Best Dog Camping Gear: 12 Essentials for Camping With Dogs

By: Alyssa SparacinoPublished:

dog camping gear
Sara Paul

Camping with your dog can be a truly memorable experience. “There's just something magical that happens on those overnight trips” with your dog, says Maria Christina Schultz, certified canine fitness trainer and owner of Maria Christina K9 Training, who does everything from RV camping to backpacking with her Australian Shepherds Bodie and Willow. “It’s just a lovely way to bond and a fuller [camping] experience.”

And having the necessary outdoor gear can make all the difference, says Madi Clark, a photographer and adventurer documenting her outdoor activities with her 6-year-old Australian Shepherd Ember via @embark.with.ember. So, whether this will be your first time camping with your dog or sleeping under the stars together is one of your favorite pastimes, our comprehensive guide to the best dog camping gear will set you up well.

How to Find the Best Dog Camping Gear

Some important factors to consider before heading out include:

  • Length of the trip: First, think about how long you’ll be out there, says Clark. This will help determine how much food you’ll need and what other supplies to bring with you.
  • Climate: Check the weather when packing camping gear for your dog, she adds. “The time of year and location determines if I’m bringing a cooling vest or a waterproof winter dog jacket,” Clark says.
  • Type of camping: Are you car camping in a truck or RV or backpacking, which means you’ll be hiking to your location and setting up a campsite? “For car camping, you’ll have more flexibility to pack larger items like a dog bed or crate, while backpacking requires lightweight and compact gear,” says Clark.
  • Park rules: Not only do you want to confirm the campsite is a dog-friendly environment, but you’ll also want to know if or how dogs are expected to be contained or monitored, says Schultz.

Best Dog Camping Gear and Accessories

We’ve rounded up the best dog camping gear as tested and approved by Chewy customers. These 12 top-selling, top-rated camping essentials for dogs get two paws up from dog parents like you.

What Do I Need to Go Camping With a Dog?

Much of the gear you’ll want to bring when camping with your dog falls into a handful of key categories.


Where your dog sleeps while camping is really up to preference. Some dogs may be fine outside, while others want to curl up in the car or tent next to you. “I bring a foldable sleeping pad for my dog to help them understand this is your place to sleep,” says Schultz, admitting her pups still often end up nuzzled into her sleeping bag. A soft dog bed with extra blankets can further insulate your pup from the cold, hard ground, says Clark. Bedding that’s made with durable, wipeable material will come in handy since your dog is going to get dirty.

Food and Food Containers

Portion your pup’s food for however long you plan to be out camping—with a little extra since they’ll likely be more active than typical, says Schultz. Airtight containers, or even bear-proof lids, for storing pet (and human!) food are a safe bet when camping in backcountry areas known for wildlife, adds Clark.

Collapsible dog bowls are a great space-saving item to pack on camping trips, says Schultz. They “can be stored in your backpack or attached to your dog’s gear for easy access during hikes or outdoor activities,” says Clark. She recommends looking for bowls made from durable, water-resistant materials that are easy to clean and disinfect.

Leashes, Crates and Fences

Be mindful of the campground rules and potential hazards like steep drop-offs or wildlife while camping with your dog. Pet containment items like dog crates and playpens, as well as dog leashes and tethers, will help keep your dog safe. “I personally love our crate for traveling—it’s Ember’s safe space,” says Clark. “A long line leash is my number No. 1 camping item and comes in handy in many situations, but it’s mainly there to give Ember enough space to walk around while I set up camp.”

First Aid Supplies

Snag a dog first aid kit to go alongside your own before heading out. Make sure to pack Benadryl and vet tape if the kit doesn’t already include these in case of allergic reactions or wound care, recommends Schultz. Your dog’s paw pads are susceptible to more injuries when outside, so be sure to have an antiseptic on hand, too. (Dog boots can also help protect their paws.)

