The Best Camping Gear for Pets

February 12, 2024

The best travel companion I’ve ever had on the road in my van is, without a doubt, my cat. Or, as my mother would call her, “your devil companion.”

Smudge is not the sweetest thing to others, I’ll admit now (though I refuse to admit it to my mother), but she and I are a bonded unit. Thick as thieves out there on the road, and she’s what has so often kept me company on the nights I can hear nothing but my own thoughts while tucked away somewhere in a forest.

When we first started out in the van together in 2021, to put it lightly it took some getting used to. To make a bloody, unpleasant story short, I stopped at a Wyoming grocery store a few hours into my departure, and when I came back out, I couldn’t find her.

I mean I searched everywhere. I took out bins from the back, stripped the bed, and even looked thrice in the fridge.

People everywhere at some point started to gather, helping me find Smudge while I started to go into panic mode. Had she somehow magically found a hole in the van I missed and jumped into traffic? Had she slipped past my feet when I stopped back at the gas station?

I had a million horrible thoughts racing, so when I found her tucked up in the smallest hole between the fridge and the underside of the bed, I about burst into tears as the audience outside clapped.

I wish I could say that was the end of the story, but in my haste, I grabbed her to hug her and she clawed me in fear from my neck to almost my clavicle bone.

People watching looked aghast as I assured them she was actually “really sweet”, just scared (ha) and as I nursed the two cuts with ointment, I thought then about how ill-prepared I really was to travel with this feline companion.

I had a little box from our standing home, plenty of food, and a harness. But was this appropriate? Wouldn’t I eventually need a better little option?

It was moments like this that led me to search for blogs similar to this, laying out the best camping gear for your furry friends. So, if you’re like me, and looking for how to give your baby the best experience out on the road or camping, read on for some solid ideas.

The Best Camping Gear for Dogs

An outdoor dog bed made from a sleeping bag material.

1. Ruffwear Highlands Dog Sleeping Bag

I mean honestly, could this be any cuter? This high-quality sleeping bag is designed specifically for dogs, providing insulation and warmth during chilly nights. Pair it with the Ruffwear Highlands Dog Bed for an ultimate camping comfort experience.

A small green tent for dogs.

2. POP n’ Go Dome Tent for Dogs

How fun is it to give your pup his or her own little tent? Offering a cozy shelter for your canine companion, the Coleman Dome Tent is easy to set up and features a mesh window for ventilation. It provides a secure space for your dog to rest and sleep.

A harness for dogs.

3. Kurgo Dog Harness

Ensure your dog’s safety during hikes with the Kurgo Dog Harness, designed with durability and comfort in mind. It includes a front D-ring to discourage pulling and a back handle for easy control.

A retractable dog leash in gray.

4. TUG Retractable Dog Leash

This leash offers freedom of movement for your dog while ensuring safety. With a durable design and easy-to-use one-handed locking system, it’s perfect for outdoor adventures.

A turquois collapsible dog bowl.

5. Rest-Eazzzy Collapsible Dog Bowl

These lightweight and collapsible bowls are perfect for providing food and water on the go. Made of durable silicone, they are easy to clean and store in your backpack.

A dog wearing a green light up dog collar.

6. Illumiseen LED Dog Collar

Enhance visibility during nighttime camping with this LED collar. It ensures your dog is seen in low-light conditions, enhancing safety during evening walks or around the campsite.

Black booties for your dog.

7. Ruffwear Grip Trex Dog Boots

Protect your dog’s paws from rough terrain with these durable boots. They provide traction and comfort, making them essential for rocky or hot surfaces.

The Best Camping Gear for Cats

An outdoor cat enclosure.

1. Petsfit Outdoor Cat Shelter

This tent is designed for outdoor use and provides a secure space for your cat to enjoy the surroundings while staying protected. It’s easily foldable, making it convenient for travel. I’ve had this one FOREVER, and taken it to many countries, and it’s still very durable.

A multi-layer outdoor cat enclosure.

2. Outback Jack Cat Outdoor Net Enclosure

For added freedom without compromising safety, this enclosed space allows your cat to experience the outdoors safely. It’s ideal for camping and provides a comfortable lounging area so you don’t have to worry about your baby going missing or getting a little too excited by the bugs.

A harness and leash for a cat.

3. PetSafe Come With Me Kitty Harness and Bungee Leash

Designed for feline comfort and with a pretty purple color to boot, this harness allows your cat to explore while maintaining control. The bungee leash minimizes sudden jerks, ensuring a stress-free experience.

A set of disposable litter boxes

4. Kitty’s WonderBox Disposable Litter Box

This disposable, biodegradable litter box is perfect for camping trips. It’s lightweight, easy to set up, and ensures your cat has a familiar place to do its business.

A cat toy with three layers of balls in tracks.

5. Petstages Tower of Tracks Cat Toy

I’ve had this toy in the back of my van for agesand she still loves it. Keep your cat entertained with this interactive toy featuring three levels of colorful balls. It’s compact and lightweight, making it suitable for travel.

Ventilated cat backpack carrier.

6. Lollimeow Cat Backpack Carrier

This well-ventilated and secure backpack allows your cat to enjoy the scenery while being comfortably nestled on your back. It’s a great option for short hikes during your camping adventure.

Lindsey Hall is an award-winning mental health speaker and writer, focusing on what she refers to as “the nitty gritty topics not discussed.” She is the author behind “I Haven’t Shaved in Six Weeks,” a blog written to humanize the stigmas of eating disorders and treatment.

Through her published writing and work in public relations, she has had the privilege of speaking around the world on nuanced topics such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Exercise Addiction, Orthorexia and other eating disorder behaviors, and has been featured in publications including TODAY Show, CBS, Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, SheKnows, SHAPE Magazine, Refinery29, and more.

An outdoor enthusiast (and Colorado girl) at heart, Lindsey loves to hike wherever possible and is currently focused on taking her white Dodge Ram ProMaster van around the world with her lovely cat, Smudges. Together, they have traveled in over 40 states and even across borders into Canada to conquer the trails!

Follow Lindsey Hall on Instagram.



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