Planning a camping or beach trip with your dog? A dog tent can provide shade, shelter and comfort when outdoors. Here are our five top picks, along with tips for choosing the best tent for your dog.
- Why Buy a Dog Tent for Camping, Backpacking or Beach Trips?
- What Makes a Great Tent for Dogs (Safety, Comfort, and Portability)
- 5 Best Dog Tents for Backpacking, Beaches and More
- Summary & #1 Pick
Dogs love spending time outdoors. They are always enthusiastic, don’t get easily bored, and aren’t squeamish about going to the toilet in the wilderness. Most importantly, they don’t insist on bringing their acoustic guitar for a sing-along nobody wants.
In other words, they are the perfect camping companion!
It’s vital to prepare for an outdoor adventure with your dog though. Along with food, checking pets are allowed, and clean water, your dog’s sleeping arrangements are the most important thing to consider.
Dog tents are a great choice if you prefer not to share a tent with your canine friend. While most dogs love to sleep close to their owner, many have a habit of fidgeting, which can make it difficult to get a restful sleep. Muddy paws and a “doggie smell” also don’t make for the most pleasant tent environment.
A dog tent isn’t just for camping though. They can also be useful for providing shade at the beach or a comfortable spot for your pet to rest in the garden. They can even be used as a portable kennel for agility trials or other events.
Unfortunately, there are many poor-quality dog tents on the market. These are usually made with cheap materials and provide little protection or durability. So, to help you choose, here are five of the best pet tents.
Note: This article is about tents that are specifically designed for dogs – not human tents with a dog-suitable vestibule.
Our #1 Pick: Yosemite Pet Dome
Spacious tent that’s lightweight and provides plenty of airflow
The Yosemite Pet Dome is my top pick for a dog tent. It’s not a popup tent, but features a sturdy and easy-to-setup design. The tent also only weighs 1.9lbs and has a combination of two doors and four windows. It’s a great choice for backpacking.
Why Buy a Dog Tent for Camping, Backpacking or Beach Trips?
Dog tents don’t have the strength of a “human” tent. But they are useful for providing a contained outdoor sleeping space for your pet.
Most dog tents are easy to setup and are relatively lightweight, which is important for backpacking. They are also often built with mesh windows, zippered doors, and water-resistant walls.
It’s important to have realistic expectations though.
Dog tents are great for protecting your pet from rain, wind, sun, and biting insects, but they are not resistant to chewing or scratching. If your dog has separation anxiety or a habit of escaping from crates, a dog tent won’t keep him safely contained.
Many dog tents also aren’t completely waterproof. They can resist mild or moderate rain, but shouldn’t be used in heavy rain or strong winds.
What Makes a Great Tent for Dogs (Safety, Comfort, and Portability)
The right dog tent depends on your requirements, so think carefully about how and where you plan to use it.
A backpacking dog tent, for example, must be lightweight, easy to setup, and big enough for your dog to sleep in. A car camping tent can be heavier as you won’t be carrying it long distances, but should still have a breathable mesh design. Beach tents need to provide shade and UV protection.
Here are some other factors to consider:
- Durable Design. All tents need to be rugged and strong. While pet tents should be able to handle the occasional scratch, there aren’t any on the market that can withstand a determined chewer. You may want to cut your dog’s nails before a trip to avoid accidental tears (use a dog nail grinder if you don’t feel confident with clippers).
- Portability. Nearly all dog tents can either be folded or dismantled for easier transportation. The only exception is canopy beds, which are typically used for gardens or short trips, rather than backpacking. If you plan to hike with your dog’s tent, make sure you check the weight and folded size. Additionally, if the tent doesn’t have a built-in bed, you’ll need to carry a separate mat for comfort, which adds to the total weight.
- Stability. A dog backpacking tent needs to withstand mild to moderate winds. Your dog won’t enjoy being trapped in a collapsing tent! Some models include stakes for extra stability. Don’t expect a dog tent to withstand strong winds though.
- Correct Size. It’s essential to buy a tent that’s big enough for your dog – especially if you plan to contain him overnight. Your dog should be able to comfortably lay down in any position, turn around, stand up and stretch out. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to find a tent for a large dog, although you should be able to get one for most breeds. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s sizing guidelines closely.
- Breathable Construction. Tents can overheat on warm days, which is why the best options come with plenty of breathable mesh windows to maximise airflow. This also lets doggie odors escape the tent. Always check that a tent isn’t overheating during warm weather though – even if it has windows – as heatstroke can set in frighteningly quickly.
