Would you want to sleep under the stars or relax by the campfire with your canine friend curled by your side? Your next camping trip can make your wish come true. With the best camping gear for your dog, you and your furry companion will be ready for an adventure of a lifetime.

Photo courtesy of Alexander Paul on Unsplash

However, taking your pet on a camping trip also means you must plan your adventure accordingly. Choosing the right gear for your dog is just as important as packing the right stuff for yourself and your kids. 

Dogs love the outdoors, and a camping trip can be the best way to let your dog enjoy nature and exercise. You and your dog are bound to enjoy hiking and camping together, provided you have all the essential gear to protect your pet. 

Prepare for a Camping Trip With Your Dog

Before you plan a camping trip with your dog, the first thing to do is to check if pets are allowed at the hiking trail or the campground. The outdoor destination you choose must be pet-friendly. You don’t want to reach the site, only to find out that your dog can’t enter or will have minimal access to the campground.

Once you confirm you can bring your furry friend along, it’s time to start planning what to bring so you and your dog are prepared for an adventure!

In this guide, we highlight the essential gear you’ll need when camping with your dog. This gear isn’t exclusive to camping. It’s also great if you’re hiking or enjoying the outdoors with your dog as well!

Best Camping Gear For Dogs

Creating a checklist is the best way to ensure that you pack all the right gear for a camping trip with your dog. In addition to basics like ID tags, harness, and a leash, there are many other things that will keep your dog comfy throughout the tip. You don’t necessarily NEED these items to enjoy the outdoors with your pup, but they will make your trip with your dog much more enjoyable!

Since there is so much camping gear for dogs available on the market, choosing the best dog gear to protect your pooch and fit within your budget can be tricky. We will also recommend a few products from reputed brands to help you narrow down your search. 

Here is a list of some of the essential camping gear for your dog to enjoy a safe and memorable outdoor adventure!

Dog Sleeping Bag 

Dog sleeping bag by Ruffwear
Photo courtesy of Ruffwear

After you spend the day hiking and exploring, your pet deserves a good night’s sleep. Just like you can’t imagine a camping trip without a warm and comfy sleeping bag, your dog will also need to claim his sleeping space. 

If you’re an avid camper, we recommend buying a premium-quality sleeping bag for your dog so he can relax after playing around the camp or hiking the whole day. Your dog will appreciate a comfortable sleeping bag so he can recharge his batteries or relax when you are busy sharing spooky stories around the campfire.

Choose a Quality Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bags are necessary because no dog wants to relax on the rocks. While it’s ok to let your dog rest on hard surfaces once in a while, get him a good sleeping bag to make him as comfortable as possible. Just like you- the better rest your dog gets, the more likely he is to have energy for a big hike the next day.

You can choose from a wide variety of sleeping bags on the market. However, there aren’t too many products as comfortable and high-quality as Ruffwear Highlands Bed. This easy-to-pack and incredibly lightweight dog bed is a treat for every dog-owning camper. Ruffwear’s dog sleeping bag ranks among the top sleeping beds for dogs because of its durable and water-resistant shell fabric and impressive insulation.

Opt For a Cushioned Mat

When it’s going to be extra cold, buy the Highlands Pad for integrating the pad sleeve to this bag for serving as a barrier between colder surfaces. The dog pad is also a great option if you want a portable, cushioned mat for your dog but don’t want to spend close to $100 on a sleeping bag.

LED Safety Collar

LED safety collar - best camping gear for dogs

Exploring the wilderness in the night sky is exciting. However, it can get awfully dark out there in the woods. That’s why buying a light-up collar for your pet will ensure that you don’t lose sight of your dog, even in the darkest campsite. 

Along with packing your dog’s collar and leash, we recommend throwing in an LED dog collar for a little bit of added safety. There’s no need to buy an expensive light-up dog collar. There are plenty of inexpensive LED collars that are reusable, battery-operated, or USB rechargeable.

LED Necklace

NiteHowl’s pet safety necklace is a great option at less than $10. This light-up dog collar offers plenty of illumination for night walks, can easily be seen from 50 feet away, is water- and mud-proof, and slips on and off easily. This LED dog necklace can be cut to fit your dog’s neck (small to large from 12″ to 27″) and has a flashing mode for extra visibility.

