campingSo many overnight adventures—backpacking, tent camping, RV camping, overnight river trips—so little time!

The long days and warmer nights make for a great camping or backpacking adventure with your dog.  But if you’ve never tried it before, don’t fret; a few tips can make your overnight adventures with your dog a fun, safe, and enjoyable experience for two-leggers and four-leggers!

Before you go

1.    Check applicable leash laws and make sure dogs are allowed where you are planning your adventure.

2.    Condition your dog for the activities you’re planning.  Physical conditioning as well as conditioning for the use of gear, is essential.  Just like humans need to condition their body and their boots for a long hike, a dog will need to do the same.

Also, remember that an oversized or overloaded dog pack can lead to exhaustion and overheating. A pack should carry no more than 25-30% of your dog’s weight, depending on the health and fitness level of your dog. Start by conditioning your dog with small, light loads and gradually work your dog’s way up to heavier loads.

3.    Be prepared for an emergency by making sure your dog’s shots and identification are up to date.  Identification is essential in case your canine wanders into unknown territory.

While on your adventure:

1.    Don’t forget dog owner etiquette. Remember to always pick up after your dog, even in the wilderness.

2.    Prevent your dog from becoming a nuisance by restraining highly-strung or easily distracted dogs from other animals and people. Be sure you have the strength and capability to control your dog at all times. The Ruff Wear Flat Out™, Roamer™ and DoubleBack™ leashes have great waist-worn options that allow control while leaving your hands free.

3.    Be wary of parasites by arming your dog with flea, tick, and mosquito protection.  These parasites can cause illness and discomfort.

4.    Check regularly for hurt paws and pads from sharp rocks, uneven terrain, torn pads, or embedded plant life (such as stinging nettles, foxtails, and crabgrass).

What tips do you have for making overnight adventures with your dog more enjoyable?  Please feel free to share tips and advice with the community!

7 thoughts

  1. I love camping with my dog! She has so much fun and she makes the BEST sleeping bag buddy. She’ll curl up right next to me, I throw the sleeping bag over us both like a big blanket and I sleep warmer then I ever have without her!

    AND she is learning to carry her own pack now too! We started with a cheap one I picked up at a thrift store to see what she thought and today we headed to the gear store and bought her the approach pack! Too bad we have to wait a whole week to go hiking again!

  2. My dog loves the tent. He gets so excited every time he sees it. The first time we camped he just slept on an old pillow, but since then I cut up an old foam bedroll, some old jeans, and an old fleece blanket and made a removable washable cover for the bedroll, and waterproofed the bottom. I also keep it in his kennel and he loves it. If it’s not in there he’s very uncomfortable in the kennel. But he still prefers my sleeping bag.

  3. We have back packed with our dog several times and he loves it. He carries his lighter things in a backpack and sleeps in the tent with us. He is usually so exhausted that he will go to bed first. We found a dog sleeping bag on the internet which is very small and light weight. We open it up and he crawls right in, and usually does not move all night. It gives him somewhere to call his own and has never bothered us during the night. We have found some dog products ie mosquito and bug spray but for the most part we keep him in a sun shower jacket or in the water swimming.

    1. Ruff Wear is releasing our Highlands™ Bed this April. It’s a backpacking dog bed/sleeping bag that stuffs down into a 12″ x 5″ stuff sack. We are excited about this product introduction, which was inspired by our own customers!

  4. When we are car camping, Badger sleeps in the car. The back seat is really quite comfortable for him. Plus, no animals or noises to distract him and we all sleep better.

    Backpacking is another story. We usually leave him out to wander around, unless there are big mammals howling nearby. The temptation to lick our faces is too great when he is in the tent, so out he goes. Generally after a long approach, he is too tired to go too far.

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