Taking your dog camping is an exciting adventure and you’ll want to have the right gear to ensure your camping trip is safe and successful.
What gear do you need to take your dog camping and why? Do you really need all the dog camping gear, or just some of it? Can you order the gear on Amazon?
Here’s a list of dog camping gear, when and why your dog may need it, and expert advice on what to look for when selecting camping gear for your dog so you and your dog can camp like pros.
For the complete guide on camping with your dog, click here.
Why: Give your dog a comfy space to sleep
Expert Advice: “Look for a bed that is machine washable and water resistant at a minimum. You won’t want the bed absorbing all the dirt and smell from your dog. The stronger and more waterproof the bed’s bottom is the better it will insulate your dog.”
Collar and Tags
Why: Dogs wander off and may get lost when camping. Having updated collar and tags ensures your dog can be identified in an emergency.
Expert Advice: “Dogs can be difficult to see at night when camping. Have a collar with a reflector or light on it to increase your dog’s visibility.”
Reflector or Light
Why: To help you, and vehicles, see your dog in the dark
Expert Advice: “Don’t assume your dog will be facing the person or vehicle that needs to see them. The larger the reflector area or light can be the better. Reflector harnesses are great for full dog visibility.”
Why: Dogs must always be on a leash or line in most parks and campgrounds. Tie lines are easier and hands free when at your campsite. Here’s a list of dog rules to expect.
Expert Advice: “I recommend a tie line that is weather resistant and strong. Fabric lines will get dirty and wear down after one or two uses. Uncoated chains will rust and kink. Spend a few extra dollars to get the right one the first time.”
Why: Leashes are great for walks and hikes.
Expert Advice: “Find a leash that works both in your hand and hands free. You’ll have the flexibility of having a leash to walk the dog and a way to free your hands for longer hikes.”
Water & Food Bowls
Why: Access to food and water is important for your dog when camping
Expert Advice: “Depending on your camping style, opt for dog bowls that are outdoor-friendly and dishwasher safe, like stainless steel, or bowls that collapse and are made of lightweight materials for easy portability, like Ruff Wear’s.”
Why: Dogs are susceptible to cool temps. Thinner dog coats, like wired haired dogs, may get cold in temps as warm as 60s.
Expert Advice: “Avoid sweaters that will absorb dirt and smells. Spring for a lightweight water-resistant dog jacket that is machine washable.”
Why: Dogs can overheat in hot weather or high energy activity. Buffs can help keep them cool and can be wet to give your dog added relief.
Expert Advice: “Most Buffs are elastic free, but some have elastic. Avoid Buffs with elastic in them. They may cause your dog discomfort.”
Dog Rain Jacket
Why: Camping means enduring all kinds of weather and wet dogs may not have the time to dry off before bed.
Expert Advice: “Dog rain jackets are amazing; however, the hoods on them are not designed for all dog head shapes and ear sizes. Don’t assume the hood will fit your dog, or get a rain coat without a hood altogether.”
Booties or Dog Shoes
Why: Booties help protect your dog’s paws from hot and cold ground, rough terrain, and mud. Paw protection ranges from thin rubber to heavy duty soles.
Expert Advice: “Pick paw protection that is best for the terrain you will be on and be sure your dog is comfortable walking in dog booties. Dogs unfamiliar with wearing booties may struggle, particularly in thicker soles.”
Place to Rest
Why: Your dog will need a place to rest outside of the tent to cool off and relax throughout the day
Expert Advice: “Some dogs like low lying chairs to rest in, others like mats. Know your dog and get them a waterproof, washable version of their favorite resting spot.”
Dog Camping Chairs
Outdoor Dog Mat
Why: Wipes are a quick and easy way to clean your dog up when camping.
Expert Advice: “Avoid scented wipes that may attract animals or bugs.”
Why: You may need to pull your dog back from danger and a harness safer than pulling on a collar.
Expert Advice: “Reflector harnesses with a handle or latch for a seatbelt will save you money because that can do the work of a both a reflector collar and safety harness.”
Dog Seat Belt
Why: Camping often requires some road trip and car accidents do occur. Keep your dog safe with a seat belt.
Expert Advice: “Having a dog seat belt brings me peace of mind. I prefer dog seatbelts that have a little room of movement so my dog can lie down, sit, or adjust themselves during the road trip.”
Why: Dogs need something to do and love to have fun when camping. Toys help keep dogs busy and out of trouble.
Expert Advice: “Toys that are brightly colored will stand out against the dirt and grasses of your campsite, like neon orange or pink. We have accidentally left dog toys behind because we couldn’t see them when taking down camp. Oh, avoid scented and flavored dog toys. They attract wildlife.”
Dog Sleeping Bag
Why: The ground under your tent is cold and your dog will be uncomfortable sleeping on the floor of your tent.
Expert Advice: “Look for a dog bed with a waterproof bottom to protect the bed and insolate your dog from the cold ground at night.”
Dog First Aid
Why: Accidents happen and your dog may need some TLC when camping.
Expert Advice: “The two first aid items I don’t go camping with my dog without are tweezers and non-stick gauze. I can fix most issues with both of those. Be sure to use nonstick gauze, as tapes and adhesives can pull on your dog’s fur when removing them.”
Learn more about keeping your dog safe when camping
Why: Ticks live year-round in most parts of the country and are common on hiking trails and grasslands.
Expert Advice: “Know how to do a tick check on your dog and carry a tick remover device. They are small, easy to use, and inexpensive. They also work on humans if it comes to it.”
Why: Hands-free hiking and climbing will help you move freer and keep your balance.
Expert Advice: “I was fine using my dog’s normal leash for hikes at first, but one day we went on a hike with minor elevation changes. Something about holding the leash threw off my balance every time the elevation changed or I had to step up. I fell a few times. A hands-free dog leash fixed the issue.”
Dog Life Jacket
Why: Water safety. Not all dogs can swim, and the ones that do may get tired.
Expert Advice: “Dog life jackets are not one size fits all. Check both the weight of your dog, but also their body width and length to ensure the floatation is evenly distributed across your dog’s body.”
Hiking Pack/ Dog Backpack
Why: You have enough to carry; let your dog help out.
Expert Advice: “Before investing in a dog pack, determine how much gear is reasonable for your dog to carry. Dogs are not able to carry as much weight as humans. A 5lbs pack on a 20lb dog is ¼ of their weight!”
Backpack to Carry Your Dog In
Why: Sometimes your dog can’t walk or keep up. Small dogs must exert more energy to keep up on hikes, and puppies don’t have their long legs or stamina yet.
Learn about Camping with a Puppy.
Expert Advice: “This is a must if you go camping with a small dog or puppy or a dog that is not leash trained yet. They can’t keep up after a half mile or so walk and you’ll have to carry them. You won’t want your water bottle squishing them either.”