- Waterproof or Water Resistant. A waterproof design is essential if you’re planning to camp in the wilderness with your dog. Both the walls and the floor should be waterproof, otherwise damp can rise up into your pet’s bed. In reality, most tents are only water resistant, which means they can withstand mild or moderate rain – but don’t expect them to keep heavy rain out.
- Assembly. Some dog tents have a flexible popup design so they can be assembled almost instantly. Others have a similar design to human tents, with poles and sleeves. While popup dog tents are the most convenient option, especially for agility competitions or beach visits, they aren’t as strong as a traditional pole design.
- Other Features. There are a variety of other features you may want to look for in a dog bed. These include a carrying bag, built-in foam mat, and how easy the tent is to wash. Unfortunately, most pup tents aren’t machine washable, so you’ll need to rinse them with a hose or spot clean (check the instructions first though.)
Note; Dog tents are not the same as dog teepees or cave dog beds. The tents on this list are designed for outdoor use, while a teepee tent is usually only suitable for indoors. For added comfort, you may want to read my guide to the best dog sleeping bags or camping beds.
Teaching a Dog to Enjoy His Tent
Your puppy or dog’s first experience with his tent shouldn’t be on a backpacking trip. By this point, he should already feel comfortable sleeping inside.
To do this, you need to create positive associations with the tent in an environment he already feels relaxed. The process is similar to crate training.
Start by setting the tent up in your home. Place some treats and toys inside, then let your dog explore the tent at his own pace. As he starts to feel more comfortable, practice zipping up the tent door for short periods, while giving praise and lots of treats. If you notice your dog feels stressed or anxious, stop the session and spend more time creating positive associations.
Once your dog is happy to be zipped up inside your home, progress to your garden, dog park, and then short trips to the beach or woodland. Only take your dog camping when he’s happy to spend extended periods inside the tent.
5 Best Dog Tents for Backpacking, Beaches and More
To make it easy to choose the right option, I’ve picked my favourite dog tent in several categories, including camping and beach visits. Make sure you read each review carefully to find the best for your dog.
1. Yosemite Pet Dome (Best Dog Camping Tent)VIEW PRICE
The Yosemite Pet Dome is my top pick for a dog camping tent. It’s designed to maximise interior space and airflow, while remaining lightweight and highly portable. It’s not cheap, but if you need a tent for backpacking it could be the perfect choice.
With its dome design and stylish exterior, the Yosemite Pet Dome is one of the best-looking dog tents I’ve seen. It also has more internal space than a square tent, so it’s suitable for medium-size breeds.
There are two zippered doors and four zippered windows. Each has a mesh lining, which increases airflow and helps keep your pet cool. The top of the dome is also made of mesh, although you can attach a separate umbrella fabric to keep water out during rain.
One of the great things about this tent is the lightweight design. At only 1.9lbs, it’s not too heavy for long hikes. The tent also comes with a slimline case.
The Pet Dome has a pole and sleeve design. This makes it relatively sturdy, but less convenient than a popup tent. Even so, with some practice it’ll only take you a few minutes to setup.
It also has a water resistant exterior and base. This prevents both moderate rain and groundwater from entering the tent, although it’s not completely waterproof in heavy rain.
In summary, while the Yosemite Pet Dome isn’t cheap, it’s one of the best dog tents for backpacking and camping.
The Yosemite Pet Dome is an excellent dog camping tent. It’s a spacious option that’s lightweight, easy to setup and has a waterproof base. There’s also lots of mesh for airflow. The biggest drawback is the price – but I think it’s worth the money.
2. MidWest Canine Camper Sportable Tent Dog Crate (Best Portable Crate Tent)VIEW PRICE
If you need a tent dog crate for short trips, car camping or agility trials, the MidWest Canine Camper could be a great choice. It’s a heavy tent though, so I don’t recommend it for backpacking.
The MidWest Canine Camper is a simple crate-style tent with a strong steel frame. It’s available in a range of sizes, up to a maximum of 42″ length, and has a folding design for transportation. The tent also has a water-resistant exterior and mesh windows, so it’s a decent choice for both mild rain and warmer weather.
A bonus is that the Canine Camper includes a synthetic sheepskin pad for added comfort. This doesn’t come close to the support of a proper bed, but makes the tent more comfortable on short trips.
There are a few drawbacks to this tent though. The largest size isn’t as big as a dome tent, so it may not be suitable for big breeds. It’s also heavy, due to the steel frame, with the largest size weighing 19.8lbs. This is far too bulky for backpacking.
