If you were a cat person, you’d likely be at a hotel. But, you love dogs and you love camping. And the best part of that is that your dogs love camping too! However, camping with man’s best friend comes with its own unique set of challenges and needs to take into account. After all, your dog is a part of your family. They don’t deserve to sleep out in the cold while the rest of the family enjoys the warmth and luxury of a great tent.
This article is for the dog lovers in the audience looking for the right tent to satisfy both the puppies and the people in their families. The best tent for dog owners is one where both dogs and people feel right at home. We’ll look at camping with dogs from every possible angle, giving you everything you need to know about making your camping trip with your dogs a comfortable one for everyone.
What do you need to bring? What do you need to look for in your search for the perfect tent for camping with dogs? Can dogs sleep in tents? How do you camp with dogs in the tent?
Dive into our in-depth primer on the best tents for camping with dogs for the answer to these questions and much more!
For more tips for camping with dogs, check out our guide.
Why Settle For A Tent For Just Part Of Your Family?
My best memories of camping always have a dog running around in them. I always like to say that I was born a dog person. My first true best friend was a Golden Retriever named Rocky and some of my best childhood moments involved running alongside Rocky and my brothers through various camping sites around the Pacific Northwest.
Rocky wasn’t just a dog, though. Rocky was a part of our family. He was as loved as anyone else in the family and was treated with the same respect as the rest of us. That means Rocky ate with us when we camped, played with us, and even slept with us.
Now, our tent wasn’t the most ideal one for all of this. It was a bit of a stretch shoehorning four people and a long, lazy dog into a space meant for four people max. We made it work, but what if we didn’t have to?
Advancements in tent designs have come fast and furious in the decades since I used to snuggle up with Rocky in our family tent. Finding the right tent and the best tent for dog owners is easier than ever! Whether it’s a tent with a dog door or just a spacious and strong tent built to counteract any potential doggy outbursts, tents made with dogs and people in mind are a must for any serious camper who is also a serious dog owner.
How do you camp with dogs in a tent?
It’s not easy if you have a tent which hasn’t been constructed with your puppy friend in mind. Normal tents just aren’t spacious enough, strong enough, or intuitive enough to really be a worthwhile investment for any family who just can’t bear leaving their dog(s) at home.
Not only can dogs sleep in tents which are made with dog owners in mind, they can also enjoy needed space and unique amenities which take inevitable doggy mood swings into account. The key difference between a normal tent and a tent for dog owners is that a tent for dog owners is made to make everyone’s life easier – be it canine or human.
What Separates The Best Tents For Camping With Dogs From Normal Tents?
In your search for the best tent for camping with dogs, there are some essential features you need to look out for. The best tent for dog owners is up for debate, but any contender for the canine camping crown needs to have these things going for it. Otherwise, it’s just a normal tent and not worth your time (or your dogs’ time.)
The Larger The Tent, The More Comfy The Experience
A good rule of thumb when buying the right tent for camping with your dogs is to add one person’s worth of capacity for each dog you’re camping with. If you’re usually comfortable with a 2-3 person tent and you’re bringing a single dog along, it would be smart to buy a 3-4 person tent to take your dog’s comfort (and your entire family’s comfort) into account.
While there are definitely tents out there with separate rooms attached where dogs can easily sleep (more on that in a second), there’s a good chance your dog may get spooked sleeping alone in an unfamiliar area with unfamiliar sounds.
Add an extra person’s worth of capacity to your tent purchase will save you the potential headache of trying to cram multiple people and a scared pup into a tight space.
Vestibules Will Come In Handy
A vestibule is an adjacent room attached to the main room of a tent which can be used for a variety of different functions. Usually screened, vestibules are a recurring theme when looking at the best tents out there for camping with dogs.
If the weather is nice outside and your puppy is cooperative, a vestibule is a lovely little haven for your dog to sleep while the rest of the family slumbers in the main tent. If that’s not possible for one reason or another, a vestibule is still great to have for keeping your dog in check while you tend to duties which require your full attention.
The screen facing out of the vestibule will allow your dog to watch you and remain calmer if they’re being sequestered from what’s going on outside. Keeping your dog locked up in the main tent all alone could easily be the recipe for a doggy nervous breakdown (or disaster as it’s more aptly called.)
Only Thick, Tear-Resistant Fabrics Need Apply
There are plenty of new sights and sounds during a camping trip which will excite your dog or make them a complete anxious wreck. And what do dogs do when they get anxious? If your dogs are anything like mine, they dig and rip and tear things to absolute shreds.
