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New to camping - tips please especially from those with dogs

(10 Posts)
ozzia Mon 20-Jul-15 12:50:05


So I've agreed that I will give camping a go. I've nothing against it, it just seems that is more costly than it appears from the outside and not that much cheaper than staying in a little rental cottage if you go off season.

Anyway, I've been looking at larger tents despite there only being 2 of us plus the dog as I'd like to have space and not kill DP as we're too cramped.

My questions are:
- Buying a tent on Ebay, sensible or risky?
- How big is too big?
- What else is essential?
- What do you do with the dog when you want to go out for dinner/go anywhere without them?
-If said dog get wet does the tent end up stinky for the rest of the trip?
- What do you get up to when it rains?

Also any tips much appreciated.

WaitingForWineOClock Mon 20-Jul-15 16:05:32

We've camped with our dog before (a huge labrador) and it was great fun. We had a 2 man tent, but a biggish one so it had a separate sleeping area. The idea was to keep the dog in the 'lobby' bit while we sleep separately, which worked OK the first night, though by second night he got into the sleeping area and we didn't have the heart to move him!

Pack on the basis that everything will get wet if it rains, though it'll be as much water coming off your clothes as off the dog! Most campsites will have a hose you can use to wash the dog off if he gets muddy.

I've never yet found a campsite which allows you to leave the dog alone while you go out, and to be honest the dog would probably get quite stressed by being left alone in such as strange environment. Having said that, most campsites are in the countryside, and most country pubs are happy to take dogs, so we've never had a problem finding somewhere to eat out of an evening. Plus, if you're camping, you're not going to have the facilities to get dressed up to the nines to go anywhere posh anyway.

Day trips can be trickier. Some attractions will take dogs (eg you can take your dog into the caves at Cheddar Gorge) and others have kennels you can use while you visit (if your dog would be happy with that). A lot of National Trust type places will allow dogs in the grounds, just not in the houses or gardens.

We bought our tent new, but I can't see a problem with getting one off ebay. Just put it up in the garden when you've bought it and turn the hose on it for a bit to make sure it doesn't leak! I'd also ask around friends to see if they have a tent you can borrow to save buying one before you know whether you'll like it.

Also, consider having just one or two nights away somewhere local before you book in a long camping holiday, just to check that you enjoy it and have all the equipment you'll need (or even practice in your back garden). That way if the dog decides he hates it and howls all night you won't have lost much!

One important thing to have for the dog is a tethered rope so you can stop him wandering all over the campsite (it can also be good for keeping him away from any ground level BBQs as ours would have tried to eat the food cooking on it if he'd been able to!). We had a big metal screw thing that you screw into the ground and attached a cable to it like this one: - make sure you get one with a shock absorbing spring on it so if the dog sprints off it doesn't hurt too much when the cable suddenly stops him!

Alternatively, think about hiring a campervan. It's obviously a lot more expensive than a tent, but it will give you an idea of what camping would be like, but with a few more facilities than a tent. A good half way house, and if you hire one that has an awning then you have somewhere to put a muddy/wet dog until he's dried off!

Hope that helps.

Mermaid36 Mon 20-Jul-15 16:14:32

We have taken our 2 Boxers camping for quite a few years (but now we rent dog friendly cottages!)....

Just like in a rental cottage, you don't leave your dog unattended in a tent. If we go out to eat, it's either a dog-friendly place, or the boys stay in the car (providing it's not too hot obvs).

Generally, we wouldn't plan for day trips where dogs weren't welcome, but we have put dogs in kennels for 'day care' or single nights when we have been on holiday - we've found a decent kennels in the area we are staying in and arranged our plans around that one day or whatever for the dog-free day trip.

Agree re tethering the dog, but we didn't bother with a screw-thing after the first trip, as our 2 just unscrewed it and went haring off down the campsite with a huge metal thing behind them. We use a huge U peg hammered into the ground, they've not managed to pull it our yet (2 x 6st dogs).

the two of us and 2 dogs had a 6 man tent - large sleeping compartment (double airbed), room to stand up and bring the table inside if it rained, and room for bags, boxes etc. The dogs tend to sleep in the compartment with us when we camp (they sleep in the kitchen at home), so I can take advantage of their body heat, and so I know what they are up to!

ozzia Mon 20-Jul-15 17:57:39

Thanks for all the help :-)

We've got one of the screw into ground things for picnics at the beach and things so he wouldn't mind that.

Do you genuinely find it cheaper than a cottage rental? I looked at some today which were around £60 a night and lovely.

BikeMum8 Mon 27-Jul-15 23:20:22

We take plenty of old towels (dog towels...), double up as a door-mat, extra layer on the dog bed, and of course to dry the wet dogs when it rains. Ours don't come in the tent when there are wet. They dry off in their crates in the van, or if it's sunny, on a long line outside.
They used to sleep in the tent with us, until one was sick in the night.....
I always take my wellies for those morning walks when the grass is wet.
Hope your doggie loves it����

clmustard Mon 27-Jul-15 23:28:16

we've just got a 6 man trespass tent from argos for 110! it is a good size. Easy to put up and cheap so not too much of a waste if you hate it.

ozzia Tue 28-Jul-15 08:58:15

Oh great, I'll check out argos.

Luckily the dog isn't a swimmer or anything (despite my attempts to teach him) so he shouldn't get too soggy.

Sounds like many many towels is the way forward though just in case

TheRobbingBastards Tue 28-Jul-15 12:45:39

If you get a tent with a separate ground sheet,be aware that even the largest dog can sneak out in the night and cause havoc on the campsite <sage nod>

ozzia Tue 28-Jul-15 14:42:09

Luckily my dog isn't the smartest, if a door isn't fully open he doesn't think he can push it out of the way with his nose to escape.

I was thinking about getting a tent with two sleeping areas and he could have one anyway, would that work?

BravingSpring Thu 30-Jul-15 21:38:15

The other problem with a separate ground sheet (I have caravan awning experience but same issue) is that if they do try to go underneath while tethered they will easily rip the fabric, or even with a collar catching as they go under.

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