Camping and dogs. They go together like chocolate and almonds, skiing and powder days, and coffee and myself.
I have two mutts, Lady and Nox (the @rockymountainfluffs on Instagram), and I don’t plan any adventure without them. During the summer, we camp nearly every weekend, and if we’re not camping, I can guarantee you we’re out exploring new trails with our “dog gang”. Needless to say, my life is basically dogs. They eat better than I do and I work hard so they can have a better life. On an average weekend, we have a crew of about 10 dogs, it’s wild – but with that many dogs, you get to be pretty well versed in adventuring with dogs. Whether you’re a seasoned dog owner just starting to camp, or a new dog mom (or dad) who wants to bring their pup along on adventures – here are a few of the necessities we have whenever we go on a Dog-Venture.
- Leashes or tie-outs! Not everyone likes dogs, weird I know – I’m 90% sure non-dog lovers don’t have a heart, but that’s a story for another day. If you’re camping somewhere that is going to have neighbors, you’re going to want something to keep your dog at your campsite.
- Dogs can have an oops moment too! You never know what is going to happen while you’re on an adventure, so it’s best to be prepared for your pup like you would be for yourself! There are a ton of DIY first aid kit references, but my favorite kit is the Heeler Medical Kit from Adventure Medical Kits. It’s stocked, compact, and perfect for everyday use and quick getaways.
- You’re not the only one who can get chilly! Make sure you have a blanket or portable dog bed to keep in the tent. Even if you don’t think your dog will use it, it adds a nice layer between the tent floor and your dog’s nails. We use the Highlands™ Sleeping Bag, it’s easy to store, light, and has some padding for a little extra comfort away from home!
- Dogs gotta eat! Make sure you’re bringing the food already in your dog’s diet. That way you’ll prevent some unfortunate tent diarrhea from happening during your trip. The easiest way to bring it out is in a Kibble Kaddie™– it’s easy to transport, store and it’s reusable (hello eco-friendly choices!)! Having camping specific dog bowls are also great to have for ease of packing. We love the Bivy™ Bowl, it’s collapsible for easy storage before, during, and after the camping trip! Plus, it’s super easy to clean, which is a huge bonus!
- Did someone say fetch?! Everybody has a little bit of downtime at the campsite and depending on how long that downtime is, your dog may need a little preoccupation. I always bring at least one durable outdoor toy for Lady and Nox to play with while we’re making meals, loading the car, or sitting around the fire. They’re both obsessed with their toys from Playology Pets and will spend hours chasing them around the campsite!
- Light up your life, or your dog, which is basically the same thing right? I’m not going to lie; I’ve bought so many safety lights trying to find the perfect one. They always either fall off, die within one use, or aren’t bright enough to see my pups from a bit of a distance. I have finally found my safety light true love with The Beacon™ Safety Light. You can attach it to your pup’s collar two ways, it has three different colors with three different light modes, and it’s truly the best thing since sliced bread.
- How in the haul do I carry all of this? Well, I’m glad you asked! When I first started camping with Lady & Nox, there was no rhyme or reason to how I kept their stuff ready to go and easily accessible. Mixing it in with my things would always result in something getting lost until the end of the trip – which isn’t ideal. Investing in a durable separate bag, like the Haul Bag™ was a lifesaver. I keep everything we use while camping in this bag and I always know I can grab it and have everything ready to go in an instant!
All dogs are different, some dogs will need more to feel at home, others will need just you. If you’re new to the camping scene, I highly recommend testing the waters before investing in quality gear. We love Ruffwear, it’s actually our favorite brand for dog gear, but I had been camping with my pups for years before I started investing in their products.
Make sure you purchase gear that is priced for your budget and remember, don’t spend the big bucks until you know it’s an activity you both enjoy!