Are you planning a camping trip with your pup? If so, a comfortable and durable bed is an essential purchase. Here are five of the best camping dog beds that your pet will love.
Our #1 Pick
Inflatable bed that's great for camping
The Lightspeed Outdoors Self-Inflating Mat has an inflatable foam mattress, durable design and puncture-resistant bottom. It provides great comfort and rolls up for when you're travelling. Highly recommended.
Is there a better camping companion than a dog?
Our canine friends have endless energy, never complain, love to chill out and are great icebreakers when meeting other campers. Dogs are also ecstatic to spend more time with you, so it's not surprising many people love taking their pet camping.
Your pup deserves to be safe and comfortable throughout your trip though. So, it's essential to provide the right camping dog bed.
Aside from being comfortable and easy to clean, the bed needs to be suitable for rugged environments. It should also match your dog's sleeping preferences.
To help you make the right choice, this article lists five of the best camping beds for dogs. I've included several types, such as elevated, sleeping bags and mats, as the best option depends on your dog's requirements.
How to Choose a Canine Camping Bed
Before we get to the top picks, it's important to understand why some dog beds are perfect for camping - and why others should be avoided.
Here are some of the most important considerations:
- Type of Bed. Dog beds come in a variety of shapes and sizes - but only a few are suitable for camping. Folding elevated beds are great for dogs that often overheat, as they increase airflow and raise your pet above hard ground. Canine sleeping bags are best suited for smaller dogs, cooler conditions and pets that like to snuggle when sleeping, while roll-out sleeping pads are a great all-round option.
- Environment. The temperature is a vital consideration when choosing a camping dog bed. Warm bedding or even a sleeping bag can help your pet stay heated during cool winter nights - especially if he doesn't have a thick double coat. Elevated sleeping surfaces are a better choice for warm summer nights - and for shade take a look at my list of the best canopy beds.
- Size. Aside from the type of bed, size is the most important factor when it comes to comfort. Ideally, a dog should be able to stretch out when sleeping, although space constraints when packing for a camping trip might make this difficult.
- Durability. Look for a bed with strong construction and high-quality materials. While a cheap camping dog bed might survive a few short weekends away, these products typically aren't strong enough for regular camping trips.
- Portability. If you have a small dog, most foam beds can be rolled up to a relatively portable size. This isn't the case for bigger dogs though - especially if you want an elevated option. If you're tight on space, make sure the bed can either be rolled or folded.
- Easy to Clean. Camping dog beds get dirty fast. If you're buying a mat or sleeping bag, look for a product that can be either fully machine-washed or has a removable cover. Elevated beds can usually be hosed down, which is another reason why they are great for camping.
Another consideration is where your dog is going to sleep. Are they going to sleep in the tent with you? In a dedicated dog tent? Does your tent have a separate zip-up section for your dog? Or are they going to sleep outside? Your decision affects the size and type of bed to buy.
As I mentioned on my page about dog beds, you also need to consider your dog's sleeping preferences. Dogs that enjoy snuggling under covers may enjoy a sleeping bag, while those who often overheat are probably more comfortable on an elevated bed.
Note: You may also be interested in my list of the best traveling dog beds. These aren't just for camping, but there is some overlap between the two. We've also written a checklist for gear when camping with a dog.
5 Best Camping Dog Beds (Including Mini Reviews)
The idea of camping with dogs has grown in popularity over the last few years, so there are plenty of beds designed for this purpose. Here are five of my favorite options along with mini-reviews of each.
|#1||Ruffwear Highlands Sleeping Bag||Durable and warm sleeping bag designed for camping||$$$|
|#2||Lightspeed Outdoors Self Inflating||Brilliant dog bed for camping with a self-inflating foam mattress||$$|
|#3||Canine Hardware Pet Travel Bed||Low-budget bed that provides great value for money||$|
|#4||HDP Elevated Napper Cot||Comfortable elevated bed for small dogs||$$|
|#5||Carlson Elevated Folding Bed||Foldable elevated bed for medium or large dogs (up to 95lbs)||$$|
Scroll down for more information and mini-reviews of each of our top picks.
1. Ruffwear Highlands Sleeping Bag
If your pet likes to snuggle under a cover, the Ruffwear Highlands Sleeping Bag could be a great choice. It's not cheap, but is durable, warm and comfortable for your pet - plus it's specifically designed for camping.
The Ruffwear is built with synthetic insulation to provide extra warmth during cool conditions. This insulating material also offers padding against hard surfaces, so it's much more comfortable than sleeping on the ground - although it's not thick enough to provide orthopedic support (like these indoor options).
