Camping with dogs: how to do it

Snuggling up next to your dog in a tent on a cloudless night at a beautiful location sounds pretty awesome, right? It is. Though you’ll probably also have some nights where bugs bother both of you, dirty paws mess up you sleeping bag and your dog simply can’t chill down. After more than 10 years of hiking and camping with dogs I figured I’d share how to do it.

What to consider when camping with dogs

There are a few things you should consider before heading out for a camping trip with your dog. With some extra prep and a few additional supplies you’ll be good to go. I put a checklist of what to pack when camping with dogs at the bottom of the page.

1. Choose the right a tent and equipment for camping with dogs

A tent that provides enough space for you and the dogs will make everything more comfortable and less stressful. I have the Jack Wolfskin Exolight III with double doors which gives a lot of flexibility. With both open I get the views and the extra ventilation (there is mosqito net ofc). The Exolight III has a pole configuration that connect in one central spot so it is easy to pitch and you can actually lift it up and move it if you want to change the spot. In the archipelago or rocky terrain a dome tent like this is really nice and there are sturdy guy lines to fasten if it gets windy.

I also have a Hilleberg Nammatj GT which is perfect during winter when I have more gear and I want to be able to dig the tent down in the snow. This tent has a large porch/vestibule which can be dug out. The Nammatj tent is heavier to carry though and you need to use the guy lines to keep it up but is is extremely durable and I have had mine for over 10 years.

There are also sleeping bags for dogs which you should look into especially if your dog does not have that much fur/or if you are camping during winter time. Insulation against the cold in the ground is also necessary so bring a sleeping pad for your dog.

2. Practise at home or in a nearby forest first

Before adding additional stress and struggles, practise camping with your dog close to home. If something goes wrong you can easily go home/go get what was missing etc. Since you will probably be less nervous that creates a relaxed environment for your dog as well,

Jack Wolfskin Exologht III camoing with german shepherd dog
Practising at home, and then leaving for a place like this. Camping with dogs is truly awesome.

3. Are dogs allowed at the campsite or trail ahead? Look it up.

In Sweden we are pretty lucky as we have a law called Allemänsrätten that gives us the right to wander in most places in nature. However, you have to keep your dog under control and close by and that basically means keeping it on a leash. Research in advance if dogs are allowed on the campsite or trail ahead. Public beaches in Sweden usually do not allow dogs for example but you can bring them into national parks/mountain areas on a leash. Look up the regulations for the place your are going to visit.

Hiking with dog in Tänndalen

4. Bring enough food and water for your dog

Salt water and still standing water in puddles can be dangerous for dogs. Make sure you bring enough fresh water for your dog as well. If you are hiking a lot, the water consumption will be high for both of you! Dogs can also be dehydrated so consider buying some supplements. Bring the kind of food your dog are used to eating. A bad stomach is not fun to deal with in the wild. Bring a dedicated dog water bottle and a collapsible/lightweight food and water bowl.

Hiking and backpacking with German Shepherd in Tänndalen Sweden
In the Swedish mountains there are plenty of fresh water streams and I also have a mug on my backpack for Flexie.

5. Pack a brush and a towel

If it is ”leaving half the fur everywhere”-season, I try to pack a comb so that I give Flexie a quick brushing before we go into the tent. Probably useful for some types of dogs all year around. A light, fast drying towel also helps to keep the mud out of the tent.

6. Bring dog first aid supplies

Upgrade your own first aid kit with some additional pet first aid products. Tick removers and iodine for cleaning wounds is handy. Toddler socks or boots is good if you need to protect a bandaged paw and so on.

First aid kit
First aid kit, bandages and emergency candy in case I get cranky…

Checklist and packlist for camping with dogs

  1. ID-chip: check that your dog has one
  2. Collar
  3. Leash
  4. Harness
  5. Long line/durable long leash
  6. Poop bags or a shovel
  7. Food
  8. Water
  9. Snack
  10. Sleeping mat
  11. First Aid kit
  12. Mosquito repellent
  13. Bowl (light weight or collapsible)
  14. Brush
  15. Quick drying towel
  16. Coat or protective clothing if your dog needs it
  17. Sleeping bag if your dog need it
  18. Dog booties (protects paw when hiking or to use in case of paw injury)

Did I miss something or do you have questions? Leave a comment <3

German shepherd with life vest in Stockholm Archipelago
Enjoying the views before going to sleep in our tent <3

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