If you make the mistake of buying a budget-conscious tent made of thin material, you’re not just at risk of catching a cold. Your dog could easily scratch their way through the side of the tent and turn your relatively cozy camping night into an absolutely freezing one.
A smart side plan is to trim your dogs’ nails before taking them with you on a camping trip. While that may not stop the mayhem if a dog’s nervous enough, it will at least delay it long enough for you to intervene.
How To Tell If A Tent Is No Good (And Not Good Enough For Your Dogs)
Don’t even think about buying the clearance tent you see on sale at your local big box store. Skimping on your tent purchase to save a few bucks is only going to lead to more stress and more chaos when your dogs start acting like…well, dogs.
As mentioned before, any tent made of flimsy material is a prime candidate for having an unforeseen door added by a nervous pup. In addition, small tents made for the bare necessity of sleeping and little else are simply not equipped to really address the needs of both dogs and dog owners.
Be sure to take spatial considerations into account for the size of your dog. If you have a larger dog, you may want to factor in your puppy as two people when it comes to the overall capacity of your tent. If your tent doesn’t have space for your dog to sprawl as dogs tend to do, you’re going to have an unpleasant and cramped sleeping experience.
The 8 Best Tents For Camping With Dogs In 2019
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This waterproofed 4-person tent uses the patented WeatherTec system to keep the inside of this spacious camping palace dry from the elements. Made from durable polyguard fabric and complete with an invaluable side annex, the Coleman Juniper Lake Instant Dome Tent sets up in about 60 seconds with the help of pre-attached poles.
This tent is easy to set but hard to forget! The quick setup time belies how spacious and comfy this tent truly is. Our medium-sized dog was extremely happy on its dog bed in the annex. It didn’t bark once in the couple of nights we camped inside it!
Why it rocks!
- The inside of the main tent is big enough to house a queen-sized air mattress with room to spare!
- It’s extremely quick to set up and escape the elements if you happen to make camp with a rainstorm approaching.
- The bathtub-shaped floor is a fantastic weather-resistant feature which keeps both feet and paws dry inside the tent.
- While it takes a minute to get this tent up and running, it’s nearly impossible to gather everything back up and get it into the carry bag.
- The zippers on the tent have an annoying tendency of getting caught in the rain flaps. It can be a real bother.
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If you have a large camping party or just want to luxuriate with a lot of space at you and your dogs’ disposal, the Wenzel 8 Person Klondike Tent is for you. Made of sturdy Weather Armor material which protects you from the worst of the rain and wind, this two-room tent has space for 2 full Queen airbeds and provides an ample 6.5 feet worth of head space.
We camped with the Wenzel 8 Person Klondike Tent during the summer and fell in love with its convenience pockets and vents system which kept fresh air circulating through the tent all day and night long! I spent a lot of time reading with one of our dogs under the large front screen awning. It was pure bliss.
Why it rocks!
- If you’re looking for a great balance of sturdy materials and space to roam, there isn’t a much better option on this list.
- All the zippers and webbing on this tent are reinforced to ensure that water is repelled and the inside stays nice and dry.
- The Klondike’s fiberglass frame and Power Corners stabilize it nicely when higher-speed winds start to whip.
- There is only a door on one side of the tent. Those sleeping in the annex with have to step over everyone in the main tent to get outside.
- The provided stakes will likely need to be upgraded over time. They can easily bend if hit into the ground incorrectly.
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Perhaps the most versatile 6-person dome tents in the marketplace today, the Coleman Steel Creek Fast Pitch Dome Tent comes complete with an adjacent screen room perfect for sequestering your dog when things get overwhelming. The tent’s reinforced frame and Polyguard fabrics resists wear and tear to an impressive degree. The tent’s quick 7-minute setup time is just as impressive considering the amenities.
We camped with this beauty during a pretty nasty rainstorm and we didn’t regret it one bit! The WeatherTec system and rainfly fought off the rain admirably and left us nice and toasty inside. The Illumiline reflective guide lines in the tent were also super handy when tiptoeing around in the dark.
Why It Rocks!
- With its patented Fast Pitch technology and snag-free Insta-Clip suspension system, this tent pitches an average of 50% faster than other Coleman tents we’ve tested.
- There are some fantastic extra features to be had including a useful E-port for easily routing electrical power into the tent.
- The screen room has a full floor which can be used for a pretty large dog bed on warmer nights.
- To prevent puddles during storms and get the full 72 inches of head space, you’ll need to tie the top of the tent. This isn’t included in the instructions.
