As an avid camper and backpacker, I will say that adding a dog to the mix did change my choice of gear. My dog loves to come with on as many outdoor adventures as I let him. Still, there is a lot more to consider when I’m packing my bags with an extra being to care for.
If you’re like me, you want to make sure your faithful companion is safe, comfortable, and happy. Early on, my dog would sleep outside my tent, because I didn’t have room. He hated that, and eventually found a way inside, thus leaving me needing a new tent that would fit him and, hopefully, be more durable than my last one.
Choosing the right tent for you and your dog will be a very personal experience and choice. Each dog has different needs, and they are all different sizes. In this article, we will break down our top picks for the best tent for dog owners and choose the right tent for you and your dog.
What to Consider When Camping with a Dog
While many aspects of your camping experience will be the same when you bring your dog along, there are some vital areas to consider.
What Season You’ll be Camping In
The time of year you plan to camp and the climate you’re camping in will impact the type of tent you need. There are multiple types of tents, but the most common are three-season. These tents allow you to camp in most climate’s Spring, Summer, and Fall seasons.
If you plan to camp in the winter, you will need a four-season tent. These will be far more durable, water-resistant, and warmer. They are also much heavier than other tent designs.
Keep in mind that anytime you’re camping with your dog, you’ll be bringing more gear. So, camping in the winter with them will make packs even heavier than they usually are.
Number of People & Dogs
The tent capacity is also an essential factor when choosing the appropriate tent. The number of people sleeping in the tent and the number of dogs will impact the tent’s size. Since my dog is large, I consider him to count as another person. If I have one other person sharing the tent with me and my dog, I need at least a 3 person tent since my dog sleeps inside the tent.
Where You Would Like the Dog to Sleep
Coming right off the last topic, where your dog sleeps will help determine the tent capacity as well. If your dog is like mine, you’ll need to make room inside. This means a need for a very durable floor, and enough room to comfortably fit everyone.
If they are sleeping in the tent, you need to decide if one room is enough space for everyone, or if a separate room is needed between you and your dog. The extra space can be nice, especially if it is a warm night and you have a large dog.
Your dog may prefer to sleep in the vestibule, though. Some dogs that usually run hot need the extra breathing room and the cool ground, especially if you camp in the summer months. Having them sleep in the vestibule area will also free up more space inside the tent for people and gear.
Type of Camping
The last thing we want to mention before we get our list is that you need to decide how the tent is being used. What type of camping will you be doing most? Luxury is more of an option if you are car camping, as the weight or size of the tent is not an issue.
However, if you plan to use the tent for backpacking or bikepacking, the tent will need to be more portable and lightweight. Since you are carrying the tent, and other gear, in these scenarios, the tent weight is essential to consider.
As you have to carry all of your gear, including water and food, when you are backpacking, having a dog along will add extra weight. Consider how well equipped your dog is for hiking long distances, and if they are capable of carrying some of their gear safely. Larger breeds are generally better suited for these types of camping trips, but it can work with small breeds.
If you bring your small dog backpacking, be conscious of their abilities, and be aware that you’ll likely have to carry them part of the way. They make specific dog carriers that attach to the bottom of packs or to your body to make this more of a possibility.
Best Tents for Camping With a Dog
Marmot Tungsten 2 Person Tent
- Capacity: 1 person | 1 dog
- Weight: 5 lbs 4 oz
- Floor Dimensions: 88” L x 54/46” W (head/foot)
- Height: 42”
The Marmot Tungsten 2-person tent is only ideal for one person and their pet. There is a surprising amount of interior space, with extra headroom. So, if your dog is sleeping inside the tent, they’ll most likely fit best near your head.
All of the tent fabric is made from polyester taffeta so you can ensure that it is strong, durable, and water-resistant. All of the tent seams are taped to keep moisture out as well. The freestanding design and Zone Pre-Bend pole construction give you more headspace inside the tent to make the walls more vertical. This makes it easy to move around, and your dog doesn’t risk bumping into walls either.
Although there is space inside the tent for your pet, there is also the option of a large vestibule space. The rainfly is designed to be waterproof while still allowing plenty of airflow to circulate through the tent, making the vestibule an excellent place for a pup to be dry and stay cool on a hot night.
