Camping & backpacking with dogs is really enjoyable, but the fun can be ruined if your furry pal is shivering and can’t stay warm. Here in Utah, the temperatures can be 90F during the day and drop as low as 30F in the desert, even in the Summer. It doesn’t matter if you decided to camp in Moab or in the High Uintas, always be prepared for cold weather camping with your dog, especially since the weather can change so quickly here. After camping and backpacking for 5 years with Charlie, one of the top questions I get is how I keep Charlie warm.
6 Tips to Keep Your Dog Warm while Camping
My first and favorite option is to simply snuggle, and it really does warm up dogs quickly. Since Charlie is 70 lbs, and both of us can’t fit in the sleeping bag at the same time, what I will do is put a blanket over my thermarest and lay on top of then. Then, I will unzip my sleeping bag, and put that on top of us like a large blanket. That way he can snuggle me, he’s on top of insulation, and we are both under the sleeping bag. This always seems to work the best for him to warm up.
2. Consider buying a sleeping bag or pad
Several companies now offer a dog sleeping bag, such as the Ruffwear Sleeping Bag or the the Ruffwear dog pad travel bed. They have a durable, polyester outer shell that provides a water-resistant, quick-drying layer to ensure your dog will stay warm and dry in tough conditions! Dog sleeping bags/pads are compact and weigh under 2-3 lbs. Just like a human sleeping bag, your dog can curl up in between two layers of their own bag to create warmth from it’s own body heat.
3. Buy a doggie puffy coat
When temperature drop at night, or even after a storm passes through, I like to put a lightweight puffy coat on Charlie. Ruffwear makes an awesome coat called the Quinzee Coat that is perfect to warm up dogs. Other companies have variations of a dog coat, but this one is made of synthetic down, making it warm yet light. This jacket also rolls up into the built-in stuff sack so it takes up less space in your backpack or dog pack. Side buckles ensure that the coat stays on all night long.
4. Place a warm water bottle next to them, wrapped in a shirt
If your dog is physically shivering, another option is to create a hot water bottle that should be wrapped in a shirt or pack towel, then place it next to your dogs as they curl up. Simply boil water, fill up a Nalgene bottle, wrap it in a shirt or towel, then place next to your dog. Always test the water bottle against your own skin – if it’s too hot for you, then it’s too hot for your dog.
5. Always bring a lightweight fleece or down blanket
Tip: If you shop at CostCo, they will offer the Double Black Diamond Packable Throw for only $20 in the Fall/Winter! Online they offer this blanket for a set of two for $40 but they have fewer color options.
6. Cuddle your bestie
If you have two dogs, have them sleep next to each other! What better way to warm up next to your bestie?? Charlie’s buddy Bear backpacked with us for three trips, and each night they cuddled up to keep warm, and I also put the sleeping bag on top of all of us. It was pretty toasty!