- Various complaints have surfaced online about broken clips and sliced shock cords. Pay attention as soon as you unbox it.
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A two-room tent is a great luxury to have when camping with dogs. This Coleman 8-Person Tent for Camping ups the ante by providing dividers which can help create three separate rooms! The shock-corded poles included make this tent a snap to set up, while the aforementioned Coleman WeatherTec system will keep both your buddies and dogs dry if stormy weather starts to kick up.
One of my dogs is a notorious little diva and starts to act up when things get too stuffy in our house. It was cute at first but has gotten progressively more annoying. This tent was a saving grace during a summer camping trip thanks to its Cool-Air port and Variflo adjustable venting system which allowed us to keep the air flowing in all nice and cool. Our dog really appreciated it and so did we!
Why it rocks!
- The tent floor is reinforced and waterproof as are the zipper cuffs near the door. This is a great element-proof tent!
- The wind-strong frame is also dog-strong to be sure. One of our dogs ran into it at full speed with the door closed and it didn’t budge.
- The potential for three distinct rooms is perfect for giving dogs and people their own comfy spaces to sleep and relax.
- Attempting to center the tent body efficaciously on the poles can be a struggle. It took a couple tries to get this tent set up just right.
- Some users have complained about a tight door zipper which can snag and be a real hassle.
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Sleeping 11 people/dogs and spacious enough to fit three massive Queen air mattresses, the Core 11 Person Family Cabin Tent also sports a large front screen room with easy-to-close window panels and complete tent floor coverage. The company’s patented CORE H2O Block Technology keeps dogs and people dry when the elements rear their ugly head.
When you’re camping with dogs, the best tents for dog owners are the ones which help you stay organized in the midst of potential doggy chaos. That’s why I was so enamored with this tent’s gear loft and large pockets. I was able to keep our essentials out of the way of whirling, happy dog dervishes.
Why it rocks!
- The screen room is multifaceted and is the perfect addendum for letting air flow during warm summer nights while also serving as a great room to sequester a dog who needs a timeout.
- This is the largest capacity tent on this list which gives it a fantastic sense of space for both people and dogs to coexist.
- It’s an extremely easy tent to set up despite its impressive size. That’s one less stress to deal with when camping with dogs.
- This is an extremely heavy tent to port around at 43 pounds. It can be a bit of a burden if your campsite is farther away from where you park.
- There isn’t a separate entrance to get into the main room of the tent which doesn’t go through the screen room. If your dog is sleeping in the screen room and you need to use the restroom at night, this can be tough.
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While this isn’t the most spacious tent on the list, it’s a fantastic bargain of a 6-person tent which is perfect for camping with dogs in less-than-ideal weather. Complete with a separate floorless screen room where your puppy can get some needed chill time, the Coleman WeatherMaster 6-Person Tent lives up to its name by offering peak water resistance thanks to its WeatherTec technology and welded floors.
I had to do some impromptu writing for work on my camping trip with this tent and I was extremely thankful to have an easy-to-access E-port to power my laptop. I spent some quality time in the mornings working and lounging with one of my dogs. It was a true happy place inside a truly impressive tent for dog owners.
Why it rocks!
- This tent has one of the strongest frames on the list. Its wind-strong composition is reinforced and anchored by redesigned poles and sturdy guy-out triangles.
- This tent’s spacious storage pockets keep essentials safe and out of the paw grasp of precocious puppies.
- The rainfly is very effective and easy to adhere thanks to handy Velcro frame attachments.
- It can be extremely hard and counterintuitive to insert the front center pole into the O-ring. Sometimes it can be nearly impossible.
- The D-style swing door is a really nice touch, but the fabric around the door can be a bit cumbersome and unwieldy.
Bessport Camping Tent 1 and 2 Person Lightweight Backpacking Tent Waterproof Two Doors Easy Setup Tent for Outdoor, Hiking Mountaineering Travel
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Are you headed out for a camping trip with just you and your dog? This tent is the perfect buy for those looking to take solo trips with their favorite puppy in tow. It’s an extremely spacious tent for a 2-person tent, giving your dog a lot of space to roam around before getting comfy for bed. It also provides a great combination of durability and weather resistance which will protect and please.
I recently took a solo trip with my faithful Black Labrador and there was no way I was going to take any other tent than this one. The mesh panels on the top of the tent kept things cool and made our late spring night in the woods a relaxing one. It was plenty roomy for both myself and my dog to sprawl out and enjoy a calm and relaxing adventure.
Why it rocks!
- This is the only true backpacking tent we’d recommend for dog owners right away. It’s two D-shaped doors and two vestibules are extremely useful.
