Gear: 6 Crag Dog Essentials

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Julie Ellison
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Gear: 6 Crag Dog Essentials

Ruffwear Doubleback Harness

While Barkley might not be scaling 5.12, sometimes just reaching the crag involves some technical trickery, and that's where this strength-rated harness comes in. The Doubleback has front chest straps, two side straps that connect to a padded stomach support, and two rear leg loops to keep your pooch securely in the harness so even the wiggliest pups couldn't slip out. Clip into the belay loop for Tyrols or hauling. When you’re back on the trail, tuck away the leg loops into a dedicated pouch on the back for more freedom of movement. "This is perfect for the many Tyrols necessary to get to local climbing areas—way better than trying to get my dog into a haulbag!" one tester said of using it for almost a year in Colorado. Bright idea: Consider this harness for older or disabled dogs who need help getting around.$125; ruffwear.com

Fozzils Bowlz

"With bowls this light and packable, I don't mind carrying my dog’s gear for a day at the crag," one tester said of approaches in Shelf Road, Colorado, and Ten Sleep, Wyoming. These bowls start as flat sheets of bendable plastic ("they take up zero room in your pack"), and then using some simple origami skills, you can fold the Bowlz up with plastic snaps in the corners to be completely sealed food and water bowls. Once you're done, unfold them flat, give 'em a quick rinse, and they’re ready to go. Food-grade plastic means they won’t add any metallic taste to water or food, and they don't retain odor or flavor so you can use them as human bowls after a wash.$10 (pack of 2); fozzils.com

Ruffwear Quinzee

This lightweight insulated jacket provides plenty of warmth for the dropping temps of fall to cold winter days to chilly spring mornings. "I pack this for my short-haired pooch from October through early May," one tester said after using the Quinzee for more than a year, "and it keeps her comfortable at the crag during the day and in the van at night." A polyester shell was highly weather resistant in rain, snow, and sleet, and it was unscathed after tons of bushwhacking through briars and brambles. Plus, synthetic insulation means it still kept dogs warm when wet. "Super-easy to slide on over the head with a zipper that makes the opening larger, then use plastic buckles on each side to keep it in place." It packs down into an integrated pocket just over the rear, and reflective trim and a dedicated light loop make it perfect for hiking out in the dark.$85; ruffwear.com

Krebs Recycle Leash

Climbers are always wondering what to do with their old ropes, and here's a perfect solution: Krebs Recycle gathers cords from guide services, climbing gyms, and rope manufacturers in the U.S. and Canada and then turns them into dog leashes. Krebs offers four lengths, from a one-footer for training to a six-footer as a standard leash. Working out of a garage in Seattle, Krebs uses industrial-strength stitching done by safety-rescue equipment as well as recycled Cordura for the non-rope sections, so "this leash is as burly as it gets, even for the biggest, strongest dogs that like to pull hard."$16–$20; krebsrecycle.com

Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack

By consulting a veterinarian specializing in sled dogs, designers were able to create what they call a "dogonomically" correct pack, and our testers found their dogs seemed to concur. Ample padding on the chest, sides, and top not only cushions the weight, but the high amount of contact area between the pack and the pup mean the pressure is distributed across a large surface, eliminating hot spots. Testers found the adjustable chest with separate adjustments for the back made customizing the fit easy and quick, and a tapered torso more naturally followed the shape of most dogs’ build. High-denier nylons (210- and 420-denier) were extremely durable, and reflective trim made doggies really visible in the dark. "The best pack my furry friend has ever used!"$65; mountainsmith.com

Ruffwear Highlands Bed

Whether your route involves backcountry camping or Fluffy just needs some insulation from the ground on a cold cragging day, the synthetic Highlands bed packs down to smaller than a 32 oz. water bottle and weighs 14 oz., so "there’s no reason not to take this everywhere my canine companion goes." Synthetic insulation is hydrophobic, and the nylon shell is water and abrasion resistant to sharp ground objects and puppy claws alike. Plus, testers could just throw it in the washing machine when it got too muddy and dirty. Ding: It’s a bit pricey, but it should last several years.$75; ruffwear.com