Camping
and Dogs
and Camping With Dogs

Alison's Gear

Note on my gear setup — it's designed for two adults (6'0 and 5'1) and two dogs (cumulatively ~40 lbs) to comfortably car camp. You're welcome to use any/all of it! I put some notes about tent rules in the tent card, but since all of this is camping gear it's pretty sturdy.

3-Person Tent

This tent comfortably sleeps two adults and two dogs (one in a crate) so if you wanna put three in here I'm sure it'd be fine. If you only have two people, there's also plenty of room to keep your stuff.

Tent rules

  • No scented things
  • That means food and any kind of perfumed thing (eg: deodorant, soap, scented hand sanitizer, toothpaste, etc.)
  • If you're like...wearing deodorant that's fine but to be abundantly cautious, try to do your thing outside the tent
  • We don't want critters trying to get in now or in future trips
  • No shoes
  • I'm not really worried about this lol not wearing your shoes in a tent tends to come pretty naturally
  • Try not to rip it
  • I put a blanket on the bottom to protect against dog claws
  • This tent is pretty simple to set up — just make sure you stake it down well so it doesn't fly away! When you stake things, do it at like a 45 degree angle and use some kind of heavy thing (like a rock or a full, sturdy water bottle) to pound it in. If you step on the stakes (like I tend do lol) then they might bend 🙃

    One recommended setup strategy is for one person to start setting up the tent while the other person starts to inflate the sleeping pad — it will take a little while lol

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    Here's a video of a similar tent by the same brand getting set up:

    Breaking it down and putting it back is probably more complicated.

    When you're ready to pack up

    Forgot to label the footprint (aka the thing that goes underneath the tent) but it should also be a big rectangle. You just have to try to make the fly a rectangle as best as possible.

    Once you have a tent burrito, shove it into the bag. It may not quite seem to fit — just shove all of the parts that stick in down and cinch that baby up.

    Two person sleeping pad

    This is hands down the comfiest sleeping pad ever. I have just taken a regular ol' nap on it in my living room. It might take a while to inflate but it's totally worth it. Snap the carrying bag onto the inflatey blow hole and then open the holder bag fully, then just add air and roll it to inflate without making yourself pass out.

    Double hammock w/ straps

    How to set this bad boy up:

    Iwatani butane stove + pan

    I'd bring a few cans of butane, just in case.

    Mess kit

    Basically some bowl/plate things, utensils, mugs, etc.

    Sleeping bag + rumpl blanket

    Luke sleeps hot, so he just uses a blanket.

    I have a sleeping bag rated to 30 degrees that I've had for like 10 years. You can unzip it and use it like a blanket if you get too hot (or if it's too restrictive)!

    Warmth pro tip

    If you don't fill the sleeping bag, shove all of your clothes into the bottom of the bag. It will help keep you way warmer!

    Camping chair

    Lots of different styles out there! These are the types that we have.

    Food

    Very important, you need it to live.

    Lantern + Headlamps

    I think the lantern is rechargable, the headlamps are battery powered. There's pockets inside the tent you can keep the headlamps in, useful for if you need to pee at night or something. You can also rig the headlamps to hang from the top of the tent and get yourself a cozy lil ambiance for reading.

    BYO....

    Extra blankets

    I definitely recommend having one or two larger blankets (the kind you'd bring to a picnic/the beach) handy.

    Sheets + pillows

    I think the sleeping pad fits a full sheet? You can also tuck a blanket around it, but it will definitely make it comfier. We have one camping pillow, but if we're car camping we kinda just bring our own pillows anyways.

    Warm clothing

    For any kind of camping/hiking/outdoorsy shit, I recommend synthetic fabrics because they wick moisture away from your body. Whatever you would wear to exercise is probably fine in the day, but at night the most reliable thing for me to wear to sleep is a long underwear top and bottom (Uniqlo's Heattech is my go-to) and socks. I keep a beanie in the hood of my sleeping bag or readily available just in case, so that I can put it on if I really need to.

    You can always strip clothes off if you get too hot while you're sleeping, but it's way harder to warm up if you didn't wear enough!

  • On that note actually, it's also good to note that if you have to pee in the middle of the night you should go and do that even if it's kind of a pain in the ass to get out of the tent and back in. Holding it in will actually make you colder because your body has to burn calories to heat your pee!
  • Dog Gear

    Almost all of this we also use generally, but this is the most useful stuff for camping with dogs.

