A complete guide for car camping with dogs 2023

car camping with dogs

Car camping with dogs is a great way to spend wintertime. It can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your pet. However, one thing you usually don’t see is people taking their dog’s camping. We mean, some do, but that’s a very small portion when compared to the number of people that go camping.

Some might fear that their dog might accidentally run away or get lost in the forest and lose them. That is why dog owners leave their dogs back at home either with a babysitter or tell a friend to take care of them. In spite of that, we are here to grant you courage and tell you that it is safe for you to take your dogs on a camping trip with you and make sure that it will be the best camping trip of your life. Still, to do that, you need to know the basic dos and don’ts Buckle up and hang tight as we dive into all the details now.

Why car camping with dogs?

There are a few key aspects to be noted here :

  • Dogs provide companionship, security, and can even help you get a good night’s sleep.
  • If you’re camping with a large group, dogs can also help socialize everyone and keep things lively.
  • Additionally, dogs can be great for getting you up and moving in the morning – nothing like a vigorous game of fetch to start the day!
  • Finally, if you’re headed to a remote area or an area with dangerous wildlife, having your dog along can provide an extra level of safety.

To know more about car camping, you can read our article on how to camp in your car.

Complete steps for Car Camping with dogs:

You need to keep in mind a few necessary rules while car camping with dogs, how to car camp with dogs have discussed here steps by steps here:

Rule#1: Picking the right campsite:

When car camping with a dog, it is important to pick the right campsite. Dog-friendly campgrounds typically have more open space and allow dogs to roam more freely. They also have designated areas for pet waste disposal.

Other things to consider when picking a campsite are the availability of shade, water, and trails. If your dog likes to swim, look for a campsite near a body of water. If your dog enjoys hiking, make sure there are plenty of trails in the area.

Finally, be aware of potential hazards such as ticks, poisonous plants, and wild animals. Do your research ahead of time to find out what hazards exist in the area you will be camping in.

Rule #2: Make sure to pack everything:

Camping can be a new experience for everyone who hasn’t gone camping before at all. For example, it might be your 5-year-old nephew’s first time going camping, so he won’t be familiar with camping in a natural surrounding and sitting in front of campfires and that might make him uncomfortable, and he will be scared of these activities.

Similar to that situation, it might be your dog’s first time experiencing camping, so make sure that he is comfortable sleeping on a sleeping pad and that he isn’t scared of campfires. Do this process at home for a week to train him up for the adventure. Make sure that whatever you do on the camping site isn’t new to him, which might scare him.


Some will say that they are already getting dog food, so why get extra treats for your dogs? I mean, is that even a question? Suppose, you like KitKat, which means you won’t have it 24/7 but will have it sometimes and be happy when someone gives it to you. The same way works with dog treats. You need to get a lot of treats so that you can give it to him as a reward when he does something nice or when he follows your orders, just to keep him happy. This will further solidify the relationship between you two. Treats are a very important factor when it comes to keeping dogs under your control.

Food bowls:

Since you are going camping, it means that your space and weight will be limited. Therefore, if you take your dog’s special ceramic food bowl, you will be wasting valuable space and weight. Instead, you can switch to plastic or metal food bowls and take them as a temporary food bowl and they won’t weigh much. An even finer choice would be to use flexible and collapsible food bowls as they will barely weigh and save a lot of space which you can use for extra snacks and treats for your dog.


Leashes are essential as they can keep your dog from getting lost in the middle of nowhere and also keep you within your range. Some might not choose to use a leash, as it sounds inhuman to tie a dog with a rope and try to control it whilst some might be vigilant and use it to prevent losing their dog. However, in my opinion, I wouldn’t use a leash if the dog is tamed and has a complete bond with me but if it’s not completely tamed and might be too excited to explore, then I might put it on a leash for quite some time to make sure I don’t lose my dog.

Waste bags:

Whenever a dog poops, people will use a poop bag and scoop up the poop to put into a bag and dispose of it properly. However, since you are in the wild, you might need to take a ton of poop bags during car camping with dogs, as you need to clean up after your dog every time. Even so, we would think it’s better to not use poop bags as since we are in nature, the dog poop will mix with the soil and make the soil fertile which I see as a win-win situation but you can still use poop bags if you want to keep the place nice and tidy.

LED light collar:

These LED light collars will come in handy at night when it gets dark to locate your dog if you both are hiking. This will make sure that you don’t lose your dog in the middle of nowhere and keep your dog at your sight at all times. If you can’t find any LED light collar in the store, then you can get LED lights and make your own LED light collar for your dog.

Rule #3: Make sure tent size and space:

When it comes to buying tents, we usually buy the one depending on the number of people, for example; if only 1 person is going camping, he or she will buy a tent that supports one person only and if a group of people like 4 people goes for camping together, then they will buy a tent that supports 4 people only and not more than that.

However, I must tell you that this is one of the common mistakes when it comes to camping. These tents are designed and labeled according to the number of people staying in them. So, if you get one exactly matching the number of people and label, then you won’t have any space to move around inside the tent and it will start to get too crowded on the inside.

This is why, it is safer to get a tent with one more extra person to avoid such problems, for example; if you are going to camp with 2 more people then the perfect option would be to get a tent that says for 4 people. This guarantees extra space inside the tent and prevents collision.

Now, when it comes to car camping with dogs, you might think that your dog doesn’t need that much space so a big tent is going to be a waste and that is where you are wrong. You need to treat your dog like a person, which means you will need more tent space than expected. If you are going to take your only dog with you for camping, then you need to get a tent that will fit 3 people.