As it's a sleeping bag, the Highlands unzips most of the way round. This allows you to coax your dog inside before zipping up to retain warmth. Not all dogs like being restricted like this, but some enjoy the added security and warmth.
One of the great things about the Ruffwear is that it compacts down to just 12x4 inches. This makes it highly portable, but it still provides relatively large 35x26 inch sleeping surface when unpacked.
Other features include a durable fabric exterior, waterproof cover and machine-washable design (cold water on a gentle cycle only).
There are a few downsides - and the most obvious is the price. The Highlands Sleeping Bag is the most expensive camping bed on this list, so it's not the right choice if you're on a tight budget. It's also not big enough for the largest breeds, although it's suitable for Labrador-size dogs and maybe slightly larger.
Despite the high price tag, the excellent construction, insulating material and zip-up design make it a great choice for small-medium breeds.
Note: For extra warmth, I recommend combining the Ruffwear Highlands Pad with this sleeping bag. The pad adds extra insulation and comfort, which may be necessary on cold nights.
Why We Recommend It: The Ruffwear Highlands Sleeping Bag is one of the best camping dog beds for pets. It's durable, folds down to a small size, and does a great job of providing insulation for your dog. Not all dogs enjoy being enclosed in a sleeping bag though.
- Type: Sleeping Bag
- Material: Synthetic Insulation & Polyester Fabric
- Sizes Available: 35 x 26 inches
- Price Range: $$$
- Durable design
- Zips around your pet for added warmth
- Machine washable
2. Lightspeed Outdoors Self Inflating
If your dog doesn't enjoy being enclosed in a sleeping bag, or you're worried he may overheat, the Lightspeed Outdoors Self-Inflating Travel is an excellent alternative.
The best thing about this bed is the interior. It comes with an inflatable 1.5" foam mattress that self-inflates for extra support. This provides a comfortable sleeping surface even when camping on rough ground.
While the mattress doesn't provide orthopedic-level support for the joints, the inflating design means your pet is much less likely to be resting on the floor. The fleece top adds an extra layer of comfort, while the nylon bottom is tough and can withstand regular camping.
Inflating the mattress is as simple as twisting the designated nozzle. You can also adjust the amount of air manually if required, and the mattress automatically deflates when you roll it up.
As you would expect from a high-quality dog camping bed, the exterior is machine-washable. It's also water and puncture resistant on the bottom, which is important when sleeping on rough ground.
Additionally, the manufacturer has included two nylon buckles. These allow you to roll it up for easier transport.
There aren't many drawbacks, as it provides a comfortable sleeping surface and is great for camping. It's cheaper than the Ruffwear, but is still relatively expensive for a dog camping bed. You may also need to manually inflate the bed if it doesn't fully inflate.
Even so, the Lightspeed Outdoor is one of the best camping dog mats available at the moment. It's soft, roomy and provides comfortable support for your pet.
Why We Recommend It: The Lightspeed Outdoor Self-Inflating Travel Bed is the perfect camping mat for dogs that like to stretch out. It's not as warm as a sleeping bag, but provides comfortable support and a durable design.
- Type: Mat
- Material: Foam & Air Interior
- Sizes Available: 42 x 32 inches
- Price Range: $$
- Self-inflating foam mattress for added support
- Highly durable and great for camping
- Water and puncture resistant
- Relatively expensive
3. Canine Hardware Pet Travel Bed
If you're looking for a cheap camping dog bed that still provides a comfortable sleeping surface, the Canine Hardware Travel is one to consider.
It's a relatively simple pad with a polyester top cover, synthetic stuffing and durable nylon bottom. The bed comes with a travel bag, allowing you to fold it up when not in use, and provides a 30x39 inch sleeping surface when expanded.
A useful feature is the machine washable design. You can put the entire bed in the washer, as the quilting is designed to prevent clumping during the washing process.
The bed is also surprisingly durable considering the price. The combination of ripstop nylon, quilted interior and high-quality materials means it can withstand repeated washing and tough camping trips.
It's important to have realistic expectations of this pad though. It's great for pets that need a more comfortable sleeping surface when camping, but it doesn't provide the same warmth as more expensive beds. It's also not thick enough for dogs with joint pain and isn't designed to withstand heavy chewing.
For summer camping trips with healthy dogs, however, it's a great option that provides outstanding value for money. The bed is surprisingly plush and comfortable, so most dogs enjoy sleeping on it.
