How to Go Camping with Dogs

The case for camping in a trailer gets stronger when your pup is in tow

Dramatic ocean views ahead, a big bed in the back, a freshly caught fillet of fish sizzling away on the kitchen stove: For a weekend it was all mine with hardly another person in sight. When I’d first started thinking about taking a quick camping trip, my criteria were remoteness and ease—plus a place where my Australian cattle dog mix, Sam, was welcome (many campsites forbid pups).

After a late-night online scrolling session, I found it, in a vintage trailer for rent in Monterey County. When I arrived, the trailer was so hidden that the owner had to mark the turn-off from the highway with orange cones. After I parked, he picked me up, threw the bags in the back of his SUV, and drove us down a bumpy dirt path to our home for the night.

On a hillside overlooking the ridges and ocean below, the solar- and propane-powered trailer was rustic without being monastic. There was a portable speaker for playing music from my phone and a fully stocked kitchen, so I could cook and enjoy afternoon tea. (I always take my mum’s fruitcake camping.)

Sam and I played in the woods during the day and stargazed at night. I washed up in the large claw-foot tub, just a few paces away from the trailer in a private bathhouse, with the sounds of crickets and a brook coming from the valley below. And at first light, I looked out the window and saw hummingbirds buzzing around the fuchsias, just a few inches from my head.

Clearly, I wasn’t in the comfortable bubble of a hotel room. And that’s the best thing about staying in a trailer: You never lose sight of where you are. It was just me and Sam, in the middle of the woods.

Packing tips for pups

1. Take water for walks

Plan to take as much for your dog as you would for yourself (roughly 0.5 liters per hour), and then top up with a bit more for safe measure. GEAR: Ruffwear Quencher collapsible water bowl, $15.

2. Use a hands-free leash

You want something just long enough that your dog can stop and sniff but can’t get too far off the trail. GEAR: Stunt Runner leash, $38.

3. Bring warmth

Because dogs get colder than you might think. GEAR: Rumpl Jr. Original Puffy Blanket, $65.

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