Clip-On LED Light

Buying a light-up dog collar will keep your to keep your furry friend safe and visible during early morning and evening walks. These collars are typically inexpensive, portable, lightweight so they won’t take much of your budget or luggage space. Clip-on LED collar lights are also a good option for small dogs. Look for features such as extra brightness and long battery life. 

Collapsible Dog Bowls

Collapsible dog bowl
Photo courtesy of Ruffwear

You will need food bowls for the campsite, just like you need them at home. Don’t forget to pack collapsible dog bowls that you can easily pack or clip onto your backpack. You can find plenty of inexpensive collapsible dog bowls online. We recommend silicone or nylon.

Silicone Dog Bowls

Silicone dog bowls are great if you’re looking for a cheap, lightweight collapsible bowl. Most silicone bowls come with a carabiner or climbing buckle that can be used to clip the bowls to your backpack, belt loop, or leash. These silicone collapsible bowls come in a variety of colors and can be used for both dog food and water. They are also dishwasher friendly, which makes it really easy to clean after you get home from your camping adventure.

The only drawback: silicone dog bowls are prone to get ripped/chewed up. We’ve found that the silicone material is not the best for puppies or avid chewers. There’s a chance your pup might destroy the bowl if he decides it’s a chew toy instead.

Nylon Dog Bowls

On the other hand, Nylon dog bowls are much more durable and are also very portable. Ruffwear makes an ultralight nylon dog bowl that folds into itself, making it perfect for backpacking trips or trail runners that need to save space and weight. These collapsible fabric dog bowls are perfect for the outdoors, but unfortunately, they have to be washed by hand so we recommend using them for water.

If you’re looking for a collapsible dog bowl for food, Ruffwear also makes a collapsible dog bowl with a cinch top. This bowl’s integrated drawstring closure keeps kibble contained en route and readily accessible at mealtime.

And lastly, be sure to bring along a water bottle to hydrate your pet whenever you are out hiking or exploring. You can invest in a dog-friendly water bottle that doubles as a water container and bowl.

Campsite Dog Hitching System

Best camping gear for dogs - Campsite hitching system Ruffwear
Photo courtesy of Ruffwear

If you frequently camp with your dog, you know the struggle of keeping him occupied while you try to set up the camp. Dealing with an impatient dog who wants your attention or some exercise is a challenge whenever you are cooking, setting up your camp, or starting a fire. 

Many campgrounds require dog owners to leash their dogs at all times. However, if your campsite allows you to keep your pet off-leash, you will still need something to avoid him wandering to neighboring sites. 

Easy-To-Use Camp Hitch

That’s where a hitching system comes into the picture. You can benefit from the popular Ruffwear Knot-a-Hitch system that offers ultimate convenience for car, RV, and tent campers. The intuitive and comprehensive system features a tough but flexible 36-foot length kernmantle rope. Secure it to a single post or set it up between two trees.

The easy-to-use tensioning system makes the Ruffwear Knot-a-Hitch system a hit among dog-owning campers. Your dog will love exploring the new surroundings while you can perform your other duties such as building a fire, preparing dinner, or setting up the tent.

Unlike conventional tie-downs, this dog hitch system will never bunch up into a mess or tangle around your pup’s feet. This awesome piece of dog camping gear will allow your dog to roam around the campsite while preventing him from running after wildlife. It’s a win, win!

Canine First-Aid Kit

Pet first aid kit for camping

There’s no camping trip without a first-aid kit, especially when you have to take care of your pets. After all, a camping trip allows your dog to explore natural elements, including thorns, critters, and creepy crawly insects. 

A standard safety kit contains bandages, hydrogen peroxide, or cotton swabs. However, when you are buying a safety kit for your dog to protect him while camping, remember to add tweezers, flea, and tick repellent. You should also inspect your pet regularly for any parasites or skin infections. If you are not diligent, any infection or disease can affect your dog’s coat, skin, or appetite. 

Pre-Made First Aid Kits

You can easily find a canine first-aid kit to keep in your camping luggage. Rayco’s dog first-aid kit is a great option if you prefer to buy a pre-made safety kit for your furry friend. It’s affordable, compact, and includes over 45 items inside. If you buy a kit like this, though, we recommend adding hydrogen peroxide and having a dog first-aid guide handy. You can buy a dog first-aid field guide, or print out a few sheets of paper with critical first-aid procedures to add to your kit.

Build Your Own Dog First-Aid Kit

However, some people like building their own first-aid kit according to their dog’s needs and condition.

