This post is hitting the blog a little later than I had planned because we had some unexpected website hosting problems all week. We are finally back online and ready to talk all about camping!

Last weekend, Luna went on her first camping trip with me and my boyfriend. Since we were all camping newbies, we only went for one night. Even though we were only outside for about 24 hours, we still learned a lot about what it takes to go camping.

Luna's first trip to the beachLuna's first trip to the beach

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But let’s face it. We really went glamping. It probably would have taken 134082340239 backpacks to fit all our stuff. I’m not known for packing light and neither is Luna. I’m pretty sure Luna asked me “Oh hey, will my kitchen sink fit in that bag?” before we left.

So here is some advice from first time campers glampers:

Do some research on your campground. Find out the “amenities” and what activities are available. Are there bathrooms? How close will they be? What about running water? Also, make sure to read the rules and regulations. Everywhere is different, so be sure to check if pets are allowed and if there are any fees or restrictions.

Luna enjoys her personal tent

Bring A LOT of water. We aren’t backpacking here, so you don’t have to worry about the weight. You’ll need water for everyone to drink including your dog, cooking, and possibly washing dishes or yourself.

Bring reusable dog bowls that are lightweight and don’t take up a lot of space. We like to use a few different options.

Kurgo has a Zippy Bowl that folds up and you can easily slip into your pocket. It is actually surprisingly deep too, so it holds a lot of water or food. The high walls of the bowl also make it a little more difficult to spill.

Luna drinks water from her Kurgo Zippy Bowl.

Sturdi Products make Water-Tight Boxes, which also work great. They are square and pretty stable. Luna has a tendancy to go crazy and wrap her leash around everything, which causes her to knock over her water bowls. Since this one is pretty flat and square, that doesn’t end up happening as much.

Another great option is the Collapsible Travel Cup from Dexas International. This bowl (or cup) pops up, so it is super lightweight and super easy to use. It doesn’t hold a lot of water, but it is great to put down for your dog if you can only bring along one water bottle.

All three of these bowls are different and we used each one during are camping trip.

Don’t forget your dog’s food. I would recommend bringing dehydrated food, as long as you have enough water. Dehydrated food is very lightweight and doesn’t produce much waste. Plus, when you give the food to your dog, you can add extra water to make sure they stay hydrated. It is just as important for them to stay hydrated as it is for you when you are outside the entire day, but sometimes they might need a little extra encouragement to get enough water. Luna and I used The Honest Kitchen’s dehydrated dog food. We picked up some samples when we were at the BlogPaws Conference back in May. They worked out really great because we were able to just use one bag for each meal. If you are thinking about going camping or going on any vacation, you can get some free samples from The Honest Kitchen too! To get these samples, use my affiliate link or promo code AMBBGJS7123. You will just have to pay about $2.50 for shipping.

You need to eat too, so bring something fun and easy to cook. Again, we are not backpacking so bring on the pots and pans! In fact, it might be worth picking up some cookware specific for campfires as it could ruin your good stuff. We made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and egg sandwiches breakfast. Both meals were pretty easy and turned out delicious.

Egg sandwiches cooked on a campfire.

Enjoy your tasty s’mores, but keep the chocolate out of reach from your dog.

Know the leash laws. Many campgrounds will require your dog to be on a leash at all times. Not all places restrict to 6 foot long leashes or shorter, but some beaches and campgrounds do. We went to a state park, where leashes were a requirement, but we were able to have Luna on a little bit of a longer leash. If you are able to use different leash lengths, bring a few different options, but please no retractable leashes.

Go hands free. Keep your dog close, but don’t feel like you have to hold them or their leash all day long. How do you plan on pitching your tent if your hands are full of dog anyway? We purchased a tie out stake that easily and sturdily screws into the ground. We also utilized a picnic table and large tree that Luna couldn’t budge. These three different tether points let us move Luna around to stay close by, but out of danger.

Luna enjoys running on the beach

Keep your dog out of reach of danger. When you pick a place to tether your dog, make sure they can’t get to anything harmful like the campfire or trash. Also, make sure wherever you choose to tether your dog is sturdy enough to hold them if they get spooked.

Be mindful of how close you are to other people. Your camping neighbors probably won’t be happy if your dog snatches their dinner when they aren’t looking. Fortunately, we don’t (yet) have first hand experience with this one.

