Camping With Dogs

From small to large, tips for bringing your furry friend along for your teardrop trailer travels.

Dogs are pretty big part of the Timberleaf family. From the shop floor to the farthest reaches of the backcountry, dogs are integral to the trailer camping experience. Lots of people camp successfully with all kinds of dogs: big, small, puppies, old timers, dogs that need to stay on-leash, and dogs that explore. 

Before you head out with your dog, here are five things to keep in mind and prepare for:

Food, water, and medication: It may sound obvious, but don’t forget food, extra water, and any medications for your dog(s). Treat food and medications as you do human food – keep it in a bear box, the tongue box, or in a locked car overnight to prevent critters and bears from accessing it.

Mess! Be prepared for dirt, mud, dog hair, and every other imaginable dog mess. Most things can be handled with a couple of old towels, extra water, and biodegradable soap. But if your dog sleeps in the trailer with you, you’ll want to have a fully enclosed, zippered mattress encasement on the bed and a backup sheet. Dogs can eat grass or other things at camp that give them upset stomachs. If you have to strip the bed in the middle of the night, you’ll want clean sheets and a dry mattress. Clean up dog poop as you would in any other setting – leave no trace.

Sleeping: There are multiple ways to sleep with your dog(s). Some folks sleep with two 50-lb. dogs in the trailer with them. We’ve seen people make a sleeping berth for dogs with an interior shelf at the end of the bed. Others make a dedicated dog bed in the backseat of their car or truck, and some set up an enclosed sleeping area just outside the trailer.

Safety: As a starting point, dogs should be vaccinated and on flea, tick and heartworm prevention medication. They should be microchipped and wearing a collar and tags. You need to know your dog and whether it’s safe for your dog to be off-leash at camp. If you’re confident that your dog can safely roam off-leash, have them wear a bear bell so that you (and bears and other critters) can hear your dog coming and a glow-in-the-dark collar for nighttime.

Temperature: Hot or cold, be prepared. Small dogs are especially vulnerable to cold temps – bring a dog jacket or extra blanket in cold weather. Dogs don’t sweat, so in hot weather, make sure you’re carrying extra water and providing shade for your dog family. 

In short, we love camping with dogs. The photos in this series were taken at the August 2021 Timberleaf Jamboree outside Leadville, CO. Share your dog portraits and tag @timberleaftrailers on Instagram and Facebook. And yes, we’ve looked into cat camping. It seems…challenging, but we’d love to know if you’ve successfully camped with your cat! 

Words by Sarah Labowitz; photography by Peter Molick

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