The effort of camping is always worth it, especially when your best friend comes along for the adventure. Taking the time to slow down and spend quality moments with your dog will be so beneficial for both of you. Between work, errands, and just life in general, we always seem to be racing off somewhere. Camping with your dog will allow connection and downtime. Take that extra-long trail walk or a mountain hike, splash in the nearby lake and snuggle up by the campfire to roast some marshmallows. It may seem daunting at first but keeping it simple and having a plan will set you up for success.  Read on for some tips, suggested equipment, and planning ideas to help with your next dog camping adventure.

Go with the Flow

The first piece of advice we like to share with our fellow dog lovers about camping with your dog is… go with the flow. Probably not what you expected and yes, having a plan is crucial but, being able to pivot when needed will be greatly beneficial for you and your pup. Not everything can go as expected all the time, so go into your camping adventure with a flexible mindset, it will serve both of you well.

Research & Plan

Be sure to research your desired camping location for their dog rules and regulations. You may be required to reserve a specific, pet-friendly camping site or always have your dog leashed no matter their obedience level. Also, consider visiting the vet before your trip and make sure your pup has all the right flea, tick, and heartworm preventions. You will also want to know what kinds of wildlife will be around for that area and season. Learn what to do if you encounter a mountain lion, snake, or bear on the trail. Check the forecast so you can be prepared for rain, snow, or high temperatures and pack accordingly.

Basics – Food, Water, Shelter

Make sure you pack enough food, water, and treats for your stay. Pack a few of your pups' favorite toys as well! Get your dog acclimated to sleeping in a tent by doing a practice round in the backyard if you can. If that's not possible bring extra treats and toys to entice him to hang out in the tent once your campsite is set up. Keep your pup warm with his very own sleeping bag! The Frontier Dog Sleeping Bag is durable and compact for storage. Its’ full-length zipper allows easy entry and keeps your dog warm and helps retain body heat. For warm-season camping consider the Denali Waterproof Dog Mat. It is made of plush and breathable nylon material, has a non-slip bottom for outdoor use and it’s lightweight and transportable, so perfect for camping and Overlanding. Oh and don’t forget the portable doggy bowls for their food and water!

Not So Basics

Once you’ve reached your destination, go on a quick exploration with your pup to get them familiar with the area. Let them sniff and stretch their legs since you’ll need her to be extra patient while you set up your campsite. Keeping that in mind, bring a special treat or toy to help keep your dog happy while you get situated.

It's hard to keep an eye on your pup while setting up your campsite so, we suggest packing an extra-long leash to tie around a tree such as the Cedarwood Dog Training Leash. It is strong, yet lightweight and its’ non-absorbent material is made for all weather conditions. Or consider a tie-out stake and cable – it will keep your pup safe but still allow her to sniff around.

For those avid campers with vehicles designed to go Overlanding, aka a high clearance, a ramp, or a lifting harness may be an extremely helpful piece of equipment to pack. You don’t want your pup to get hurt jumping out of your truck the minute you arrive!

Last not so basic suggestion – prepare for all the elements. Cold weather camping requires extra layers for everyone. Consider getting some protective booties if you plan to hike tough terrain. The Saguaro Dog Boots are lightweight and made of non-absorbent material for all weather conditions. Your best friend should be protected from the elements as much as you.

Training & Good Manners

Before embarking on your idyllic camping trip be sure your pup knows some basic commands to help ease stress and make this experience more enjoyable. Examples would be a good recall, sit, stay, and leave it. Also, always leash your dog so he doesn’t wander off or disturb any neighbors. Other dogs may not be happy with an off-leash visitor coming to their campsite. Good manners also include cleaning up after your pet and following the ‘leave it as you found it’ principles – it is simply good camping etiquette. Does your dog bark at every little squeak and squawk? Maybe you’re used to it, but others camping around you may not appreciate your dog’s vigilance as much as you, so be courteous to your fellow campers. You may need to find a remote spot or camping sites that are spread out.

Equipment

To help make things a little easier we have put together a list of gear to pack on your next camping adventure! Check out the list below and click here to download the free printable PDF list.

Dog Camping Check List
  • Food & Water for _ _ days
  • Portable food and water bowls
  • Treats – especially something to keep him busy for a while so you can set up your campsite
  • Favorite toys
  • Poop bags
  • First aid kit
  • Towel – in case you go swimming or get muddy
  • Booties
  • Dog brush – remove ticks/foxtails
  • Hiking Leash
  • Extra-long leash to tie around a tree OR tie-out stake and cable
  • Collar with ID tag
  • LED collar for nighttime
  • Dog bed/sleeping bag
  • A recent picture of your dog in case he wanders off
  • Ramp / Lifting harness for high clearance vehicles
  • Cold and/or rainy weather gear

We hope these suggestions have helped and not overwhelmed you! Camping with your dog may seem like a lot of work, but once you get a couple of trips under your belt you will find your groove and understand why over 40 million American’s go camping every year! Be sure to enjoy the journey as much as the destination



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