    Collapsible crate

    We have this one. You could also use a travel bag or something — I wouldn't use a hard-sided crate though, for fear of ripping the tent (and a lack of space!)

    Both of our dogs are crate and house trained — one of them sleeps with us inside and the other one sleeps in his crate inside the tent.

    How we use it

  • The crate fits at the end of the sleeping pad inside the tent. One dog sleeps in there at night — but we travel with two, just in case we need to crate both of them. They also act as nice little bed areas for the dogs when we're hanging out.
  • We also use these if we're staying in hotels/Airbnbs where the dogs can't sleep with us or we don't want them to.
  • Car harnesses + seatbelts

    We have an older version of this and this is the tether that we use. I have an extra tether and probably harness that I can lend out if need be. The harness is kind of annoying to figure out, so budget some time for that.

    Having some kind of restraint for your dog while driving is super important — in a crash, dogs can become a projectile and if they survive impact, they can run away if they aren't anchored to the car.

    We use crash tested harnesses when we're driving distances and clip them in every time we drive. This also prevents them from flinging themselves out the car when we get to the park lol

    12 ft leashes

    We have two 12 ft leashes that we attach to their normal 6 ft leashes. This gives them about 18 ft to roam around but keeps them on a line at all times.

    Tethering System

    We use this one — and it's one of my favorite things we've ever gotten for the dogs! You just attach it to some kind of tree/stable thing on either side and then clip the dog onto the line that runs between those anchor points.

    The dog has way more mobility and you don't have to fuss with them! It also helps with some of the dog getting stuck because they walked around a tree too many times.

    Food storage

    So, we use a giant food storage thing that I stole from my workplace a few years ago, but anything airtight should do. Keep this inside the car when you go to sleep, because you definitely don't want wildlife coming to investigate — also make sure your dog eats all their food for the same reason!

    Water bowl

    We have a fancy foldable one, but you could use a tupperware or something — anything the dog is willing to drink out of, really.

    Bedding + blankets

    Use blankets and bedding that they're familiar with and also that you don't mind having to clean!

    Treats/snacks

    Just be sure to keep them sealed and in the car when you sleep/go away.

    Miscellaneous useful stuff

    Carabiners

    We have these — they don't need to be super heavy duty or anything, but they come in handy all the time! We keep carabiners on the dogs' leashes, which helps with tying them up if we need to — you can also attach them to cars, etc.

    Cleaning supplies

    Nature's miracle is legit.

    Bring paper towels too.

    A bunch of trash bags + plastic bags

    Lifesaving when you need them. We had to clean up dog vomit at a gas station in the middle of nowhere Arizona and it wasn't the best.

    Camping/traveling with dogs

    All of this is YMMV, but this is essentially our mindset around camping with our dogs.

  • Keep your dog on a leash at all times — especially if you aren't completely confident in your ability to recall the dog!
  • Your dog should sleep in the tent. Tons of shit could go wrong if the dog sleeps outside and our dogs like sleeping with us anyways. Your dog can sleep inside a crate in the tent if you aren't confident in their housetraining (honestly, it's way easier to let a dog out to pee in a tent than an apartment)!
  • Make your dog an email and put it on their tag

  • Then turn on the vacation auto-reply and fill it with useful information that will help reunite you with your dog! Any email to our dogs' emails also forwards to us, so we're immediately notified as well.
  • If we're traveling, we update the email to include information about our itinerary and any emergency contacts we have in that area (if applicable).
  • Email template

    Hi there, my name is Pinto! If you found me alone, then I'm certainly lost - but your email is being forwarded to my owners, so thank you for helping me! In the meantime, here's some information that will help me get home:


    I'm 4 years old, microchipped, and up to date on my shots. I don't have any known allergies, but my tummy can be sensitive with human food and in the car. I'm typically friendly, although I can get nervous around some bigger dogs. I love blankets and soft beds!

    My owners are Luke and Alison - you can reach them at (123) 456-7890 or (124) 456-7890. We live in A City, near the Local Landmark. I see Dr. Vet at Local Animal Hospital - their phone number is (123) 456-7890. I have a brother named Orzo - he's a black terrier (13 lbs) with a white stripe on his chest.If you can help, my family and I would all be really grateful! Any vet or animal shelter can help me get home quickly. Thank you for your help!\

    More thoughts to come!

    I'll add stuff as I think of it.

    The setup in action: