8 Essential Tips For Hammock Camping with Dogs

Hammock Camping with Dogs: 8 Tips for you and your best friend

Brian Connelly
Last Updated: August 27, 2020

Looking for Advice on taking your dog hammock camping?

You’re in the right place! In this guide, we will be covering the following:

    • How to prepare your dog for your hammock camping trip
    • How to plan your trip
    • What to watch out for while camping with your dog

Have you ever gone camping alone only to feel lonesome along the way? While going solo isn’t always a bad thing, there are moments when you feel the need for company. Sometimes, your friends don’t have the time to join you, do they?

Then why not go Hammock Camping with your Dogs!?

Any outdoor person will surely love to bring their pet along with them. However, bringing your fur-covered friend along is entirely different from going solo or going with your human friends. 

So, if you’ve ever thought about taking your four-legged buddy, then you’re in the right place! Here are 8 Important Tips When Hammock Camping with Your Dog.

Do

  • Remember that safety is more important than having fun.
  • Do test runs before taking your dog on a hammock camping trip
  • Check to ensure dogs are allowed before you go camping
  • Make sure to bring sufficient supplies for both you and your dog.

Don’t

  • Don’t force your dog to go on hammock camping with you. 
  • Don’t forget to have fun when camping with a dog!

8 Tips for Hammock Camping with Dogs

Preparation Starts at Home

husky in hammock

One of the first things you wanna do is take a trial test at home as this will be an excellent opportunity to know if sharing a hammock with your dog is a great idea or doomed to failure. 

Getting to the campsite to find out that your dog doesn’t like to sleep on a hammock is easily avoided.

Here’s how you can prepare your dog to sleep on a hammock with you:

  1. First, have your dog get accustomed to the hammock by laying it on the floor and encouraging him to lie down.
  2. Once he gets accustomed to it, pitch the hammock, so initially, the base is touching the ground and then gradually raise it once your dog gets more comfortable.
  3. Keep raising the hammock until it’s at the height you plan to pitch it at the campsite. 
  4. Next, sit on the hammock and see if your dog still readily gets in with you.
  5. Finally, try lying down in the hammock with your dog and see if he’s comfortable sharing a hammock with you. If he is, then you’re all set!

Go slow, and if this doesn’t work, then you can go with the alternative – bring a mat and his bedding and place them under your hammock for him.

Further reading: For more info on camping or backpacking with a hammock – check our indepth guide!

Know where to go

The next big step is to look for hammock camping spots that allow pets.

To do this, a simple inquiry online or a telephone call to the local rangers are the best ways to know about the rules and regulations concerning your canine friends. Doing this step will prevent you from going to a park only to be turned down at the entrance due to pet regulations.

Be aware of your Dog’s Aggression Level

dog hiking on trail

Here’s the thing: Does your dog get overly excited when he sees a squirrel when you’re out on a walk? If he does, then I have bad news for you, buddy.

It might be hard to accept, but if your dog isn’t very well behaved, it’s best to avoid taking your dog into the backcountry.

Overly aggressive or enthusiastic dogs will have trouble behaving themselves when they see small animals or other campers. The last thing you’d want to happen is your dog running off and disturbing someone else’s campsite and worse, causing harm to other people, wildlife, or themselves. 

Also remember that many parks and wilderness areas have rules that mean you need to keep your dog on a leash at all times.

Know your Dog’s Physical Fitness

The most crucial factor for your dog aside from their temperament is their physical fitness.

If your buddy is a breed who is naturally endowed to run many miles a day like a Labrador or a Collie, then you’ll have one less thing to worry about on longer hikes. 

On the other hand, if you have smaller or older dogs, you might want to stick to, shorter less exhausting hammock camping trips. 

If you’re unsure about the physical fitness (or health) of your dog, then consult your vet or do shorter trial hikes and watch their behavior closely – if your dog looks exhausted after a couple of miles around the local park then that 15 mile overnight backpacking trip is best-made solo.

Bring the Right Gear

Gear will either doom or bloom your hammock camping experience. After years spent in the outdoors, it’s clear that good equipment is expensive. Always do your research well, and buy the best gear you can afford within your budget.

Here are some of the most critical pieces of equipment you’ll need to consider:

hiker and dog in hammock

Hammock

This is the single most crucial piece of equipment for both of you and your dog.

Hammocks should be comfortable and give natural flat lay, or else, you might wake up feeling like a boomerang after sleeping at an odd angle. 

When buying a new hammock, select a big enough model to fit both you and your dog if you want to sleep together with your buddy. Also, it doesn’t hurt to ensure that your hammock is made from robust and durable material.

If your dog is uncomfortable sharing a hammock with you, you can also get him a smaller, secondary hammock so he can sleep alone.

Hammock Straps

There are many brands of hammock tree straps available on the market. The most important consideration is that your hammock straps should hold the combined weight of you and your dog. Second, to this, is the length of the hang that they’ll generate

Alternatively, you can always get along, sturdy rope, and tie your hammock between two trees. Just make sure you know (1) how to tie a knot so it wouldn’t detach while you’re snoozing away at night, and (2) use some form of protection (like a cloth) around the tree to prevent damage.

Underquilts, Bug Net, and Rainfly

A rainfly, bug net, and an underquilt are essential accessories regardless if you’re going solo or going together with your dog. 

To aid in heat retention, particularly during colder months, an underquilt is a brilliant piece of kit. An underquilt attaches to the outside of your hammock, providing you (and your dog) with extra warmth.

A rainfly will give ample protection from the elements to both you and your dog. Alternatively, you can opt to use a tarp for broader coverage, especially if your dog prefers to sleep on their own. 

For bug nets, some hammocks have one that is already built-in and can cover both you and your dog. If you sleep separately, there are bug nets that extend to the ground. However, make sure to have your dog a bit of practice going in and out so they wouldn’t tear your bug net down.

Groom Your Dog Before Hand

Well-groomed dogs are happier and more comfortable. Your number one priority is to trim your dog’s nails. This is because hammock fabric is meant to be as light as possible and isn’t made to last long against your dog’s sharp, long nails. 

Additionally, this also means that your friend now can’t stab you when you’re sleeping in one hammock.

Keep your Dog Safe and Secure

While outdoors, you have to be mindful of your dog’s well-being as well as your own. Here are some essentials that your dogs need when he’s going hammock camping with you.

hiker and dog in harness

Harness

A good, rugged dog harness built for hiking is by far and away from the most critical piece of kit when taking your dog into the backcountry.

Firstly, many dogs, even some that are incredibly well-trained, can become too excited in a new environment and disappear off after that squirrel that’s just darted across the trail in front of you.

Secondly, in most parks and wilderness areas, the rules prohibit dogs from running free.

And lastly, while infrequent, there are stories of hunters leaving traps out for wild animals, and poor unfortunate dogs finding them instead.

For the safety of your pet and the local wildlife, invest in an excellent quality hiking harness.

Dog ID

While a dog collar with your contact information is the most common method to ensure your dog’s safe return, these can be lost.

The best and foolproof way to address this is to bring them to the vet and have them implant a microchip into your dog. This way, people can still identify your dog even if your dog loses their collar.

Extra Hammock/Sleeping pad

If you and your dog won’t be sleeping in the same hammock, then consider getting an extra, smaller hammock for your dog to rest on. Hang your hammock little bit lower and ideally, directly below your own.

If he doesn’t like to sleep on a hammock, then a sleeping pad will do. Place it directly below your hammock and make sure that he is comfortable and nicely protected from the weather.

Dog Jacket

If you see that the weather is a bit cold, consider packing a dog jacket with you to avoid your whiskered-friend from shivering.

A dog jacket will make sure that your dog will stay protected against the cold and the rain. It can also add a layer of protection from the high thorns, ticks, and other forest dangers.

Extra Supplies

Extra food and water is a no brainer as your partner needs to eat and drink, too. Here are some items that you should consider bringing:

  • Extra treats
  • Tick and Bug Repellant
  • Biodegradable poop bags (pack it in pack it out includes your dog’s poop)
  • Medicines or first aid kit for dogs

ProTip: Bring an extra towel and blanket for your dog. This way, you’ll have no trouble when he gets wet, and you can make him extra comfortable, especially if it’s his favorite blanket.

Choose the Best Camp

If you’re already out in the open and you have successfully brought your dog with you to your prospective campsite, the next thing you need to do is to find the best pitch location for both of you. 

You need to make sure to hang your hammock between two trees (or other anchor points), 12-15 feet apart and over a flat and level area to make sure that your dog can enter and exit the hammock with ease.

Final thoughts

So there you have it! You are now equipped to go hammock camping with your dog!

Is there anything we might have missed that you think you should be on this list? Don’t hesitate to share it with us in the comments below.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Leave a Comment