Don’t leave your dog unattended. If you are at a campground, there are probably other people around whose commotion could disturb your dog, or vice versa. If you aren’t around people, then you may be a hardcore camper out in the middle of the wilderness with bears and such. Unattended dogs and bears is probably not a great idea either. This is especially true if your dog is not an experienced camper or is in a new place. If you leave them unattended even for 5 minutes, they may freak out and you don’t want that.

It's a long way down!

Bring something that your dog is familiar with, especially if this is one of their first times camping. Don’t let your dog convince you that you need to bring their entire toy box, but a few toys won’t hurt and may help keep them out of trouble at the camp site.

Pack something for your dog to sleep on. You can bring something specific to camping like a roll up pet bed or a sleeping bag like the one we have from Alcott. Their regular bed or a blanket also works. We brought along Luna’s mat, sleeping bag, and tent, but she ended up sharing our air mattress. I would caution this because dog nails could pop your air mattress and that would just totally ruin your glamping experience. Fortunately, she was pretty good about it and we had a couple protective layers of blankets just in case.

Luna enjoys her first night in a tent.

Make sure your dog is wearing their collar, especially at night. One of my biggest concerns was what would happen if Luna got spooked in the middle of the night while I was sleeping and tried to get out of the tent. I know that the thin material of a tent would definitely not stand up to my Beagle’s digging abilities, so I was a little afraid she might get loose. I helped put these worries to ease by making sure Luna wore her reflective collar with all her tags.

Bug spray for people is not safe for pets, so don’t put it on them. Keep up to date before you go camping with whatever flea and tick procedure you have. We are currently trying to go more natural and use Wondercide, so we always bring a bottle along. Always keep an eye out for ticks and other creepy crawlies. Check yourself and your dogs regularly. A good schedule is every time you shower, before bed, and after any activity in a heavily wooded area.

Enjoy the outdoors. Go hiking or go for a swim. If you do visit a beach, pond, or other form of water, keep a close eye on your dog especially if they are not strong swimmers or are inexperienced. Our campground was on a river and it had a little beach. Luna had never really gone swimming before, so we let her set the pace and didn’t go in to the water too far. She did swim a little bit (AND FETCHED A STICK!), but we kept a close eye on her. If this is something you and your dog enjoy doing, you may want to invest in a life jacket or other floating device for your dog. We are planning to go to the beach later this summer and are definitely thinking about getting one for Luna.

Luna goes swimming for the first time

Bring a first aid kit for you and bring one along for your dog too. Pack any regular medication and bring bandages that are suitable for dogs. We also packed Pawz for long hikes or really hot days. Pawz will help protect the pads of their paws from damage or burns. Pawz may also help combat any allergies that your dog has. See what we put in our First Aid Kit for Dogs.

We are planning to go camping a few more times this summer, so we’ll keep you updated on how those go.

ADDITIONAL READINGS ON OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES WITH DOGS:
15 Must Have Outdoor Dog Products
Pet Friendly Hiking in Virginia
5 Pet Friendly Places in Virginia
Reflective Wear for Dogs
How to Create a First Aid Kit for Dogs


Have you ever been camping with your dog? How did things go?

Disclaimer: Affiliate links are used in this post and I may receive a commission if you click and/or purchase from the link to help support this blog. Do not worry, these links do not affect the price of products. Kurgo, Dexas International, Sturdi Products, Pawz, and The Honest Kitchen provided samples to try. I choose to write about these products and I received no additional benefits for mentioning the products in this post. The opinions and ideas in this post are my own and are uninfluenced by any other person or business.

Jessica Shipman

Jessica Shipman

Jessica Shipman is a bargain hunter, food lover, and software engineer figuring out how to be a pet parent for the first time. Jessica has been a long time lover of all animals (especially llamas and manatees) and is happy that she can finally combine that love with technology.
Jessica Shipman

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  • Parenting Furkids

    Barkly and Vlad love RVing, but I’m not so sure about actual camping since it will never happen with me. Go to campingworld(dot)com and search out water hoses. You might want to invest in one of those NeverKinks (or other brands) like I’ve seen others with at camping sites that include water. Usually the water hydrant isn’t placed anywhere you want to get soaking wet from washing your pots and pans, so the hoses make it nice to wash a bit away from your sleeping area. Until some of our first trips, I thought those were just for RVs and Boats, but I’ve seen them now in several places with the tent campers at the deluxe sites. Plus, they’re safe to drink from if you want.

    • beaglesbargains

      Thank you for the tip! We only stayed at a basic site but if we ever stay longer, we might try the “deluxe” sites with water. Since they are more expensive, there wasn’t much need to do it this time.