Here are some of the things that you must keep in your first-aid kit whenever you are going on a camping trip with your dog. 

  • Non-stick Pads
  • Gloves 
  • Medical tape
  • Gauze 
  • Vet Wrap
  • Heat and Cold Packs
  • Antibiotic ointment/spray for pets
  • Digital thermometer 
  • Magnifying glass
  • Towels
  • Oral Syringes
  • Scissors
  • Cotton balls
  • Hydrogen Peroxide

Hands-Free Dog Leash

Hands-free dog leash by Ruffwear
Photo courtesy of Ruffwear

Don’t forget to buy a good-quality leash for your canine companion. While a hands-free dog leash isn’t a must-have, it’s definitely worth it if you plan on hiking or running with your dog.

We love Ruffwear’s designs when it comes to these types of leashes. Both their Roamer Bungee and Crag Reflective dog leashes adjust so they can be hand-held or worn around your waist. This dynamic hands-free leash design keeps you and your pup connected while allowing an extended range for roaming and exploring.

Bungee Hands-Free Dog Leash

Their Roamer Bungee dog leash has a perfect amount of bungee to allow for flexibility on runs and technical terrain. It’s ideal for trail runners and avid hikers. This bungee leash also has a grab handle near the clasp which is perfect for when you need to hold your dog close to your body when you’re on a trail.

Adjustable Hands-Free Dog Leash

The Crag Leash (formerly known as the Slackline Leash) doesn’t have a bungee, but it is adjustable. You can fully extend it to 6 feet for relaxed walks or more room while running, or shorten it all the way to 3.5 feet when you need your pup close. This adjustable leash also has a padded handle, an accessory loop for poop bags or small clip-on items, and reflectivity to boost visibility at night.

These leashes aren’t cheap but if you’re in the market for a new leash, we recommend buying one of these hands-free leashes. They can be used at home and on the trail, so there’s no need to buy multiple leashes anymore.

Dog Boots

Ruffwear Boots - Best camping gear for dogs

To be honest, the first time we saw a dog with boots on, we laughed. Why would a dog need shoes?! It seemed like another useless piece of gear people put on their dogs. Little did we know, dog boots are essential if you are tackling extreme outdoor conditions with your dog.

Dog boots can help protect your dog from injuries. They provide added traction that can prevent slips and falls, and they also stop snow, ice, melting salt, and other debris from building up between your dog’s paw pads- which can cause very painful cuts and sores.

Different Types of Dog Boots

If you are camping amid rough terrain or hiking in winter weather, don’t settle for low-quality boots. Invest in premium-quality booties to protect your pup’s paws. Ruffwear offers a few styles of dog boots – the Grip Trex (all-terrain), Polar Trex (weather-resistant), and Summit Trex (for winter) – depending on the type of adventure you’re going on. We are by no means experts in dog boots, so check out their guide on choosing the right boots for your dog.

Note, most dog boots are sold in pairs (2 boots), so you’ll need to buy 2 sets to protect your four-legged friend’s paws. This is because many dogs have wider front paws and will require two different sizes for their front and rear paws.

Dog Backpack

Best camping gear for dogs - backpack
Photo credit: IG @thenortherndogs

When you can buy the best backpack to flaunt your love for camping gear, your dog should get the same privilege. Give your pup a new backpack so you can store his favorite snacks and treats. There are several dog hydration packs, dog backpacks, and saddlebags to choose from, according to your dog’s needs and your camping trip. 

Lightweight & Versatile

A lightweight dog backpack is comfortable and convenient for day hikes. The expandable storage compartments comfortably fit extra essentials you may need while exploring the great outdoors with your dog. Choose a dog backpack with a saddleback design (with two storage compartments on each side), so the weight is evenly distributed.

This lightweight dog backpack has plenty of room for food, water, and other gear. There’s no need to buy an expensive dog hydration pack if you have a good quality daypack.

Customizable Dog Back Packs

There are plenty of spacious, colorful, and durable dog backpacks to guarantee comfortable trekking, hiking, or camping adventure. Most of these dog backpacks are customizable and feature stash pockets and collapsible water bottles to hydrate and nourish your camping companion.

Googles

Rex Specs Dog Sunglasses Goggles
Photo courtesy of Rex Specs

Just like dog boots, we laughed at this piece of gear at first too! Contrary to what people think, dog goggles actually serve an important purpose when you’re outdoors with your pup.

