During the summer months, I tend to go on camping trips every second weekend, if not every weekend. That usually means I have all the camping gear I need packed and ready to go. I also have a separate bag that I use for Woody, so when I take him with me, I know all of his dog camping gear is in one place.
Don’t get me wrong I never used to have bags ready to go but now that I go camping with my dog often then it makes sense. The exact items I take every time are usually the same unless I know the weather will be vastly different. Not on the list, but something you should take is a tent that is specifically made for camping with a dog, or accommodates dogs. I have a page about my top picks of tents for camping with a dog, be sure to check it out.
I am regularly asked what I need to take when camping with a dog. That is a straightforward question to answer now but trust me; it’s years of experience and LOTS of trial and error.
12 Dog Camping Gear Items You Will Actually Need
Food & Water
I hope you didn’t need this to be spelled out to you, but you will need food for your dog!
I like to feed Woody, my dog, a combination of his regular diet and some human camping food. When I go camping, I almost always will have a BBQ and some great meats with me. So I make sure I have a few extras for the dog and make sure they are cooked through and are foods he likes and is allowed.
Some of his favorites are steaks, sausages, burgers, and anything chicken!
As well as that I bring some dry dog food in the form of biscuits. These are the same biscuits that he eats at home but just a little more as I know he will be doing a lot more walking and playing. I would always suggest you decide based on what your dog likes. There is no need for me to recommend specific products that I use as all dogs will have preferences. Go with your gut (pun).
One item you may want to consider is a food container, especially for dry dog food. I like the Kurgo Dog Kibble Carrier; it does what you expect – holds biscuits while you camp and hike.
As for water, you will need to think this through as water is heavy. In some cases, bottled water might be a good idea, or if you have a cooler then keeping water in there will be wise. This way you can keep your dog cool with fresh cold water when needed. I have also used travel jugs for little hikes, like The Coldest Water jug and the slightly smaller Under Armour Sideline – both are a great addition to any camping gear checklist if I am honest, I do prefer The Coldest Water for obvious reasons, but both are great.
I don’t leave the house for a dog camping trip without some treats. I make sure I have a few days worth of treats and a pocket full of little dog biscuits.
Treats are great for the obvious reasons, but the main reason you will find them handy is to ensure you have something handy to entice your dog back to you. For example, when out on a trail you might encounter a situation where you want to call your dog back, and having a little treat will only help.
Another excellent reason for someone who is camping with a dog for the first time is to help your dog learn the doggy camping rules.
Light, warm and comfy bed
If your dog is like mine, then your priority should be a bed that is both comfy and warm. Depending on where you’re going camping you may also want to look at a lightweight and waterproof bed. You will have to carry more than enough when going camping with a dog, so a dog bed that doesn’t weigh too much is a great option.
I like to have a bed inside the tent and a little comfy spot outside the tent but in the shade. For inside the tent I have a Ruffwear sleeping bag that Woody likes to use either as a bed or an actual sleeping bag, depending on his mood.
Collapsible Water Bowl
Camping trips can often mean long days out walking treks or hiking. Ensuring your little pooch has enough water can be difficult on these trips. I used to struggle to ensure Woody was able to get enough water throughout a day of trekking. That was until I received a collapsible dog water bowl from a friend.
Now I always have one with me when camping. I usually take one with me even on warm days when I take Woody out with me for the day. These bowls are incredibly useful even for things like picnics and days at the beach.
I own a handful of these collapsible dog bowls for my regular camping and hiking trips. I can’t recommend these enough. They are a must buy.
Doggy Hiking Backpacks and Saddles
You already need to bring so much just for the humans of a camping trip, so why not have the dog carry a few items? Dog hiking backpacks are an excellent option for the smaller things that you will need for your dog. I have some small dog gear items in Woodys such as a small first aid kit, collapsible water bowl, little treats, and few other things.
These backpacks are very lightweight and come in various sizes. So if you have a tiny little pooch or a larger breed, then you will have options. I have used a few different brands and if I am honest the more you spend, the better quality backpack you will get. I have bought saddles and bags for as little as $25, and they don’t last longer than one trip without stitching or other problems.
I am currently using the Pettom Dog Saddle and have nothing but good things to say about it. It is one of the only backpacks that I have used and not noticed stitching and wear tear after one use. Now, I do have to say that when Woody and I go camping, we do a lot of walking and hiking.
Collar & Light & ID
For most having a collar on your dog isn’t anything special but for those who don’t use one then it might be wise for camping. Having your dog on a collar with ID tags will help if your dog goes missing while on a trip. My dog, Woody, always has his collar on so adding ID tags isn’t a problem for a camping trip.
