Ruffing it: The Best Dog Tents for Your Next Australian Adventure!

best tents for camping with a dog

Camping is a wonderful way to explore the great outdoors, and what could be better than sharing the experience with your furry best friend?

However, keeping your dog safe, comfortable, and secure while camping can be a challenge. Even more so with puppies – I took my 3 month old Border Collie on a camping trip around the whole of Australia, so I know all too well how challenging it can be!

In this article we’ll cover all you need to know with practical tips to ensure your dog is safe and happy on your next camping trip with a tent:

Can Dogs Sleep in Tents?

Dogs make great camping buddies, and can sleep perfectly well in the tent with you. But before you pack up and head out into the wilderness, here are a few pros and cons to consider:

Benefits of letting your dog sleep in a tent

  • A tent can provide a cozy, secure space for your dog to relax in while camping. Dogs like enclosed spaces, which in the dog world you can call a “den”, which means a tent can be very comfortable for them.
  • Tents can keep your dog contained and prevent them wandering off into the wild. This can be useful while you’re busy cooking, or nip into the bush for a toilet break.
  • Domestic dogs are used to creature comforts, which means tents can protect them from the elements, including wind, rain, and sun. Most dogs don’t care too much, although a little shade in a wide open space can be necessary to protect them from the sun.

Downsides of letting your dog sleep in a tent

  • Some dogs may feel anxious or uncomfortable in a tent, especially if they’re not used to sleeping in confined spaces. You may need to put some training effort in to help them associate your tent with happiness, which you can do with treats.
  • Tents can become hot and stuffy, particularly on warm Aussie nights. Always make sure the tent has enough airflow, or is erected in a shady spot. Never zip your dog in to a hot tent – like cars they can get very hot in full sun, and dogs are very susceptible to heat.
  • If your dog is prone to chewing or scratching, they may damage the tent and create an escape route. If your dog decides he needs to get out of the tent, it won’t take long for him to pull it apart.

Tips to Ensuring your Dog is Safe and Comfortable on a Camping Trip

Some of these may be common sense, but they are absolute musts to ensure your dog is safe and comfortable while camping:

  • Choose a tent which is a suitable size for you and your dog, and importantly one which provides good ventilation.
  • Consider a tent with a vestibule. A vestibule is a covered area outside the main tent entrance that can help keep your dog contained and prevent them from escaping.
  • Bring along familiar bedding or toys to help your dog feel more comfortable and secure. You’ll be surprised how quickly your dog adapts to staying in a tent when you bring their bed along.
  • Use a dog crate. If your dog is crate-trained, consider bringing their crate along and using it inside the tent to provide a safe, secure space for them to sleep and relax. A collapsible dog crate can be very useful to free up space in your car (options here on Amazon)
  • Consider investing in a dog camping cot or pad to provide extra cushioning and insulation from the ground. These are a great investment and there’s a whole range of styles to suit your dog and budget (lots on Amazon).
  • Supervise your dog when they’re inside the tent, especially if they’re prone to chewing or escaping.
  • Essential: Make sure your dog has access to plenty of water, particularly on hot days.

By following these tips you can help ensure your dog has a safe and comfortable camping experience!

How to Stop your Dog Escaping from a Tent

Keeping your dog safely contained inside a tent is essential to ensure their safety when you’re camping.

Here are some practical tips for preventing your dog escaping from the tent (or better yet, making them feel comfortable enough not to want to):

  1. Choose a sturdy, well-constructed tent. A high-quality tent with strong, durable materials is less likely to be damaged by your dog’s claws or teeth.
  2. Use a stake or tie-out. If your dog tends to try to dig out of your tent it’s possible to use a stake or tie-out to secure them inside. Make sure the tie-out is long enough to allow your dog to move around comfortably. This may mean investing in a bigger tent, as ideally they’ll have enough room to move around but not reach the edge of the tent.
  3. Train your dog. This is your best method of ensuring their safety and stopping them escaping. Teaching your dog basic commands such as “stay” and “come” can help prevent them from escaping from their tent. Practice these commands regularly and reward your dog for obeying them. If your dog likes to chase wild animals, then spend more time on training!
  4. Provide plenty of exercise. A tired dog is less likely to try and escape, so make sure they get plenty of exercise during the day.
  5. Supervise your dog. If your dog is prone to escaping, it’s important to supervise them while they’re inside their tent. Don’t leave your dog unattended in the tent unless you’re confident they won’t try to escape.

