An unlikely pair that can adventure anywhere
Henry is a dog. Baloo is a cat. Cynthia Bennett is a human. All of them love to pile into their 2007 Toyota 4Runner, hit the road, and adventure outdoors. Cynthia loves to be out in nature – hiking, camping, backpacking – and she loves her fur babies. Only natural they should all travel together.
But how does she pull it off so everyone is safe and happy?
“Traveling with Henry and Baloo is like traveling with kids,” she says. “There is a lot to pack and think about before hitting the road!”
TRAVEL COMFY. TRAVEL SAFE.
Having the right gear for the road is essential. Baloo and Henry travel in a hammock-style car seat. “They don’t slide off around sharp corners and it feels more like a bed at home on longer trips,” shares Cynthia. “When they are younger I suggest always bringing the carrier – it became Baloo’s safe place – and extra blankets to make them more comfortable so they can more easily adjust.”
She also relies heavily on her SkyRise rooftop tent and SlimShady awning. “They make setting up camp a breeze and a lot more comfortable,” she says. “Now, anywhere we go, we can create our own shade and have a comfy bed to lay our heads. They’ve removed a lot of the stresses of being on the road, giving us more time to enjoy where we are.”
Cynthia is also a huge fan of the SkyRise accessories and has one feature of the tent she particularly likes. “That zip off mattress cover? Extremely important!” she says. “Having all four of us in the tent means we track in a ton of dirt and Henry and Baloo shed everywhere. So basically, it’s a lifesaver!”
BUILT FOR ADVENTURE
The qualities Cynthia recommends for an adventure dog are high energy, a medium-larger size for stamina, and a confident and excited personality. “I honestly believe that most dogs are naturally curious and will thrive exploring the outdoors,” she says. “Dogs’ number one sense is their sense of smell, and there’s a whole lot to smell outside.”
For an adventure cat, look for one that is confident, but not wild or skittish. “Cats naturally want to hide or bolt when something intimidates them, so if a cat is timid as a kitten it would be extremely difficult for them to overcome that fear,” says Cynthia. “Baloo was the confident, laid back one of his litter, and was very affectionate as well. In my opinion the perfect personality!”
Baloo’s mother abandoned his litter, so he was desperately looking for a mom, and Henry was dying for a friend. “I think this is why the two have become so inseparable. The first week we had Baloo, we took him on a hike. He amazed us as he hiked a quarter of a mile in, happy as a clam. This is when Henry really bonded to Baloo, when he realized that Baloo was going to be coming on all of our adventures, and training Baloo is pretty easy because he copies everything Henry does,” says Cynthia.
“We got pretty lucky with this bunch and I seriously can’t wait to see what other adventures await us.”
START ‘EM YOUNG
Adventure dogs aren’t uncommon. A couple of days after adopting Henry, he went on a hike, and the first thing he did was run up the steepest rock he could find to get a better view. He quickly earned the nickname “Mountain Goat” after he climbed Class-3 14er, Snowmass, easily.
But adventure cats? They are out there, but rare. And they require a little cultivation.
Cynthia adopted Baloo when he was about two and half months old. After he moved in, she took him in the car every day until he was six months old so that it felt natural. Cynthia says this is a good idea for any animal, but especially important for a cat.
“I took Baloo on trips immediately. He went on his first car camping trip a week and a half after I adopted him, and now he feels like camping is part of his natural lifestyle and he loves it. The longer you wait for a cat, the harder it becomes to get them acclimated to traveling. For a cat to become an adventure kitty they need to be worked with and exposed to new situations constantly.”
But Baloo is still learning, so Cynthia lets him decide if he wants to hike that day or not. “It keeps him more comfortable. Besides, you really can’t force a cat to do anything.”
FIVE TIPS FOR ADVENTURE ANIMAL TRIPS
Getting a Dog into a SkyRise: Put a yoga mat over the hood and windshield, give them a boost, and they can walk right up and go through the side window.
Hiking With A Cat: It is all about exposure. The more you take a cat everywhere with you, the more they will get used to different surroundings.
Setting Up Camp Quick & Easy: The SkyRise makes roadside camping a breeze as it sets up in minutes. I always bring a collapsible table, stove, and camp chair to make it feel like home.
Making Room for Animals & Gear: When I have the SkyRise on my car, I put the sleeping bags and blankets in compression sacks to save space. For trips where we don’t need the SkyRise, we use our ShowCase 15 cargo box – it has room to store all the gear.
Don’t Leave Home Without: Henry’s Ruffwear pack, a pad for them to lay on when the ground gets cold, Dexas collapsible bowls, and a hammock car seat cover so they can sleep comfortably, especially on longer trips!