Another issue is that the internal frame is exposed. Your dog shouldn’t wear a collar, harness or other clothing inside, as there’s a risk of it getting caught on the bars.
Even so, it’s a relatively strong and convenient crate tent that’s great for trips to the beach or car camping. Many people also love using it at agility trials, as it’s quick to put up.
3. Winterial Outdoor Pop-Up Pet Tent (Best Beach Dog Tent)VIEW PRICE
If you need a convenient tent for trips to the beach or to provide shade in your garden, the Winterial is a good choice. It’s not waterproof and isn’t as strong as some of the other options on this list, but is perfect for a day out with your dog.
The Winterial Outdoor Pop-Up Tent is designed to provide a shaded and comfortable spot for your pup. It’s made with UV protective material and a mesh screen, so you can enclose your pet while still providing shade and airflow.
An interesting features is the popup design. Instead of a rigid frame, the Winterial comes fully assembled, so it’s almost instantly ready when you arrive at the beach. It also includes a 2-inch foam sleeping pad and a carry bag.
With that said, I don’t recommend the Winterial for backpacking or long camping trips. It’s great for providing shade, but it isn’t waterproof. The popup design also means it’s less durable.
For beaches and trips to the park on sunny days, however, it provides great value for money.
The Winterial Outdoor Pop-Up Pet Tent is a lightweight option that’s perfect for trips to the beach. It’s not the strongest tent, but is great for providing shade and is quick to setup.
4. Petego Umbra Portable Pet House (Best Pop Up Dog Tent)VIEW PRICE
The Petego Umbra is one of the best popup dog tents. It’s highly convenient, as you can put it up or down in seconds, and comes with a carry bag for portability. I don’t think it’s sturdy enough for long backpacking trips, but for beaches or days out it’s a great choice.
There are three size options when buying the Petego. Unfortunately, the large is only approximately 35″, making it unsuitable for the biggest breeds. It’s big enough for small or medium dog breeds though.
As you would expect from a popup tent, it’s very quick to put up and take down. The tent also has mesh windows for airflow and is water resistant.
It’s not fully waterproof though. While the tent should stay dry during light rain, the mesh windows will allow water in during heavy rain. It’s also relatively expensive and isn’t sturdy enough for serious backpacking or harsh weather.
For taking your dog to agility trials, the beach, or just providing a shaded place for your pooch to sleep, however, it’s a convenient choice.
The Petego Umbra is one of the best popup dog tents available at the moment. It’s easy to put up, has a water-resistant design, and is available in three sizes.
5. SuperJare Outdoor Pet Cot With Canopy (Best Dog Canopy Tent)VIEW PRICE
If you just need a comfortable bed that keeps your dog cool and shaded when outdoors, the SuperJare Outdoor Pet Cot could be a great option. It’s not foldable, but is strong, provides plenty of airflow, and has an elevated design.
The SuperJare is a different option to the others on this list. While it’s easy to assemble, it doesn’t fold down, so you’ll need to transport it in one piece. It also doesn’t have walls, so it’s not designed to keep your pup contained.
Instead, it’s a comfortable canopy bed for providing a shaded sleeping spot. The elevated surface keeps your pet away from hard, cold or hot surfaces, while the detachable canopy offers plenty of shade. As there aren’t any walls, it’s also one of the coolest tents on this list.
Like most elevated dog beds, the SuperJare Pet Cot is highly durable. The steel frame is virtually chew proof, while the Oxford fabric is both strong and breathable.
It’s worth noting that the canopy is not water resistant. If you need a waterproof tent bed, this isn’t the option to get. It’s also much heavier than a regular tent, so don’t buy it for backpacking.
For car camping or day trips (assuming it fits in your car), however, it’s one of the most durable options.
The SuperJare Pet Cot doesn’t fold, so it’s not designed for backpacking. It also doesn’t contain your dog. For providing a shaded and comfortable outdoor sleeping spot, however, it’s one of the best (and cheapest) options.
Summary & #1 Pick
A dog tent can be a convenient way to provide shade, comfort and protection for your pet on a camping trip. They are also useful for day trips to the beach or agility competitions.
For camping, my top recommendation is the Yosemite Pet Dome. It’s a spacious dog tent that’s lightweight, water resistant and packs into a slim case.
Do you have any questions about choosing a dog tent for your pup? Or have you used one of these tents and want to provide feedback? Please use the comments form below.