Hitting the road with a dog has some great advantages. You’ll have a built-in hiking buddy, be smothered in kisses when you wake up each morning, and meet tons of new people when walking your pup. And like we humans have, there’s all sorts of great camping gear for dogs out there. Your dog may even have their own dedicated cabinet on the RV for all of their gear!
If you take your dog along on camping trips or weekend getaways, there are some indispensable items that will make your pet more comfortable and the journey a lot more enjoyable for you both. Here’s how to treat your pup to a glamping experience and keep them safe while out in the wild.
Must-Have Camping Gear for Dogs
Here are some of our must-have dog items. They are both human and Sully approved!
1. Soft-Sided Dog Crate
To keep your pet safe while you travel, be sure to consider ways to restrict them while your truck or motorhome is in motion. One of the best ways is a soft-sided crate. There are many great options out there for every size dog. For example, the model featured below has a fleece bed in the bottom. It is also well ventilated, with zippered openings on the top and side. While open, the crate even has handles so you can transport your dog while in it.
The best feature is its ability to fold up for storage once you arrive at your destination. Hard crates can’t do this. The interior is supported by spring-loaded metal rods that break down easily. You can fold it flat and slide it along a wall in the RV bedroom or fold it up further and store it in its accompanying carry bag, which is about the size of an artist’s portfolio case.
If you want to keep the crate out, it also makes a great space for your pet to feel safe if you have to leave them in the RV.
2. Memory Foam Dog Bed
Once you reached your campsite, your dog will need a bed they can call their own, even though they might end up next to you at night. My golden, Sully, is only 5 years old, but I have had several dogs that lived to be 13, 15, and 17 years old. By that age, their backs probably feel like ours do at ages 91, 105, and 119 in dog years! So I have a memory foam bed with a removable cover to give him support now and as he ages.
Remember the denser the foam, the more comfortable for the dog and the longer lasting the bed. The foam in this bed is also infused with gel, making it cooler for Sully. And a removable, washable cover is a definite requirement to keep everything clean.
3. Elevated Dog Bed
Smaller dogs seem to enjoy the elevated beds. It gives them the support they need, without lying directly on a hard floor. There are indoor and outdoor versions available.
4. Great Dog Bowls
There are so many options for dog dishes. If you’re like me, you select one that has a special meaning for you and your dog. Long ago I found a series of ceramic dog bowls made by a Mexican artist named Mara and decorated with whimsical dogs. Now I have one in every size and color.
Sully and I like to hike, but I am a bit of a klutz, so there is no way I am lugging his ceramic dog bowl up the trail. My solution: a wonderful, collapsible dog bowl by RuffWear that not only holds his dog food but has a drawstring to store the food while we are en-route.
5. A Backpack for Your Dog
Of course, Sully has learned he has to pull his own weight on our outings. To do that, he has a great dog backpack, also made by RuffWear. I have found their products to be very well made, with attention to detail. For instance, these backpacks are lightweight, with five adjustable straps to keep my dog comfortable. They also have two leash points for attachment when I need to hook Sully up in parks. And I love the padded handle, allowing me to help my buddy over rough terrain.
6. Clothes for the Winter
Sully won’t let me dress him up, but if he did, I am sure he’d go for this fleece-lined winter coat that has an LED light built-in. The coat comes in three colors and sizes from extra small to extra large. There is a zipper at the neckline to attach a leash to your dog’s existing collar, too. It’s waterproof, has reflective piping, and comes with a lifetime warranty.
7. Cooling Pad for Hot Weather
Any dog worth their weight in fur may require a cooling pad at some point. Sully and I like to hike, and on a hot summer day a long drink of water may not cool him down enough when we get back to the RV. For that reason alone, I love this gel cooling pad. I don’t even have to put it in the freezer beforehand, as the non-toxic gel will absorb heat and cool the dog down. The gel is pressure-activated and will recharge itself after 30 minutes of non-use. I have several friends with older dogs who use their cooling pads to alleviate joint and muscle pain in their senior buddies, as well.
8. Car Hammock
My most prized pieces of camping gear for dogs is a hammock for the back seat of my car. It helps me keep all the dog hair, dirty paw prints, and water in one place and not on my upholstery. This Good2Go quilted seat cover is the best I’ve used for a variety of reasons:
- It’s very easy to put on and take off, just slipping right over the headrests with adjustable straps.
- It’s comfortable for my dog.
- The hammock protects the interior of my car.
- The backing is water-resistant. That’s a biggie for us, as I have a “water dog” who loves to swim. The other covers I’ve tried that advertised water-resistant qualities had backing that peeled and cracked all over my back seat, making more of a mess than the dog did.
- Another side benefit of using a hammock seat cover is that it keeps the dog in the backseat by blocking the opening between the front bucket seats.
- This particular cover is long-lasting. I have had the current one for more than 3 years. (I was replacing the other models every 3 or 4 months!)
- They come with a built-in pocket for things like ‘doggy bags’ and small toys, but I wouldn’t put dog treats in it.
9. Dog Umbrella
When camping with your dog, weather always plays a big part in the activities you can enjoy together. But all dogs eventually need to go outside to do their duty. A walk in the rain may be enjoyable for you — after all, your raincoat or umbrella can keep you relatively dry. But what about your furry companion? Keep him covered with a dog umbrella.
This is the only model that has several thoughtful design elements. The shaft is bent so that the umbrella actually covers your dog. Others are held over the canine at an angle, only protecting a small portion of the animal if they walk in front of you. The shaft’s design is also adjustable for differing human heights, and the handle is ergonomic. There is a short leash attachment to clip onto Fido’s collar, and one last little bit of thoughtfulness is a hook for dog baggies near the handle.
What fashion-conscious pet wouldn’t love a pair of doggles to accentuate their wardrobe? I’ll be honest, Sully uses his for photo opportunities when he’s not wearing my sunglasses. But I know of several motorcycle riders that have trained their leather and doggle-clad pooches to ride on their bikes. They are also great for dogs who like to hang their heads out of car windows, protecting their eyes from kamikaze insects or flying pebbles and sand. And at the very least, they make a statement!
If your dog frequently joins you on camping excursions, ensure they’re a happy camper and keep them comfortable and safe with some gear of their own.
Pack Up Your Pooch and Go
If you’re just getting into the RV lifestyle and don’t know where to start, try renting an RV or travel trailer from Outdoorsy, read several how-to articles on their Never Idle Journal, and take your tail-wagging sidekick on an adventure.
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