  • Stacey Van Horn

    Great tips! We have not gone camping with these two yet but have plans to go in the fall. In the past with other dogs, we have had really great times camping 🙂

    • beaglesbargains

      Let us know how it goes!

  • Wilhelm, Brychwyn, Huxley and I have camped in 15 states and counting! I have camped with dogs all my life and I don’t really know why anyone would go camping without a dog (or two… or three!)

    • beaglesbargains

      Wow! That is impressive. Truly dogs who travel!

  • These are excellent tips. Thank you! I have never camped with my dogs, but have taken a couple of vacations with Neeko, when it was just her here.

    • beaglesbargains

      It was a lot of fun. Luna really enjoyed it!

  • Kate Obrien

    Great tips…you thought of everything. I’m not much into camping…or even glamping although I wish I was because I know the dogs would love it. I hope you had a great time and thanks for joining the HOP…this is a good addition because K9 Kamp is starting soon…

    • beaglesbargains

      We’ll keep an eye out for K9 Kamp!

  • Love these tips… and your photos! I think I’d like a s’more now! Happy FitDog Friday!

    • beaglesbargains

      Yum! Love s’mores! And grilled peaches too! Have you ever tried those?

  • Tenacious Little Terrier

    We haven’t gone camping with Mr. N yet but I hope to this summer.

  • These are great tips! I don’t camp–or glamp–after I accidentally forgot to take Big Red out of my bag and put it into the locked food box when I was 16 and a raccoon came into the tent during the night, but I think a lot of these are good pet travel tips in general! The first time Barley and I stayed in a hotel, I didn’t think about bringing in something that she was familiar with and she refused to settle down all night. We’re definitely going to look into those travel bowls before we make our big road trip in August! Thanks!

  • Talent Hounds

    Love to camp and bringing the dog is so much fun. Safety first though.

  • Cathy Bennett

    Haven’t thought about camping/glamping with the Boys – it would be fun, I have no doubt, so thank you so much for the great tips.

  • Mark S

    Great Post. I especially like your suggestion about dehydrated food for the dogs. The weight of the dog food has been a concern for me when I used to go backpacking and camping with my dog Kona. We would cover a lot of miles and carrying all that food was heavy. Portable water filters (water treatment) are also a good idea if you get away from the camping sites with running water.

  • Love camping & love the ability to take our dog. Some great points – Happy FitDogging

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  • Kelley Caton

    Both my sons were Boy Scouts and we would camp when they were younger. All the families would camp together. We took the dog and she loved it. I took her crate because I didn’t think I could watch her and the children around the fire at dinner time. However, she slept in the tent with us.
    BTW, we call camping with amenities near by (i.e. flushing toilets and hot showers) “soft camping.” I’m a wuss, and that’s the only way I camp!

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  • TheScottieMom

    We’ve never been camping…not even with the dogs. I think Heather and Mr. K might enjoy that more than we would! Looks like you all had a great time, though. Much love, The Scottie Mom.

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  • elkbee10

    Looks like you did a great job and had a wonderful time. Always loved to do anything and everything outdoors with my small pup. Actually even created a product so that anywhere I take my chair, I have a crate whether I need it or not!

  • Lori

    Great tips. We go camping with our dog Kona all the time and, even though we keep him on a tie out, we take glow necklaces or some type of glow in the dark tag to put on his collar so we can keep an eye on him in the dark, And don’t forget the poop bags! Not really necessary if rustic camping but a must if you’re in a campground.

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  • meg

    found this post through pinterest so i’m not a beagle owner but one thing i’ve found that works great for my dog camping is at night to slip the leash handle around my foot (he sleeps by my feet at home and camping) that way if the tent gets left open, or if he opens the zipper as he’s discovered how to by pushing his nose where the 3 meet, he can’t get far! occasionally it gets a bit tangled in the blankets but not bad (of course pay close attention to make sure not pulling on the dogs neck you don’t want to hurt them!)

    • beaglesbargains

      We love all dogs here, not just Beagles! This post is definitely not just geared at Beagles. That is an excellent idea and I do it too! Keeps me from worrying all night long that she might get loose!

  • B

    Great post! We take our ½ GSH ½ Boxer camping quite often. A couple of recommendations as well: make sure your dogs nails are trimmed prior to going camping (nothing worse than long nails getting caught on roots or scraping against rocks)! Also, Mushers Secret is the BEST paw wax you can rub on their paws every few days or so. They sell liquid bandaid for dogs (comes in a little spray bottle) that works great. One of the biggest lessons we’ve learned is to not only check to make sure the campground is pet-friendly, but surrounding mountains are as well. We made the mistake of driving an additional 45 minutes to a nearby mountain to do some hiking; turned out the trailhead was covered in No Dogs Allowed signs (bunch of BS).

