The Best Camping Gear for Dogs

By Jodi Thornton O'Connell

Canine cuisine and supplies for your camping adventure

The Best Camping Gear for Dogs

The beauty of camping with dogs is that their needs are so simple. They are happy just to spend some one-on-one time with their humans, have new scents to sniff and plenty of food to fill their bellies. Camping gear designed for dogs can make their time in the great outdoors safer and make the whole trip more convenient. Check out these adventure supplies for campers who love to bring their dogs.

Camping gear for dogs

No matter where the outdoor adventure, some products can make traveling with a dog easier and safer.

  • GPS tracker: Even well-behaved dogs can get excited and run after a darting rabbit or enticing scent. Don't worry about losing your dog in miles of wilderness with a GPS satellite tracking collar that shows the dog's location at all times.
  • Life jacket: Don't let a day boating or swimming turn tragic for your pet. A lightweight life jacket not only keeps the dog afloat but also provides greater visibility in the water to boaters. A handle on top makes it easy to lift the dog out of the water.
  • Cooling jacket: Help your dog beat the summer heat with a  core-cooling vest. Just soak the vest in water and let evaporation keep your pet cool. Some models attach to the dog's backpack or safety vest with hook-and-loop straps. 

Car camping solutions

Staying in a busy campground with a dog comes with its own set of challenges. Here are a few things that make dog camping a breeze.

  • Retractable tie-out cable: Forget about tripping over long tie-out cables with a retractable cable tie-out. The tie swivels 360 degrees, and a 20-foot cable gives your dog 1,256 square feet of roaming space. 
  • Safety light: You and your dog will both be more visible on campground walks with a safety light that attaches to the dog's collar. 
  • High-visibility vest: Ensure that motorists, hunters and other campers can see your dog easily both day and night. 
  • Vehicle back-seat cover: Don't drag the great outdoors into your car. Dog seat covers protects upholstery from dirt, doggy odors and claw marks. 

Backpacking and backcountry camping accessories

Who says roughing it has to be rough on you or your pooch? Lightweight convenience camping items for dogs make backcountry camping easier on both of you.

  • Dog boots: Protect the dog's pads when traveling on hot or rugged terrain. 
  • Hands-free leash: Hit the trail with your dog safely secured to a belt around your waist. Some models are retractable, allowing the dog more room to roam.
  • Dog backpack: Let the dog carry its own doggy gear – and maybe some of yours, too. Some models have removable saddlebags to make it easy to pack and unpack items in camp.
  • Packable dog bed: Insulate your dog from the cold, damp earth with a lightweight collapsible dog bed. In the morning, it folds into a compact sleeve that fits in the dog's backpack during trekking time.  

Body care and hygiene products

Time in the great outdoors comes with pests, potential sunburns and the challenge of keeping clean. A dog has the same needs, and these products can help.

  • Sunscreen: Dogs with pink noses or white markings on their noses and ears are most at risk for skin cancer from too much sun. Specially formulated sunscreen for dogs contains doesn't contain PABA, which is poisonous if licked off. It does contain nontoxic ingredients to shield from burns and to promote skin healing. 
  • Pet waste carrier: Picking up dog poop is part of pet ownership, but no one wants to carry a swinging plastic bag of a dog's mess for hours on the trail. Pet waste carriers have a pouch for full bags as well as a pocket for unused bags and treats. 
  • Tick-repelling gear: Tick repellent is a given on any camping trip, but to avoid coating the dog with harmful chemicals, get tick-repelling gear. Look for beds, vests and bandannas for starters. Some repel mosquitoes, too.
  • Portable dog shower: When your dog needs a quick rinse, screw a special travel shower head onto a plastic water bottle for an on-the-spot bath. 

Mealtime convenience

Whether you're backpacking or car camping, food and fresh water can be the bulkiest part of a dog's gear. Here are a few items to reduce the bulk.

  • Collapsible bowl: Waterproof bowls fold flat to stow easily in a backpack or car trunk.
  • Portable dog food carrier: Patterned after dry bags, portable dog food carriers roll down to take up less space as food gets used. Some come with pour spouts at the bottom to make it easy to fill the bowl at mealtime.
  • Dog water bottle: Keep water cool and fresh for your pooch with an insulated water bottle. The removable top doubles as a handheld drinking bowl.
  • Hydration pack: Water is the heaviest part of camping supplies. Let your dog bring its own supply with a dog hydration pack. The removable, collapsible water bottles make it easy to pour water in the dog's bowl or your cup.

About the Author

Indulging her passion for vacation vagary through the written word on a full-time basis since 2010, travel funster Jodi Thornton-O'Connell guides readers to the unexpected, quirky, and awe-inspiring.