Chances are, if you enjoy camping, your dog will also. It can be a great family vacation for the entire family, furry and non-furry members alike, and even with higher prices on campsite rentals, it can still be a relatively inexpensive and relaxing get away, whether it's for a week or a weekend.
Being prepared is the key to a great, relaxing trip. Before any packing is done, check to make sure the location, whether it is a private campground, state or national park, allows pets. Driving the distance then discovering upon arrival that there are “No Dogs Allowed” and having to turn back or driving farther to find another facility is a guaranteed buzz kill.
There are the basics for any trip, of course. Food and treats in an airtight storage container, water and food dishes. (There are some handy travel dishes available now that collapse or are on beanbag type bases so they will be steady on nearly any surface), bedding for your dog(s), a few toys, leash, collar or harness.
Some of the equipment and supplies for camping you'll want to include are a way to make a tie out so you can have hands free time to do things at the campsite without having to crate or secure your dog in the car or RV. Never trust a tent to restrain your dog when you aren't inside the tent as well. Even then it's not a bad idea to leave your dog's leash on and loop it around your wrist or ankle. It's not unheard of for a dog to spook -- or get nosy -- when it hears things that go bump in the night. It goes without saying that you never, ever leave your dog tied out unattended.
You'll want a first aid kit for your dog. A splint, vet wrap, eye wash, Benadryl, activated charcoal tablets, hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting as well as cleaning debris from a deep wound), antibiotic ointment, GEL Super glue (for closing large cuts -- it was originally developed for surgical and medical applications), whatever pain medication
your vet suggests you have on hand and anything specific to your dog's health. Be sure to take copies of your dog's rabies certificate as well as vaccination records. A health certification from your veterinarian is a good idea, but check with where you are planning on staying as they may or may not require more than a rabies vaccination certificate.
Insect repellent that you can use on your dog is helpful as well. They don't like being gnawed on by insects anymore than we do!
A harness that your dog can't slip out of is a good safety precaution when you're going to be away from home in an environment where there is a great deal of temptation for a dog to go exploring on his own. No sense taking any chances! Also, ID information of some sort on your dog's collar could save a great deal of heartache.
Be sure you've brought at least one toy that is effective for keeping your dog occupied. An incessantly barking dog is a major campground faux pas. Packing a couple of raw meaty bones can save you and your neighboring campers some headaches as well.
If you're going to be hiking with your dog, look into backpacks! They are available in a plethora of sizes and configurations, for the smallest toy to the largest molosser breed. If there are water sports planned, take appropriate safety equipment for your dog. Towels. Take plenty of towels. Somehow you always end up with a wet dog.
Don't forget your camera. There will be so many moments you'll want to capture and remember, so take extra batteries too!
If you prepare yourself and your dog to have your bases covered, you may find yourself never wanting to go camping without your dog again. Most dogs enjoy it so thoroughly -- all those new smells, new sights and sounds to experience and check out.