- The freestanding nature of this tent makes it super easy to move without having to disassemble and reassemble it somewhere else.
- The 7001 Series aluminum alloy stakes provided are quite durable and anchor this tent down nicely.
- The upper flap of the rainfly has a troublesome tendency for getting caught in the zipper. It can be a real annoyance.
- The plastic zippers on this tent just aren’t the greatest from a strength or durability standpoint. They visibly strain sometimes during tent setup.
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The fifth Coleman tent on our list is a cost-effective warm-weather tent which is strong enough to withstand an energetic dog bouncing about against its walls. Spacious enough to be comfy for a combination of four people and canines, the Coleman Sundome Tent has two windows and ample roof vents to keep the inside of the tent airy and nice during warm summer nights.
This tent has also been featured in our best tents for two adults and a dog list.
One of our dogs has a nasty habit of scratching at the floor when they’re anxious and that can usually spell disaster for a wide swath of tents. The Coleman Sundome Tent was a true revelation in this respect, as its super-strong 1000D polyethylene floor held its own against our dog’s digging and incessant scratching.
Why it rocks
- You’ll absolutely love the large door of this tent when trying to corral your dog to get them out of the tent with you. It’s extremely useful.
- The coated polyester fabrics of which this tent are made of are much more durable than they look at first glance.
- The zippered Electrical Access Point makes it extremely easy to run AC power into the tent.
- This tent is primed for nice summer and spring weather. Heavy winds can be extremely troublesome and mess with the tent’s integrity.
- The rainfly can be a real bother for ventilation during the day. It has a bad tendency to block the breeze from coming in.
The Essential Items To Pack For Your Camping Trip With The Dogs
When you go camping with your dogs, you’re responsible for much more than remembering to pack your toothbrush. There are a handful of dog necessities you’ll want to have to ensure your puppy love is well taken care of. While there are definitely many other dog essentials you may want to bring on your family trip, the following is a list of five key essentials to bring on your camping trip with the dogs.
As mentioned before, dogs can be easily spooked by the overwhelming and new sounds and stimuli of a camping trip. It behooves a loving dog owner to do what they can to keep their puppy grounded and feeling safe and at home while camping.
The familiar scent and feeling of your dog’s favorite blanket is a good place to start. Just having it around will cause your dog to associate home with their surroundings. That will make for a much more sedate and agreeable dog who’s relaxed in the moment and not on red alert for every bird chirp and odd smell.
Flea and Tick Medication
This should be a given. Camping sites are hotbeds for a wide variety of invasive bug species who will gladly move into your dog’s fur like a new apartment. Fleas and ticks are abundant at a wide swath of camping sites. That makes your dog a welcome sight for these little creatures when he/she comes yipping into view.
To keep your dog from scratching up a storm and being in general doggy misery, be sure to pack high-strength flea and tick medication just in case. Not only will it provide needed relief to your dog in case of infestation, it will also make the trip easier for everyone when your dog’s relaxed and in a good place.
Dog ID Tag
Even the most well-trained dog can get sidetracked and wander off from camp. Depending on where you’re camping, a lost dog may be almost impossible to find right away. If your dog is wearing an ID tag with your contact information, there’s a good chance another camper will be able to get it touch if your dog wanders through their camp.
LED Lighted Dog Collar
In addition to an ID tag with clear owner contact information, an LED lighted dog collar is a must for locating your dog when they inevitably sniff around on their own accord. The collar will provide you with peace of mind as the sun begins to set. You’ll be able to keep track of the blinking lights from a distance while your puppy does their business or generally putzes around doing puppy things.
Fluffy, Absorbent Towel
If you’re camping next to a body of water of any sort, this is a no-brainer. Your puppy will find their way into that water one way or the other. Wet dog isn’t exactly the best smell to be permeating a camp for the rest of the night, and of course it’s not healthy to leave your dog to dry on their own.
A fluffy, absorbent towel will help dry off your dog and also clean up any mud or other detritus your dog might track into your tent. If you’re camping for a few days or more, it would probably be a great idea to bring two towels just in case.
Your dog isn’t just a dog. If you’ve read this far in your search for the best tents for camping with dogs, your dog is less an animal to you and more of a companion. Why else would you worry so much about buying a tent with your puppy in mind?
With one of our list of the eight best tents for dog owners anchoring your campsite, the welfare and happiness of your camping buddies and family members – four-legged and otherwise – will be well served. You’ll sleep easy under the stars and so will your dogs. And isn’t that what the camping life is all about for a dog owner?