Nothing beats getting back to nature with your beastly best friend - the crisp breeze in your fur, untouched trees to mark, hot dogs roasting over an open fire. It isn’t just a matter of packing some kibble and bringing the double-wide sleeping bag, though. With our expert tips, you and your pup will surely be happy campers.
Scout it out.
Dogs belong in nature, running wild and free, right? We’re with you, but public lands and private campgrounds have regulations for good reason. Take it from Ellen Eastwood, who wrote The Trail Hound's Handbook: Your Family Guide to Hiking with Dogs: “Make sure you know where you’re going and if your dog is welcome,” she advises. “The national parks and places where there’s a protected balance of nature, like Yosemite and Yellowstone, are very explicit about where dogs are allowed and where they’re not, and their website is good about being thorough about each park. State parks and national forests are a lot more inviting for dog owners, but there are still regulations.”
We put together this handy Camp Checklist to help you put together your buddy’s kit.
- Durable collar, leash, and harness - you’ll want to grab gear that can handle any wet and cold outside. We engineered our Lifetime series specifically to stand up to the rugged conditions you’ll encounter in the wild. Don’t forget to attach your pup’s license, vaccination, and ID tags before you set out.
- Poop bags - does a dog poop in the woods? He might, but it’s up to you to be a steward of the land and Leave No Trace. Clean up after your pup, and throw in an extra garbage bag to pack it out if your site has no waste facilities.
Collapsible food/water dishes - these containers are incredibly useful. They’ll save more space in your pack than regular bowls, and you can bring one along on hikes to keep your dog hydrated on the trail.
Waterproof tarp and bedding - avoid having your dog sleep exposed to the ground - the thin material of the tent is not thick enough to protect him from hypothermia when the temperatures drop at night. Bonus - if he’s a nervous traveler, or if it’s simply his first camping trip, having your pup’s bed or blanket will signal to him that he has a comforting home base in an unfamiliar environment.
- Dog backpack - if your pup is large enough to carry some gear and is comfortable doing so, invest in a pack for him. This way, he can lend a paw in hauling some lighter gear to the site or on day hikes (think collapsible water bowl, poop bags, etc). Avoid packing treats in his bag if they’re not well-sealed to avoid driving him crazy. If you’re heading out on a hot summer day, use your best judgment before strapping him in - a body pack increases the risk of overheating at higher temperatures.
Booties - all-weather foot protection is a smart investment for certain environments. If you’ll be traversing rough, snowy, or hot terrain, booties can be a paw saver. Headed on a desert hike? Foot gear can also prevent cactus catastrophes. We also carry some Vaseline for the areas that are more likely to cause dry paws.
Nothing compares to the fun of getting back to nature with your favorite beast. With a little preparation, you’ll be waking up to birds chirping and a wagging tail on your greatest adventure yet.