Aspen Times Weekly: Gear for the Adventure Dog
Special to The Aspen Times
If you happen to be a frequent reader of my Outfitted column, you’ll know that my most frequent outdoor companion is Finch, my German shorthaired pointer mountain wonder dog. From bolting up to 14er summits to swimming river rapids or darting down chipmunk-infested slopes, he’s a wet and muddy bundle of endless, fearless (except for thunder and human hiccups) doggie existence. All this constant energy takes quite a bit of maintenance to be honest, but the amount of joy he and I both get in return is worth it. Below are a handful of new items I’ve been using this summer to keep up with his amazing wildness.
1. Voited Quilted Recycled Pet Blanket
Voited blankets are an unsung hero of the outdoor blanket market. I have a couple of them and use them outside and in, but perhaps my new favorite Voited product is its version for pets. Insulated, waterproof and made from high-quality recycled ripstop material, the blanket has one side with anti-static treatment to repel dog hair and the other side with antibacterial micro-fleece. Super portable and versatile, it’s great for the backseat of the car, easy to throw on any surface while camping and a wonderful insulator for chilly nights around the fire. It can snap together to make a little sleeping pouch for your dog and, like Voited blankets for people, it will stuff into its own pocket to make a little pillow. Made from recycled plastic bottles, it’s fully machine washable after your dog muddies it up. I even find myself using this blanket on my own when Finch isn’t using it. Available in a variety of fun prints and colors. $79, voited.com.
2. Hest Dog Bed
Just like their humans, dogs will fare much better in the backcountry when they have a good night’s sleep. And just like humans, dialing in the perfect system can be tricky. After testing out Hest’s premium mattress for adults (check out the review from July 19), I decided to let Finch try out the dog version. Finch plays hard but crashes hard. Made from the same premium memory foam as the human version, this bed is engineered for pressure point relief, temperature regulation and optimal body alignment. Wrapped in a waterproof, dirt-resistant, washable liner, the bed easily rolls up for easy transport with a compression harness and carry handle. Finch comes in at 65 pounds, so the medium is about the perfect size for him. It fits nicely next to my own mattress inside a standard two-person tent. Even though it’s easy to throw in the car for outdoor adventures, at roughly 4.4 pounds and 9 x 26 inches, this isn’t a mattress I’ll be taking backpacking. Available in small, medium or large from $149-249, hest.com.
3. Ruffwear Dirtbag Dog Drying Towel
If there’s a mud puddle or water source within a one-mile radius, Finch will find it. A water-dog at heart, we’ll be hard pressed to make it out of the outdoors without him being soaking wet. Hoping to cut down on the mud and wet that gets onto me, the Dirtbag Towel is my new favorite go-to. A post-adventure, absorbent coat, this towel clips onto your dog like a garment and by doing so, shields your car, home, tent and person from experiencing all that muck. The inner layer and belly panel is made of a quick-dry microfiber that soaks up mud, sand and grit, and the outer layer is a waterproof shell to keep it all contained. $100, ruffwear.com.
4. WashBar Original Soap and Natural Paw Balm
Finch has short hair, so he doesn’t need a bath very often. Usually a few jumps in the river will clean him off, but sometimes even that can’t wash off all that grime. My recent go-to for a good shampoo bath is the lemon-scented WashBar. Made with tea tree oil, it’s a natural calmer, which helps Finch relax when I make him get in the tub. Gentle enough to use on a variety of skin conditions, it soothes sensitive, irritated or itchy skin. WashBar also claims that it naturally repels fleas, ticks and lice. I also recommend WashBar’s Natural Paw Balm. In winter and summer, our Rocky Mountain conditions can take their toll on those paws. This stuff is great for preventing cuts, as well as healing them. $13 for the bar and $16.50 for the balm, washbar.com.
Meg Simon is an Aspen-based freelance writer, graphic designer and founder of Simon Finch Creative. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anderson Ranch Arts Center’s new fall lecture series will run weekly from Oct. 20 through Dec. 6. The lineup consists of artists nationwide who will be spending one to three weeks at the ranch completing projects within their area of expertise and exploring new work in the studios.