As a pet owner myself that absolutely loves going camping with my dog, I know how much you want to take yours with you on your next trip. I recently covered everything you need to know about how to go camping with dogs, but now it’s time to go over the dog camping gear essentials you need for a successful trip.
You’ve probably already gotten all of your camping gear together, but dogs need a few special items so they can be safe, comfortable, and have just as much fun on the trip as you.
I’ve been on countless camping trips with my own dogs and with friends and family who brought their dogs, so over the years I’ve learned about all the essential gear and equipment you need.
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From a leash and sleeping bag to cooling vests and toys, I’ve got you covered with the best camping gear for your dog. Here are 11 categories of dog camping gear essentials you need for your next camping trip.
Best Dog Gear for Camping
Leash, Lead, and Harness
One of the most important things you need to go camping with dogs is a good leash or lead that you can use to keep them close to you. Most campgrounds, national parks, state parks, and other public areas will have leash laws and regulations that require you to always keep your dog on a leash or lead since there are other people and pets around.
While your options are nearly endless here, a sturdy leash like this one is great for keeping them close to you at the campsite and also good for hiking or walking around with its padded handles. If you have space around your tent for a lead, check out the Knot-a-Hitch Dog Hitching System that attaches to two trees and gives your dog a bit more freedom.
No matter if your dog is on a leash or a lead, I will always recommend you use a harness instead of a collar. They’re much more comfortable for the dog, don’t present the same choking hazard, and are stronger to prevent your dog from running away if it gets too excited! This one from Furrigo even comes with a built-in AirTag holder, which we’ll touch on more at the end.
Collapsible Food and Water Bowls
Arguably even more important than having a good leash or lead is having some portable food and water bowls that you can take with you. Sure, you could just bring along your dog’s typical bowls, but when we’re talking about going on a primitive camping trip or backpacking, you want to take up as little space as possible at the lowest weight.
That’s where a set of collapsible dog bowls comes in like this 2-pack designed specifically for traveling and outdoor use. With the included carabiners, these bowls are easy to attach to your backpack or the rest of your gear, and they collapse flat when you’re done using them to take up as little space as possible.
While you’re at it, consider grabbing a Kurgo Kibble Carrier to bring your dog’s food along. This travel bag can hold up to 5 pounds, will keep the dog food dry, has a built-in carrying handle, and even folds flat to take up as little room as possible. Just make sure you pack a little more food than you think you need, just in case you have to stay a bit longer!
Dog First-Aid Kit
A first-aid kit is an essential piece of safety equipment that you should always have packed with you no matter if you’re just going to a campground for a weekend or hiking the Appalachian Trail.
But when you’re bringing your dog along with you, it’s important to have a first-aid designed for them that comes with special tools and items better suited for taking care of animals than your normal kit.
With the Adventure Medical Kits Trail Dog First-Aid Kit, you’ll get an assortment of items that will help you patch up your dog in case something happens during your trip. It comes with:
- Bandages & wraps
- Self-adhering bandages that don’t stick to fur
- Allergy medicine
- Common medications
- DryFlex Bags
- Tick/Splinter tool
Dog Bed or Sleeping Bag
I don’t even know your dogs, but I’d be willing to bet that they like to spend some time getting a bit of shuteye from time to time. If they like to nap at home, you can expect them to spend even more time asleep during a camping trip because they’ll be so worn out.
That’s why you need to bring along a dog bed, dog sleeping bag, or something else that they can cozy up in. In the spirit of camping, you can let your little buddy match you and get them a dog sleeping bag of their own like this waterproof one from KUDES that’s warm and comfy.
If it’s warm enough outside to where they don’t need a complete sleeping bag, the Furhaven Outdoor Dog Bed is more than comfortable enough and easily folds into the included drawstring bag when you’re done camping.
For the hottest times of the year, your dog will appreciate some extra airflow when they’re relaxing or getting some sleep, which is where an elevated dog bed comes in. The Love’s Cabin Outdoor Elevated Pet Bed lifts them 8” off the ground for added airflow and the breathable mesh is cool to the touch.
Cooling Harness or Insulated Vest
While that elevated bed above might help during summer camping trips, you can help your dog stay even cooler with some special accessories.
With the Ruffwear Cooling Harness, simply wet it down and put it on your dog. The outer layer reflects heat while the middle layer retains water to keep your dog cool. Another option from Ruffwear is the Swamp Cooler Neck Gaiter which uses similar technology to cool your dog and is much more affordable.
Hot months: check. But when the temperatures outside start to drop, you don’t want any cooling vests or neck gaiters. Instead, check out the Kurgo Loft Fleece Winter Jacket. This insulated vest can be worn with a harness so you retain the same level of control and the water-resistant material with keep your dog warm even if the vest gets wet.
Life Jacket, Rain Jacket, and Drying Towel
A lot of the places I like to go camping with dogs have lakes, rivers, or streams that they just absolutely love jumping in. But no matter how good of a swimmer they are, you should always make sure they’re wearing a life jacket before they go in.
I’ve been using the Ruffwear Float Coat Life Jacket and it’s been great, but something like the Outward Hound Granby Splash works just as well and is much more affordable (plus it’s the most popular seller on Amazon and has a high rating!).
