Fact: this is a completely subjective take, but it’ll be difficult to convince us that there exists a better adventure companion than a dog.
Hear us out.
Are you a whitewater kayaker? A paraglider? A marathon runner? A weekend warrior with a long bucket list? Maybe all of the above? Get a dog, train her right and with patience, and introduce her to all of your favorite activities early in your relationship. Before you know it, she’ll be rallying alongside you as if it were as natural as rolling over.
One of our favorite and most poignant examples of this is the late Dean Potter’s dog, Whisper. She’s the first dog to have ever gone base jumping, a feat that—before it was accomplished—was deemed laughable even to seasoned dog trainers. But to Dean, who raised Whisper in a messenger bag when she was too young to keep up with hikers, bikers, or climbers, knew that there were no limits for this little one.
According to this interview with the late Dean Potter by Rock and Ice Magazine, he spent over a year developing the backpack that she rode in during their hundreds of flights together. “It really wasn’t a big deal,” Rock and Ice quoted of Potter in their interview with him about the pair's first jump together. “During the flight, I felt her adjust her body once, then she stayed still. In the video footage, she’s looking around, not scared at all.”
So, whenever anyone questions the breadth of the word “adventure” when it comes to calling our four-legged companions adventure buddies, we’ll point straight to Dean and Whisper and truly revel in dogs’ capabilities to learn anything.
Snow is a miracle, high alpine miles are a celebration, lake swims are a godsend, and trailheads are the crown jewel of a dog’s life. Spend enough time adventuring with a four-legged adventure pal, and they might start to shift your perspective too. There’s rarely a human companion that will eagerly and loudly celebrate the novelty and beauty of a remarkable moment as emphatically as a dog.
On the other hand, a dog is an adventure companion that flourishes with a routine—this is something that we could all use a little helping hand with sometimes as well. We’ll admit to having a little trouble with the before-work training run, resolving to eat a healthy breakfast again (the same as yesterday), and maintaining the sometimes-mundane routine.
This all changes with a dog. They’ll prance around excitedly as you put on your trainers, dance as you fill their bowl with dog food, and embrace routine in a way that makes us feel just a little bit better about it too.
If you’ve never shared a cold tent with the most effective furry heater in all the backcountry (this is not yet proven by science, but we’re sure someone must be working on it) then you’re certainly missing out. There’s something magical about curling up next to a cozy fire after a long day hiking, skiing, or bikepacking and stargazing before crawling into a cozy tent with your furry plus-one.
Not only will they keep your toes warmer or make for a perfect pillow if you’ve forgotten yours, they’re super attuned to the world around them and are excellent deterrents of pests and other night-goers that might want to poke around your food stash.
Plus, you’ve never seen a creature more excited for the day to come—even with a short night’s sleep and sore legs. They’ll make the sunrise wake up all the sweeter.
Take a look at the hoards of people who would beg to differ in Katherine Jondro’s An Adorable Compilation Of Our Favorite Adventure Dogs.