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Camping With Dogs: Helpful Tips & What Gear to Bring

Written by: Jessica Kim

Last Updated on May 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

Border Collie dog in front of a camping tent

Camping With Dogs: Helpful Tips & What Gear to Bring


Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo


Dr. Chyrle Bonk

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Many dogs will enjoy camping with their families. If they were given the chance to choose, they would not refuse the opportunity to spend all day with their favorite humans and create fun memories together. Camping is also very enriching for dogs, as it enables them to spend time in nature and soak in all the new sights, smells, sounds, and sensations.

Even though it may require some extra planning, camping is a worthwhile experience for both dogs and their owners. If you are feeling overwhelmed, our camping guide will give you all the information you need to get started on planning your camping trip. You will know what kinds of dog supplies and equipment to bring and also learn some tips and tricks that’ll help you plan and enjoy your first successful camping trip with your dog.

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The 23 Camping Supplies

Food and Feeding Supplies

1. Portable Dog Bowls

Prima Pets Collapsible Silicone Travel Dog & Cat Bowl With Carabiner

We recommend investing in a set of portable dog bowls because traditional dog bowls can end up taking up a lot of space, and ceramic bowls are prone to breaking. Dog travel bowls come in different shapes and designs, and it really comes down to a matter of preference.

The Prima Pets Collapsible Silicone Travel Dog Bowl has a simple and straightforward design. It doesn’t take up too much space, and it comes with a carabiner so that you can take it with you on hikes and use it as a water bowl.

2. Travel Water Bottle

Springer Travel Dog Bottle

When camping, your dog will probably be engaging in more exercise than usual and will require easy access to water to stay hydrated. It’s also important to provide them with clean water to keep them from drinking out of puddles or streams that could be potentially contaminated. A dog travel water bottle makes things easier because they have a piece that enables dogs to drink directly from it.

For example, the Springer Travel Dog Bottle has a bowl attached to the top. It also has a leak-proof design and includes a carabiner for easy carrying.

3. Food Container

Kurgo Kibble Carrier

It’s important to bring a high-quality food container with you that locks out air and moisture. Since you’ll be out in nature, it’s much easier for moisture to get into containers and cause food to spoil quickly.

The Kurgo Kibble Carrier is an excellent option for campers. It can hold up to 5 pounds of dry dog food and has a pocket on the bottom that can store a collapsible food bowl. It’s also made with flexible, durable material and has a roll-up top so that it doesn’t take up too much storage space.

4. Dog Treats

Blue Buffalo True Chews Natural Grain-Free Pork & Chicken Sausage Dog Treats

Tasty dog treats will make camping extra fun for your dog, and will provide them with positive reinforcement of obedience and manners that are much needed when outdoors.

The Blue Buffalo Pork & Chicken Sausage Dog Treats are ideal for camping because they’re packed with protein and don’t contain any artificial ingredients. They’re also a treat that your dog can enjoy while you’re roasting hot dogs over a campfire.

Travel Supplies

5. Dog Seat Belt

Mighty Paw Dog Vehicle Safety Belt

It’s important to think about travel safety as you’re journeying to your camping destination. If you plan to get there by car, make sure to look into dog seat belts. Seat belts will keep your dog securely in their seats but also give them the freedom to move around and adjust their position while they’re seated in your car.

The Mighty Paw Dog Vehicle Safety Belt is easy to install and latches to the safety latch of your car’s seat belt. It connects to a dog harness and can withstand 400 kg of force tension.

6. Dog Car Seat

Pet Gear Large Car Booster

A dog car seat is a more viable option for smaller dogs. Car seats provide a comfy and secure space for your dog to sit in while you drive.

The Pet Gear Large Car Booster is designed for small and medium-sized dogs. It stays securely in place by attaching to your car’s seat belt. It also has a plush removable pillow and is machine washable.

7. Paw Wax

Musher’s Secret Paw Protection Natural Dog Wax

Since your dog is likely to be walking around more than usual, it’s helpful to pack some paw wax. Paw wax works by creating a protective barrier on your dog’s paw pads. It can also have moisturizing ingredients that soothe raw or cracked paw pads.

Musher’s Secret Paw Protection Natural Dog Wax is made with all-natural ingredients and creates a breathable barrier that protects paws from the elements. It also has a soft consistency that makes it easy to apply on your dog’s paw pads.

8. First-Aid Kit

Adventure Medical Kit Dog Series Me & My Dog First Aid Kit

Camping trips often have elements of surprise, and some of them may not be pleasant. It’s important to be prepared and to ensure you bring safety supplies with you in case of any accidents.

The Adventure Medical Kit will give you peace of mind as it contains first-aid supplies that can be used on both dogs and humans. It includes all your basic essentials, such as bandages, gauze, gloves, and medical tape. It also contains an emergency blanket, cold compress, and travel medicine. Speak to your veterinarian to make sure your first aid kit contains everything you need for your dog.

