If you are anything like us, your dog or dogs are part of your family, and it’s hard to think about leaving them home when you travel.
Camping is often a great way to vacation and bring along the dog-members of your family. Camping with your pups can be a great experience if you are well prepared.
However, if you leave home for your summer camping adventures, and you aren’t prepared for camping with your pooch, you may be in for a less than amazing experience.
We’ve put together this short guide, to help you prepare for camping with your dogs, and help you be well-prepared for having an amazing experience in the great outdoors, with your dog.
Where Are Your Dogs Welcome?
The first thing that you need to consider when you are camping with your dog, is where they are actually welcome.
It’s a bummer to plan a great vacation, only to discover that your dogs aren’t allowed where you’re camping.
This is probably one of the most important parts of pre-vacation planning, if you’re dogs are going to adventure with you.
- National Parks – Most national parks do not allow dogs. Some do, but you will need to research carefully about rules and regulations for camping in national parks. If you want to visit a national park on your holiday, your dogs will need to stay in your vehicle. Consider a campground outside of the park, if you want to bring your dog.
- State Parks – Each state, and even individual state parks have different rules about dogs. If you are planning a camping adventure to a state park, like national parks, do your research first, and make sure your dog is welcome.
- National/State Forests or BLM Lands – For the most part, if you are camping in a national or state designated forest, your dog will be able to join your adventure. If you are camping in a developed campground, make sure you know the rules, and have a leash.
- The Backcountry – If your idea of camping includes a long hike and remote camping spots, you shouldn’t have a problem bringing your dogs. Our advice for backcountry camping with your dogs; be a good steward, and have good control of your pets.
- Private Campgrounds – If you like the comforts of private campgrounds and RV parks, do your research before you leave. Some private campgrounds allow dogs, some have strict rules and some don’t allow dogs at all.
Before You Leave
There are some important things that you need to take care of and be aware of, before you and your dog’s head out on a camping trip.
Not all of these are necessary, but we’ve given you a list of handy tasks and purchases that will make your adventure more fun for you and your dog.
- Dogs in the Backcountry – A few additional comments about taking your dogs into the backcountry. This is a great opportunity for you and your dog to roam freely, however, free roaming dogs can be a safety problem for your dog and for native wildlife. If you are going to be camping in the backcountry with your dog, you need to decide if they are well-behaved enough to run with just voice command. If not, you should keep your dog on a leash, for their safety and for the safety of wildlife. If you are camping in a designated campground, you may need a backcountry permit, make sure that your permit includes your dogs if necessary. Oh, and don’t forget to bring waste bags. Dog waste can be harmful for natural environments. Just like being at the park, you should pick up after your dog. Finally, remember, your dog needs food an water too, so you’ll need to add extra water and supplies for your dog. You can either add these necessities to your pack or consider a dog pack.
- Microchips – If you haven’t had your dog microchipped, we’d recommend you do this before heading out on a camping trip. You never know when your dog might slip out of their collar and run. A microchip makes identifying your dog and reuniting them with you, easy, should they get away from you.
- Traditional vs. Electronic Leashes – This is really a matter of preference. Your dog should travel with a collar and leash of some sort. If you want to allow your dog to roam freely without the need of a tether or leash, an e-collar is a great way to control your dog, without being attached to them. Make sure you use any electronic collars before you head out, just to make sure you’re comfortable with its operation. You should always have a normal leash however, some spots require them.
- Pet First Aid – Just like human first aid, you should have some first aid basics for your dog. In general, you can use many of the supplies in your regular first aid kit, but you should brush up on things like CPR and immobilization.
- Pet Insurance – This might be one of those things you don’t really need. Some people think pet insurance is just fluff. However, if your dog is injured in the backcountry, pet insurance will make the vet bills a bit more manageable.
Gear you Need
Just like you, your pup is going to need some essentials when they join you for a camping adventure. Here’s some great gear we think your dog will love.
Ruffwear Highlands Sleeping Bag
Ruffwear specializes in making great gear for dogs. If you’re tent camping with your pooch, make sure they have a cozy spot of their own.
Mountain Khakis Canvas Waterproof Dog Bowl
Especially if you and your dog will be in the backcountry, you’re going to want a lightweight and portable bowl.
This one can hold both food and water, and it’s super packable.
Bison Designs Collars
Bison Designs is known for their heavy-duty climbing gear. However, they also make great gear for dogs.
Their collars come in a variety of sizes and designs. And they all have quick releases, which keep your dog from getting hung-up on their collar.
Ruffwear Singletrack Pack
Ok, maybe you don’t want to haul your dog’s stuff. Get them their own pack.
This adjustable, waterproof pack is the perfect size for your dog to haul their own food, bowls and snack.
Just make sure you practice with your dog, before heading out.
Garmin Tri-Tonics Pro E-Collar
This one is high on the list for hunters, so it will work great for campers too.
Keep your dog close and in control, without a physical leash.
If there is one thing that we want to emphasize that all campers and dog campers need, its poop bags. Please, please, don’t forget the poop bags.
No, it’s not glamorous, but no one wants to deal with dog piles left by a previous camper. If there’s one thing that you just shouldn’t leave home without, if you’re traveling with your pooch, it’s the poop bags.
And don’t forget, if you’re in the backcountry with your dog, you need to bury their poop, or carry it out. So you’re going to want some good poop bags.
Modern Kanine has a great package that comes with two dispensers that attach to your leash or pack, and more than enough bag refills to make it through a few camping trips.
Being a Good Neighbor
When you’re camping with your dog, the last and most important thing to remember, especially if you’re camping near others, is to be a good neighbor.
Not everyone loves dogs, and certainly no one loves your dogs as much as you. Remember some common courtesies when camping with your pup:
- Pick up after your dogs.
- Don’t let your dog wander into other campers areas.
- Barking is lame. Don’t let your dog bark constantly.
- Follow leash rules.
- Find ways to communicate with your dog without yelling. Yelling at your dog is just as obnoxious as your dog being a jerk.
Your four-legged, canine companion can be the perfect camping partner. You can both enjoy the great outdoors and a vacation without boundaries.
Camping with your dog can be a great experience. If you and your dog are well prepared, and have the right gear, you can both have a great time experiencing the outdoors.
How did you like our tips? Please feel free to comment, share, and point out anything we might have missed.
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