We all know how blissful a camping experience can be in a hammock, but what about your furry best friends? Just because you don’t have a tent to share doesn’t mean that they need to be left behind! Hammock camping with a dog is entirely possible.
We’re going to cover some best practices to make sure that your four-legged buddy is more than welcome to tag along on your next hammock camping adventure.
First and foremost: Practice, practice, practice.
Dogs can pretty easily be stressed out by new situations. Especially when those new situations involve giant pieces of fabric swallowing you whole in the middle of the woods. Never fear though, if you and your doggo get set up and hang a few dry runs in the park or your backyard, it won’t seem so scary when you go to set up on your big trip!
During practice, unpack your hammock and let your dog sniff around. Let them see that your hammock isn’t that out of the ordinary. Let them watch you set it up, and make sure to involve them if they seem unsure. Puppy treats can help them to realize that hammocks are a good thing!
Once your hammock is set, sit upright and give them some pats before fully reclining out of site. Use your voice to sooth them if they’re at all nervous, and spend some time relaxing with them before you tear down.
Then set your hammock up two or three more times to make it seem routine.
Plan (and Test) Your Sleeping Arrangements.
Because of the WIDE array of dog sizes and temperaments, you should also practice sleeping (or at least napping) with your dog and hammock.
If your dog is small or medium sized and enjoys a snuggle or two, you can try them in the hammock with you. Just be sure to line the interior of your hammock with a quilt or blanket prior to lifting your dog up. Dog nails can tear through the nylon fabric as if it was nothing.
Be especially careful if you have a fancy blow-up sleeping pad they may damage.
Spend at least a few hours in your hammock with your pup in order to gain a little insight into how a night might go.
If your dog is not a fan of sharing your hammock, maybe try to give the hammock over to them completely. Let your dog spend some time in your hammock by themselves. You should know within the first 10 minutes if they are going to hate it, but if they don’t, let them spend a couple of hours just hanging out.
If your dog digs it, you might just have the coolest solution on your hands! Get your dog their own hammock, and they’ll be the talk of the trail. This can be a great solution if your dog is on the large size and seems to enjoy your hammock. Just be sure to hang their hammock as low to the ground as possible to ensure your pet stays safe during the night.
If your dog is not on board with the hammock at all, never fear. They are still more than welcome on your next big hike. There are many lightweight and packable dog beds that can be great addition to your hammock camping gear.
Combine this with a camping blanket to keep your buddy warm. This is especially important for winter hammock camping with a dog. If you need a blanket, you should probably have one for your dog as well.
Dog Hitching System
The last piece of the puzzle is your dog’s leash. It is important to keep your dog leashed during the night so that they don’t stir up the local flora and fauna.
The hitching system can be attached to your hammock’s straps or anchor points, or even to your wrist. This all depends on the temperament of your dog, and you should choose the best option for your pet.
Having a tactical dog harness or backpack that was made for the outdoors is also really important. OneTigris (who also makes great camping hammocks) have some REALLY high quality tactical dog harnesses, leashes, and dog camping backpacks.
Armed with these simple tricks, you and your dog will get to enjoy all that hammock camping entails. Don’t forget to bring enough food and water for you both, pet waste bags, a dedicated bowl for your dog and a collar ID w/ vaccination.
One last very important consideration… be sure to check USFS websites to verify that your dog is allowed on the trail. Many US parks have restrictions about pets and are strictly enforced.
Hammock Camping With a Dog FAQs
Q: Can my dog sleep in my hammock?
A: Yep! Well, if they like it that is. Just be sure to line the inside of your hammock with a blanket or sleeping bag to keep dog claws from tearing the fabric. And try it out before setting out on a long trip.
Q: Can my dog come hammock camping with me?
A: With the suggestions found in our article "How To Hammock Camp With Your Dog" you should have no problem bringing your dog along.