Busy Toys

If you’re hiking, swimming or out and about all day in the sun, your pup might not need anything more than a long nap, but bringing a few items like dog toys, bones and puzzles to keep them occupied is never a bad idea, says Clark. “It’s a great way to prevent boredom during downtime at the campsite,” she says. “A good tug toy that I don’t have to throw is good since where we camp might have sudden cliff sides, other campers or areas where I don’t want [Ember] wandering off.” Get 20 boredom-busting ideas to keep your dog busy.

Tips for Camping with Dogs

Know their limits. Before anything else, think about whether your dog will actually enjoy camping, says Clark. Consider, “their fitness level, temperament, and preferences when planning outdoor activities and avoid forcing them into situations,” she says. “Pushing a dog beyond their physical or emotional limits is not the way to camp.”

  • Find the closest ER vet. Your dog’s safety should be a top priority. Hoping for the best but planning for the worst can give you peace of mind. Knowing the location of the nearest emergency vet will ensure you can take immediate action if something urgent happens, says Clark.
  • Bring extras. If room allows, toss a few more things in your bag like a longer leash, extra food, another blanket or dog sleeping bag for added comfort and insulation, or a dog coat or doggy raincoat in case of poor weather.
  • Double-check the rules. Verify whether the park or trail you’re planning to visit is truly dog-friendly, says Schultz. Is your dog only allowed in certain parts of the campground? Can you leave them unattended if you need to use the restroom or take a shower?

Want even more insight? This guide will help you determine if your pup is ready for a camping trip, how to choose a location, and even campground etiquette.

How We Chose These Products

Camping with your dog is all about spending quality time together out in nature—not stressing about whether you have the right gear. That’s why we spoke with the experts to find out what type of dog camping gear you need, and then dug through Chewy’s best-selling products to bring you only those that have a minimum rating of 4 stars from customers. This way you can be sure you’re getting camping gear that is pet-tested and pet-parent-approved.

Camping with Dogs FAQ

Q: Where should my dogs sleep on a camping trip?

A: Most pups will want to sleep where you are—whether that’s under the stars or in a tent. In a tent together, your dog should be fine to roam freely. If sleeping outdoors, keeping them tethered (to a tree or stake, for example) is good practice, and offer them a durable sleeping pad for comfort. Crates work well in any location, too, but it just comes down to your dog’s comfort and stress level.

Q: How do I store my dog’s food while camping?

A: Keep your dog’s food in a resealable bag or container. Something air-tight or odor-proof can help limit the risk of wildlife becoming interested. Remember to bring a little more than you think you’ll need, especially if you’re planning to hike to your campsite.

Q: What do you do with dog poop while camping?

A: Bring plenty of poop bags. You should pick up your dog’s waste and either throw it away in a designated garbage can, if there is one, or take it out of the park or trail with you, according to Leaving it—even if it’s buried under some debris—risks contaminating running water or spreading disease to other wildlife.

Q: How do I control my dog while camping?

A: You should feel confident in your dog’s recall training when camping, says Schultz. This will be essential if there is a safety concern nearby or if the area has certain restrictions on unleashed dogs. Plus, “basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and place are game changers,” says Clark. Regardless, you’ll want to have some containment gear on hand, including long leashes, tie-outs, crates or pens. A good mix, if your packing space will allow for it, is best to give them freedom and you flexibility.

Q: How do I keep my dog clean while camping?

A: Dogs are going to get dirty while camping—that comes with the territory. Still, you don’t want a wet or muddy dog lying next to you in a sleeping bag, so doggy wet wipes and a few extra towels will be a lifesaver when camping with your dog.

Camping with Dogs: Next Steps

Ready to hit the road on your next adventure with your pup? Stock up on the right dog camping gear so you and they can safely and comfortably experience the freedom of the great outdoors. And don’t forget to guard your pup against pests. Read more about the best flea and tick prevention here.

Expert input provided by Maria Christina Schultz, CCFT, owner of Maria Christina K9 Training based in central Virginia; and Madi Clark, photographer and adventurer behind @embark.with.ember.