Similar to that, if you plan on taking 2 dogs, then you need to get a tent that will 4 people. Dogs need the space just like us so if we get a smaller tent then it will get crowded inside and hard for everyone to settle inside.

Rule #4: What kind of food to pack for your dog:

Now if you were camping all by yourself, or with other family members and friends, then you don’t need to worry about packing several types of food as people can all eat sorts of food as long as they aren’t allergic. However, since you will be taking your dogs with you for car camping, they won’t be able to eat human food properly as they are accustomed to eating dog food.

You will need to pack several cans or packets of dog food, depending on how long you will be camping outside your house. It’s better to pack extra than packing the exact amount of dog food you because what if you need to extend your trip for a bit more or even accidentally feed your dog more at first and run out of dog food later on. Therefore, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Rule #5: Packing the proper sleeping gear:

For yourself, you will be packing a sleeping bag, some blankets, and a couple of pillows to get maximum comfort while trying to sleep. Except, you dogs won’t be able to sleep in sleeping bags as they are not accustomed to it or even trained to sleep in such bags.

Packing the proper sleeping gear

Therefore, you need to pack your dogs’ sleeping beds with you. A dog sleeping bed is an ideal option if you have a lot of space in your car. If you want to save space or don’t have much space left in your car, then you can pack a regular-sized inflated sleeping pad for your dog. They are lightweight and can handle rugged usage without any damage on them.

Rule #6: Hiking with your dogs:

Normally, when we go hiking with friends or family, we don’t keep some of them back in the car, now do we? No, we take everyone hiking. Similar to that, it would be cruel to leave your dogs back in the car when you go hiking. Take your dogs with you, but make sure to keep them close to you so that they don’t get lost out in the wild.

Now, since you will be carrying a bag pack during your hike to keep your essentials in them, you can also get mini bag packs for your dogs and let them carry a few items while they are hiking with you. However, make sure that you don’t load up your dog’s bag pack with a heavy item, which might be a burden for them. You can pack a small bottle of water and a bit of dog food in case your dog gets hungry or thirsty in the middle of the hike.

Rule #7: Keeping your dog safe while camping in the car:

When you’re on a road trip with your dog, it’s important to keep them safe. Here are a few tips for ensuring your pet’s safety while in the car:

  1. First, always make sure that your pet is properly restrained while driving. Use a harness or seat belt attachment to keep them from being thrown around in case of an accident.
  2. Second, never leave your dog alone in the car. Not only can it be dangerous in hot weather, but it can also be dangerous if you have to park in a busy area.
  3. Third, make sure your pet has plenty of water and often stop so they can use the bathroom.
  4. Finally, always bring plenty of water and food for your pet, and make sure they have a shady spot to rest in during the day.


Q1: How can I sleep with my dog in the same spot?

Ans: If you choose to get a dog bed, make sure it’s big enough for both of you to fit on and soft enough that your dog will be comfortable.
If your dog is used to sleeping in your bed, he may not want to switch to a new spot, so start slowly by moving the bed closer to his designated spot and gradually move it back until he’s sleeping in his own bed.

Q2: Can dogs sleep in car while camping?

Ans: Basically it depends on your camping style and what your dog is comfortable with. If you’re the type of camper who likes to hit the open road and explore new areas, your dog may be more comfortable sleeping in the car. On the other hand, if you prefer a more relaxed camping style where you stay in one spot for a few days, your dog may be happier sleeping in a tent or under the stars.

If you do decide to let your dog sleep in the car, make sure they have plenty of water and shade, and take them for walks several times throughout the day. Dogs can overheat quickly in cars, so it’s important to keep an eye on them at all times.

Q3: How do you take a dog camping in a car?

Ans: When taking a dog camping in a car, preparation is key. You will want to make sure that your dog is comfortable and safe during the trip. Here are a few tips for taking your pup on a road trip:

  1. Make sure your pet is comfortable riding in a car. Some dogs love car rides, while others can get anxious. If your pet isn’t used to being in a car, take them on short test drives before hitting the open road.
  2. Bring along plenty of water and food for your pet. Dogs can get dehydrated quickly, so it’s important to have plenty of water available. Pack some snacks, too, in case your pet gets hungry while on the road.
  3. Bring along a crate or carrier for your dog. This will give them a sense of security and keep them safe during the trip.

Q4: What to do with dogs when camping?

Ans: Dogs need plenty of room to run around and explore, so make sure to choose a campsite with plenty of space. You’ll also want to bring along some toys and treats to keep your dog entertained. And most importantly, always remember to clean up after your pet!

Q5: How do you sleep with a dog while camping?

Ans: There are a few ways to sleep with a dog while camping. One way is to have the dog sleep in your tent. This can be done by either having the dog lie down next to you or by putting a kennel inside the tent. If you have a large tent, you may also be able to put the kennel in there. Another way to have the dog sleep in your tent is to use a hammock. You can either suspend the hammock from trees or put it on top of your car. The last way is to let the dog sleep outside your tent. You can either chain them up or let them roam free.


In light of these facts, we must agree that it is more fun to take your dog with you while car camping instead of going alone. Dogs are loyal to humans and make sure that humans are happy at all times.

Even, humans don’t want that for other humans, which creates jealousy and envy and brings out the worst in them. Dogs are a fun companion and will make sure that you have the best time of all time. So, from next time onwards, be sure to take your dog with you when you go camping. Happy Camping!

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