In this blog, we’ve spoken about staying clean and organized on your van camping trip, how to handle a trip with friends, or even with children or a baby. One thing we’ve yet to bring up is camping with pets. Now, you may think this is a piece of cake, but there are still things worth considering before you go. So, here is a quick guide to the factors involved in bringing your dog on a van camping excursion.

It’s Awesome

Let’s just get this one out of the way, camping with your dog, like doing most things with your dog, is awesome. There’s nothing like the canine companionship to make any activity more enjoyable, and basking in the unconditional love of your pooch amidst the splendor of the great outdoors is a pastime well worth your while. An added benefit is that if you bring dogs with your family, they can help give something for your kids to do, if they’re feeling energetic but you want to rest and recuperate.

Alright, now that that’s been said, let’s move on to logistics.

Choosing a Dog-friendly Location

Of course, if you’re going to be camping on a large campground where campsites are relatively close together, having a dog along might make things socially complicated with other campsites. Unless your pup is very well trained, he or she may not know that they shouldn’t approach this or that stranger, go sniffing around their campsite, or God forbid, mark his territory on their possessions. In fact, many such campsites have strict leash policies, to prevent such things. Camping on a leash isn’t much camping at all.

This is a judgement call on your part, but we highly recommend dispersed camping with your dog. Not only is it cheaper or free, but you won’t have to worry about all of the above. Your dog will have a natural area which they can feel like is there “territory” away from home, so-to-speak.

Bring All the Dog Stuff

Don’t assume that there will be clean water for your dog to drink at the campsite you’re going to, and make sure to bring all the things that will help make your dog feel at home, even one or two toys. Of course, you’ll need to bring enough food for them, too. It can be challenging even to plan for humans, especially with the space considerations of camping in a van, but the dog adds an extra factor into the equation, don’t miss anything!

Make Your Doggy Corner

It’s a good idea to give your dog their own special place in the van, you can even bring along their dog bed, to make them feel at home. This can help prevent them from being tempted to chew on all of the novel items they’ll have around them in the unusual environment of the campervan. It also gives a sense of comfort, to have a designated “nest,” so-to-speak.

Check the National Park’s Rules

Some parks have rules against dogs coming along on the hiking trails, so be aware of this. In general, make sure that everything you’re going to be doing can involve the dog, because it’s not really feasible or wise to leave them alone at the campsite. While an RV does provide an air conditioned environment, leaving a dog in a camper van is a little different. You wouldn’t want to leave it running with them in it. While you’re probably planning on being active anyway if you’re camping, bringing a dog also makes this more essential, as they are likely to get bored or restless otherwise.

Teach Simple Safety Commands

This may be a bit much for one trip, but really, your dog should know a few safety commands anyway. For instance, they should be able to stop if you command them to, or wait. If your dog can’t follow simple commands, you might question whether to bring them along. It’s not a deal breaker, but it just adds another variable into the equation.