While we’re on the topic of water, you should consider picking up a rain jacket for your dog to help keep them dry. When you’re camping, the weather can be unpredictable, and something simple like the HDE Dog Raincoat is affordable, easy to wear, and gets the job done.
Lastly, whether your dog is jumping in the water or dealing with a bit of rain, you should get something to dry them off. Sure, a regular old towel works fine, the Dirtbag Drying Towel is what I use.
The absorbent inner layer will get the moisture and mud off their coat, and the waterproof outer shell keeps it all contained. From there, finish off with a basic towel and they’ll be good to go!
Finishing off our accessories and apparel, you should get some sort of light so that not only will you be able to see them at night, but other people can as well. You don’t have to do anything fancy here, the point is just to make them visible. A device like a light-up dog collar gets the job done and gives your dog a little bit of bling they might have been craving.
If a glowing collar isn’t your thing, pick up a rechargeable micro lantern with an integrated carabiner and hang it on your dog’s collar. These 4-mode lights let you choose the color, leave it steady, have it flash for better visibility, and more. Plus, since it’s just a small lantern (measuring only 1.5” in diameter), you can even put one on your backpack and use it yourself.
They’re much more versatile than the dog collar and can be a useful part of anyone’s camping gear.
Dog Grooming Wipes
These next two item categories might not be quite as fun as the rest, but as pet owners, we all know it’s necessary to keep our furry friends clean. This one is pretty simple, but you should always carry some dog grooming wipes that are safe for them and can be used to keep them clean.
I’ve always gone with the Earth Rated Dog Wipes that come in a 400-pack and make cleanup a breeze. These plant-based wipes are thick and durable so you can use them on your dog’s paws, fur, butt, and more. They’re hypoallergenic, environmentally friendly, and have a gentle lavender scent to leave behind a pleasant smell.
Poop Bags and Waste Supplies Products
Similar to keeping your dogs clean with the wipes above, you definitely need to bring along poop bags and other pet waste supplies so you don’t leave a mess behind. Regardless of if you’re staying at a campground or camping out in the middle of nowhere, you should never leave a mess from your pet, and good poop bags make it easy to clean up.
Sticking with the same brand as our dog wipes, the Earth Rated Dog Poop Bags are easy to use and they’re biodegradable so they’re safe for the environment. To go along with these, you can pick up something like the Ruffwear Stash Bag Mini that gives you a place to keep the waste until you get back to a garbage can.
The Stash Bag Mini is perfectly sized for carrying the roll of empty poop bags, and its drawstring design makes it easy to attach the full bags right to it. This sure beats carrying a bag of dog waste around in your hands or leaving it on the trails.
Any time you go camping with dogs, one of the biggest fears is them getting lost. I know I went on about keeping them leashed or on a lead, but let’s be honest, at some point we need to let them be free to run around and enjoy the outdoors.
But you should always have some sort of GPS tracker on them just in case. Heck, I keep one on my dog even at home so I know where he’s at and he won’t get lost.
There are all sorts of dog GPS trackers to choose from, and Tractive is one of the biggest names in the business. With their Waterproof Dog Collar GPS Tracker, you’ll be able to find your dog no matter what they get into or where they go.
The unlimited range means you have nothing to worry about, and you can even set up a virtual fence so you’re notified if they leave the area. Note that you will need to use the Tractive app and pay a $5/month fee, but the peace of mind is worth it.
Another super easy way to keep track of your dog at all times is just simply hanging an Apple AirTag on their collar. Or if you pick up that harness I mentioned above, you can slip it in the integrated AirTag holder and you’re good to go. Android users can opt for the Galaxy SmartTag which works the same way.
Dog Toys for Camping
The last category of dog camping gear you should bring along is some toys for them to play with. From time to time, you might want to keep them entertained while you’re doing something else, and bringing along some outdoor toys for them to play with is a great idea.
If they have some favorites at the house, just toss a couple of them in with your gear and head out the door. Otherwise, you can pick up some new dog toys that are rated for outdoor play before you leave. Something simple like a Dog Bungee just attaches to a tree and gives them something to pull on.
Or if your dog likes the water, consider picking up something that floats like the Nerf Dog Rubber Tire Flyer. Toss it in the water and let them chase after it, but make sure they have on their life jacket!
Enjoy the Great Outdoors with Your Dog
With all of this dog camping gear in mind, you should have everything you need to tackle the great outdoors and go on an awesome adventure with your four-legged friend. Whether this is your first camping trip ever or you’re a seasoned vet, bringing your dog along is a great experience and it’s the perfect way to spend time with them and make more memories.
In addition to going camping, keep in mind that dogs also love going hiking with you. Since you won’t need all this same camping gear to go hiking with your dog, we also have a guide to all the dog hiking gear essentials you need for you to check out.
So, pick up your dog’s outdoor gear and plan your next camping trip with your furry friend!
- Dogs love to go camping and hiking, but it’s important that you have the right dog camping gear and equipment that they need to be safe, happy, and comfortable while you’re there.
- If you’re staying in a campground, national park, state park, or other public lands, make sure you follow leash laws and invest in a good leash or lead to keep your dog near you.
- The more comfortable and safe your dog feels during the camping trip, the happier they will be. Also, bring some toys to keep them busy, and watch your camping buddy have fun.
- To go hiking with your dog during your camping trip, the single most important item to bring with you is a collapsible bowl with plenty of extra water to keep them hydrated.