This past weekend we took our 1-year-old Golden Retriever for her first camping trip. We don’t get out camping much, since we live beside a beautiful beach and have hiking trails right near us. Its pretty much camping every day minus the dirt.
We kept it pretty simple, going out with friends of ours who have another dog. There was swimming, beach digging, trail hiking, campsite playing and lots and lots of dirt. Glorious trip for the dogs overall!
While we had the camping basics needed for our pups, it did give us a chance to see what other items would be needed for longer camping trips. Here are the essentials that I will be bringing on my next trip!
Dog Camping Essentials
1. Large Water Bowl
One thing we realized with two playful dogs on our campsite is that they require a lot of water. We had a regular water bowl out and it seemed to be empty every time we looked.
There was also the issue with two dogs constantly playing (tethered to a central tree since we were in a heavily used area), is that they were wrestling a lot and between them and the leashes, the water bowl was flipped a number of times. We’ll be going with a larger and heavier water bowl next time.
I’m probably going with something like this: Road Refresher No Spill Bowl since its fairly large (52oz), durable looking and will help with spills if its knocked around a bit.
2. Sand Free Mat by CGear
This is an essential buy. Great for the beach or at the campsite, this blanket is almost magical since it is made to let sand fall through it, keeping the top clean. I will be using this outside the tent or trailer as a way to keep the sand and dirt outside, as well as giving the dogs a place to lay down that isn’t in the dirt.
This rug is hard to believe till you see it, but on the beach the sand just goes right through it, keeping you sand-free. The same will go for small dirt particles on the campsite. You can get the CGear Sand-free Multimat in a 10×10-foot size, which should work well for most entrances and on the beach.
3. Hiking Water Bowl
Normally we bring our pup a water bottle and she’s fine drinking right out of it as we pour it out slowly, but we realized our friend’s dog had no interest in this, so one of the new essentials will be to bring a collapsible water bowl like the Comsun Collapsible Dog Bowl.
I actually already own this bowl and normally keep it in my jeep for after hikes, where our pup can take a big drink. The bowl folds flat so it stores in a small area, and it comes with a carabineer for easily adding it to a backpack. The bowl is really durable (my dog uses it for a chew toy when I’m not watching and its survived so far!), and pretty light, so its an easy addition to your camping gear.
4. Dog Bed/Sleeping Bag
Now, I know some dogs are fairly pampered, and would refuse to sleep on the hard ground, so you may find them trying to snuggle up with you on your mattress or sleeping bag. This may work for small dogs, but once you’re in the realm of dogs that will make sleeping uncomfortable if they’re on you, you may want to consider a dog bed for your tent.
There are a number of types of camping beds you can get for a dog, from raised cot-like beds that offer coolers sleeps, to dog sleeping bags, to simple beds that roll up small for travel. What type you get really depends on what your pup likes normally. You should also test out the bed for a while before going on a longer trip, in case they hate it altogether and you’re stuck with a 75lbs boxer on your legs.
5. First Aid Kit
You should have one for yourself on any longer hiking or camping trip, but make sure you don’t forget one for your dog! They can get into mischief on camping trips, from eating something weird to going through a thorn bush to getting bug bites. Being prepared is key to a happy camper.
What you pack for a first aid kit is up to you. There are some pre-made dog first aid kits available, or you can make up your own based on experience or an online list like this free one from The Humane Society. Whatever you pick, just make sure you’re prepared because you don’t want to run into a simple medical issue that you can’t help with.
6. Dog Harness Packs
If you’ve got a dog that is fit and could carry some weight, you may as well put them to work while you hike! We’ve touched on a few dog harnesses here before (Ruffwear Approach Pack and Ruffwear Web Master Harness), and these are great additions to any hiking or camping trip with your dog.
These harnesses let your dog carry some supplies (like their own water and poop bags) and also have handles and leash hooks to help with control. Just make sure your dog is comfortable with the harness and with carrying anything at all. And be careful using this on extremely hot days with dogs, as you don’t want to over do it.
There are so many other products you can get that are great for going camping with a dog, from hiking boots to reflective collars to camp chairs. Start with what’s above and expand from there to get the best results from your camping experience.