December 3, 2021
The start of the winter season does not mean that camping and outdoor activities should end. With the right preparation and equipment, winter camping can be a great experience for both you and your dog. Camping with dogs presents the best winter adventure tips below.
Layers are key
While walking and exploring outside your campsite, keeping warm is the most important component of a winter campsite. Start with a good base coat, such as long underwear, to keep your body warm. Your next layer should be easy to remove so you can keep warm while the temperature fluctuates throughout the day. A jacket, thick sweater or fleece should work with a waterproof coat on top to break the wind and keep your clothes dry underneath. Don’t forget to layer properly on your feet as well. A good pair of waterproof boots and thick socks (or several layers of socks) will prevent your feet from freezing!
For your furry colleague, take a jacket or coat for dogs that will retain their body heat and layer it with a sweater or other dog clothes. For particularly cold or snowy areas, get a pair of dog shoes designed for cold weather to protect their paws from damage and keep them even warmer.
Invest in good sleeping materials
To maintain a comfortable and full sleep, what you bring with you for comfort and warmth is extremely important. Invest in a sleeping bag that can handle extreme temperatures depending on where your campsite is located. Get an insulated sleeping pad to protect you from the cold ground, and be sure to bring a bag and bedding for your puppy unless you plan to share body heat in a sleeping bag. If you have access to a camper or campsite by car, try them for extra protection from the elements.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Drinking water is crucial at all times, not just when it’s hot outside. Make sure you take water breaks and drink water consistently throughout the day. Your body, as well as your dog’s body, will be able to regulate much better when they are hydrated and happy. Pack water for you and your dog in an insulated bottle and keep your water bottles upside down when you sleep to prevent the bottles from freezing closed.
Charge your batteries
Start your camping trip with full batteries of headlights, mobile phones, GPS and any other electronic devices. Cold weather drains electronics batteries faster. To prevent this, sleep with your electronics close to your body or in your sleeping bag to stay warm.
Watch your and your dog’s boundaries
Watch carefully for signs of hypothermia in both you and your dog. Plan your daily activities such as tourism wisely and carefully monitor the temperature and weather conditions. When temperatures are below zero, it is best to make the transitions short, about 15 to 20 minutes. Above sub-zero temperatures allow longer transitions closer to 45 minutes or an hour. Expand your dog’s boundaries by taking him on shorter hikes or walks before your camping trip to get him used to walking in cold weather. Take breaks as needed and keep in mind how your dog’s breed will affect their ability to withstand the cold.
Winter can be fun! Be safe and study hard before each trip to make sure you are prepared and safe. Whether it’s snow or desert terrain, Camping With Dogs encourages you to enjoy the outdoors with your furry best friend.