As a dog lover, you’ve probably taken your dog on camping trips before. But as a hammock camper, it’s a bit more challenging to bring along your furry companion especially if you’re not sure they’ll like it.
Whether you’ve mastered hammock camping or you're trying it out for the first time this fall, there's always room for your canine friend. Many campers have never considered sleeping with a dog in a hammock, but it is certainly possible (unless you have a Great Dane or St. Bernard, sorry!).
This guide will help you answer common questions like If I go hammock camping with a dog, where does he sleep?With these tips on how to prepare, things to look out for, and ways to keep your dog snuggly in your hammock with you, you will have everything you need to make your next hammock camping trip with your dog a success.
You don’t want to risk a hefty fine for bringing your dog to a campsite where dogs are not allowed. The first step to planning your trip is to do your research before choosing a hammock camping spot.
You’ll also want to choose a spot to hang your hammock that is safe for your dog. Hang your hammock over level ground that isn’t near any slopes, cliffs, or sharp rocks. A safe camping spot will reduce the risk of your dog getting injured while jumping in and out of the hammock.
If you plan to let your dog off their leash during the day, consider using a tracker collar in case your dog takes off in the woods.
Advice: Even if your dog is welcome, dogs may not be allowed off their leashes. Be sure to double check with the campsite before you arrive.
Ensure your dog has everything it needs throughout your hammock camping trip with this checklist.
Don’t forget to pack:
Obviously, the bigger your dog, the bigger your hammock needs to be. The best hammock for camping with your dog is one that is big enough for both of you to fit in comfortably. As one of the best hammocks for durability and comfort, you and your dog will be comfy and cozy in a Brazilian-style hammock.
See if your dog is comfortable with sleeping in a hammock by practicing at home first. Hang your hammock in your backyard or a park and test things out with your dog before your trip.
When your dog sees how relaxed and happy you are in your hammock, they will likely just want to be with you. Remember to be patient and give your dog time to sniff and check things out on their own. Your dog might jump in quickly, or they might not. They may even need a hand getting in and out the first few times.
Advice: If you’re hammock camping with a big dog, your dog is better off sleeping closer to your feet. But if your dog is smaller, they can sleep near your chest or closer to your head.
If your dog doesn’t take to the hammock at home, there is still hope that they will when you’re camping. In case your dog doesn’t want to snuggle in your hammock, bring a tarp and a camping quilt so they’ll have a comfortable bed to sleep on. Also, make sure the dog bed is set up under your rain fly so your dog and its bed can stay dry if it rains.
Follow these tips on how to keep you and your dog warm and comfortable while camping (especially during the colder season):
Whether your dog sleeps in your hammock or on their own bed, make sure they are towelled off and dry. If they are wet when they go to bed, they will make you, your bedding, or their bedding wet, which will make you both uncomfortably cold overnight.
Advice: Consider wiping your dog with biodegradable wet wipes to clean them off before getting into your hammock. This will keep you both as dry and clean as possible during the trip.
A tarp or rain fly is essential to keeping you both dry and sheltered from the elements. If your dog decides to sleep on the ground, make sure they stay dry by using placing a tarp underneath their blanket.
If your dog prefers sleeping on the ground, pad their bed with blankets and consider using a small sleeping bag that will keep them warm overnight.
A top quilt on your hammock will cover both you and your dog, keeping you both warm and cozy in your hammock.
You can DIY an easy top quilt yourself!
Hanging your hammock slightly lower than usual will make it easier for your dog to get in and out of your hammock with ease.
If your hammock has a handy built-in mosquito net, you’ll have to practice letting your dog in and out of the hammock with these enclosures.
Don’t forget to clip your dog’s nails before you head out on your hammock camping trip. Camping hammocks are made of lightweight nylon material, so sharp claws could damage your hammock.
Another option, especially if it’s cold, snowy, or rocky, is to give your dog booties to wear. These will keep your dog’s feet warm and safe from injury while protecting your hammock from potential damage.
As counter-intuitive as this may seem, consider having your dog groomed before your camping trip. A clean, shorter coat will make it easier to spot and remove pesky (and potentially dangerous) ticks and burrs.
To avoid issues with wildlife or other campers, always keep your dog close to you while out in the woods.
Use your dog leashed at night to keep them close. The last thing you want is for your dog to chase after a critter or be sprayed by a skunk.
You can hold your dog’s leash in your hand if they are sleeping in your hammock with you or tie a long lead to a nearby tree or your hammock’s ridgeline.
Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date, and check that their ID tags contain valid information before you go camping.
You may also wish to include your campsite information, so people will know where to return your dog if it gets lost.
If you’re a dog lover who wants to bring your furry companion with you everywhere you go, hammock camping is no exception. Your dog can cuddle with you and keep you warm, while also guarding you against woodland critters. Make your next hammock camping experience even better by bringing your K9 companion with you for the adventure.