    • beaglesbargains

      Great suggestion about the nails! I’ll definitely have to check out Mushers Secret! Thanks for stopping by!

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  • shannon

    Love the post! My beagles and I often sleep in the car. However, if we sleep in a tent, I sometimes make them wear their leash and I just wrap or loosely tie the other end around my wrist so they could not try to leave the tent without waking me up.

    • beaglesbargains

      We haven’t tried sleeping in the car yet, but I think that is on our list too! I do a similar thing with the leash except around my ankle!

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  • We are taking the pups camping for the first time ever next weekend so I’m doing lots of reading on the subject. Great post and also I haven’t stopped by for a while so I just wanted to say the website is looking great! I just moved from wordpress. com to self hosted and it is a lot of work to put together a great site – I just love the feeling and usability of yours 😀

    • beaglesbargains

      Aw thanks so much! Self hosted is the way to go for sure! So much more flexible!

  • ruthanne hopps

    My husband and by myself adopted an English pointer mix about 18 months a go she had been mistreated by a past owner, so she is very shy and timid. I have seen bolt away from me at the pet store with this in mind I picked up a very large crate for her we leave it set up in the living room we didn’t lock her in it we let it be a safe place when she got use to it know it was safe we would close it up and when she wanted out of it we didn’t think twice about open the door now I feel we can take her camping with us and at night we will put her in the crate in the tent with us happy camping.

  • Megan

    I would highly recommend some sort of light for a dog, especially a dark colored one like yours. My pooches are experienced campers, and we do a lot of remote camping so they have more freedom to be off the leashes. But my Shepard mix blends too well into the night sky, so she has a bike light that we clip onto her collar. It’s the only way to find her in the dark.

    • C J

      I am going to look into doing the same. Good idea!

  • Christine Aiello

    I’m not sure I could ever go camping. I get eaten alive by bugs just being in the backyard! I would need a cabin to stay in LOL!

    • C J

      Yes, a cabin—a dog-friendly cabin! We have a pop-up camper, but it’s the bare minimum in conveniences. A cabin would be sooo nice!

  • Helga

    I used to go camping and hiking a lot but not with dogs. I would like to do some car camping with them someday.

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  • Hi! This is a really nice and useful post! I’ve never been out camping with Imp, but it’s something I’m planning to do in the future.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

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  • Kristina Potter

    I love camping with my pooches

  • Corie Nelson

    I take toys up for the pups but they always find something else to do or investigate. They are also great for letting me know when people come around my campsite. The biggest problem I have is cleaning and drying them after they roll in moose poop, which they love to do. They can swim in the river, but about to take them to a very large lake and so I got them float vests. Hopefully they will adapt to them readily.

    • C J

      Corie,
      You might let your pups get used to the new vests before you go to the lake. They will be so much more comfortable, then, in their new surroundings.

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  • sue

    Just got back from camping with my 2yr old doberman. Don’t forget to take “pick-up” bags and also watch that tie out rope by the fire! We take buckets which are good for storage and then use as as a water trough (she drinks a lot), then storage going home again. Doggie towel, blanket, special ball, all go in her own backpack with food bones and shot/vet papers in case something happens out of town.

  • Danielle Lindblom

    Great article! Very thorough. Pinning it! 😀

  • C J

    I highly recommend booties any time walking one’s dogs in a strange place. We’ve been camping several times with our dogs in a pop-up camper. Once at a lake with lots of stickers–very traumatic pulling and cutting them out of their furry paws–three dogs times four paws=SO many grass burrs! We could only walk them on the camp’s paved roads, which I worried could be hot at midday. Another reason for booties. We cut that trip short. Then, camping in the mountains, our doggies got sap stuck to their paws. I take GooGone, now, to dissolve it.

    Even traveling TO our camping destinations has been hazardous. Walked them in the dirt area around a Burger King parking lot. We didn’t see the stickers until the dogs were loaded back in the car. Spent the next 20 minutes removing them. We keep blunt scissors and tweezers handy in the car, now.

    I’m actually shopping for booties, now, so they will be used to them before next summer’s trips.

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  • Rochelle Epstein

    I love camping and reconnecting with nature, something magical

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