A Golden Adventure: Road Tripping With Two Dogs
The weather is warmer, the days are longer, there’s no better time than the present to take a road trip. And of course, who better to experience this with than your dog? Ruffwear ambassador, Kyarna Rushworth, recently embarked on her first road trip with her two Golden Retrievers, Merlot and Winter. Although not everything went according to plan, they came out with unforgettable memories. Read on as Kyarna shares her top tips and gear essentials for road tripping with two dogs.
Heading on a road trip is an exciting adventure in itself, but add in our two lovable golden retrievers, Merlot and Winter, it transforms into an unforgettable experience. It was our first road trip with both of them and honestly we really didn't know what to expect. However, armed with the right preparations and a spirit of adventure, we embarked on a journey to explore the hidden gems of the Lake District, UK.
PREPARATION IS KEY
Preparing for a road trip with our canine companions required careful planning. We made sure to have all the essentials for Merlot and Winter, including cosy bedding (can’t get cosier than the Highlands™ Sleeping Bag), Front Range Harness, Roamer Lead, a doggie first aid kit, and an abundance of towels to tackle muddy adventures (because two wet and muddy goldens go through towels like nobody’s business!). And of course treats, lots of treats, to keep them happy and content throughout the trip.
As for ourselves, with a focus on hiking, scenic trails, and swimming, we packed suitable outdoor clothing, hiking boots, wetsuits, and a camera bag filled with equipment to capture every moment.
The morning before we left, we took care of the final preparations. We packed the necessary food, filled the camper with a clean water supply, and made sure to pack our trusty firepit for those cozy nights beneath the stars.
Equipment we couldn't be without whilst traveling;
- Ruffwear Roamer™ bungee dog leads - These will be your best friends when hiking.
- Ruffwear Front Range® Harness - Great for those steep scrambles to help your furry friends.
- Ruffwear Kibble Kaddie™ and collapsible bowls.
- Ruffwear Dirtbag™ Dog Towels
- Ruffwear Float Coat™ PFD/Life Jacket - For anyone heading out to the water, safety always comes first!
- Osprey Renn 65 - Hiking rucksack, perfect for those longer hikes.
- Osprey Talon 11 - A smaller backpack, perfect for camera gear.
- Sony a7 iii - 35-70mm lens & 85mm Lens
- Dji mini 3 pro - for those dramatic aerial shots.
NOT EVERYTHING GOES TO PLAN…
We were filled with a mix of excitement and apprehension as we embarked on our 6-hour journey from Devon to the captivating landscapes of the Lake District. This adventure marked our first time travelling such a long distance with our two beloved dogs, adding an extra layer of uncertainty to our journey. However, we had nothing to worry about as our two furry adventure companions proved to be incredibly well behaved throughout the entire journey. After a few stops along the way we made it to our pre-arranged site for the night.
Despite our preparations, no road trip is without its surprises. We had encountered our first hiccup when the campsite we had booked wasn’t exactly as advertised. The only pitches available would not be large enough for our campervan and they were no longer allowing campfires (for us, a campfire is an essential part of any trip). With no phone signal to contact the owners or find an alternative, we took a chance on finding somewhere more suitable to stay. Fortunately, after driving the seemingly endless lanes of the Lake District, we stumbled upon a hidden gem called Near Howe. Luckily, they had spaces available, and we quickly set up camp for a night beneath the stars. Merlot and Winter cosied up around the fire as we prepared dinner, grateful for their trusty sleeping bags that kept them warm and comfortable.
TIME TO EXPLORE
Waking bright and early the next day we set about cooking breakfast and taking Merlot & Winter for a quick loop of the campsite before bundling into the van and heading off for the day.
With the weather on our side, we decided to take our paddleboards to Wastwater, the deepest lake in England, which is set amongst the mountains and was the perfect place to spend the day taking in the spectacular scenery. And if you know anything about golden retrievers, they love nothing more than water. Winter was still a little cautious of deep water but she conquered her fear later this trip thanks to a little incident involving a duck - oops!
This trip was met with a bunch of first times which included Winter’s first paddleboard! Try and convince me otherwise, but Merlot and Winter in their Float Coats™ is just the sweetest thing I have ever seen, am I right?
Top tip: Arrive to Wastwater early to secure a good spot as it can get quite busy.
With the dogs happily exhausted, we returned to the campsite for a barbecue and campfire jacket potatoes. Tip for all pet owners - pre weigh your dogs’ food out into individual servings prior to your trip. We bagged up each dog's morning and evening meal before storing them all in our Kibble Kaddie. It saved so much time and space in the van!
The following day we set out to hike Buttermere and Haystacks, this would be Winter's longest Hike yet and let me tell you, she was more than up to the challenge! The roughly 15km route takes you through some of the best scenery England has to offer and as you would imagine with it being the Lake District, many lakes to stop and cool off along the way. One such stop Winter spotted a duck far off in the lake and for some reason this was her cue to finally leap in and swim for the first time. Determined to reach the duck which just kept moving further and further away before she realised she was actually quite far out and came paddling back to us as fast as she possibly could. Since that day you can’t keep her out of the water - much like her big brother!
Top tip: The Alltrails app will be your best friend whilst hiking the Lakes or anywhere for that matter, choose a route and set it going.
Our final day in the Lakes we set out to hike Cat-bells, arguably one of the best known hikes within the Lake District. Having got there nice and early to beat the afternoon heat, we set out up the northside, climbing 450m in elevation with a few near vertical parts to scramble up. Merlot has always made it look easy but Winter was a bit unsure at first and needed a helping hand. As she was wearing her Front Range Harness, it was easy to give her a little nudge in the right direction. The views from the summit are incredible, reaching in every direction. Heading back down the southside to loop around we came across the welcome sight of an ice-cream van, better yet, they had dog ice-cream for Merlot and Winter.
Our first road trip in the campervan with Merlot and Winter was a memorable trip and the Lake district never disappoints, with its stunning scenery and dog friendly towns. The trip as a whole was a great learning curve for the future, things we over packed and things we maybe under packed (towels, I genuinely don't think you can ever have enough.) With a trip to Scotland planned in the coming months we are excited to get back out on the road!
Kyarna loves nothing more than being outside with her dogs. Whether it’s hiking, camping, running or paddleboarding, her two furry sidekicks are always by her side. You can keep up with their adventures over on instagram @thisgoldenjourney.