Stories | November 2019

Tips for Car Camping with Dogs

If we could get matching ‘BFF’ tattoos with our dog we would have gotten inked years ago. It breaks our hearts every time we have to hand our furry companion over to a dog sitter when we leave for a trip. Luckily car camping means you no never have to choose between travel and your BFF again! 

Car camping with a dog is going to be a little different from rolling solo. Here are a few key tips and tricks to keep you and your best friend comfortable and safe on your next journey together! 

Know before you go

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Whether it be leaving no trace or emergency preparedness, it’s always good to familiarize yourself with the rules of your destination prior to arrival. Car camping with a dog is no different. Double-check the rules to see if your park or campsite permits dogs on the premises. Acadia National Park in Maine, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, and Yosemite National Park in California are considered some of the most dog-friendly national parks in the U.S. 

Most national parks are cool with canines but there are a few places where dogs are a no-go, such as certain hiking trails and backcountry spaces. These natural areas are usually reserved for dog-free use in the interest of local wildlife preservation. Additionally, rules will usually outline permitted sleeping spaces and off-leash policies for dogs. Rules may vary from park to park, or even within the park itself so always keep them in mind before and throughout your trip.

Stake it to the man

Keep your pup on a leash at all times when enjoying nature. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the possibility of a wild runaway. Remember, dogs are wild animals at heart. The allure of a scampering squirrel can be an irresistible call to action for a dog in nature. Even the most well-trained dog may waver when tasty hot dogs are roasting nearby.

A spiral stake and leash is the way to go if you’re car camping with a dog. This system is a win-win for both parties as it will free up your hands to hold pressing items (such as a cold beverage) and also give your dog the liberty to roam within reason. Most importantly, a secure spiral stake is super secure to withstand the strongest pulling forces to make certain your canine companion will stay nearby. 

A little bit of home for the road

Sleeping in a new environment can be unsettling for dogs. To soothe this apprehension, we suggest you bring a comfort item from home on the road.  A memento from home base, like a blanket or favorite chew toy, can provide a recognizable smell to soothe a nervous Nellie in the backseat. We’re not saying you need to fit an entire dog house into your trunk, just a toy or two to provide a point of familiarity should do the trick.

But you can leave the dog bed at home! The Luno Signature Air Mattress is made of an ultra-durable Oxford Nylon Fabric that is perfect for you and your dog to lay and play upon. The puncture-resistant material can withstand roughhousing so dogs and owners alike can have fun jumping on the car bed!

It’s gettin’ hot in here

The chill of the night is small potatoes when you’re snuggled deep in your sub-zero sleeping bag...but don’t forget about your furry friend! Your dog may need a little extra assistance staying warm at night (especially if they have a low percentage of body fat). The Cardinal rule for maintaining warmth throughout the night is to make sure paws and fur are kept off of the ground. The ground will sap up your dog’s body heat so it’s best for dogs to sleep in the trunk with you rather than outside. 

Cuddle up

Co-sleeping is a great solution for keeping everyone toasty at night. This symbiotic system generates mutually shared body heat for both parties so that everyone can rest easy. If your dog is too big to share your car bed, you may want to look into the many sleeping bags for dogs on the market.

Dress for the occasion

You can also bundle your pup up to keep them cozy! If you’re going to dress your dog for the occasion, we recommend a brightly colored outfit for easy visibility. This will make them easy to spot during those times they are off-leash or far away. 

Dogs are the perfect travel buddy (and we’re not just saying that because they keep our feet warm at night). Their constant excitement for the outdoors reminds us to appreciate the magnificence of nature and enjoy every moment we spend outdoors. So take your dog on the road for your next car camping adventure! Whether it be in the mountains or by the sea, the paw-siblities are endless.


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