How To Go Camping With Your Dog (with Loki's packing list)
Do you bring your dog camping? Are you looking for advice to bring your dog camping for the first time? It is no secret that dogs love the great outdoors, but it is also important to keep them comfortable and happy for extended outdoor experiences. This post is brought to you by special guest, Loki the Wolfdog (@loki), with a little writing help from his dad.
Taking Loki camping is such a large part of our life that sometimes it feels weird to be at home under an actual roof. Being in the great outdoors with him as much as possible is my number one goal. We get a lot of questions about how we camp and we are about to drop a ton of knowledge on y’all.
What food to pack for your dog when camping?
Let’s start with food. Because we all need it to live and stuff. Loki eats fairly casually, as he’s never been a food driven pup. Usually when we are packing up to go camping, the excitement is at a level 11 so food isn’t on his mind as he passes by his full bowl. Insert the next 8 hours of searching for the perfect camp spot and racing around with his big bro, Bailey, and the two are ravenous for their kibble. We travel with a roll-top food bag and bring about 20 -100 cups – just in case we decide to never go back to civilization.
Picking the perfect camp spot for your dog (and you)
Moving on to where we sleep. So there are four of us; humans: (me) Kelly and Ally, and fuzzbutts: Loki and Bailey. While we really aren’t the polished hotel type, we have been known to crack and spend a night here or there in a hotel. Complete with two King beds, one for the dogs naturally. Our preferred way to sleep on the road and camping is in our rooftop tent. We keep a giant double sleeping bag and two pillows hidden inside, so when we find our spot to camp, the tent goes up in about 2 minutes. Since the tent is so high off the ground and there really isn’t room for two giant stinky hounds, the boys sleep on a GooseGear platform in the back of the truck. We don’t have back seats, so the platform gives them plenty of room to snuggle. We keep wool blankets spread out for their comfort and they stay pretty warm, even on the coldest nights.
What to do when your dog encounters wild animals
While out in the wilderness, we do meet some wildlife, because I am pretty sure that’s where they live…
Loki is definitely interested in making friends with other creatures. And together the boys can get a little rowdy and start not-so-friendly games of tag with smaller wildlings. It is so important that if you are in an area where off-leash is permitted, that you are able to control your dog with voice commands. It is something I am very aware of with Loki and take very seriously. For his safety and the safety of other animals, all pups should be obedient off-leash. Or no jerky treats!
How to pick a camping dog-friendly camping destination
Where we camp is the fun part. Now I am not going to give away our SUPER SECRET CLASSIFIED CAMPING LOCATIONS but I will give you some tips. We don’t go to National Parks typically because doggos are not allowed. Loki takes this personally and it’s sort of a sore subject, so don’t bring it up to him. Some places we frequent a lot are wilderness areas, BLM land, and national and state forests. Out there we are free to roam and camp in some pretty amazing places. It takes a lot of driving and a can-do spirit to get lost….err I mean, find….slowly over hours of driving and countless turn-arounds… the best camp spots. We do a lot of late nights setting up in the dark while the boys run around with their light collars, but it is so worth it when the sun rises on our campsite.
Let your dog carry their share of the load
More than anything, dogs love to help and please their human owners. Mountainsmith, a Colorado-based outdoor brand, has been making dog packs for over 30 years and has a solution for medium to large breeds. The K9 Dog Pack comes in 3 sizes to fit your dog and allows them to carry a load comfortably and ergonomically.
What to bring camping for your dog
Lastly let’s talk packing list details. Here’s what you’ll need to camp with Loki or your own furry friends:
- Dog towels – because happiness requires at least 4 mud puddles to sprint through.
- Dog brushes – their fur helps birds make nests!
- Treats – we never go camping without pig ears and jerky bites
- A camera…or 2.
- Baby wipes
- More pairs of socks than days you are gone
- A couple of back-up leashes
- Bagels – because they are good for any meal
- Camp lights – we love Hozukis from Snow Peak
- Extra blankets because….well, see *Dog towels*
- A sense of adventure
- A love for not having cell-service
- And we are still figuring out how to bring pizza with us, so stay tuned.