If you are a proud parent of a medium or large outdoor-loving dog, then chances are you would love to take your furry friend along with you on hiking, backpacking or camping trips. If that is indeed the case, then you would have to think about your canine’s sleeping arrangements along with your own. Surely, you cannot always rely on your old discarded sleeping bag or a piece of foam.
What you need is a portable dog bed designed specifically for your pooch’s backcountry adventures.
In this article, we will look at some of the best camping dog beds available in the market. The options that we list are compact, weatherproof and portable and can be easily carried with your or your dog’s backpack. We will also list out the factors to consider while picking the best dog beds for camping and backpacking and share our top picks. These dog beds are also suitable for travel and some of them work well with cats too!
Do not forget to check out our article on the best dog backpacks for hiking and camping that would allow your dog to carry its own essentials, including its bed on an outdoor trip.
Best dog beds for camping and backpacking listSome of the best camping dog beds and how they stack against each other:
|Chuckit! Dog Travel Bed||39" x 30" x 2"||- Best-selling, travel dog bed with a ripstop nylon bottom and soft, poly-suede quilted top.|
- The double quilting and dual-stitched top surface helps in shape retention and provides a superior cushion. Can withstand moderate clawing by the pet.
- The bottom nylon liner is water-resistant and durable enough for rugged outdoor use.
- Machine washable and air-dry. A sewn-in loop is included for easy hanging.
- Single large size suitable for small, medium and large dog breeds.
- Comes with a Nylon stuff sack and backed by 6-month manufacturer warranty.
|Ruffwear Highlands Backpacking Dog Bed||35" x 26" x 2"||- The lightweight foam core provides insulation and warmth even when wet. The shell is water-resistant and durable.|
- Comes with an integrated pad sleeve to add Ruffwear Highlands pad for more cushion. The pad is sold separately.
- Machine washable in gentle cycle and air dry.
- Extremely packable and comes with a drawstring stuff sack.
- Backed by a limited lifetime warranty on materials and craftsmanship.
|Noblecamper 2-in-1 Dog Bed and Sleeping Bag||S: 22" x 22” x 2" |
M: 26” x 26” x 2”
|- High-end, made in the US, dog bed + sleeping bag combo with a ripstop Nylon shell and poly-fill high-loft insulation. Water-resistant and extremely durable.|
- A unique cave/cup bed shape provides home-like comfort to dogs who love to cuddle up.
- A bottom zipper allows the side to unfold and convert into a sleeping bag for the pet.
- Comes with a compression sack that can be attached to most dog backpacks.
- Available in multiple sizes, suitable for all dog breeds.
|Kurgo Loft Wander Dog Camping Bed||M: 36" x 27" x 2"|
L: 48" x 36" x 3"
|- Mid-range, roll-up dog sleeping bed with a quilted, microtomic ripstop Nylon top and a waterproof Rufftex non-slip bottom.|
- Soft poly-fill loft provides maximum comfort to the dog while sleeping.
- Rolls up to a compact 12" x 8" (M) or 17" x 9.5" (L) for easy transportation. Also has a built-in handle.
- Machine washable and air dry.
- Available in two colors and two sizes, suitable for small, medium and large dog breeds.
- Backed by a hassle-free Kurgo Lifetime Warranty.
|Lightspeed Outdoors Self-Inflating Dog Travel Bed||42" x 32" x 2"||- Oversized, comfy dog travel bed with a thick fleece top and durable water-resistant polyester shell and sides.|
- Has a self-inflating foam that inflates simply by turning on the nozzle.
- Large size that deflates and roll ups to 36" x 6" with built-in nylon straps.
- Machine washable for easy care.
- Backed by a one year warranty.
|DogHelios Combat-Terrain Dog Camping Bed||M: 31" x 24" x 4"|
L: 36" x 26" x 4"
XL: 40" x 30" x 4"
|- Lightweight and waterproof camping and backpacking dog bed with a polar fleece outer shell and an Army-grade Cordura Nyco exterior.|
- Weaved stitching keeps the inner-filling from moving while sleeping and washing.
- Easy to roll up and carry with secure straps, buckles and a nylon handle.
- Hand wash (preferred) and air dry.
- Available in three sizes and four color combinations, suitable for all dog breeds.
|Mountainsmith K-9 Portable Dog Bed||36" x 36" x 3"||- Uniquely-designed camping dog bed with a brushed twill top layer and weather resistant bottom layer.|
- Plush synthetic insulation provides comfort and warmth to the pet while sleeping.
- Hexagonal-shape suitable for medium dog breeds weighing up to 70 lbs.
- Machine-washable and air dry.
- Comes with an included compression sack for easy transportation.