I also like to add a little LED light which I can turn on when it gets dark. It makes pointing out the dog very easy and means if he gets a little lost, I will be able to see him easier at night.
Something to add to your camping checklist might be to double-check the collar, LED and details on the ID tag are still correct.
Boots / Shoes
When we go camping there will inevitably be some walking through wooded or forest areas. For many of us, a camping trip will consist of some hiking as well. It only makes sense that you buy the best camping and hiking boots that you can. Depending on the weather you might even want to look into some hiking sandals instead to make things comfier for yourself.
The same goes for your dog. Although a dog’s paws are resilient, durable, and made for walking through these types of environments, they generally spend most of their day in a house, laying around and resting. This means the tough calluses that are needed for multiple long hiking days are not there. This isn’t your fault or even a problem, and it’s just because your dog is a house dog that is loved 🙂
The easiest way to support your dog, so they don’t get sore paws is to buy little dog boots. These boots provide more protection from the elements as well as the tough and harsh ground. They will come in useful for dogs who aren’t used to hot or cold temperatures also as they will protect the skin on the paw from getting too cold or hot.
One of the main reasons I started looking for the best dog boots for camping was because Woody was getting little stones, twigs, and nettles in his paws on some shorted hiking trips. On a few occasions, he would step on something sharp and injure his little paw, which was heartbreaking to see. Some dog boots fixed him right up though.
Granted, it took a while for him to get used to them or even like them. Eventually, though it became something he expected for our camping trips.
First Aid Kit
First aid, you need a FIRST AID KIT!
Something you shouldn’t be leaving the house without if I am totally honest. Accidents happen so you will need a little first aid kit for your dog. This could be as simple as adding a few items specifically for your dog to your main first aid kit or just having a dedicated one for your dog.
As I mention above Woody has picked up small injuries with his paws on trips before which were big enough to need a little TLC and a first aid kit to clean up.
When Woody and I go hiking on our camping trips I put a dedicated mini first aid kit in his Dog backpack saddle. That frees up some space for me and means it’s on him if anything were to happen.
For his main camping first aid kit though I have been using the Adventure Medical Kit for dogs. This comes with everything you would expect for dealing with minor injuries while camping. The only item I would add is a tick-removal kit.
Following on from the earlier item of ID tags and LED lights a tracking device might be suitable. Much like the Find your phone function on many mobile phones these days you can more or less “Find My Dog” with a reliable tracking device.
I haven’t needed one, but I know many that like to use them. More so for larger dogs that can run off faster than the owner can react! If I am honest the people I know that do use them have never needed to use it, other than to show off how cool the device is.
That being said, if you have a dog that often makes a break for it when they spot any movement or has a history of just following their nose, then this might be a worthy addition to your dog camping gear checklist.
Towels are not just “nice to have” dog camping gear items. They are a requirement for going camping with a dog. If you think you need three towels for your dog, then take 6. Trust me.
Woody hates the rain, so he isn’t a fan of going outside when it’s wet. But, if he is forced out into the rain then he makes sure he comes back soaking wet and dripping. Any puddle or lake he sees he will jump into it.
Funnily enough, I tend to need more towels for a summer camping trip then a winter one just because Woody will like to jump into lakes, ponds, and streams to cool off in the summer.
Dog Grooming Wipes
One of the main worries that first-time campers have is how to keep yourself clean while camping. Well, you need to ensure you keep your dog clean too!
If your dog is sleeping inside your tent with you, then you really should be looking at cleaning them before they start to get cozy and snuggle next to you. Dog grooming wipes can be a great way of cleaning most if not all the mess you would expect to find from a day of hiking and walking around a campsite. They will also make your dog smell a whole lot better.
Some of the best dog grooming wipes I have ever used are Pogi’s Grooming Wipes. They will clear up any mess, make your dog smell better, and are hypoallergenic. These wipes are also earth-friendly meaning they will breakdown and won’t be sitting around in the campsite for years to come(I always suggest being a clean camper though, take your trash home and dispose of things correctly).
Please bring them! It’s never great hiking through parks to step in dog crap. Please clean up after your dog.
I already use Earth Rated Dog Poop bags for Woody’s usual daily walks, so I take a few rolls with me camping. These bags are both earth-friendly and will keep the poop from stinking the place out.
These bags are super easy to use, even in the dark with the design on them pointing to the opening. These poop bags aren’t cheap thin bags that easily tear or rip open. I have been using these for four years now and will be using them for years to come.