All in all, one of the best dog friendly tents, for a very reasonable price.
Coleman Dome Tent With Screen Room
- Capacity: 6-8 people
- Weight: 20.9 lbs
- Floor Dimensions: 10’ x 9’ interior + 10’ x 5’ screen room
- Height: 5 ft 8 in
The Coleman Dome Tent is a perfect option for a family with pets. You can fit 6-8 people (2 queen-sized mattresses) depending on the size you choose. Plus there is a screen room that is perfect for lounging on a hot day as well as a cozy place to let the dogs sleep at night.
For the size and durability, this tent is extremely affordable. It is quite heavy, so you should only plan to use it when you are car camping. With a tent this size, it is possible to set up alone, but it will be much faster (15 minutes or less) with at least two people.
The interior floors and seams are all sealed and reinforced and able to stand up to your dog’s paws. If you are a frequent summer camper, this tent could be a good option as there is plenty of ventilation while still being protected from the rain.
Alps Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person
- Capacity: 1 person | 1 Dog
- Weight: 4 lbs 1 oz
- Floor Dimensions: 7’ 6” L x 32” W
- Height: 36”
Although the Alps Mountaineering Lynx 1-person tent does not have a designated space for your dog to sleep inside the tent, there is a vestibule area of 10 feet. This is a space large enough for most medium dogs and some gear to fit.
Alps Mountaineering makes a few different versions of this tent so you can opt for a 2-person or 4-person option. The 2-person tent gives you enough space inside the tent for your dog, and the 4-person tent is enough space for 2-people, one dog, and some gear inside. All of these tent sizes also have ample vestibule storage space.
The 1-person tent is an awesome tent option for backpacking as it is lightweight and easy to pack down. If you’re looking for a durable, easy to use, and just big enough tent for you and your dog to go on backpacking treks together, this tent is worth a look.
Coleman WeatherMaster & Screen Room
- Capacity: 6-person
- Weight: 32 lbs
- Floor Dimensions: 11’ L x 9’ W interior + 9’ x 6’ screen room
- Height: 6’ 8”
Coleman has some of the best family-size car camping tents at an affordable price. The WeatherMaster is large enough to fit two queen-sized mattresses and has a room separator inside for additional privacy.
Depending on the size of your group, your dog(s) could sleep inside the tent itself or in the screen room, which doubles as an entrance. One of the nice parts about having your dog sleep in the screen room is that it doesn’t come with a floor. This way, you can put their bedding down and not worry about them moving around at night, destroying the tent floor.
Since this is such a large tent, it is best for car camping experiences or used as a basecamp style tent. Coleman designed this tent to be very weather-resistant, so it will be sturdy in high wind and stand up to moisture. However, the screen room isn’t adequately protected from heavy rain, so your gear or pets could get wet depending on the weather.
The North Face Wawona 6 Tent
- Capacity: 6-person
- Weight: 20 lbs 15 oz
- Floor Dimensions: 119” L x 110” W interior + 2 vestibules
- Height: 80”
Another car camping option, the North Face Wawona, comes in both a 6-person and 4 person size. The specs above are for the 6-person capacity. There will be plenty of space for you, other people, gear, and your dog on either tent size.
The dual vestibule design offers multiple entrances and exit points. It also gives you a dedicated sleeping space for your dog that is separate from your gear. The inside of the tent is well designed with near-vertical walls thanks to pre-bent poles.
Transporting this tent in your car will also be easy. It is one of the nicer tents to get back into the carrying case and isn’t too heavy to lug around. It is a better tent for warm weather camping and can be a bit drafty on a cold fall night, especially if it is windy outside.
The vestibule area will not be as well insulated as the interior, so if your dog gets cold easily, you may want to make space inside the tent for them.
Coleman Cabin Tent
- Capacity: 4-person
- Weight: 18 lbs
- Floor Dimensions: 8’ L x 7’ W
- Height: 4 ft 11 in
As one of the lighter car camping options on our list, it is also one of the smallest. There is no dedicated vestibule area in this tent, but there is a trusty rainfly. You should plan on having your dog sleep inside the tent with you, making it a 3-person, 1-dog tent. Remember, for each dog that you have with you, you should plan to count them as another person.
