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Home » All About Dogs » Camping with Dogs » The Best Dog Camping Gear Items that We Can’t Live without [2020]
Before you head out on your next camping trip with your pup, check to make sure you include the essential dog camping gear we can't live without.

The Best Dog Camping Gear Items that We Can’t Live without [2020]

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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.

Event the dogs have their own bin filled with camping items.

The list below includes our must have dog camping gear. These are the must have camping gear for dogs that we brought with us to Spain, with limited baggage.

If this is your first time camping with your dog, this list will help you understand the best camping accessories you need to get started.

Zuke's treats are a popular choice in our house!

Dog Treats

Zuke's Mini Naturals one of our favorite dog camping gear items because they're small and great for snacks in between meals

This is one item our dogs would never let us leave without! We stuffed our bike boxes, corners, and carry on bags with as many treats as we could.

I am always training with my dogs, so treats are one of my most important pieces of dog camping necessities. The best backpacking treats are small, high value morsels, like Zuke’s Mini Naturals.

They’re low calorie and great for practicing doggy etiquette on the trails or training place while you’re trying to set up the tent or cook at camp.

I love that Zuke’s treats are made without corn, wheat, or soy and contain whole foods like berries and turmeric. The Minis come in a variety of flavors like oat and peanut butter, salmon, and rabbit.

See current prices on Amazon.

Dog Treat Pouch

You need something to carry all those treats in, don’t you?


Dog camping gear. Sora sleeping with her leash.

Hands-Free Dog Leash

The Ruffwear Slackline Leash is a favorite hands-free dog leash for camping

A hands free leash is my #1 must have camping item. I can attach it around my waist while I’m setting up the tent or cooking, secure it to a table to keep my dog nearby, and I can attach it to my pack when we hike.

I have a few favorites that I use on rotation. I’ve mentioned before how much I love the Ruffwear Slackline (also called the Crag Dog) leash several times on this blog, including in my review. It is my favorite multi-purpose leash.

It’s super strong, has a reflective trim, can adjust to about any size you like, and my favorite feature is the talon claw.

The talon claw 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. The Flat Out Leash, also by Ruffwear is almost identical, but does not come with the adjustment pull. I love it almost as much.

The Kurgo Quantum Leash is another great hands-free dog leash for camping

Another favorite hands-free leash is the Quantum Leash from Kurgo. This handy leash converts to a variety of different sizes with a simple clip to one of the loops on the leash.

I also have a detailed review for this leash on the blog.

See current prices for the Slackline Leash on and the Quantum Leash on Amazon

Dog camping gear. Full camp setup in Washington.

Dog Camping Bed

We have a slight problem with dog beds, in that we have several and we love them all for different purposes.

The key to picking a good dog bed for your camping gear collection is to find one that is:

  • Water resistant
  • Rolls into a compact size
  • Easy to clean
  • Lightweight

Since I can’t pick just one, I wrote an entire post dedicated to the best dog camping beds.

A few favorites include:

Ruffwear’s Highlands Bed

The Ruffwear Highlands dog camping bed is a great lightweight pick for summer camping trips

The Highlands Bed weighs practically nothing and rolls up into a compact sack, just like a sleeping bag, only it’s about the size of a camping pad. The insignificant weight makes it easy for most dogs to carry on their own by attaching to their backpack.

It’s probably best for warmer months or for dogs with thicker coats, as it’s thin, but the portability makes it an excellent option when camping with dogs.

See current prices for the Ruffwear Highlands Bed on Amazon.

Ruffwear Mt. Bachelor Pad

Ruffwear's Mt. Bachelor Pad is a great option for a dog camping bed.

For something a bit thicker from Ruffwear, the Mt. Bachelor Pad is a great choice for your furry friend.

It rolls up into a compact size and the microsuede surface is easy to clean and soft. I can easily attach it to my bag or a larger dog’s backpack with the Velcro straps for easy carrying.

The base is waterproof and keeps water from seeping through to the bed layer.

See current prices for the Ruffwear Bachelor Pad bed on Amazon and REI.

Whyld River Doggy Bag

Designed after a mishap on the trail when her dog experienced extreme cold, founder Rachel Bauman of Whyld River created the Doggy Bag so her pup, River would never be uncomfortable again. The Doggy Bag is one of our favorite dog gear items, period.