Why We Recommend It: The Canine Hardware Pet Travel Bed is a great choice for small or medium-size breeds - especially if you don't want to spend a fortune. It's highly durable, provides decent padding and rolls up for added portability.
- Type: Mat
- Material: Polyester Microfiber Top & Nylon Bottom
- Sizes Available: 39 x 30 inches
- Price Range: $
- Comfortable pad for a great price
- Durable and machine-washable
- Ripstop nylon bottom
- Not as warm as other options
- Not chew-proof
4. HDP Elevated Napper Cot
I've talked a lot about keeping your dog warm when camping, but if your pet overheats an elevated bed or chair is often a great option. These beds raise your pet off the hard, uneven floor and maintain greater airflow around your dog.
For small dogs, one of the best elevated beds for camping is the HDP Napper Cot. Unlike standard elevated beds, it's built with a cozy design so your pet feels more secure.
An important feature for camping is the foldable design. The Napper Cot collapses into a packable carry bag for easier travel, although it's less portable than some of the soft beds on this list.
The bed is also highly durable. It's built with a rust-resistant frame, so it can withstand the elements. The polyester cover is heavy-duty and water-resistant.
One thing to note about this bed is it's only designed for small breeds (up to 30lbs). It has a relatively small sleeping surface that's held close to the ground, so it's perfect for small breeds but not suitable for bigger dogs. If you have a medium or large pet, check out the Carlson Elevated Folding Bed (which is also on this list).
Why We Recommend It: If you want an elevated camping bed for a small dog, the HDP Napper Cot is an excellent choice. It's durable, comfortable, and keeps your pet off the cold, hard ground. It's not suitable for dogs over 30lbs though.
- Type: Folding Elevated
- Material: Polyester & Rust-Resistant Frame
- Sizes Available: 27 x 27 inches
- Price Range: $$
- Great for smaller breeds
- Foldable design and easy to setup
- Rust-resistant frame
- Not suitable for medium or large breeds
5. Carlson Elevated Folding Bed
For medium or large breeds up to 95lbs, the Carlson Elevated Folding Pet Bed is one of the best options for camping.
Like the HDP Napper Cot, this bed features a folding design and carry case, so it's much more portable than most elevated beds. The raised sleeping surface also helps your pet regulate his body temperature without sleeping on the hard ground.
One of the best things about the Carlson is the price. Despite the durable construction and folding design, it's one of the cheapest dog camping beds on this list, so it provides great value for money. It's also designed for outdoor use and is built to last.
Are there any downsides though?
As with all elevated beds, the canvas sleeping surface doesn't have any padding. If your pet doesn't enjoy the surface, you may want to add a blanket - although this may make the bed too warm on summer evenings.
The canvas surface is also more uneven than other elevated beds. If your pet gets anxious when on surfaces that feel unstable, it may not be the best choice.
For most dogs, however, the Carlson Elevated is an excellent choice for camping - especially if you're worried about overheating or your pet's joints resting on the hard ground.
Note: For a list of the best beds for large dogs, check out my in-depth guide here.
Why We Recommend It: The Carlson Elevated Folding Bed is one of the best raised options for dogs up to 95lbs. It's durable, comfortable and has a folding design which is important for camping. The bed also provides excellent value for money.
- Type: Folding Elevated
- Material: Polyester
- Sizes Available: 46.5 x 24 inches
- Price Range: $$
- Elevated bed with a folding design
- Great value for money
- Easy to fold down
- No padding
- Uneven sleeping surface which some dogs may not enjoy
Camping with your dog can be a wonderful experience - but it's important to ensure your pet is comfortable. Choosing the right camping dog bed can make the difference between an enjoyable and unpleasant trip for your pup.
My top pick for a camping dog bed is the excellent Lightspeed Outdoors Self Inflating mat. It's a highly durable bed with a self-inflating foam mattress, rip-proof bottom and machine-washable design - plus it folds up nicely for camping. If you're looking for a sleeping bag, the Ruffwear Highlands is a great alternative.
I hope this article has helped you choose a camping bed for your dog. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments section below.
About the Author: Richard Cross
Richard is a journalist who specialises in dog behavior. He's written hundreds of articles and books related to dogs, including for the Continental Kennel Club, Dog Fest (the UK's biggest dog festival) and various veterinary surgeries. When he's not spending time with Jess and Rudy (his beloved Labrador and Golden Retrievers), he enjoys reading, hiking and watching sports.