The nice thing about this Coleman tent design is that it is an instant setup. It comes pre-assembled, so all you have to do is roll it out and pop the tent up. This makes it easy for camp chores, especially with a dog running around.
Coleman employs their WeatherTech materials for this tent, plus a new Dark Room Technology. Their Dark Room series of tents help to cut down on heat inside the tent on hot summer days.
If you are looking for a larger version of this tent design, they also make 6 and 10-person capacities with the same setup.
NTK INDY GT 4 to 5 Person
- Capacity: 4-5 people
- Weight: 12.3 lbs
- Floor Dimensions: 12’ L x 7’ W + vestibule/screen room
- Height: 4.7 ft
For the size, this tent is surprisingly lightweight. It is an excellent option for small families or couples with multiple dogs when they’re camping. There is space inside the tent for at least four adults, and five people if a few of them are children. While the dogs can sleep inside if there is room, the screen room/vestibule entrance area is ideal for pets.
The screen room is made up of mostly mesh materials, making it a cooler space for the dogs to sleep. The mesh screens are designed with no-see-um sized holes to keep even the smallest bugs out. There is heavy-duty anti-fungus flooring throughout the entire tent, including the screen room.
Coleman Montana 6
- Capacity: 6-person
- Weight: Unavailable
- Floor Dimensions: 12’ L x 7’ W
- Height: 5 ft 8 in
The final Coleman tent on our list is the Montana 6-person tent. It is large enough for two queen size air beds inside and perfect for car camping. Although there is a rainfly included, there is no dedicated vestibule space. There is a small overhang on the rainfly that would be enough to keep shoes dry in light rain.
If you intend to use this tent with your dog(s), you should plan to have them sleep in the tent with you. The overall tent design is quite simple and leaves plenty of interior space for people, gear, and pets.
The waterproofing on the tent is sufficient for most weather conditions, but be sure to use a footprint or tarp to protect the flooring from leaks. The floor of this tent is not the best, so having something extra when your dogs are inside to protect it is recommended. Usually, an extra tarp or blanket is sufficient.
Big Agnes Copper Hotel
- Capacity: 2-person | 1-dog
- Weight: 4 lbs
- Floor Dimensions: 29 sq ft
- Height: 41”
If you are planning on backpacking with a dog and a partner, this is one of the best tent options for you. Big Agnes has a few great tent designs suitable for camping with dogs, but the hotel design of the vestibule here makes it an excellent choice.
The entire tent is made with ripstop fabric, making it one of the more durable tents on the list, and you can trust it will stand up to even the most extreme weather conditions.
If you are having your dog sleep inside the tent, there will be plenty of space outside in the hotel vestibule area to fit all of your gear and keep it dry. You can also limit your dog access to the interior and have them sleep in the large vestibule portion. There is no floor for this area, so it will keep them cool and limit the tent’s damage.
The only downside to this vestibule design is that it makes getting and out of the tent a bit awkward. The good news is that there are two doors, so you don’t have to use that side of the tent to enter if you don’t need to.
Wenzel 8 Person Klondike Ten
- Capacity: 8-person
- Weight: 26.4 lbs
- Floor Dimensions: 16’ L x 11’ W
- Height: 6’ 6”
The final tent on our dog-friendly tent list is the Wenzel 8-person tent. This is going to be one of the best car camping tents for dogs. It has the highest interior height of any of the tents we listed, making it easy to move around inside the tent, even for most adults.
The reason it is an 8-person tent is that there are two separate rooms. The front room is more of a screen room style, but it can comfortably sleep three adults. If you are camping with dogs, this is the best place for them to stay, and you can store some extra gear in here as well.
Then, you have the full interior room left that can fit up to five people. Both areas of the tent have great ventilation, and the interior section even has high-low vents to make it ideal for hot weather.
What to Look for in a Tent For Camping With a Dog
Although we discussed some of the considerations you need to take when choosing a tent to share with your dog earlier in the article, we are going to talk more specifically about the tent features to look at here.