If you’re spending an extended time out in the sun or in the snow on your next trip, you are likely to pack sunglasses for yourself to protect your eyes. Why wouldn’t your dog not need the same? A quality pair of UV goggles will allow your dog to see easier on even the brightest days while also protecting their eyes from exposure.

Cheap Dog Goggles

There are a lot of dog goggles to choose from online. If you don’t want to spend too much money and prefer the googles cup your dog’s eyes, Doggles makes an inexpensive pair of dog goggles. Doggles lenses are shatter-proof, anti-fog, and offer UV protection. The elastic adjustable straps make this style of dog googles suited to all dog head shapes and sizes.

High-End Dog Goggles

If you’re looking for highly durable and UV-protective goggles for your adventure dog (and don’t mind spending a little extra money), Rex Specs are a google option. The Rex Specs’ dog goggle design is very similar to ski goggles. The frame’s material is flexible and durable, and the lenses have a UV 400 rating, meaning they block 99% of the UVA and UVB rays. With thousands of 5-star reviews, you can’t go wrong with these premium dog googles.

Note that putting goggles on your dog requires training. Allow 1-3 weeks training period and follow the manufacturer’s recommended training instructions. Rex Specs provides comprehensive training tips and videos on their website for first-time goggle wearers.

Outerwear

Buying the right outerwear for your dog depends on the size and breed of your dog. You should also consider the weather and ambient conditions of the camping destination. However, getting a dog vest and coat to keep your pet warm and cozy around a chilly campsite will ensure he stays healthy. Likewise, if the weather is too hot, you can use a water-soaked vest or cooling vest to keep your dog cool. 

Other Gear For Camping With Your Dog

I.D. Tags

Never leave your home for a camping adventure without having legible and accurate I.D. tags for your pup. You can buy stainless steel I.D. tags for your dog so that they can attach securely to his existing collar. Such tags are weather-resistant, so you don’t have to fear losing them in case of heavy rain or a storm.

Make sure your name, address, and contact details on the ID tag are up-to-date before you head off on your adventure!

Dog Food & Water

Don’t try anything new on a camping trip with your dog. Bring your dog’s regular food that he can easily digest. While you may have to increase your pet’s daily caloric intake on a camping trip, don’t overfeed your dog. 

You should have enough water supply to ensure your dog stays hydrated throughout the trip. Some campers allow their pups to drink freely from lakes and streams. However, drinking from natural sources is not always safe for you or your pets. Your dog may contract diseases such as leptospirosis or giardiasis this way. The safest bet is to buy high-quality dog food and water bottles for your dog. You can also check with the campground officials about the water availability. 

Dog Treats

Don’t forget to bring enough treats that will last throughout the trip to keep your pup happy. Don’t introduce any new treats, and stick to the things your dog already likes to avoid wastage. If someone recommends a new dog treat, you should try it at home first, before the camping trip. 

Some natural and healthy dog treats include brown rice, sweet potato, cooked pumpkin, or sweet red peppers. Cheese, carrots, and apples are also great for nourishing your hungry dog after a hectic camping day. 

Poop Bags

Being close to nature doesn’t mean you forget to bring poop bags for your pet. Buy poop bags that come in all sizes and materials. Dog-owning campers must treat the campsite as their neighboring street. That means cleaning up after your dog and leaving no traces to ensure the campground stays clean and hygienic. 

Proper disposal of your dog’s waste is not only courteous but also necessary to ensure safety. That’s because your pet’s droppings could attract wildlife or spread infections. Bury your pup’s poop in a hole, at least 200 feet away from trails, water sources, or your campsite to avoid contamination. 

Camping With Your Dog

A camping adventure is more than a vacation if you take your dog along. Spending quality time with your pet while being close to nature can strengthen the bond you share with your furry companion. Packing the essential camping gear for your dog will help you feel prepared and will make your trip far more enjoyable.

Now you know about the best dog gear to keep your pup happy on your next adventure! If you’re curious about bringing your dog along on your campervan trip, check out our tips for #vanlife with your dog >


What is your ‘must-have’ camping gear for dogs? Did we miss mentioning a piece of gear that you can’t imagine traveling without? Or do you have an opinion about any of the gear we mentioned in the post? If so, feel free to share it in the comments below!