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Taking your pet camping? Don't forget these 12 essentials

What pet camping gear is essential?

Heading out on a weekend camping trip or backpacking trip with family and friends is always an exciting opportunity. However, leaving your pet at home for extended periods isn’t always a viable option, which is why many people decide to bring them along for the journey. 

A well-behaved dog will certainly enjoy spending a few days out in the woods, and depending on their stamina and ability, many will also make great hiking and trekking companions. Still, before you head outdoors with your four-legged friends, there are several important pieces of gear and other accessories you should have on hand to make the camping trip stress-free and relaxing.  

Tips for camping with a pet

Check for local rules and regulations

Not every campground will allow pets, which is especially true if planning a visit to a national park. You can usually find dog-friendly campground options in national forests or on other public land overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. However, private campgrounds and certain state parks will have their own set of rules regarding pets.

Keep them leashed

Once you find a pet-friendly campground, you should also research their specific leash regulations. In general, many campgrounds will require your dog to be leashed while at camp, so be prepared and pack a leash in your backpack or vehicle. 

Don’t leave them alone

Along with leashing requirements, some campgrounds will also prohibit you from leaving your pet unsupervised at camp. This is meant to keep your dog out of danger and protected from adverse weather conditions, as well as keep other campers and pets safe. 

Be sure to clean up 

When nature calls and your pet goes to the bathroom, you’ll need to pick up after it. While it may seem unnecessary when out in the woods, it is not only courteous to other campers but also helps protect fragile environments, which can be disrupted by pet waste. 

Bring extra food and water 

While you’ll likely be eating different food, make sure you also bring enough water for both you and your pet. It is also a smart idea to keep any food in the car or away from camp so your dog won’t be tempted and local wildlife won’t be attracted to your campsite. 

Consider sleeping arrangements

If you’ll be sharing a tent with another person and a dog, you should consider choosing a slightly larger tent to allow for enough room. For example, while a 3-person tent might technically be big enough for two campers and a dog, opting for a 4-person tent will allow you to easily fit a dog bed without feeling cramped. 

Top items for camping with a dog


RUFFWEAR Knot-a-Hitch

This strong hitching system is perfect for camping and other outdoor activities and can easily be set up between two trees, giving your dog plenty of space to roam and play. 

Sold by Amazon and Backcountry 

Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Dog Leash

If you plan on taking your canine companion on any hikes while camping, this hands-free leash attaches at the waist, freeing up your hands to use hiking poles or grab a drink of water as needed. 

Sold by Amazon and Chewy


Kurgo Waterproof Dog Bed

Your pet will appreciate a soft place to lay down after a long day of hiking, swimming or exploring the area. The waterproof Kurgo dog bed rolls up for easy storage and can also be used in your car or RV when traveling. 

Sold by Amazon and Chewy


Coleman Sundome 3-person Tent

For anyone taking a solo trip with their dog or for a pair of campers with a small pet, the Coleman Sundome offers plenty of interior space, weatherproof protection, and a quick and simple setup process so you can spend more time enjoying the outdoors. 

Sold by Amazon 


Bonza Large Collapsible Dog Bowl

Being a collapsible model, this dog bowl won’t take up much space in your pack or vehicle and weighs just over 5 ounces. With its tear-resistant construction and included carabiner, you can clip it wherever it is most convenient. 

Sold by Amazon 

Waste bag

Earth Rated Compostable Dog Waste Bags

While waste bags may not be the most exciting item, they are a necessary accessory. These extra-thick, biodegradable bags are leakproof and help mask any unpleasant odors. 

Sold by Amazon

First aid

Adventure Medical Kits Trail Dog

This first aid kit includes several standard emergency items, such as alcohol wipes, bandages, ointments and more. There is also a specialized tick remover and pet first aid guide to help you treat any injuries or mishaps while away from home. 

Sold by Amazon and Chewy


Kong Wobbler Interactive Dog Toy

In order to keep your dog happy and occupied while you lounge around a campfire or in a hammock, bringing along a toy is a smart solution. This treat-dispensing model is durable enough to stand up to strong chewers, keeping them entertained for long periods. 

Sold by Amazon and Petsmart


Outward Hound Lightweight Dog Backpack

Featuring a lightweight design and breathable straps, this backpack is ideal for dogs just learning to hike and camp, as it won’t put too much stress on their backs or sides. 

Sold by Amazon and Chewy


Wooflinen Microfiber Pet Towel

Packing a microfiber towel for your pet can come in handy on multiple occasions. This highly absorbent towel can help clean and dry your dog after a swim while also serving as a blanket or insulating layer under their bed. 

Sold by Amazon 


Kurgo North Country Dog Coat

For most summer campouts, your dog may not need a fleece-lined coat. However, when camping at high altitudes, in rainy climates or during colder months, this waterproof coat will keep your pet protected from the elements and even features a LED light strip for visibility. 

Sold by Amazon 

Dog boots

QUMY Waterproof Dog Boots

Not all dogs will tolerate wearing dog boots, but they can provide much-needed protection when hiking over rugged terrain, hot blacktop and slippery surfaces. These specific boots are made using an anti-slip sole and waterproof materials.

Sold by Amazon 

LED collar 

Nite Ize SpotLit LED Collar Light

Clipping a light-up accessory to your pet’s collar can help you keep track of them once the sun sets. The Nite Ize collar light allows you to choose between several different colors and sports a long-lasting battery. 

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot


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Matthew Young writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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