I’ve been on the road with my rescue dog Nova for several months now traveling across the country and hiking outdoors. This is a list of my favorite things I always keep in my car.

1. Harness & Seat Belt

Nova loves traveling with the windows open and I wouldn’t feel as secure with it if we didn’t have a harness and seat beat. No matter how secure you feel about your dog staying planted in their seat, it just takes one second for the worst to happen, better to be safe than sorry. Most importantly this protects your pup from bouncing around the cabin if you find yourself in an accident. 

2. Traveling Waterbowl

I love these traveling Zippy Bowls from Kurgo. They fold down into a little taco that is easily throw into a bag or stuff into a pocket and are great for hiking since they can balance easily on uneven surfaces. I take the kurgo Zippy Bowl every where Nova and I go but I also have one of those collapsible travel bowls always hanging in my car. 

3. Reusable Water Bottles & Reservoirs

To save money and the environment I always keep a couple of refillable water bottles on hand. Before heading out on a long drive I fill them up and throw them in my passenger door cup holders. I carry a few different bottles; This Collapsible Hydrapak reservoir for longer drives, these Platypus SoftBottle water bottles are lightweight and also double as water for my dogs pack and I always keep the classic Nalgene filled for me.

4. Portable Pet Hair Vacuum

If your dog sheds, I highly recommend a Pet Vacuum both for your car and anywhere you may stay along the way. Nothing is worse than driving down the road with your windows open and seeing a wind-whirl of hair circle you. I highly recommend the BISSEL Pet Hair Eraser, it might be a little pricey but it’s great at picking up pet hair and holds a charge fairly well.

5. Seat Cover or Pet Hammock

A car seat cover is a must have if you’ll have a dog in your backseat. There’s so many options that it’s hard to recommend a particular one but I will say, if you have a small or medium-sized dog, this Kurgo Half Hammock Seat Protector looks really interesting, especially if you’ll have passengers or additional supplies in the other seats. I currently use a full seat cover like this Frisco Quilted Water Resistant Bench Car Seat Cover

6. Travel Food Bag

Dog Food bags are bulky and not the easiest to carry around. I picked up this food Grade ICEMULE DryPack™ and use it to carry any leftover food to our new destination. It’s made of Nylon, so its foodsafe, it’s waterproof, durable and extremely lightweight.

7. Odor-Proof Bags

I picked up these LOKSAK OPSAK Odor-Proof Bags from REI, they’re mainly meant to detract bears on camping trips but I’ve found them great for when I have to hike out with a poop bag when I’m out on the trail and don’t have to smell it along the way.

8. Portable Dog Pad

I love this Ruffwear Highlands Dog Pad it’s not thick enough to sleep on every night but we use it when my dog wants to snooze outside or if I want to stop for lunch and give my dog a place to rest. It’s also great if you use the “Place” command. I’ll probably be snagging a thicker everyday bed sometime soon.

9. Enrichment toys

One of the best engagement toys out there is the kong, almost every dog owner has one. These are great to keep a dog occupied when left home alone. I usually stuff it with some combination of wet dog food, peanut butter and dry treats.

10. LED Safety Collar

Whether you’re on the road and need to take a quick walk down a darkened street or you’re arriving late to a destination and want to give your dog some time outside before turning in, an LED safety light or collar is never a bad idea. The best thing is they weigh almost nothing and take up minimal room in a bag. I like the Nite Ize Nitehowl Rechargeable LED Safety Necklace it can cycle through colors, which drains the battery a bit faster but I think it really draws attention to the dog.