Walking Supplies

9. LED Collar

Blazin LED USB Rechargeable Nylon Dog Collar

An LED dog collar will help immensely when you’re camping out in nature and in isolated areas with low lighting. It will keep your dog visible and help you track them more easily in case they wander off a little too far.

The Blazin LED Dog Collar is made with durable nylon that also feels comfortable and smooth against your dog’s skin. It has three light modes and can run for over 8 hours when charged fully. It’s also visible from up to 350 yards away.

10. Running Leash

Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Bungee Leash

Running leashes can make camping with your dog easier because they enable you to walk your dog on a leash while keeping your hands free. They’re especially ideal for hikes and allow you to use walking sticks for both hands.

Make sure to choose bungee leashes, like the Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Bungee Leash. This will help reduce shock for both you and your dog in case your dog lunges after an animal that crosses your path.

11. Long Leash

Leashboss Padded Handle Long Dog Leash

Regular walking leashes may be too short for the moments you’re at your campsite and can’t give your dog your full attention. Having a long leash can help your dog move around comfortably while preventing them from wandering off.

Choose a long leash like Leashboss Padded Handle Long Dog Leash. It’s made with durable material that can withstand heavy pulling. 15 feet is also a good length, as anything longer can cause your dog to venture off too far. Your dog can end up encountering another animal or eating something that’s harmful to them.

12. Eco-Friendly Poop Bags

The Original Poop Bags Compostable Dog Poop Bags

When camping, it’s important to be conscious about disposables and trash. Choosing eco-friendly options can help protect the natural environment around you and prevent wildlife from getting harmed by plastic and other synthetic materials.

While there may be fewer options, durable biodegradable poop bags do exist. The Original Poop Bags Compostable Dog Poop Bags are made with plant-based materials. They can hold up to 1.35 pounds each, and they’re compostable.

13. Tick Removal Tool

The Tick Patrol Aluminum Tick Remover Tool

Many camping trips happen during tick season. Unlike humans, dogs don’t typically wear clothes that protect them from ticks and other insect bites. Therefore, it’s important to make sure they’re taking their flea and tick medication and to pack a tick remover tool just in case.

There are several different kinds of tick removal tools. We recommend The Tick Patrol Aluminum Tick Remover Tool because it’s easy to use and can be clipped to a keychain. It’s a good camping accessory and easy to bring with you everywhere you go.

14. Pet-Friendly Mosquito Repellent

Vet’s Best Natural Mosquito Repellent Spray for Dogs & Cats

Mosquito bites can cause much annoyance to both dogs and humans. Using a pet-friendly mosquito repellent can reduce the occurrences of mosquito bites and help your dog enjoy your camping trip without any itching or scratching.

Vet’s Best Natural Mosquito Repellent keeps mosquitoes at bay without using DEET. It’s safe for both cats and dogs and uses natural oils known to repel mosquitoes.

15. Dog Life Jacket

KONG Sport AquaFloat Dog Floatation Vest

If you plan on doing aquatic activities during your camping trip, make sure to pack a life vest for your dog. Even if your dog likes to swim, water currents can be an extra challenge that makes swimming difficult for them.

The KONG Sport AquaFloat Dog Floatation Vest comes in six sizes and fits most dogs. It has multiple layers of foam to help your dog stay afloat and has a rescue handle on top in case of emergencies. It also has a D-ring attachment that you can use to hook your dog onto a leash when they’re not in the water.


Comfort Supplies

16. Dog Mat

Dog Helios Switch-Back 2-in-1 Convertible Travel Mat & Rounded Camping Dog Bed

Your dog will appreciate having a cozy bed to return to after a long day of adventuring outdoors. It’s best to bring a dog mat or bed that’s designed for outdoor use. These types of beds will be made with waterproof or water-resistant material and are also lightweight and won’t take up too much space.

The Dog Helios Switch-Back 2-in-1 Convertible Travel Mat has a clever design. You can use it as a sleeping bag or convert it into a donut bed if your dog’s a heat seeker and likes to curl up when they sleep. It’s also lightweight and machine washable.

17. Blanket

Allisandro Triple Layer Tech Waterproof Dog & Cat Blanket

Some nights might get cold, so it doesn’t hurt to bring an extra blanket for your dog, especially if they’re small or have a short hair coat. Your dog will appreciate the extra layer of warmth while they sleep.

When shopping for a blanket for camping, look for blankets made with water-resistant material. The Allisandro Triple Layer Tech Waterproof Dog & Cat Blanket has an internal, leak-proof layer that will prevent spills from soaking through. It’s also machine-washable and easy to clean.

18. Travel Crate

DogGoods Do Good Foldable Travel Dog Crate

Some dogs will prefer having a cozy den that they can retreat to and feel safe. Travel crates can also keep your dog safe while you’re driving.

The DogGoods Do Good Foldable Travel Dog Crate is perfect for camping. It has mesh sides to provide ample ventilation while outdoors. It’s collapsible and folds flat, so you can easily store it in your car. It also comes with a carrying case to make transporting it around quick and effortless.

