Sometimes I think my dog, Finch, has better gear than I do. Certainly the fur babies in our lives could survive with just the basics, but that doesn’t stop us from buying everything for them from cable-knit sweaters to doggy camping tents. And there’s a $70 billion-per-year pet industry to prove it. So how do you sift through all the slop to know what’s worth it, useful and not just fodder for commerce? Here are a few of my recent finds for Finch that I recommend.

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Fido Pro Airlift.jpeg
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  1. Mountainsmith K9 Cube – I can’t believe I lived without this cube for so many years. It holds food, along with any other necessities such as toys, meds, extra leashes, etc. that your dog needs on the go. There’s an interior divider to keep things organized, and the roll-top, lined food container keeps kibble tidy and secure. A drop-down front panel reveals a food tray with collapsible, waterproof food/water bowls. From camping and kennels to road trips and hotels, this cube is invaluable for anything on-the-go. It’s probably the most convenient doggie accessory I own. $80
  2. Ruffwear Highlands Sleeping Bag – Finch is a German Shorthaired Pointer, and his lack of long hair makes him shiver like a leaf and pathetically look at me like I’m a horrible doggy mommy. The Highlands bag provides him warmth and comfort in a packable, synthetically insulated sack. Muddy paws are inevitable during Finch’s adventuring, so I appreciate it being durable and washable. He loves this bag, and it fits nicely in the aforementioned K9 cube. $100
  3. Fido Pro Airlift – A few summers ago Finch and I were hiking in the backcountry and he decided to make friends with a porcupine. Naturally, the feeling wasn’t mutual, and I suddenly had a dire situation at hand. Many quills were lodged all over him, including the inside of his mouth, and he needed to be carried back to the car, which was several miles away. I wish I had this inventive rescue device with me at the time because hauling a 60-lb. dog was difficult, to say the least. The Airlift is a packable (8 oz. including stuff sack) dog rescue system in an easy-to-use, hammock-style backpack that can be carried by a single person. It adjusts to fit dogs from 30-90 lbs. Interestingly, Fido Pro is based here in the Roaring Fork Valley and was first inspired by an accident on Independence Pass — the same scene of Finch’s porcupine tryst. $70
  4. Yeti Boomer 8 Dog Bowl – OK, so this one’s a little frivolous, but I love it. In Yeti’s sleek style, this bowl holds eight cups of water inside double-walled stainless steel, which makes it incredibly durable, easy to clean and rust resistant. It’s also dishwasher safe. It comes in five sharp color choices and is even customizable if you want to get really fancy. It’s a stunner and makes all of Finch’s friends jealous. $50