So you want to go camping with your dog, but you’re not quite sure what tent choose.
Even if it’s just in your backyard, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Our team has spent the last 10+ years spending time outdoors with our dogs, and camping happens to be one of our specialties.
Coleman Sundome Tent
It’s difficult to pick the perfect tent without going through all the questions we list below. But this is one of the best all around tents for camping with your dog and it comes in multiple size options.
10 Best Tents for Dog Owners
|Picture||Name||Available Sizes||Where to Buy|
|Coleman Sundome Tent||3, 4, 6 person||See it on Amazon|
|Kelty Salida Tent||1, 2, 4 person||See it on Amazon|
|Coleman Red Canyon Tent||8 person||See it on Amazon|
|Wenzel Klondike Tent||8 person||See it on Amazon|
|Coleman Elite WeatherMaster Tent||6 person||See it on Amazon|
|ALPS Mountaineering Lynx ||1, 2, 4 person||See it on Amazon|
|Paria Outdoor Bryce Tent||1, 2 person||See it on Amazon|
|HuiLingYang Outdoor Instant Pop-up Dome Tent||4 person||See it on Amazon|
|Andake 1206G Roomy One Man Camping Tent||1 person||See it on Amazon|
|Big Agnes Copper Hotel UL Tent||2, 3 person||See it on Amazon|
Okay, you’ve seen our favorite picks, but besides choosing the right size how do you narrow down which tent to go with?
What kind of dog will you be camping with?
First off, what breed is your dog? Or more importantly, how big is your dog?
I personally have camped mostly with medium size dogs (40-60 lbs), which is the most popular range. This article will target that size, but I’ll leave some tips for smaller or larger dog breeds as well.
Still it’s important to keep your breed type in mind when choosing a tent.
For example, some breeds like Greyhounds are rumored to be terrified of lightning storms, so a sturdier tent in case it rains may be a good pick.
If you have a Husky or any breed with a thick undercoat maybe you need a ventilated tent for summer camping.
Vice versa if you camped with a thin coated dog, like a boxer, during winter you may need a well insulated tent.
Your dog’s breed and disposition play an important role.
How many people (and pets) will be in the tent?
Secondly, how many dogs (and people) will be in the tent with you?
It would be a tight squeeze, but 2 medium sized dogs and an average size person could fit in a 2-person tent. Especially if the tent has a vestibule for your gear.
Also, if you’re a heavy packer you may want to add an additional person.
For example, if you go camping with one dog, but carry a lot of gear, probably opt for a 3-person tent. On the flip side, if you packed light 2 dogs and 2 people could also fit in a nice 3-person tent.
Keep this info in mind as we start looking at specific tents.
Which tent is best for camping with a dog?
For backpacking, I use a 1-person tent with side doors and a vestibule for me and my Australian cattle dog (ACD). The side doors make it easier to get in and out of the tent.
However, for park and camp trips I prefer a 3-person tent just because it’s got a bit more room.
Here’s what you should look for in a good tent:
- Thick floor. Even if you plan on laying blankets and beds down, your dog’s nails will always find an opening. So make sure the flooring is well-built.
- Ventilation or Insulation. If you’re camping in the summer get a well ventilated tent with a rain guard. If in the winter, make sure it’s well insulated and rated for the temperatures accordingly.
- Easy to assemble. This should go without saying. Consider a pop-up if you’re new to camping.
- Easy to clean. Ever walked into your house and got a whiff of “dog smell”? Well imagine how bad the close quarters of a tent can be.
Where does the dog sleep?
My dog just sleeps in the vestibule, which is why I prefer tents with vestibules. I can just zip the mesh door and that way I can keep an eye on her, but she’s not dragging extra dirt into the tent.
I also have friends that aren’t comfortable camping unless their dog is right next to them, which is perfectly understandable. In that case a dome style tent may be more important.
Is there such thing as a dog sleeping bag?
Believe it or not there are dog specific sleeping bags.
Alcott makes one called the Explorer. You’ll notice it’s a bid “rounder” than a traditional sleeping bag, so your dog can curl up on top of it. It also unzips for colder weather so your dog can snuggle inside of it like you.
Ruffwear and Hurta, two popular dog brands also have dog sleeping bags.
Another option is to use a Thermarest Z Lite Sleeping Pad and cut it to length. You can find them here.
A final option is to pick up a child size sleeping bag.
The only problem with the two options above (the sleeping pad and child sleeping bag) is they’re usually a bit narrower than your dog. Unless your dog always sleeps on their side or back.
One bit of advice is to be prepared to spend some time cleaning up whatever option you go with. If you’re doing any hiking, especially if you’re near water, it’s likely to get mucked up after every use.
If your dog is rough on things, you may consider trying to bring a few towels instead of a specific sleeping bag or pad, especially if you’re car camping and have some extra room.
2 alternatives to sleeping in a tent with your dog
#1 Hammock camping
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I personally haven’t tried this, but we asked a few fellow hikers that have switched from tent camping to hammock camping.
Their setup is for 2 dogs, one big and one small. The smaller dog is in the hammock with them and the larger dog is on a Therm-a-rest Z Lite (like we mentioned above) secured to a tree with paracord.
#2 Get them their own tent
You read that right.
If you didn’t already know, there a some pretty cool tents out there made specifically for dogs. And it just so happens we’ve already done the hard work of reviewing them.
Check out dog specific tents here.
We’ve gone over a lot, but make sure to check out our dog camping guide for a few more tips.
Let us know in the comments below which tent you end up going with.
Or if you’ve got some questions drop a line and we’ll do our best to answer them.