19. Plush Toy

GoDog Dinos Chew Guard Bruto Squeaky Plush Dog Toy

Make sure to bring a few dog toys with you on your camping trip. Toys can keep your dog entertained whenever you can’t give them your full attention. Your dog may also appreciate a plush snuggle buddy that accompanies them on their trips.

When choosing a plush toy, look for toys that don’t have long and fuzzy material, as dirt easily gets trapped on them. GoDog Dinos Chew Guard Bruto Squeaky Plush Dog Toy is made with soft yet durable material that can withstand heavy chewing. It also has a squeaker inside for added fun.

20. Jacket

Carhartt Chore Insulated Dog Coat

Some dogs will need a sweater or jacket to keep them warm, especially after the sun goes down. When choosing a sweater or jacket, make sure to find one that’s easy to take on and off. It also shouldn’t restrict your dog’s movement.

The Carhartt Chore Insulated Dog Coat is a good example of a jacket that’s perfect for camping. Its Velcro flaps allow for quick wearing and removal, and it’s made with durable material that can repel light rain. It’s also lined with quilted nylon and polyester batting to keep your dog warm.

Cleaning and Grooming Supplies

21. Paw Wipes

Hepper Pet Wash Wipes

Your dog is bound to get into some messes while camping. A pack of durable paw wipes can help you clean their paws and other parts of their body before they step onto your sleeping bag or return to your car.

The Hepper Wash Wipes have a hypoallergenic formula that’s also infused with moisturizing ingredients. So, it’ll clean your dog’s paws without drying out or irritating the skin. The wipes are also made with durable material so that they won’t tear while you use them.

22. Microfiber Towel

Microfiber Towel

Make sure to pack at least one microfiber towel for your dog. Microfiber towels are much thinner than traditional bath towels, so they’re easier to store with the rest of your camping supplies. They’re also very absorbent and will do a great job of drying off your dog after a day of swimming.

The Bone Dry Embroidered Paw Print Microfiber Bath Towel is an excellent example of a camping-friendly dog towel. It’s thin and lightweight, but it’s two times more absorbent than cotton. It’s also machine-washable, so you can just throw it in the wash as soon as you get home from your camping trip.

23. Dry Shampoo

Hepper Waterless No Rinse Dry Shampoo for Dogs, Cats, and Other Pets

Sometimes, your dog may roll in something extra stinky, and it can be challenging to find a place to bathe them while camping. So, bringing dry shampoo can help minimize smells and odors until you can take your dog back home for a proper bath.

The Hepper Waterless No Rinse Pet Shampoo removes dirt and debris from your dog’s coat while leaving your dog smelling fresh and clean. The formula comes out of a foam pump and has a light consistency that won’t leave your dog’s coat feeling greasy or sticky.

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Tips & Tricks for Camping With Dogs

woman and a dog inside outdoor tent near body of water
Image Credit: Patrick Hendry, Unsplash

Camping with your dog for the first time can feel like an overwhelming or daunting task. However, with a little extra preparation, you can end up having a fun and memorable trip with your dog. One of the most important things you can do is to be sure your dog has proper identification. This can be a microchip or ID tag, just make sure the information is current.

Make a List and Organize Items

Before you start packing, make a list of all the items that your dog will need during your camping trip. Organize your list into items that you already have at home and items that you need to buy. Make sure to refer to our list to make sure you don’t forget any essential supplies.

When packing, try to pack all of your dog’s supplies in one or two bags. We recommend putting travel and walking essentials into a smaller backpack or tote so that you can stay organized and access these items easily and quickly.

Familiarize Yourself and Your Dog With the Campsite

When you get to your campsite, make sure to spend the first few moments exploring the grounds with your dog. This will help your dog become familiar with the area and also allow them to relieve themselves, stretch, and burn some energy after a long drive. When you take your dog on this initial walk, make sure to take note of any onsite amenities that are near your campsite, like trash receptacles, bathrooms, and showers.

When it’s time for you to set up camp or start cooking, make sure to leash your dog to a secure stake. Check the surrounding area for any food scraps or other harmful items that your dog might swallow.

Take Your Time and Remain Calm

If it’s your dog’s first time camping, be extra mindful of how they’re doing. Go at a slow pace so that they don’t feel overwhelmed and prevent your dog from overexerting themselves in physical activities. Take frequent breaks on hikes, always carry extra dog food or treats with you, and make sure your dog is drinking plenty of water.

Lastly, be mindful of your own emotions during your camping trip. Your dog is very attuned to your emotions and will usually end up feeling how you’re feeling. So, if you’re feeling anxious or nervous, it’s likely your dog will feel the same. If you’re having a fun time, your dog will also enjoy their camping experience.

woman in brown tank top sitting in the tent with her dog
Image Credit: Resilience CBD, Unsplash

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Now that you know what it looks like to prepare for a camping trip with dogs, you can start planning your own outdoor adventure for you and your dog. Don’t let the planning part intimidate you or prevent you from going camping with your dog. It’s worth the effort and is an excellent way to spend quality time with your dog. Most of all, your dog will love exploring new places with you and enjoy being by your side as you soak in the beauty of nature together.

Featured Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

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