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Simple Tips For Cool Weather Camping With Your Dog


As fall approaches, many of us think about getting in a few more camping trips before the rain and snow. Fall can actually have some of the best weather for camping – warm enough to be comfortable outside, but not too hot. Though it can be cooler at night, it’s easy to enjoy this time of year outdoors if you follow some simple tips. Jenn Gehr, Thousand Trails and Encore spokesperson has provided us with the following tips for enjoying cooler weather camping with your dog:

#1 – Keep pets comfortable

It’s important to establish a safe, familiar place for your dog at your campsite. In the cooler months, that means finding a “homebase” for your pet that is warm and comfortable. Try to create a similar setup to what pets have at home, from dog beds to favorite blankets and toys. If your pet is crate trained, consider a portable version for when you are on the road and at the campsite.

Image source: @OakleyOriginals via Flickr
Image source: @OakleyOriginals via Flickr


#2 – Stay warm

Even if you don’t usually let your dog in the bed, be sure to let him in the tent or the RV to snuggle. Keeping you and your dog off the ground where you can both stay warm and dry is essential for a good night’s sleep. Choose a sleeping bag that’s equipped for fall temperatures in your area, and grab an extra blanket or sweatshirt to keep pets warm at night.  Tarps can also provide an extra layer of insulation for your tent.

#3 – Cook up comfort foods

Have fun with cool weather recipes like campfire chocolate chili, hot ‘n spicy pumpkin chai, and s’mores with peanut butter cups! Be sure to keep all food items under lock and key, in your car or enclosed in a bear box to prevent any wildlife visits, close encounters or midnight surprises. Keep car windows and sunroofs tightly sealed in case a nighttime rainstorm rolls in and never leave pets unattended in a car.

#4 – Keep away creepy-crawlies

Cooler temperatures don’t mean that pests are gone for good. Keep bug spray handy for you and make sure Fido is up-to-date on flea and tick prevention before you head to the campgrounds. Do a daily nose to tail close-up inspection of your dog’s body, carefully looking for any rashes, cuts or redness which can indicate bites.

Image source: @OakleyOriginals via Flickr
Image source: @OakleyOriginals via Flickr

#5 – Be prepared

Taking the time to pack a little extra gear can go a long way toward ensuring all campers – even the furry ones! – are prepared for the changing temperatures. A few extra steps can make fall your favorite camping season yet.

You never know when the weather is going to change in the fall! Image source: @SamGlover via Flickr
You never know when the weather is going to change in the fall! Image source: @SamGlover via Flickr


As Gehr mentioned, having the right gear for cooler weather can make all the difference when it comes to whether you have a fun trip or a miserable one. Ruffwear is all about making functional dog gear that does it’s job – it’s one of my personal favorite brands and I own a lot of their products. I like them because they are not only functional, but durable as well.

First, don’t forget the ORANGE! Fall is hunting season, so It’s good to outfit your dog in orange… a sweater, a vest, a backpack, a large bandana, the brighter and more of it, the better.

Image source:
Image source: Ruffwear

For cooler weather, their Highlands Sleeping Bag with Landing Pad would be a great choice for your dog. The sleeping bag packs down small, has a wide circumference zipper so you can either lay it out flat, fold over the dog, or zip the dog up, it’s very versatile depending on what your dog will accommodate.

Image source: Ruffwear
Image source: Ruffwear

And the Landing Pad is like a sleeping pad for dogs, so it gives them a bit more comfort and it slides into the pad sleeve on the bottom of the Highlands Sleeping Bag.

Image source: Ruffwear
Image source: Ruffwear

Something else that is handy for camping with a canine at any time of the year, is NEMO’s pawprint floor liner.  It’s a soft, microbrushed sheet that snaps into the corners of the tent floor, protecting your floor and sleeping pads from dog claws while also offering a soft spot to sleep. It’s machine washable as well. They make one to fit most of their tents.

Image source: NEMO

And, if you need a new tent, the LOSI LS 3P Backpacking Tent also made by NEMO is a great choice. It’s an award-winning tent that is lightweight for packing, provides lots of “liveable” space (important when you are sharing it with a canine or two!) and has superior strength to any other freestanding backpacking tent – again important when dogs are involved.

Image source: NEMO

Wherever the trail leads you, don’t forget the essentials such as clean, drinkable water, extra food and blankets and make sure your dog has ID on him. Following these simple tips, and all you will have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the beauty of fall.

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Written by Kristina Lotz
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