We have camped so many nights in our tent, that sometimes it feels more comfortable than our own bed. Our gear is always ready to go at a moment’s notice for any last-minute camping adventures. Even Sora has her own dog camping gear bin filled with the essential gear we need to take her camping.
If you’ve ever moved abroad, then you’re well aware of the process of setting aside about 125 lbs of your most coveted items to carry on your back and pack carefully in a suitcase. In our case, we also had to include Sora’s travel gear in our weight, which reduced the number of personal items we could chose to bring along. We laid out our prized items, packed, weighed, reduced, weighed again. Rinse, lather, repeat.
This exercise forced us to bring the dog camping gear that we can’t live without. Keep in mind, this is not a complete list of everything we bring when we camp. Easily replaceable items like a first aid kit or towels, we left behind to purchase in Spain. Below, we list our nine most essential items for Sora’s comfort and safety when we go on our adventures.
The 9 Dog Camping Gear Items We Can’t Live Without
This is one item Sora would never let us leave without! We stuffed our bike boxes, corners, and carry on bags with as many treats as we could. She is super treat-motivated and we rely on treats to get her to recall if we have her off-leash, to practice [doggy etiquette on the trails], and to take all of the fun photos you see on Instagram.
Our favorite treats are Zuke’s, of course. They come in a variety of flavors and sizes. I love the mini’s for training because they’re low calorie and great to grab a bunch to keep in my pocket or treat pouch for easy access. When I really need to keep her on target, we bring her favorite cords or hip action treats along so I know she’ll come back to me 100% of the time. Plus, they’re made without corn, wheat, or soy and have wholefoods like berries and turmeric in them.
Ruffwear Slackline Leash
I’ve mentioned before how much I love the Ruffwear Slackline leash several times on this blog. It is my favorite do everything leash. I clip it around my waist when we trail run, tie it to trees when I’m setting up camp, attach it to my belt when we’re backpacking, and use it as our everyday leash.
It’s super strong, has a reflective band, can adjust to about any size you like, and my favorite feature is the talon claw. It is by far the best leash attachment device I’ve ever used. I don’t have to fidget with a tiny trigger release when it’s cold or stuck after a trip to the beach.
Thinking about running with your pup? Click here for our detailed guide about how to get started.
Lightweight Backpacking Bed
We love Ruffwear’s Highlands Bed. It weighs practically nothing and rolls up into a compact sack, just like a sleeping bag, only it’s about the size of a air mattress. The insignificant weight makes it easy for most dogs to carry on their own by attaching to their backpack. It also can act as a sleeping bag for your pup, if she tends to get cold at night. It’s not a full use bed as it’s thin, but the portability makes it an excellent option when camping with dogs.
If you spend time in high altitude, the beach, the desert, or just about anywhere else where there is a lot of bright sun, consider getting your pup a pair of Rex Specs. Like humans, dogs need eye protection to, to prevent diseases such as Pannus. Not only will your pup look pretty rad in these goggles, but you’ll be doing them a favor in keeping debris, grasses, and harmful UV rays out of their eyes. Add this item to your dog camping gear collection and as a bonus, people love seeing your dog wearing goggles.
Learn more about why you might want to consider purchasing a pair for your dog, in Why You Need to Think about Sun Protection for Your Dog.
Car Seat Cover
I’m not sure how we ever lived without a car seat cover for so long. Looking back, our old Subaru was embarrassingly always full of dog hair, because Sora just sheds so much and we couldn’t keep up with the vacuuming as we needed (as in daily cleaning with the amount of fur she expels).
Finally, we just went ahead and ordered a Wander Bench Seat Cover from Kurgo and our lives are changed! It’s super easy to quickly clean with a shake out, or toss in the washing machine after a muddy outing. The car is exponentially easier to clean, especially with fabric seats. It’s also easy to bring along if you’ll be renting a car to keep it as clean as possible when you travel. This is a must for us when car camping with dogs.
Collapsible Water Bowl
This is a must have for anyone who takes their dogs with them everywhere. Whether we’re running, traveling, flying, in the car, or out to eat, I always have a collapsible bowl with me. Our favorite are the Dexas collapsible travel cup and the Collapsible Travel Feeder. They come with a carabiner, so I can clip it to my bag and have it at the ready whenever Sora needs a sip. They’re super durable and perfect for any travel and dog camping needs.
Dexas makes a ton of items that make it easy to pack food when traveling with a pet. See how we do it here.
You probably don’t think much about washing your dog’s collar, do you? I know we didn’t. It’s not often something many of us realize, but collars get super dirty from the oils in our dogs’ fur and also from all the play they do in dirty areas. Kurgo’s Muck Collar is not only stylish, but it can be easily cleaned with the swipe of a sponge to look shiny and clean again. Made from waterproof and stink-free materials, none of that mud or dirt will stick to or become absorbed into this collar, allowing your dog all the muddy play she wants. A washable collar is a must for your dog camping gear collection as dog love to roll in yucky things when outside.
Part treat dispenser, part throw toy, the Gnawt-a-Rock by Ruffwear is a multi purpose toy that is perfect for camping with dogs. Whether you need something to distract your pup while you’re setting up the tent or preparing dinner or want to give her some exercise and play time at camp, this toy is durable and made to get dirty. The rubber surface massages the gums and is easy to clean. Let’s face it, when you’re trying to setup at a site camping with dogs, the pups get bored. We’ve loved this toy to keep their brains active.
Kurgo Wander Loft Travel Bed
Soft, fluffy, and packs down to a transportable size. We bring the Kurgo Wander Loft Travel bed camping, on the plane for Sora when we fly, and line her trailer with it for comfort. Heck, we even make her share with us sometimes because it is that cozy.
It’s fairly thick, so adds a nice cushion when camping on harder surfaces. Plus, the bottom is waterproof, which comes in handy when Sora knocks over her water bowl or our camp spot isn’t dry.
To see more about what we think of this bed, check out our review.