- Backed by a limited lifetime warranty by the manufacturer.
|Coleman Roll-Up Dog Travel Bed||36” x 24” x 2”||- Lightweight, budget dog travel bed with a water-resistant nylon shell and non-skid bottom.|
- Polyester filling with bolstered sides provides decent comfort to the pet.
- Machine washable and air dry.
- Rolls-up to a compact size with built-in straps and a sewn-in nylon handle.
Dog sleeping bags vs dog camping beds
The debate between getting a simple camping dog bed or an advanced dog sleeping bag is essentially the same as it is for humans.
A cave or bed-style dog sleeping bag would provide better weather protection with its top cover. And if you want, your dog can get the extra cushion for sleeping, if you leave the top layer unzipped. However, since the cover is attached or zippered to the bed, a sleeping bag would also be more restrictive to the dog, especially if your pooch loves to curl-up or sprawl out during its sleep.
A camping dog bed, on the other hand, can provide reasonable cushion and insulation for summers and slightly chilly weather, but not for cold weather. However, if you wish, you can very well get a dog blanket or coat separately. A camping dog bed is less restrictive and generally lighter than a dog sleeping bag. Moreover, a camping or backpacking dog bed is generally much cheaper than a dog sleeping bag.
In summary, depending upon your dog’s size, its sleeping habits and the weather conditions, you can decide between getting a dog camping bed or a sleeping bag.
In the next sections, we would look at some of the factors to consider before picking the best dog beds for camping and backpacking and share our top picks. We would also share some tips and tricks to ensure that your dog is comfortable sleeping on its bed during an outdoor trip.
How to pick the best camping dog beds?
The best camping or backpacking dog bed is one which provides a home-like sleeping comfort to the canine and is durable and lightweight enough to be carried along on an outdoor trip. And then you have to consider the cost of the bed as well.
Before we share our picks for the best dog beds for camping and backpacking, let us look at some of the factors that you should consider before picking the best camping dog bed for your pooch:
- Building material and weather protection
- Size and portability
- Weight of the bed
- Cleaning and Maintenance
- Additional Factors and Considerations
Building material and weather protection
The manufacturing material of the dog bed is probably the most important factor to consider. A high-quality camping dog bed is one which is:
- Comfortable to the dog
- Lightweight and portable enough to be rolled-up and spread out.
- Retains its shape and position during sleep
- Durable enough to not be easily destroyed by a dog’s claws
- Water-resistant or waterproof
- Odor-resistant, washable and quick drying
Most dog beds for camping or backpacking have a top that is made of ripstop nylon or nylon-like material that is water and abrasion resistant and a slip-resistant waterproof polyester or nylon bottom. Some of the most comfortable camping dog beds have fleece or soft quilted coating as well to make them more comfortable and warm for the dog.
The beds have a polyester-based synthetic foam or fiber filling. The ends and the surface is double or triple stitched to keep the filling intact and prevent it from lumping during sleep or washing. Generally, this filling is about 1 – 1.5 inch thick, so that a portable camping dog has a cushion of 2-3 inches maximum. The Ruffwear Highlands Backpacking Dog Bed is unique in this aspect as it has a sleeve to add a dog sleeping pad or foam for extra cushion. The Lightspeed Outdoors Self-Inflating Dog Travel Bed is another unique option as it has a self-inflating air foam that can provide a better cushion to the pet with minimal effort.
Since the camping or backpacking dog beds lie on the ground and are not elevated from the surface, they would get wet with exposed to wet ground. So it is important to understand the difference between waterproof and water-resistant materials. The Water-resistant material would not wick the moisture but cannot provide protection against moderate to high exposure to water or submersion. Waterproof material, on the other hand, provides a more complete protection against the water. Most of the options that we listed are water-resistant, so you may want to lay them on a tarp or tent footprint if you are concerned about overnight rain.
Check the building material of the dog bed to pick the best one for your pet. Pick a bed which has a ripstop outer shell, water-resistant, anti-slip bottom and a generous 1-inch or more filling.
Size and portability
The expanded and packing size of a camping or backpacking dog bed is also an important factor to consider, especially if you or your dog are carrying their load in their backpack.
Depending upon your dog’s sleeping posture – curl-up or sprawled-out, measure the sleeping length and pick a dog bed of appropriate size. When in doubt, it is worthwhile to size-up so that your pet has enough surface to spread out. Just remember that larger the dog bed, bigger would be its collapsed packing size.
The portability of a camping dog bed is governed by its packing size and compressibility. Most of the options that we listed are extremely packable and come with roll-up straps and handles or a separate stuff sack for easy carry and transportation. They would fit a mid to large sized dog backpack and can even be attached to your own backpack.
Popular camping dog beds such as the Kurgo Loft Wander Dog Camping Bed can DogHelios Combat-Terrain Dog Camping Bed are available in multiple sizes, so you can pick the right one in terms of comfort and packing size.
