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How to Take Your Dog Camping

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Never taken your pup out overnight? Wes Siler has some tips and tricks that will make the experience a little easier and more comfortable for you and your four-legged best friend.

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Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING] WES SILER: Hands down, my favorite memories of Wiley and I's life together so far is the camping trips we've had. Just nothing cooler than coming out in the wilderness with your dog and spending the night outdoors. There's a few basic tricks to it. It's really simple, but I'll walk you through it.


So the first thing you need to change when you bring your dog camping is you need to allow for room for it in the tent, because they do like to spread out. Normally when I go backpacking, I just take a one-person tent. Here with 185 pounds of dog with me, sound like a person, right? So I brought a two-person tent.

So when it comes to picking a campsite, if you've got your dog with you, it's going to be a whole lot easier if you pick a campsite as far away from other people as possible. I mean, I do that anyways. But you want just an overall area sort of within your dog's circle the influence that's safe, so there's no big hazards. You know, we're on top of a hill here, but they're not going to fall off it. There's no road. There's no anything that I need to worry about. If they're out of my sight for a little bit, nothing out here's going to hurt him.

Final consideration with the campsite is you want to have access to water. Especially if you're backpacking, carrying a ton of water if your dog is just a pain in the butt. So camping somewhere near a lake, near a stream, near some mud puddles, wherever they want to drink from, just makes your life so much easier.

So the trick to staying warm as a human outdoors is to protect yourself both from heat loss above you and convective cooling below you, where the cold ground sucks the heat out of your body. You need to do the same thing for dogs. So to start, you need a sleeping pad for your dogs.

I like to one of these simple closed-cell foam items. They're just indestructible and they're lightweight. Doesn't matter if its claws get on them or mud gets on them. This is the NEMO Switchback. It's as good an option is anything. Silver side up reflects the dog's body heat. I have two dogs with me. Should fit on this full size.

What this also does is it protects the fragile tent floor from their claws. So what do you use as a sleeping bag for your dog? I prefer a coat. This stays on them. They're comfortable. It doesn't matter if they move. Doesn't matter if they get out of the tent. They're going to be warm at night in one of these.

And so zipping in one of these is just some nice insurance. It's going to help him sleep better, so I'll sleep better. And I just know that he's safe. And there you go. Now, on top of that sleeping pad in his puppy, Wiley's going to be nice and cozy. And I'm going to sleep warmer at night too.

But tents can be problematic with dogs. when Wiley was about Teddy's age, he actually jumped through the door of an ultralight Big Agnes tent like it wasn't even there, and destroyed a brand new $600 tent. These days I prevent that by keeping the dogs on a leash at night. That just means if they start moving around, if I need to get in and out of the tent and open the door, I can just hang onto their leash and they're not going anywhere.

All the way in. All the way in. Sit. Good dog. You want to lay down? Good dog. This is how I spend an awful lot of my nights outdoors. It's way more snuggly than being on your own. I thought we were camping. I thought we were really camping, dad.

So camping with your dog is that easy. Bring a pad. Bring a jacket for it to wear at night. Bring plenty of water. Bring some food. Bring a slightly larger tent. Set up in a place without people. Set up in a place with water. Set up in place without hazards. Don't overthink it, just go camping with your dog. They love it. You'll love it. It's awesome.