Happy Trails and Tails: Dog Camping Gear Essentials

Dog camping: A German Shepard sleeping in tent

In this post, we'll take a look at:

Are you thinking about taking your dog camping with you but aren’t really sure what they need to have a good time away from home?

In this guide, we’ll look at the important things your dog needs for a fun and safe camping trip.

Ready? Let’s begin.

Key Takeaways

  • Evaluate your dog’s readiness for camping based on age, health, training, and personality. Consider if they can handle new environments and activities.
  • Pack essentials like food, water, sleeping arrangements, leashes, poop bags, and first aid kits. Focus on feeding, hydration, cleanliness, comfort, safety.
  • Introduce new gear slowly in a relaxed setting. Let your dog sniff and explore, pairing with treats and praise. This builds positive associations.

Assessing Your Dog’s Readiness for Camping

Before you and your dog set off on a camping adventure, it’s important to check if your furry friend is ready for the great outdoors.

Here’s what should you consider:

  1. Age and Health: First, assess your dog’s age and health. Puppies under 6 months and senior dogs (7 years or older) may face dog camping challenges due to their age and health.
    • Puppies: The younger your puppy, the more awareness, patience, and preparation you’ll need to keep them safe.
    • Senior Dogs: If you are unIf you’re unsure whether your dog can handle the environmental change and physical activity, it might be wise to get them medically cleared before the planned trip.
  2. Training Level: Take your dog’s training into consideration. Dogs without basic training may struggle with commands in a new environment. It’s crucial to wait until they’ve received basic training before taking them dog camping. Why does this matter? You might encounter wildlife, and they could perceive your dog as a predator, so it’s essential for you to have control of the situation at all times.
  3. Personality Traits: Every dog has a unique personality, ranging from bold and adventurous to cautious and homebound. Knowing your dog’s temperament is crucial for tailoring a camping trip to their preferences. If your dog is an enthusiastic explorer, they might be up for a camping adventure.

Essential Dog Camping Gear

Dog camping: A hiker with her dog in a forrest

Now, onto the exciting part: your dog’s camping gear essentials for a safe and comfortable adventure. We categorized these items for your convenience.

1. Feeding and Hydration:

  • Dog Food and Treats: Pack enough dog food to last the trip, along with some tasty treats. Make sure it’s stored securely to keep wild animals away. If you plan to venture into bear country, check out our post about bear canisters.
  • Water Containers: Bring containers for carrying water for both you and your dog. Some containers even allow easy sharing. How much water you need depends on whether you plan to hike. If you do, you’ll need 16.9 fl oz (0.5 liter) of water for every hour for yourself and 8 fl oz (0.25 liters) for your dog.
  • Collapsible Food and Water Bowls: These are lightweight and easy to clean, perfect for on-the-go meals. You can explore various options at a dedicated outdoors store such as REI.

2. Cleanliness and Comfort:

  • Poop Bags: Don’t forget these!
  • Pet Wipes or Dry Shampoo: These come in handy for quick clean-ups, especially before your dog joins you in the tent.
  • Dog Sleeping Arrangements: Ensure your dog has a cozy spot to sleep by considering a dog sleeping bag or mat for comfort and warmth. Specialized dog sleeping bags are light and won’t weigh down your backpack. Consider Ruffwear for a choice that weighs only 1.6 lbs (725g).

3. Safety and Control:

  • Leash and Harness: Essential for keeping your dog close by, especially in new and exciting environments. Don’t forget yours at home.
  • Dog First Aid Kit: Just like humans, dogs can get minor injuries. Having a first aid kit will help you handle any unexpected situations. This kit should include:
    • Tweezers.
    • Bandages.
    • Cotton wraps and tape.
    • Insect Repellent.
    • Topical Treatments (for irritated skin).
    • Hydrogen peroxide (can aid in vomiting if required).

4. Optional Gear for Convenience:

  • Dog Backpacks: If your dog is ready for the challenge, they can carry some essentials. Depending on your dog’s size and abilities, you can find options ranging from 1 liter to 25 liters in capacity. The simplest way to find one is, once again, to explore REI.
  • Weatherproof Light-up Collars: These are excellent for keeping an eye on your dog in the dark. Consider choosing one that allows you to attach a tracker.
  • Cooling Vests: Perfect for hot weather to keep your dog cool. Available in various sizes, they are particularly beneficial for breeds prone to overheating or those engaged in heat-generating activities. While helpful, cooling vests should not replace proper hydration and shade. Check out Ruffwear for different options.
  • Dog Jacket: On the other hand, if you’re planning winter camping with your dog or whenever temperatures drop below 45°F (7°C), consider a specialized dog jacket. Look for easily packable options with built-in pockets for essentials. Again, Ruffwear offers various options worth exploring.
  • Dog Boots: If you’ll be walking over rough terrain or hot surfaces, boots can protect your dog’s paws. Keep in mind that there are different options for summer and winter use.

One important thing to remember is to begin by introducing your dog to the gear in a calm and relaxed setting.

Allow them to sniff and explore it at their own pace, using treats and gentle praise to foster positive associations with the gear. This way, your dog will begin to associate it with positive experiences.


In this post, we’ve highlighted essential gear for a fantastic dog camping experience with your dog. Proper equipment is vital to ensure safety and comfort for you and your furry friend on this adventure.

By assessing your dog’s readiness, introducing them to the gear, and packing the essentials, you’re all set for a memorable journey together. So, gear up, hit the trails, and create lasting memories under the stars with your loyal companion.


Where do dogs sleep when camping?

When camping, dogs usually sleep in the same tent as their owners. Many campers set up a separate sleeping space or a comfortable dog bed inside the tent to ensure their furry friend’s coziness. It’s essential to choose a tent that’s spacious enough to accommodate both you and your dog comfortably. Additionally, make sure your dog is familiar with the tent before your camping trip.

Do dogs sleep well in tents?

Yes, dogs can sleep well in tents when properly acclimated. It’s crucial to introduce your dog to the tent beforehand, create a comfortable sleeping area, and bring their favorite bedding. Familiarity and comfort are key to ensuring your furry companion has a peaceful night’s sleep while camping. Additionally, keeping them warm and secure inside the tent can help make their camping experience as restful as possible.

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