog out for some extended day trips to see how it handles the conditions. If all goes well, then you can introduce an easy overnight. My plan this year is to try that somewhere local, and relatively close to my truck, so I can bail if she indicates she's uncomfortable. A long time ago a friend said to me that having a dog along on a trip is like having a toddler; you constantly have to pay attention to them and their needs. In the end your trip may not be as relaxed as you'd like but I'm sure you'll enjoy the company.

      That's all for now. Take care and until next well.



      • #4
        I used to take my dog "Betty" winter camping (passed away last year). She was a Malamute/black lab mix. Looked very similar to a boarder collie with a malamute head.

        From my experience it really depends how cold it really is and how acclimated the dog is to the cold. Their feet seem to suffer the most. Ice build up and trying to keep booties on can be a pain if they're not used to it. Start slow and more on from there.

        I made a bed out of high density foam for the floor (vapor and thermal barrier and used a wool blanket as the bed itself. Worked well.

        I did make her a coat and booties, booties did not last.


        • #5
          I've taken my border collie to the boundary waters a bunch of times. He loves it. We use a square piece of a foam sleeping pad underneath a backpacking bed i bought for him. Unless it's really cold, he avoids both and sleeps on my pad at my feet.

          For food, I usually take puppy food, it has more fat which they'll need. I put out water now and then but he gets most of his water from eating snow.

          Your dog is half huskies so will probably be very cold tolerant. For me, every year leading up to our trips I take my dog out for hikes on the coldest days to try to find out where the bottom of his range is. He has no issues hiking at 10 below but if we're just standing around, he starts to show signs of cold. 2 years ago during the polar vortex I had to leave him home because 30 below was too cold for him.

          Consider the trail you'll be on and the impact on your dog. We've done alot of trips that are mostly on packed dog sled trails which is like a walk in the park. Last year we were busting our own trail and on the way out snow shoeing about 5 miles through deep snow. He is always running back and forth from the front to the back of our line, so was doing alot more in deep snow. When we got to the truck, I had to lift him into the truck.

          Good luck.
          Attached Files


          • Undersky
            Undersky commented
            Editing a comment
            I appreciate what you are saying, Wally.
            I especially appreciate the caution you extend regarding every dog's low temperature tolerance.
            There are definitely some breeds (Huskies: Alaskans, or Malamutes for example) will trot all day, then curl up on the snow at -40 and snore - wouldn't it be amazing to be able to do that!
            Most other breeds have minimal temperature/wind tolerances that are higher than the extreme winter temps that we get in Manitoba, for instance.
            Our now passed husky cross had a double layer medium-length coat and was happy down to -28C or so during the active 16 hours of the day, but at night she needed a foam mat and an old parka slid over her. As she aged, she needed warmer temperatures. We fed her as much food as she wanted to eat. Usually we'd make a liquid slurry of dogfood, tepid water, and fat - she loved it!
            I agree that it is a pet owner's responsibility to keep your dog happy and warm while we're taking them outside.
            Great sled pullers!
            What wonderful partners for winter trips they are!
            Last edited by Undersky; 10-07-2020, 10:42 PM.

        • #6
          I’ve taken my Golden retriever out several times and would suggest getting a good pair of dog boots. Getting to camp can be brutal on my dog’s feet when the snow conditions give the old snowball between the toes effect. Once we’re in camp there is no need for the boots, but, getting there if the snow conditions are bad are worth it. My dog will lick her paws and this just magnifies the snow collecting on her paws. As others have stated, extra food for you dog and a good insulating base for sleeping. I usually bring a foam pad and an old sleeping bag specifically for my dog. I don’t know if you are hot tenting, but, remember your dog may be sleeping where the heat of the stove will be above them. I also put some stakes around the perimeter of the stove to keep the dog from moving too close to the stove.


          • #7
            Did a test run. Had 2 days at mid to upper 30s at night this past weekend . Curled up and was fine. Put a blanket on him and he didn't remain under it for long. Will try again as it gets colder and take it a little at a time. Going to be in the U.P. mid Nov. just before deer season and hoping it will be cold for another test run. Got some Mushers secret and going to start with that this year. Going to wait on boots until he stops growing.


            • #8
              Greetings! I just joined and this is my first post. I have quite a bit of experience "cold camping" with dogs. I have three dogs and in the winter we either ski, skijor or fatbike to where we're going. I'm also an experienced (but retired) musher. I just want to throw out a few things.

              You have to know what your dog is able to handle while still enjoying the experience before you head out. By doing some day trips you should be able to determine whether they need jackets and booties and what their comfort zone is.

              I find the biggest challenge is keeping them comfortable at night. Mine all have pretty short coats and are used to a nice warm house so they would hate life if I made them just sleep on a blanket or mat. The challenge has been finding something that is truly warm but packs down small and is light. I haven't been able to find anything actually made for dogs that works for backpacking or bikepacking. So instead I've been carrying a second human sleeping bag. I did however just order a child's Big Agnes sleeping bag which I think is going to be the ticket. It arrives today so I'm excited to try it out. I'll also add that two of my dogs are only 30# so I can fit one in my bag which is there preference of course.

              The photo is from two nights ago, 27f in SW Wisconsin.

              [ATTACH=JSON]{"alt":"Click image for larger version Name:\tThule-Perrot.jpg Views:\t1 Size:\t82.9 KB ID:\t893","data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"893","data-size":"full","title":"Thule-Perrot.jpg"}[/ATTACH]
              Attached Files
              Last edited by Amy; 10-21-2020, 01:18 PM.


              • #9
                This is what my dogs wear when it's below zero. This wasn't actually a camping trip, just a long day ski in CO.[ATTACH=JSON]{"data-align":"none","data-size":"full","title":"3Amigos-CO.jpg","data-attachmentid":895}[/ATTACH]
                Attached Files


                • #10
                  One of the prime times for a dog to suffer frostbite to its feet is at the trailhead on a cold morning, while you're getting ready to head out. Many dogs need to be moving to stay warm if not protected from the wind and cold. Leave the dog in your vehicle until you're actually ready to hit the trail.