Lately, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about camping with our dogs. The question we get most is from people who are taking their dogs camping for the first time, wondering… What should I bring on a camping trip for my dog?
While everyone’s gear list will probably be a bit different, depending on the needs and preferences of their individual dog, there are some things that every dog owner needs to bring for a successful camping trip with their pooch. Here’s our Ultimate Dog Camping Gear List:
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This one is a no-brainer, right? Of course you need to bring food for you dogs. BUT feeding at camp can be a little different than feeding at home. When packing food, ask yourself how different your dog’s activity level is going to be. Are you doing a lot of hiking for a few days straight? If this is not the norm for say, a weekday when you’re working 8 hours, your dog will burn more energy than usual and therefore need more sustenance. I generally bring about double the normal amount of food for our dogs, just in case.
We know what you feed your dog is a personal choice and we won’t try to convince you that our way is better than whatever you do. Only you can decide what’s best for your dog. But, because people have asked, this is what we do when we camp. At home, we feed a combination of high protein grain free kibble and a raw diet, so we do the same at the campsite.
We bring the pups’ Taste of the Wild kibble from home, as well as Stella & Chewy’s dehydrated raw food . We love dehydrated raw because it’s jam packed with protein and nutrients that your dog needs to thrive. It’s also SUPER light and a whole lot easier to bring camping than a cooler full of raw meat. Plus the dogs LOVE it. It can be fed as is or rehydrated. The bonus of rehydrating is that it also ensures that your dogs are getting the hydration they need, which is especially helpful if you have a dog like our girl Boomer, who tends to not drink a whole lot of water.
Also consider a kibble carrier to keep your dog’s food fresh (and keep bugs out).
2. Food & Water Bowls
Make sure you bring enough bowls to feed your dogs as well as a bowl or two to leave around the campsite for water. Hydration is super important, especially when you’re spending most of your time outside in the sun. We prefer collapsable bowls because they’re easy to transport and take up less space while traveling (or in your pack). Like this double collapsible bowl from Dexas.
3. Water & Water Cooler
Before you leave home, make sure you check to see what amenities are available at your campsite. Is there a water available on site? Or somewhere at the campground? If there is not (or you are backpacking and staying at a primitive site), you need to make sure you bring enough water for both you and your pups for your stay. For car camping, I generally bring this Coleman 1-Gallon Jug, as well as a few gallon water jugs from the grocery store. I have had this Coleman jug for years and I swear by it. I paid less than $10 for it like 5 years ago and it’s still going strong. It’s nice because it’s insulated, so you can fill it with ice at home and have cool water for your dogs on a hot day.
4. Collar and ID Tags
Keeping your dog safe is a priority for all dog owners. Making sure that our dogs don’t get lost is especially important when we’re away from home. For this reason, make sure that your dog has a collar and tag with CURRENT information in case they wander away from your site or slip out of the tent when you get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. In addition to wearing a collar and tag, having your dog microchipped adds an extra layer of protection if your dog gets lost. Dogs slip out of their collars and when that happens, a microchip can ensure their safe return home.
5. A comfy spot
For downtime at the campsite, I like to have some comfy spots for my dogs to relax, especially after a long day of hiking. For this, we use either a dog sleeping bags or outdoor dog beds. Our favorites are the Alcott Sleeping Bag, which is thick and comfy, especially good for campsites with rough surfaces and the Hurtta Outback Dreamer, which is thinner but with a water-repellant underside. You can also consider a travel dog bed like the Kurgo Loft Wander Dog Bed.
When it’s cold out, we bundle up. We aren’t the only ones who get cold though. Be sure to take precautions to make sure your dogs don’t get too cold either, especially if they are short haired and get cold easily. Things like dog sleeping bags, blankets, or even a spot in your own sleeping bag can do the trick. If you’re camping in the winter months with a short-haired dog, also consider a dog jacket to keep them from shivering.
7. First Aid Kit
Bring a first aid kit with basic medical supplies. You want to make sure you have what you need to handle simple injuries that may happen while you’re camping or to manage your dog’s injury until you can make it to the vet. You can buy a pre-made canine first aid kit or make your own. Here are the basics that your first aid kit should contain:
Eye Dropper or Oral Syringe
Heat and Cold Packs
8. Long-lasting Treats
To make “boring” times at camp pass by more easily for your pup, consider some sort of long lasting treat, like a ham bone or bully sticks. We give our dogs a yummy treat when we first get to our campsite to keep them occupied while we set up the tent and get everything situated. I’m pretty sure they approve of this camping tradition!
9. Extra towels
If your dog gets wet and/or muddy while you’re hiking or just hanging around camp, you’ll want to be able to dry them off before letting them into your tent at night.
10. Tie out/Leash
Most of the places we’ve camped have had pretty strict rules regarding loose dogs and require dogs to either be on a 6 foot leash or a tie-out at all times when at the campsite. We either bring long cable tie-outs or just let our dogs drag a leash around with them so we can grab it if necessary (and mostly so we don’t get yelled at by a ranger)
11. Poop Bags
Be a responsible dog owner, pick up after your dog and help them leave no trace at your campsite. We use Earth Rated Biodegradable Bags.
12. Dog Tent
Now, I’m going to be honest. When we first got this tent for the dogs, I though it would be more of a novelty thing that would look cute in pictures but may or may not be that practical. I could not have been more wrong. At night, our dogs sleep in our tent with us, but during the day, they use this Alcott Explorer Pup Tent a whole lot. When it’s hot in the middle of day, they use it as a shady retreat from the sun. In the evenings when the temperature starts to drop, the little ones especially, use it as a warm place to nap while we all sit around the fire. It blocks the wind and keeps the chill out. For more info, check out our full review.
Other Gear to Consider:
Here are some other things that we like to bring on our camping/hiking trips that you may find helpful (or just fun!)
Hammocks for mid-day naps
Toys and balls for playtime at the campsite
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Do you have questions about anything we listed here? Or is there something we forgot that you think we should add to the list? Leave us a comment below!
Thanks for reading!
Debbie & THE MUTTS