Check out the overall shape, size and packing size of the bed before picking the most suitable option for your pooch.
Weight of the bed
Closely associated with the size of the bed is its carrying weight. The weight of the bed is especially important if you are backpacking or thru-hiking with your pet and carrying your pet’s gear as well.
Just like the human sleeping pads, there is generally a trade-off between the weight of the camping dog bed and the comfort it can provide. This was exactly the reason why we did not list any portable elevated dog beds or SUV travel dog beds on our list.
The overall weight of the dog beds that we listed varies anywhere from 1.0 pounds to close to 2.0 pounds. Our top pick – the Ruffwear Highlands Backpacking Dog Bed is one of the lightest options to carry among backpacking dog beds and hence our favorite.
Check out the overall packing weight of your dog’s bed and consider getting a dog backpack to share some of the load of your pet’s gear.
Cleaning and maintenance
Whether you use the dog sleeping bed indoors or outdoors, it would invariably get dirty. And to prevent any soiling or odor build-up due to an “accident”, you need a camping dog bed that is easy to clean and maintain.
Thankfully, almost all of the options that we listed are machine washable in gentle cycle and dry quickly in air. And if you need a quick cleanup, you can even hand wash with soap and water. Moreover, since they have a water-resistant shell, they do not absorb the urine which can seep into the filling and cause the dog bed to smell bad even after washing.
Make sure that the bed top quilt (if it has any) and outer shell are machine washable, before picking the best dog bed for camping or backpacking.
Additional factors and miscellaneous considerations
In addition to the major factors discussed above, there are some other miscellaneous considerations that can make a particular dog travel bed a preferable option over travel dog beds.
One such consideration is the packing accessories that come with the bed. All the options that we listed come with some sort of packing arrangement – either a separate compression or stuff sack or built-in straps with sturdy nylon handles for easy packing and transportation.
Another additional factor is the color combination in which the bed is available. Bright, vibrant colors are easy to detect for you and your dog even in low lights. Then there is another related factor. If you pick a dog bed whose texture is similar to your dog’s favorite chew toy, then the chances are that your canine would consider the dog bed as a play mat and shred it in no time. So it is important to pick a bed that is of a different color than the dog toys. The DogHelios Combat-Terrain Dog Camping Bed scores big in this category as it is available in maximum 4 color combinations.
Finally, one of the most important additional consideration is the warranty offered on the bed by the manufacturer. While there is nothing like an indestructible dog bed, the longer the warranty period, the more durable the dog bed would be. Most of the camping dog beds that we listed are backed by some excellent multi-year warranties, so you can use such dog beds for a long time without worrying about their durability.
You can look at all these features to determine if they make a specific camping dog bed a better choice over others.
Which are the best dog beds for camping and backpacking and what our picks are?
When it comes to camping or backpacking dog beds, the Ruffwear Highlands Backpacking Dog Bed provides the most human-like sleep arrangement and hence is our top pick.
The Ruffwear Highlands Dog Bed features a lightweight, durable and weatherproof construction with a closed-cell foam padding that is covered with a brushed polyester fabric shell that is water-resistant and extremely durable. The synthetic 1-inch padding provides natural insulation and warmth to the pet even when the underneath surface is slightly wet. Asymmetric stitching on the sides and the top surface help in keeping the fillings intact even after frequent use.
The standard-sized sleeping bed has a dimension of 35-inches by 26-inches, which is big enough for a 80 -90 lbs. dog. Since it is available in a single size, you might have to look at other options if you have a bigger dog. The dog bed is extremely packable and rolls down to a mere 12″ x 4″ stuff size. It comes with its own drawstring stuff sack for easy carry in a dog backpack or your own backpack. And it weighs a mere 12.7 ounces which is pretty light for its size.
One of the smart design features of the Ruffwear Highlands Bed is the presence of an integrated sleeve to add Ruffwear Highlands pad for more warmth and cushion. This sleeve keeps the pad secure and prevents it from moving while sleeping. Alas! The pad is sold separately, so you would have to shell out some extra money if you want it.
The Ruffwear Highlands Bed is machine washable in gentle cycle and dries quickly in air. And like other high-quality products, the Ruffwear Highlands Bed is backed by a limited lifetime warranty on materials and craftsmanship. And if you are looking for a sleeping bag, you can also check out the Ruffwear Highlands Dog Sleeping Bag, which is about 40 dollars costlier but comes with an integrated sleeping cover.
If you are looking for a decent camping or backpacking dog bed and do not want to shell out a lot of money, then check out the best-selling Chuckit! Dog Travel Bed. This dog travel bed is an excellent option to use during an outdoor trip and even indoors as a dog crate bed.
