Camping with Canines – Dog Essentials

Camping with dogs brings along some challenges but is also extra rewarding. Here are some canine specific things that we bring, along with some pointers of what we’ve done to help Milo adapt to our adventures.

Dog Pack

We’re using a daypack from One Tigris. We love it so far because it fits his deep chest well, is relatively easy to balance, and we like the rugged canvas look without breaking the bank. Not only do we use it for camping and hiking, I also have Milo wear it on our neighborhood runs and during urban exploration as well. He carries his EDC items and also sometimes my wallet, phone, and his doodoo (but not in the same compartments!). He enjoys having a “job” to do and it also tires him out faster. I’ll do a full review later.

Dog Sleeping Bag

We’re ambassadors and prototype testers for a new doggie sleeping bag for our fantastic friends at Whyld River! Some things we will discuss are comfort, weight, packability, warmth, size, etc. (learn more about the product and our collaborative efforts with the company here).

Poop System

The infamous potty tube. It’s been a game changer. I used to use gallon zip locks to put used bags in, but the smell still followed us. This is reusable and completely airtight. On day hikes, I carry the tube in my own backpack but on overnights, Milo will be carrying his own 💩 until we stop long enough to bury it. Absolutely no trace will be left on the surface.

Tick and Flea Repellent

Fleas and ticks are quite common in Washington, but Milo’s skin is sensitive so we’re opting for an organic preventive. We’re using Mad About Organics flea and tick spray on him every time we go out, but we still check him once we get home. The great thing about this is, you can spray it on yourself on top of any other insect repellent of your choosing!

Collars and Leashes

Milo’s custom made paracord collar from 410Mavs is more of a badass statement piece since we humans already carry plenty of rope. The colors are customizable and comes in various styles. Use MILO15 at checkout if you’d like to order one!

We use a 15 ft line for when we’re at camp. He doesn’t wander but it’s for peace of mind when we’re busy setting up or cooking, especially since we won’t always know if someone will be coming up to our site. We’ve also trained him to have the command ‘place’ so that he stays in one spot (like on his sleeping bag) so he can rest and we can keep an eye on him.

We always walk Milo on a prong collar. It helps us remind him to mind his leash manners.

Milo’s standard leash is 6 ft. long, which is the maximum length allowed by the NPS for BARK policies. If he is off-leash in the backcountry, we use his E-collar and remote.

Food System

Milo is currently being fed 50% DIY raw 50% Canidae duck kibble and he’s thriving on it. But for this trip I’ll only bring kibble  that is pre-portioned in ziplocks to keep it simple. I always bring an extra meal or two worth of food because hiking, especially with elevation gain, is an energy demanding activity. We also bring along treats and snacks, and we heat up water and pour it over his kibble to make sure he is getting enough liquids.

Milo’s luxury item is his egg carton since he loves raw eggs so much. To feed him, we bring collapsible water and food bowls, which all fit inside his backpack.

Training your dog to be a happy camper

Every dog is different, but Milo did NOT get the concept of a tent the first time he was in one (Hello? What are these flimsy walls and where are my humans??). Milo has always had separation anxiety and even when one of us is inside the tent and the other is out, he gets anxious when he can’t see us.

We helped him become used to a tent by using methods similar to crate training (treats, both of us being in the tent after it’s first set up, keeping the top fly cover off so he can still see us, and keeping the tent door open so he can walk in and out). Since we use his ‘place’ command with him outside with us, we don’t expect him to be in there unless we are also in there with him. When it’s time to settle down for the night, he loves to cuddle and has absolutely no problem taking up all the leg space in the tent.

Have any questions or suggestions? Feel free to leave a comment!


“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and winds long to play with your hair.”

Kahli Gibran


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