An excellent question and a very common one. With so many different pieces of kit out there ranging from “cheap and cheerful” to “premium brand money” you really can get quite bamboozled by it all.
Ensuring you have the correct canicross kit is a complete game-changer for entering the sport.
Today, my canicross kit consists of three essential items and a few others pieces of kit that I like to have with me…
Firstly, my waistbelt…this was the game-changing piece of kit that enabled me to run without feeling like my kidneys were going to pop out of my body due to the strength of Tilly pulling!!
I use the DogFit canicross waistbelt and have used it for 5k events right through to marathons with Tilly. I’ve also stood wearing it for 8 hour days whilst attending DogFest with DogFit and can categorically say, I didn’t know I had it on.
The best bit about this belt for me, versus others, is the fact that it is so lightweight, no heavy fittings that weigh it down. It has a wide distribution across the core area making it far nicer to run in. A larger pocket than any other belt I have tried. Large enough for a phone and poo bags or keys and poo bags. Very handy when going on a shorter run.
Secondly, the dog harness. I have to admit to having many harnesses! Well, I have to test some out in order to recommend them, right?! My current favourite for canicrossing my dogs in is the Zero DC Faster harness. It is a long style harness, perfectly suitable for strong pulling dogs. It helps take the pull through the body of the dogs and makes for a more fluid run.
Each individual dog needs a harness suitable for their body shape, measurements and weight, so what may be suitable for one dog may not be suitable for others. Always seek advice from people who run their dogs in canicross harnesses to further help you with your search. I’m more than happy to help people find the best fit.
Thirdly, is the bungee line that connects the previous two elements. This is key to ensuring the shock absorption for both you and your dog. You don’t want any jarring on your body and neither does your dog. The standard length is 2m although there is a popular length of 1.2m especially when attending parkrun as they only allow dogs to run on shorter lines. Also if you dog isn’t a huge puller a 1.2 m line can ensure you don’t have too much slack in the line, which can be a hazard!
The line I currently use is a 1.2m DogFit line, which comes with a really handy traffic control handle, I find the full bungee lines doesn’t give me as much control, especially on some of our steep coastal runs! I definitely need to feel in control when we are running those sections!!
These three pieces are all you need to start your canicross journey together but I’m also asked about other kit requirements that can help when your adventures take you further…
As you progress through your canicross journey, you may be running further and more technical trails and I always like to have my run pack with me when I’m going longer or running with my groups. The pack I am loving currently is the Montane Via Fang 5
The main reason I like this one so much is the plethora of easy to access pockets and the water bottle holder up front. I always carry a soft flask in there for either myself or Tilly and the other pockets consist of poo bags, phone, basic first aid and treats/snacks if required!
I rotate my trainers during the winter / summer months. During the summer I prefer a lightweight shoe, I’m currently in Brooks Cascadias and during the winter, as we head into boggier terrain, I have done two seasons in the Salomon Speedcross and don’t think I’ll be changing anytime soon!
I also have a Garmin Fenix 3 which I love for all the stats it can supply me with, I’m a sucker for all the numbers!
I love the Strava app to connect with others and get inspired by other runners and canicrossers.
Another app that has been super helpful when I’ve been visiting new places and finding new routes is the OS app. It’s great to have on your phone when getting lost in deepest darkest Yorkshire!!
Any other kit questions, do get in touch, meanwhile, happy canicrossing!