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Road Trips, Camping, & Backpacking with Dogs

Have you wanted to go on road tips, camping, and or backpacking with your dogs? It can be quite a daunting task at times trying to plan and prep for your epic adventures so we are here to give you some tips and information on how to do each of these fun activities with your dog!

First let starts with the road trips! These trips can take lots of planning from driving routes to the trails and places you plan to visit so here are some basic tips to help you along when planning!

  1. Have all your gear! Make sure you have all your essentials packed for both you and your dog. Make a check list to keep track of everything you need.

  2. Know the environment. Check the weather of where you plan to go frequently before leaving and while on the trip. Be aware of the landscape. Do some research on the spots you plan to visit and hike and pack accordingly.

  3. Be mindful of any rules the places you choose to visit has about bringing your dogs.

  4. Map ahead of time. Map out where your going, it can help to have a rough itinerary to follow along with.

  5. Have fun!

How do I know if my dog can handle camping/backpacking?

We recommend doing "test hikes" daily to see what your dog can handle and start small to see if your dog is comfortable with the consistent hiking and travel. To prepare your dog for camping, expose them to your tent and other gear you plan to bring while your still at home. It may see silly to set up the campsite at there but it's a great way to get your dog comfortable and familiar with everything.

Tips for camping with dogs:

  • Take your dogs everywhere. Don't plan to leave your pup at camp alone, whether tied up at camp or kept inside the tent or car. It's not only potentially disruptive for other campers (especially if your dog is more vocal when left alone), it could also endanger your dog.

  • Keep your dogs on a leash when at your campsite.

  • Share the tent. Given there's likely going to be wildlife roaming at night through campsites, rules usually require that dogs sleep either with you in your car or tent.

  • Only bring food out during meals. Leaving kibble out draws in wildlife that are near and can even make them stick around and come back on a regular basis.

Be sure to pack the essentials for your dogs. Some things you should have are food and water bowls, food, water, poop bags, dog boots, dog jackets, collar, and leashes.

Backpacking with Dogs 101

Going on a backpacking trip with your dogs can be a very unique and incredible bonding experience. Below are some basics to know and prepare for when planning your trip!

  • Check the area regulations. Make sure your dogs are allowed to be on the trail your interested in. If you plan to backpack in a National Park and are in the U.S., unfortunately your dogs can't come as most Parks do not allow dogs on unpaved trails, and regulations vary in some state parks.

  • Get in some training walks/hikes. Animals need to work up and train in order to be able to hike the distances and elevation required for your trip, just like people need to be physically prepared.

  • Test your dog's trail manners. Make sure you know how your dog will respond to commands in various environments and encounter different things like wildlife, other dogs, hikers, river crossings, etc.

  • Test your gear at home. Expose your dogs to the gear they will be sleeping in, wearing or carrying before your head out on your backpacking trip. If your dog is going to wear a pack on the trail keep in mind: Dogs should only carry about 10% of their body weight, so be sure you don't overload their packs.

  • Protect their paws. Some trail surfaces, like lava rock or shale, are too rough or get too hot for a dog's unprotected paw pads. Being out for days on a trail with various surfaces can also be hard on your dog's paws so always have dog boots on hand.

  • Clean up after your dog. Per leave no trace principles, dog waste should be backed out in poop bags. Don't leave your poop bags along the trail planning to pick them up later. They are an eyesore for other hikers and odds are they will be forgotten.

  • Dog first-aid! Bring a dog friendly first-aid kit with you.

Along with the usual gear to have for camping or backpacking with your dog we also recommend getting a sleeping mat or pad for your dog too. Brands we recommend are Ruffwear, Hurtta, Spruce Pup, and Alcott Gear.

Whatever adventure you choose to do with your dogs, be it camping or backpacking we hope its one epic experience!

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