The Pack Report

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Camping with your dog can increase the bond you two share, create lasting memories, and remind you to live in the moment. Whether it be backpacking through the mountains, a weekend in an RV, tenting at your favorite place or canoeing the Boundary Waters. Camping with your dog will be a great experience, but it just takes a little more planning. It is imperative to know the rules before you go, so you and your dog can make the most out of the trip.

The most general rule is, wherever your car can go, so can your dog. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Dogs are generally not allowed on hiking trails in National Parks. There may be a limit on the number of dogs you can have at your site. Remember rules will vary from place to place, so check while planning. Backcountry camping rules will vary based on the location and who manages the land. Beaches usually do not allow dogs, but some are dog-friendly. 

To have the most enjoyable time with your dog, research the rules and regulations while planning your trip.

Camping with your dog

Public Developed Campgrounds

Public developed campgrounds usually allow you to have your dog with you. These campgrounds are often close to a city, so if you plan to go on day trips to the city, plan a dog-friendly option. If you don’t plan on going into the city, make sure your day trips are still dog-friendly. These campgrounds will also have a lot of people, so make sure your dog is trained and leashed at all times.

National Parks

Almost all National Parks will allow dogs in the developed areas, meaning the campground, parking lots, and picnic areas. However, dogs are not allowed on the backcountry trails because National Parks do not limit where wildlife can go, meaning wildlife may attack your dog. Again figure out the rules while planning your trip to see if your furry friend can join you or if you have to make other arrangements.

State Parks

State Parks are often dog-friendly, they allow dogs in the developed campground, on most trails, and at some beaches. Some State Parks will feature dog-friendly amenities such as drinking fountains, clean-up stations, dog beaches, and dog parks to list just a few. State Parks are an excellent choice for dog owners because they offer so many dog-friendly activities. However, their remoteness may be limited, so if you are looking for more off-trail camping, check out the National Forests.

National Forests and Bureau of Land Management Land

The U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management manage more than 440 million acres of public land. The good news is most of that land is dog-friendly, so feel free to go off-trail and explore. While in these areas, you may be able to take your dog off-leash if they listen to your commands. Dogs are also allowed in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area if they are on a leash while portaging. 

General Tips

Your dog will always be there. In most states, it is illegal to leave a dog without adequate food, water, or shade. Which means always bring your pup with you, and make sure they are not disruptive to other people or dogs. If you have to go someplace not pet-friendly, it is not a good idea to tie your pooch up outside. It is much better to leave someone outside watching your dog. Having a pet is also a great way to meet other people because most will want to pet it.

Keep your dog on a leash at all times. The rule is six feet or shorter for most places. Fido must be on a leash while hiking, but also in the campground. A harness is a great way to take the pressure off their neck, and it makes controlling your dog a little easier.

Clean up after your dog. Yes, we understand this is not always fun, but because so many people are enjoying the outdoors, it is respectful to other people. Make sure you throw the bag away in a proper location, many places will have dog waste specific cans.

Make sure your dog is well-trained. This one is more for the dog owner because it will make your life easier. One of the best commands to make sure your dog understands is “leave it” because most pups like to explore out a lot of things. It is also smart to make sure your dog does well with others because you might see other pets depending on where you go. 

Pack enough supplies for you and your dog. Make sure you pack plenty of water for you and your dog. Some gear we recommend is a portable water dish and a treat bag. You should also make sure your four-legged friend can keep up with the challenging trails and is in the proper physical shape.

Check the rules while planning your trip. When planning a trip, check the rules to see if your pet can come along. Pet-Friendly-Travel has rules for most places, and some helpful links to check out. Be sure to check the regulations at your destination.  

Have fun. It is always important when traveling to make sure you have fun. Camping with man’s best friend requires more work but take in the moments and bond with your pup. Hopefully, you and your dog will create many memories while camping together.

Happy travels, friends.