Things to pack for your dog for an RV camping trip

Milo the AwesomeDog and I spend lots of time RV camping. When we started traveling together I packed waaaaay too much stuff for him, which made getting ready to go camping a big ordeal. I’ve since streamlined the packing process. Now, I only bring what he needs and it just takes a couple of minutes to throw his stuff in the camper.

Here’s my RV camping packing list for Milo:

Obvious things

  • Food
  • Poop bags
  • Food and water bowls

Comfortable housing

I keep him with me almost all the time. When I’m sitting at a picnic table or relaxing in front of a campfire Milo rests in an exercise pen. I can attach a tarp to one side of the pen in case I need to shield him from unruly kids or dogs, and I have a fabulous reflective sunshade that keeps him cool on hot days. I’ve recently started bringing an electric fan that I set just outside his pen. It does a great job of keeping the mosquitos away.

Hiking, swimming, and kayaking stuff

I take him kayaking with me, and so he needs a lifejacket. And he carries his own snacks and water on long hikes, so he needs his backpack too. Sometimes I run his short leash through my belt and sometimes I hold it, but I find that all we need is one 6-foot leash.

Safety

I always keep a copy of his papers in my vehicle, and when we’re camping I write my cell phone number on his collar with a Sharpie in case he loses his tags. I also bring a flyer with his picture and my phone number on it (just in case). Finally, I keep a canine first aid kit in the trailer, which I supplement with Benadryl, because Milo occasionally eats bees, and a tick remover.

Fun

In addition to his toys, I bring cans of wet dog food and a couple of Kong chew toys. I have a freezer in my trailer, and I make him frozen Kongs so he has something to do on rainy days.

  • Tug toy
  • Water retrieve toy
  • Land retrieve toy
  • Kongs
  • Cans of wet dog food for easy frozen Kong filling

De-skunking potion ingredients

I always keep the ingredients for a de-skunking wash in my trailer. I’ve never had to use them, but I have a friend who had to make a long drive home with a very skunky dog, and I never want to be in that position.

  • hydrogen peroxide
  • baking soda
  • dish soap
  • disposable tarp

I bring fewer things for Milo than I used to, and we still have a great time.

black and tan german shepherd laying in green grass against a backdrop of green forest. There is a fence between the dog and the forest.

Here’s Milo at campsite 220 at Grundy Lake Provincial Park. He’s in his 48-inch Precision X-pen. This pen is a bit pricey, but it’s worth it. It’s a safer and more comfortable option than a tie-out. The black wire blends into the background and the pen has a walk-through door that is easy for people and not just dogs to use. It is simple to set up and is sturdy. 

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Good things to bring on a long RV trip with your dog

Milo and I have only been on the road for three days and there are already a few things I’m really glad I brought:

Hands-free leash. It’s nice to have both hands free for taking pictures, carrying things, or just comfortable hiking. When we’re attached I can sit at a picnic table and read without worrying about him.

I have a Kurgo K9 Excursion Running Belt. I bought this particular brand because it happened to be in the store and I didn’t have time to shop around. If you’re crafty you could easily make one. The Kurgo is good but not perfect. I like that it’s stretchy and the wide waistband is comfortable. The pockets for keys and poop bags are convenient, but the water bottle is too small to be useful. Milo could break the leash clips if he put his mind to it. But, I’m OK with this unintended break-away option. I don’t want him pulling me over any cliffs! If there is a situation where he might lunge, I can thread the loop of his leash through the belt itself. A hands-free leash makes setting up camp easier.

campsite with picnic table, blue suv, camper trailer and German shepherd dog in a pen

Milo lounging in his xpen

Exercise pens. I brought two 48-inch-tall exercise pens and an aluminum shade cloth. These make an easy to assemble and secure home for Milo. I can put him in there with a bed, a bowl of water and a frozen Kong and he is good for an afternoon of lounging and listening to the birds.

Frozen Kong fixings. My camper has a freezer and I brought some high quality wet dog food and two Kong toys. A can of food is enough to fill two toys, with just enough left over for a little snack for The Boy. Freeze those Kongs solid and you have a long-lasting, highly engaging dog snack—great for rainy afternoons or days when I am done walking before he is.

Not all the good things are for Milo. Some of them are just for me:

Olives.  You know what is better than salty olives after a long hike? Nothing. Total yum.

A nice plastic beer glass. This was an impulse buy at a box store just before we left. A nice cold beer in a pilsner glass goes well with the olives.

Happy camping!