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Camping With Dogs

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

Are you hankering for a summer time adventure with your pup? Nothing's better than hitting the road with your doggo, finding that perfect spot to pitch your tent, and delight in the joys of nature.

What makes camping with dogs so much fun?

The reasons to take your dog camping by far outweigh leaving them behind. Yes, they can restrict your plans somewhat, and you can’t ever leave your dinner plate unattended without it’s contents disappearing. But the enjoyment and constant entertainment that we humans get from our canine companions only multiplies when we’re out adventuring together. You can guarantee that they'll be loving every minute of the extra time they get to spend with you, and for us there are loads of reasons why we choose camping with dogs every time:

  • They help you focus on the joys of living in the now - walkies on a new trail... awesome! New things to sniff...heck yeah! Time together...pure bliss.

  • They provide protection – especially if you're camping in more wild locations.

  • They’re always keen to help collect wood for the fire.

  • They'll keep you cosy and warm at night.

  • You’re guaranteed to get morning kisses – whether you like it or not!

  • You’ll never miss a sunrise – being woken up by pawing at the tent zipper does have its benefits (honestly!).

  • They’ll create moments to remember forever.

So now that you’ve decided that you and your outdoorsy dawg will make the perfect dream team of the #camping world, you’ll need to get organized to make it happen. A little like taking kids out adventuring, camping with dogs needs some preparation and planning. But with the right gear and knowledge, you’ll soon be using Fido as your excuse to get out camping as much as possible. Take a read of these useful pointers to make sure you’ve got everything covered:

TIP: To be well prepared for an awesome time, check out REI's camping checklist. And don't forget your pup's must have list too:

If this is your first time camping with your dog, the following will help you understand camping etiquette + tips from a camping expert to help make your outdoor adventures safe, memorable and fun.

Here’s how to do it:

1) Designated or Primitive Camping?

Snag the perfect site for your camping trip. Designated campgrounds come with amenities like toilets, tables and treated water. Some let you reserve sites; others are first-come, first-serve. Most charge fees and are relatively easy to access.

Primitive camping is the better option if you love going off the grid, spontaneity, selecting your own site and being self-sufficient. You’ll have to pack your own water: “Two gallons per person per day to handle drinking, cooking and washing chores + more for your pup. And you won’t have so much as a pit toilet. If you’re new to this type of camping, the first thing I’d do is to print out the Leave No Trace principles.

For a national database of reservable sites on all sorts of federal lands (including national parks and national forests), check out Or, visit REI’s Camping Project, which pulls data from the national database to let you search bookable campgrounds by location and nearby activities (like hiking, trail-running, backcountry skiing and more).

2) Campsite Etiquette

Make things fun and safe for everyone. Put a load of dogs in a field with families, tents, food, smells, fresh air and no rules, and all havoc would break loose. So, it’s essential that you, your camping crew and #dogs, follow some basic campsite rules:

  • keep your dog on a leash at all times

  • limit the number of dogs per pitch

  • scoop the poop

  • don’t leave your dog unattended

3) Acclimate your dog to their new surroundings

Explore, take a comfort break, then set up camp. Before you start unloading the car, take a stroll around the campsite to find that perfect spot to pitch your tent and get your pup used to all the exciting new smells and sounds.

4) Overpack dog food

We’re not the only ones who need more food out at camp. All that fresh air and romping around burns a lot more calories than everyday life, and doggos are no different. Pack plenty of food to fuel their fun and always have water on hand for them to guzzle on the go. These items will make dinner time a breeze:

  • Dog food Storage

  • Water bottle and collapsible bowl

5) Prep a spot for your dog

Night’s can get cool, does your dog have a comfy spot to sleep? Minimize midnight wanderings or a dog in your mummy sleeping bag:

  • Bring a well insulated, waterproof dog bed to protect him from the cold. Or my boxer’s favorite - a raised dog bed with an insulated dog sleeping bag!

Happy camping!


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