Sep 01, 2023
The Gear You Need to Make Camping With Your Dog a Lot Easier
I started camping as a way to travel during COVID, and almost immediately, my dog, Clementine the Doberman, fell in love with it. We found private campsites she could run endlessly around; we drove up
I started camping as a way to travel during COVID, and almost immediately, my dog, Clementine the Doberman, fell in love with it. We found private campsites she could run endlessly around; we drove up and down the west coast, and camped at the beach. She loved new spaces to explore, creeks to lie in, and chasing deer. And because I love my dog, I grew to love camping, too.
The thing about camping I’ve found is that even though it is technically about being somewhere with “less,” you are constantly acquiring new camping gear. The items that really made camping better for us were the ones that made camping better for my dog.
In most places, Clementine couldn’t be off leash. We were sometimes in close camping quarters with others and/or at national parks. You also can’t usually tie anything to a tree, so a flexible dog trolley was essential. If you have a dog, you know the Ruffwear brand already; it’s no surprise that they make a great dog hitch system.
The tie-out system it uses means you can attach it to any fixed spots, so I would often use a picnic table leg and my car roof rack. It was versatile enough to go around almost any circumference, from a telephone pole to a simple t-stake. The trolley itself was smooth, and I would just attach it to the back of Clementine’s harness. I could shorten the length of the trolley based on how high up the line was, so it wasn’t draping on the ground. And it easily packs into its pouch when you’re done with it. Most importantly, I always felt that Clementine was safely secured.
It turns out that my dog mostly loved to lie in the sunshine, staring out into the unknown. She especially liked to do so from my camping chair, so I got her one of her own. This simple to set up elevated bed is basically a metal tripod with a weatherproof bed that slips over it. It was perfect for a dog of Clem’s size, and it kept her off the ground and out of the dirt.
The construction on it was great, and I loved that it folded down easily into a bag.
Black dog owners, unite. In my fenced backyard, the location of my canine was never an issue. In the pitch-black wilderness, I needed to know where she was, and this light-up collar did a great job. I could easily hit a button to activate it at night and deactivate it when we went to sleep.
You cut it to size, and it comes in any color you want. What I like is that you can choose whether to get it with usb charging or replaceable batteries. While I’d usually choose usb, when you’re out camping and have unreliable power, batteries made the most sense to me.
The world does not want for more dog clothes, but I thought it was worth noting that the best piece of clothing I ever found was a tight body suit made by Kurgo. It kept my dog warmer than anything else I’d found (and I have bought a lot of dog clothes). It comes in all sizes and was lightweight but really effective at keeping in body warmth. If you’re worried about how your dog will look to the other canines—don’t worry, it’s sporty.
If you have a dog, you should have a first aid kit that includes supplies for your canine. I wouldn’t buy a pet first aid kit—I’ve never found one with the things you would really need. Instead, make sure you have a few rolls of gauze and waterproof wrap, Neosporin, saline spray, tweezers, nail clippers, a tick comb, and some strong plastic bags and duct tape. The plastic bags and tape can act as a rain boot over a cut and wrapped foot.
I was concerned with what would happen if we got stuck someplace and Clementine couldn’t get out. That’s how I found the Airlift, an easy-to-stow sling you can store in your backpack. If ever needed, it helps you get your animal out of trouble. For $100, I figured it was like the snow chains I have never unpacked—insurance.