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Camping with a Dog: Transform Your Camping Experience

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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 go on vacation and bring along the dog members of your family. If you are well prepared, going dog camping with your pups can be a great experience.

However, if you leave home for your summer camping adventures and 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 be well-prepared for having an amazing experience in the great outdoors while camping with a dog.

Tips Before You Leave

dog camping

There are some important things that you need to take care of and be aware of before you and your dog 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

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 commands.

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 to natural environments. Just like at the park, you should pick up after your dog.

Remember, your dog also needs food and water, so you’ll need to add extra water and supplies for your dog. You can either add these necessities to your pack or consider getting a dog pack.


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.

Dog 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 for 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 their operation. You should always have a normal leash; however, some spots require them.

Pet First Aid

You should have some first aid basics for your dog, just like human first aid.

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, pet insurance will help manage the vet bills if your dog sustains an injury in the backcountry.

Dog Camping Gear you Need

dog with camping gear

Just like you, your pup is going to need some essentials when they join you on a camping adventure.

Here are some fantastic items that we believe your dog will appreciate:

  • Sleeping Bag: For a good sleeping bag solution, we’d recommend Ruffwear Highlands. They specialize in making great gear for dogs. If you’re tent camping with your pooch, make sure they have a cozy spot of their own.
  • Waterproof Dog Bowl: Especially if you and your dog will be in the backcountry, you’re going to want a lightweight and portable bowl. We recommend going with the Mountain Khakis dog bowl. This one can hold both food and water, and it’s super packable.
  • Dog Collars: Bison Designs is known for its heavy-duty climbing gear. However, they also make great gear for dogs. Their collars come in a variety of sizes and designs. All of them feature quick releases to prevent your dog from becoming entangled in their collar.
  • Dog Backpack: Ok, maybe you don’t want to haul your dog’s stuff. Get them their own pack. Ruffwear’s adjustable, waterproof pack is the perfect size for your dog to haul their own food, bowls, and snacks. Just make sure you practice with your dog before heading out.
  • Dog E-Collar: Garmin Tri-tonics Pro 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.

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.

Planning a fantastic vacation only to find that your campsite doesn’t allow dogs is a bummer.

This is probably one of the most important parts of pre-vacation planning if your dogs are going on an adventure with you.

  • National Parks: Most national parks do not allow dogs. Some do, but you will need to thoroughly research the 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.
  • State Parks: Each state, and even individual state parks, have different rules about dogs. If you are planning a camping adventure in a state park, like a national park, 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 camping plan includes a long hike and remote camping spots, you shouldn’t have a problem bringing your dogs. For backcountry camping with your dogs, our advice is to be a good steward and have good control over 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.

Being a Good Neighbor

camping with dogs

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 yours as much as you do. 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 the 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 enjoy both 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.


If there is one thing that we want to emphasize that all campers and dog campers need, it’s 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.

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.