We have just returned from our first trip in our tent and Winnie & George and I have learnt a few tips to make camping with dogs successful which I hope you will find useful if you are planning to do the same this summer.
When Frankie and Bruno were young we took them camping every year. We had a very small tent, although we did upgrade to a bigger one having got tent envy from seeing that it was actually possible to stand up in a tent whilst on holiday in Yorkshire back in 2008. We had pretty basic gear back then but we managed and spent many enjoyable times together in the great outdoors.
As they got older, they didn't get on with the whole camping experience and our tent was stashed in the garage for over 2 years, until this year. We decided to introduce the puppies, Winnie & George to outdoor life and invest in some new camping essentials to make it a better experience for us and them.
To make it better for us, we took:
- a proper camping stove with a table and attached cupboard - how did we ever manage without this! We are considering getting another table to put beside this to give a bit more prep space
- a bed height pump up mattress - so much better for those of us with back problems, very comfortable if you have the space. We place bubble wrap or cardboard under the bed to help insulate the air inside it - air gets cold very fast!
- comfortable padded chairs for lazy days and evenings around the campfire
- a selection of those metal vintage style plates - so much better than the old plastic ones, some cut glass effect plastic glasses - G & T tastes so much better in one of these - I got mine from Laura Ashley, new non stick saucepans and frying pan.
- a genius new battery operated light
- one of those solar mobile chargers
Ok, so that was us sorted, but what did the whippets need to make their first experience of outdoor living great?
- packet of Billy & Margot dried venison bones - perfect for keeping them busy while we put the tent up
- a selection of tee shirts & fleece jumpers - those evenings and nights can get very chilly
- their favourite beds - Winnie & George are lucky enough to have beautiful Charley Chau beds and they settled in them every night, only venturing onto our bed in the early hours, and to be fair this was just Winnie - if we had told her to get back in her bed, she would have, but being on holiday we cut her some slack! (if you want to know more about their beds you can see in a previous post - You Paid How Much? )
- a selection of frozen kongs prepared at home and kept in the onsite freezer - if there is one - to amuse and keep them cool. Peamutt butter is also useful for licki mats if your pup gets bored! If you are looking for ideas for fillings, take a look at this post
- fleece blankets to snuggle up in at night, on evenings by the campfire and on trips to dog friendly pubs and cafes.
- frozen portions of food - I don't like to mess around with their diets too much as both have sensitive tums, so I took frozen portions of their Butternut Box food - it defrosted slowly in our cool box, as we topped up the frozen pouches frequently. When we ran out, we used cold pressed food from Guru & when that ran out we bought Forthglade cold pressed and carton food easily from Waitrose and Morrisons - really need to sort out our portions for the next trip!
- a baby beach tent with UV protection - this was great for both of them, it gave shade from the sun and George some quiet time when he was fed up with Winnie!
As with most campsites, dogs are supposed to be on the lead at all times, but anyone who has ever camped with their dogs will know this is not always possible, but for such times that you can't supervise 100% we also took those lead hooks that you drill into the ground - we used extendable leads, which did get a bit messy at times with guy ropes!
We also put strips of fleece onto the guy ropes so that they were less of a trip hazzard to us and the whippets, when they did stretch their legs around the tent!
We always take our National Trust Guide book and do our research on dog friendly places before we go - admittedly this might be the day we go, but I take screen shots of places just in case the mobile reception is not good.
Winnie & George had a great time and we can't wait to get the tent out again next month for a long weekend at Blackberry Wood - a place we spent a magical week at many years ago with F & B. It sits at the base of the South Downs and at only an hour from home I don't really know why it has taken so long to go back.