The Chuckit! Dog Travel Bed features a ripstop nylon bottom and outer shell and a soft, poly-suede quilted top. The double quilting with dual-stitching all along the top surface helps in the bed keeping its shape when in use. The quilted top provides a nice cushion and is durable enough to withstand moderate clawing by the pet. The bed is made in China.
The bottom nylon liner is water and dirt resistant. It is machine washable in gentle cycle and has a sewn-loop for hanging the bed to air dry.
The Chuckit! Dog Travel Bed is available in a single size of 39″ x 30″ which is big enough for small, medium and most large dog breeds. It weighs a little on the higher side at around 1.4 lbs. but is still quite packable. The dog bed comes with a nylon stuff sack for easy transportation.
The Chuckit! Dog Travel Bed is backed by a six month manufacturer warranty against defects.
Camping and backpacking dog bed alternatives
If you do not want to spend additional money and are looking to improvise, then you can use the following items as camping or backpacking dog beds for your pooch, with little or no additional effort on your part:
- Your old discarded synthetic camping blanket, quilt or sweatshirt can make a decent weather-proof camping dog bed, especially if your dog can live with a slightly less fluffy bed.
- You can make a bed by sewing or gluing an old tarp piece around a cheap 1 or 2-inch foam to make a dog sleeping pad.
- Old curtains and bedsheets can also be layered to make an improvised dog bed.
- A cheap crate or kennel pad, such as the K&H Pet Products Crate Pad, can also make a decent, lightweight dog bed for camping or backpacking.
- If you are car camping and not too worried about the portability, your old sleeping pillow or seat cushions can also act as improvised dog beds.
Factors to keep in mind while using camping dog beds
In order to make sleeping in the backcountry comfortable for your dog and increase chances of dog camping bed success, you can keep the following things in mind. You can also refer to our article on the best books for hiking and backpacking with dogs for some additional resources:
- Sleeping habits are important: Your dog’s sleeping habits are something to keep in mind before and after picking a camping dog bed. Just like humans, canines have different sleeping postures. Some dogs love to curl up and sleep while others love to lie flat or sprawl out while sleeping. If your dog is a curl-sleeper then you can get a circular sleeping bed, while a sprawl-sleeper would need a more rectangular sleeping bed.
- Size matters: Always get a sleeping bed of the right size. A smaller sleeping bed would make things more uncomfortable for your furry friend. When in doubt, size up and pick a bigger size if it is available.
- The bed is not a chew toy: If your dog decides to chew on its bed, then no backpacking dog bed is indestructible. If you pick a sleeping bed that has a texture of your dog’s favorite toy, chances are your dog would treat it as a chew toy. One way by which you can reduce the chances of your dog destroying the bed is to carry a chew toy separately so that your dog gives less attention to the bed.
- Try it out at home: Not all dog travel beds are created equal, and it would be worthwhile to try out the portable dog bed at home a couple of times before taking it along on a trip. It is possible that your pet may be looking for more cushion and hence you may have to pick another one or make some improvisations.
- Rain and creepy crawlers: Because of the portability requirement, camping or backpacking dog beds do not have the requisite elevation from the ground. So you can consider setting up the bed on the tent footprint or get an additional tarp if you are worried about it getting wet in rain or insects from crawling over on the bed.
- Clean after an “accident”: If your dog has an accident on the bed during the trip, try to clean it up as soon as possible with running water. While most camping and backpacking dog beds have a water and odor-resistant shell, the filling can absorb the odor and make it unpleasant to carry around. Most synthetic dog beds dry pretty quickly, so the dog bed should be ready for reuse in no time.
- Clean after the trip: Make sure you clean the camping dog bed after use. If it is machine washable, wash it in gentle cycle and let it air dry. You can also spray-clean or hand wash it with mild soap and detergent. A heavy wash or tumble dry cycle can cause the filling in the bed to lump at specific locations, making it uncomfortable to the dog.
- Get a dog backpack: Teach your dog to carry its own gear. Get a dog backpack of appropriate size and share the load. Most standard dog backpacks are designed smartly to support attaching the camping dog bed or sleeping pad to them.
Final thoughts on the best dog beds for camping and backpacking
Most dogs, like their human parents, love to explore the outdoors. So if you are an avid outdoorsman who loves multi-day camping and backpacking trips, then you would love to have your furry friend accompany you. But wilderness exploration with your dog would require you to consider making the right arrangements for your dog along with yourself.
One such gear to consider is a portable dog sleeping bed. In this article, we looked at the best dog beds for camping and backpacking available in the market. Our primary focus was on compact and portable sleeping beds which can be easily carried along with your or your dog’s backpack. We also shared some factors to consider while picking the best camping dog bed and also suggested some common alternatives to these commercial products.
We hope that you found this article useful and it would help you in picking the best camping dog bed for your furry sidekick. Do let us know your feedback by providing your comment through the form below. Until next time, happy backpacking with your beloved pet!