The key to preventing your dog from escaping from a tent is proper training and supervision. With a little patience and effort, you can help ensure your dog has a safe and enjoyable camping experience in their new tent.

It’s a good idea to have a few dummy runs camping in the garden. This will let your dog feel more comfortable in a tent in the safety of your own yard, and give you peace of mind your camping trip won’t be a disaster!

Can You Leave Your Dog Alone in a Campsite?

Leaving your dog alone at a campsite may be tempting, especially if you’re planning on a short hike or exploring the local area. For some dogs this may not pose a risk, but it’s important to consider the following:

Potential risks of leaving your dog alone in a tent

  • Your dog may become anxious or stressed when left alone, especially in an unfamiliar environment and if they’re not used to tents.
  • Your dog may become a target for other animals or people. If you leave them alone in an open tent, even if tied up, can get bitten by a snake or stung by a bee. Dog theft is a real concern in Australia, especially at camping spots.
  • Your dog may be fine in a tent while you’re there, but may try to escape when left alone. Always consider the risks based on where you’re camping – what will happen if your dog gets lost in bushland?

Tips for ensuring your dog is Safe and Secure

You’re better off bringing your dog with you whenever possible. Many hiking trails and outdoor areas allow dogs on leashes, and as a dog owner I’m sure you will want to spend as much time with your dog as possible.

However, if you must leave your dog along at the campsite, here are tips to keep them as safe and secure as possible:

  • Make sure your dog has plenty of water, food, and shade. Water and shade should be considered essentials at all times.
  • Use a sturdy tie-out or stake to keep your dog securely contained at the campsite.
  • Provide your dog with a comfortable, safe space inside the tent, such as a bed or crate.
  • If you’re going to be away for an extended period, consider hiring a dog-sitter or using a local doggy daycare.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your dog is safe and secure while you’re away from the campsite.

Your dog’s safety should always be your top priority when camping, and it’s better to err on the side of caution. Bring them with you whenever possible, even if it’s to the dunnie.

Where to Buy a Tent Suitable for Dogs (in Australia)

Depending on your dog and budget you may find any tent suitable, but where possible choose one more resilient to their claws, and always opt for a tent with good ventilation.

Many Australian retailers sell tents ranging from bargain basement to absolute luxury. Here are some popular options to consider:

  1. Kmart – Kmart sell tents on a budget. They even have a cute popup tent which looks like a cartoon dog – it’s affordable and easy to set up, so might be an option for offering your dog a shady place to relax while camping. The regular tents in Kmart tend to be made from polyester with a mesh door for ventilation. They aren’t as sturdy or durable as other tents, but you get what you pay for. Might be good for short camping trips if you have a smaller dog.
  2. Anaconda – Anaconda offer a range of tents suitable for dogs, including pop-up tents and larger camping tents. Their tents are made from durable materials and have features like mesh windows for ventilation and waterproof coatings. Obviously you’ll pay more than Kmart, but you’re buying a better quality and better ventilated tent.
  3. BCF – As a retailer who specialise in camping (more than fishing), BCF offers a range of tents suitable for dogs. These include super easy pop-up tents as well as larger tents for longer camping trips. Their tents are made from durable materials and have features like mesh windows for ventilation and waterproof coatings.
  4. Online retailers – There are several online retailers who specialise in camping gear specifically for dogs, including tents. These retailers offer a range of options in various sizes and styles and are well worth checking out if you want to take camping with your dog seriously.
  5. Bunnings – Bunnings sell a range of basic tents and dog stuff these days. Although not the best quality, offers you affordability. Their tents are made from polyester with mesh doors for ventilation. Probably not suitable for larger dogs, they may suit your budget.
  6. Aldi – Aldi do everything, don’t they? Occasionally they sell tents as part of their “Special Buys” program. Again, not the best in quality, but can be an absolute bargain. If you’re worried about your dog destroying a tent then this might be a less painful loss than a deluxe tent!

When choosing where to buy a tent for camping with your dog, consider ventilation and shade as your top priority. Some of the cheaper tents get hot, and you definitely don’t want your dog overheating in the Australian bush.

Don’t expect any retailer to have a return policy which caters for a dog-chewed tent!

By taking the time to find the right tent, you can ensure that your dog is comfortable and safe while camping.


I hope all the above info helps you make the most of your upcoming camping trip with your dog, and a happy stay in your tent!

Enjoy!

Gina & Maisy

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