Many of these aspects or features of a tent are essential to consider anytime you buy a tent. However, these are specifically critical when sharing and choosing the best tent for camping with a dog.
Material Strength & Durability
Having a dog with you in a tent is comparable to having a toddler in the tent. That being said, the tent materials need to be durable and sturdy enough to hold up to violent and sudden movements.
Camping with a dog also requires a more durable floor surface than in most cases. It is highly recommended that you always use a tarp or footprint to help save the tent floor some wear, but having a reinforced floor is ideal.
Inside the tent, if I am car camping, I also always lay down a large wool blanket covering the floor of the tent. This way, if my dog is walking around off of his pad and sleeping area, the tent floor is still protected from his paws.
Luckily, my dog does not dig or chew very much, and he knows not to play inside of the tent. If these are behaviors that your dog engages in, it may be time to start training them that certain behaviors are not suitable when inside the tent.
As I learned the hard way, my dog always wanted to be sleeping inside the tent. He ripped through the wall material of my tent to do so. With this in mind, it is important to consider how your dog will react to noises and wildlife outside of the tent. If they tent to lunge, paw, and bark aggressively, they are likely to damage the tent material.
Most negative and destructive behaviors that we experienced camping happened early on, and when my dog was younger. Now that he has become a frequent member of the camping party, he understands what is appropriate and what is not. These anxieties and stressors will go away with time and patient positive reinforcement.
A Place for the Dog to Sleep
While my dog is comfy and cozy sleeping inside the same tent as me, your dog may be better suited for sleeping in the vestibule outside the tent or even in the tent but in a different room.
Sleeping inside the tent with your dog is pretty straightforward. They don’t take up as much room as most humans, but I like to leave at least one human’s worth of space for my dog to get up and move around at night. Inside the tent, he has a z-lite sleeping pad to keep him warm, and on cold nights, he also uses a makeshift sleeping bag I made for him out of an old blanket. My dog is short-haired, so he gets cold quickly. Not all dogs will need a blanket.
If you want your dog to have their own space so they don’t disturb you while you sleep, but you still want them in the tent, a separate room can be useful. These will only be common in larger tents, so if you are backpacking, your tent is less likely to have this option.
The other option is to have your pup sleep outside of the tent in the vestibule or screen area. This gives them protection from the wind and rain but still keeps them outside. Some dogs that need a cooler space to sleep can spend their nights here.
Tent Size & Space
The best thing to do when you are just starting out camping with your dog is to think of them as another person inside the tent. This is true, no matter their size. Having a dog with you on a camping trip of any kind requires extra gear and extra space. Dog’s do not have the same sleeping cycle as humans, and they will tend to get up and move at night. Having enough room for them to do this comfortably will make your life and their life much easier.
So, with all of that in mind, when looking for a dog-friendly tent, the easiest thing to do is add one person in the capacity you already needed. If you have two people sleeping in the tent, get a 3 person tent to fit your dog.
The capacity you choose will also change depending on where you’re storing gear, how big your dog is, and if they are sleeping inside or in the vestibule area.
Number of Doors
If it is just you and your dog on the camping trip, having one door usually isn’t an issue. However, if you have another person sleeping in the tent with you, having two doors can be a convenient way to manage to get in and out of the tent without disturbing each other.
If you are the dog owner and your dog has to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, you can avoid waking up your human companion by going out of your door. Having just one door can require you to climb over your camping companion which is awkward and somewhat of a hassle.
Having at least two doors with other people sharing the same tent will make their lives more comfortable and make dog management more straightforward.
As with choosing any tent, there are numerous things to consider before you buy one. When you add a dog or two to the mix, it can make your camping experiences exciting, but they also can become more challenging to coordinate.
If you’ve never camped with your dog before, the first few times will be a learning experience for both of you. Having the right tent and sleeping setup may take some trial and error, but you’ll get there.
Our hope in writing this article is that you will be well equipped to choose the best tent for dog owners. We provided a variety of tent options that fit multiple camping needs and situations. If the perfect dog-friendly camping tent wasn’t on our list, at least you’ll have all of the criteria and knowledge you need to make a worthwhile purchase for your next camping adventure.
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