The thoughtfully-designed bed acts includes a number of innovative features, such as plastic snaps that make the bag convert from travel bed to sleeping bag, DWR treatment to keep your pup dry and warm, a draft sleeve liner on the inside to keep out the cold, and reflective logos for easy location at night.

If you’re still not convinced, Rachel donates one bag for every 10 sold to charity.

See current prices at whyld-river.com.

Kurgo Wander Loft Travel Bed

The Kurgo Wander Loft Dog Bed is a favorite for camping with dogs

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 if your camp spot is wet. Additionally, it comes with a stash pocket to keep a few essential items in easy reach.

To see more about what we think of this bed, check out our review.

See current prices for the Kurgo Wander Loft Travel Bed on Amazon.

Rex Specs Dog Goggles

A pair of Rex Specs dog goggles will protect your dog's eyes

Like humans, dogs need eye protection too, to prevent against sunburn or diseases, such as Pannus.

If you plan to camp in high altitude, at the beach, in the desert, or lake time or about anywhere else where there is a lot of bright sun, consider getting your pup a pair of Rex Specs dog goggles

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.

Check current prices for Rex Specs on Amazon or REI.

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 was a shedding machine and we couldn’t keep up with the vacuuming as we needed.

Finally, we just went ahead and ordered one 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 our dog camping gear collection, especially when car camping with dogs.

Both Ruffwear and Kurgo make a variety of car seat covers, with Kurgo offering a huge variety of seat covers, including hammocks, bench seat covers, booster seats for small dogs, and trunk liners.

Compare the Ruffwear Dirtbag Car Seat Cover on Amazon and REI.

Buy the Kurgo Bench Seat Cover on Amazon.

Dog camping gear. Dexas collapsible bowl.

Collapsible Dog Bowl and Water Bottle

Whether we’re running, traveling, flying, in the car, or out to eat, I always have a collapsible bowl with me. Our favorites are the Dexas collapsible travel cup and the Collapsible Travel Feeder (see why in my review here).

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.

As far as water bottles, we either bring an insulated water bottle or a bladder that fits in a dog backpack. If we’re car camping, insulated is the way to go and we love both Klean Kanteen and Hydro Flask water bottles.

They keep the water cool in hot conditions and are super durable. If we’re backpacking, then a collapsible water bottle like this one from REI is the way to go. HydraPak makes collapsible water bottles in a variety of sizes to suit your dog’s carrying capabilities.

The food water situation is always going to be front and center with hungry and thirsty trail dogs. Make sure you’re prepared!

Dog camping gear muck collar.

Waterproof Dog Collar

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 comes in a variety of cute patterns and 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.

Don’t forget to include an id tag on your dog! You never know when they’re going to survey other campsites for left over yummies. Yes, we know this from first hand experience.

Buy a Kurgo Muck Collar on Amazon.

Treat Dispensing Toy

Sometimes when we’re cooking or setting up the tent, we need a babysitter for a short period of time. Enter the Gnawt-a-Rock by Ruffwear. This is a multi purpose treat dispensing toy that is perfect keeping your pup busy when you need a moment.

This fun toy holds plenty of dog food or treats and bounces around in an erratic manner, making it fun toy that dogs love. In fact, Ruffwear makes a whole series of fun, durable toys for adventure dogs.

Compare prices of Treat Dispensing Toys on Amazon and REI.

Cooling Vest

For hot weather camping trips, a cooling vest will be an essential item to keep your dog comfortable. I kinda wish they made them for humans. A cooling vest is simply a light-colored vest you get wet, squeeze out, and put on your dog to keep them cool.

Since dogs can’t sweat, this is one way help them prevent overheating during the summer heat. We’ve used both the ones from Kurgo and Ruffwear and are happy with each product.

Compare prices for the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler on Amazon and REI.

Get the Kurgo Core Cooling Vest on Amazon.

Want to Read More about Dog Camping Gear?


These tested and well-loved items are the best dog camping gear essentials to bring along on your next camping trip with your furry friend.
Jen Sotolongo

Hello! I'm Jen. I'm a writer, photographer, dog mom, and outdoor enthusiast. When I'm not writing about awesome ways to get outside with your dog, I'm probably out for a long trail run. I also fancy myself a pretty decent vegan cook, and am always happy to whip up a batch of cookies for friends. I am based in the Pacific Northwest and I never leave home without my dogs.

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