Tenting with a dog

Dogs, dogs and even some cats
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Tenting with a dog

Postby bpko » Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:53 pm

The other night I was camping below Sherman, and it was the first time I brought my dog when I wasn't car camping. I got very little sleep (i'm guessing less than an hour) that night because my Lab was too cold. The entire night I awoke to Gus plopping down on my sleeping bag, and even a few times, literally laying on my head in order to keep warm. I took a light down jacket and covered him, which he didn't seem to mind since he made no attempt to escape it, but I could still feel him shivering every few seconds.

So, how do you all accommodate a dog who is sensitive to cold mountain nights? This had to be the warmest it gets up there at night, since the entire state is in a heat spell right now. Do you all keep an extra sleeping bag, or coat, or a special sweater for the pups? Preferably something lightweight in case I'm trekking in to the campsite?
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Re: Tenting with a dog

Postby dubsho3000 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:14 pm

Last weekend I had my dog bring a "jacket" and an extra blanket. This was the first time he didn't shiver at some point throughout the night. I think it was because it was warmer, and he was exhausted (we had a big day). He actually didn't really use the blanket because it was so comfortable in temperature (at 10,420' no less!).

The jacket is kind of like this:


He carries his own pack, so I put the jacket in there, and had his blanket rolled up on top of his backpack. It was a heavy pack for him, but he got to smell the smells for a couple days.
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Re: Tenting with a dog

Postby prestone818 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:16 pm

$140 for that dog jacket. DAMN

this would be like $250 for a big dog....


basically, buy an ugly color cheap down jacket and cut holes in it to fit your dog
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Re: Tenting with a dog

Postby Floyd » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:30 pm

Floyd (my yellow lab) usually just serves as my pillow when we share a tent and he's just fine on a summer night. That being said, I took both dogs up Huerfano Basin in Oct 2010 and the overnight went below zero and winds were atrocious. I made sure we all were in the tent and locked up before sundown to preserve what heat was available. Problem was that nature called for them in the middle of the night. While they were hesitant to get in the extra sleeping bag or on the thermarest I brought for them before, the dogs quickly learned their purpose after running around outside.

So, long story short, yes, if your dog gets cold, pack an extra bag/pad. If they are cold, they'll figure it out.
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Re: Tenting with a dog

Postby Hornet22 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:48 pm

Our boxer/shepard's first tent night he dove in the sleeping bag with my husband halfway through the night so we learned our lesson. He also carries his gear on BP trips so now he brings an old fleece blanket to lay over the bottom of our sleeping bag to protect it from his claws (he always ends up on or around our feet so we finally gave in and let him stay on our sleeping bag). Then he wears the Ruff Wear K-9 Overcoat http://www.ruffwear.com/K9?sc=2&category=12 and seems to stay pretty warm. Sometimes we'll try to wrap the extra parts of the blanket over him if it's really cold but he likes to circle during the night and it usually falls off. He also wears the coat around camp in the evenings and mornings when it's still chilly since he has short hair and starts to shiver otherwise.
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Re: Tenting with a dog

Postby colokeith » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:59 pm

I bought a coat at Petsmart for $20ish bucks. I bought a cheap blue foam pad from walmart, and cut it in half to save weight. Third I have a fleece blanket I give him to curl in. He carries all of this gear in his own pack
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Re: Tenting with a dog

Postby Char7311 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:30 pm

Yeah I'd say make sure he has something to sleep on to protect him from the cold ground, that's half the battle. I've been camping with my friend's lab/pointer mix and she sleeps down at our feet. On cold nights he'll wrap his jacket around her and she's fine. One time we hiked in the freezing rain for 2 hours and she was shivering when we got to camp so he put her in the tent and wrapped her in the emergency blanket. I didn't have proper rain gear at the time so I was just as cold and wet, but the dog got the emergency blanket and I had to try and warm up in my sleeping bag. Figures. She stopped shivering long before me. I should've crawled in there with her.
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Re: Tenting with a dog

Postby Waggs » Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:54 pm

colokeith wrote:... I bought a cheap blue foam pad from walmart, and cut it in half to save weight. Third I have a fleece blanket I give him to curl in. He carries all of this gear in his own pack

I have a similar setup for my black lab.

1) Trimmed blue pad, for ground cover
2) 6'-ish x 4'-ish indian wool blanket for ground or dog cover
3) 2'-ish by 3'-ish baby blanket, typically for additional ground cover

The wool blanket is a bit bulky and heavy (he WILL be carrying soon), but I have NOT noticed my pup shivering in mid-20's temps.

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Re: Tenting with a dog

Postby moneymike » Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:58 pm

I used to go backpacking with my lab mix. He was able to stay warm in the cold and snow as long as he was active, but became chilly at night in the tent. I bought him a child's sleeping bag ("Over the hedge"), that he could burrow in. He also had a foam pad under his bag, and wore an inexpensive wool sweater. That kept him warm in temps down into the lower twenties.
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Re: Tenting with a dog

Postby Derek » Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:03 pm

I use a down throw blanket similar to this:

Rolls up small to fit into my dogs pack so he can carry it (wrap it in a ziplock to protect it from water) and seems to be pretty warm. I usually lay extra clothes on the tent floor for extra ground protection, although a small piece of padding would be ideal. (Although more of a hassle to backpack with.) My dog has been on a couple backpacks where we camped on snow, and has been fine. And he is a bit of a wuss. No lie.

The down throw is the blue thing he's covered in. Never mind the creepy fella on the right.
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Re: Tenting with a dog

Postby HuskyRunner » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:42 am

Add more dogs, we've got 5 and all that hot dog breath really heats up a tent! Don't think I've ever seen them shivering, we usually have to leave the top of the doors open a little to keep them from panting too much, they do like their own sleeping pads though. We have a couple of older ultra light Thermarests that they carry on backpacking trips.


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Re: Tenting with a dog

Postby HikerGuy » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:00 am

This setup only works for car camping, their own bag and pad. They love it! As for backpacking it sounds like you've received some great suggestions above.

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