I grew up going camping every summer, and so did my dogs. In fact, my German shepherd, Clancy, was delivered to us while we were on a weeks-long camping trip with our RV. Clancy slept inside the RV with us, so she didn’t get cold. We often tent-camped, too, but once fall hit, we rolled up our sleeping bags for the year and looked forward to camping again the following summer.
When I was twenty, Clancy had passed away but Bella loved coming camping with us. My family went on one last camping trip before I got married — to the White Mountains of northern Arizona. It was June, and we underestimated how cold it would be at night. We had sold our RV several years before and only tent-camped now. My sister and I forgot to bring sleeping pads, so we set up our tent with blankets under our sleeping bags but that still wasn’t enough. My most vivid memory from that camping trip is how hard it was to sleep at night because it felt like I was lying on a bed of boulders.
And, it was frigid at night. Bella was more of an outside dog than Eira is, but even she came inside the tent and curled up right next to my sleeping bag. Her warmth was the only thing that kept me from shivering to death! While she had a nice fur coat to keep her somewhat warm, she still shivered a bit at night and I tried to put a blanket over her, but she just shrugged out from under it.
If only I had known about sleeping bags for dogs. I’m not sure if any existed six years ago, but they exist now — and they’re genius. We humans sometimes believe that dogs are like wolves: they can step on snow or rocks without protection, they don’t need life jackets in water, they don’t need things to help them stay warm.
But dogs aren’t wolves. Wolves have packs, established dens, and short lives when they live in their natural habitat. The average wolf lives 6-8 years in the wild, although many perish sooner from starvation and fights with other wolves. But those same wolves in captivity can live up to 17 years! This doesn’t mean that wolves should live in captivity, of course. It simply means that even when an animal is built for nature, its life is difficult and unpredictable, and this translates to a shorter life span.
Our dogs are not wolves. They’re domesticated animals who benefit from warm, loving homes, regular food and water, booties on their feet in the snow, and sleeping bags during camping trips.
So if you love to go camping and you want your dog to sleep as well as you do in your cozy sleeping bag and air mattress, take a look at these sleeping bags for dogs.
Eira suspiciously sniffs her sleeping bag. Stay tuned to find out which one we chose for her!
Ethical Pets Sleep Zone Cuddle Cave
Just looking at the photo of this dog sleeping bag makes me want to jump in and curl up for a long nap under a starry sky. It’s got a recyclable polyester filling that gives it a fluffy, comfy look, and a durable faux suede exterior and soft plush interior. The stitching is tight and strong, built to last — and the sleeping bag is even machine washable, so if your dog gets it dirty after a weekend of camping fun, just toss it in the washer when you get home. The brand promises that the sleeping bag will retain its shape even after regular machine washing.
The only downside of this bag (for me) is that it only comes in sizes suitable for extra small and small dogs. Its dimensions are 22″ x 17″ x 10,” so poor Eira would definitely not fit. But that’s not a real downside because all you small-breed dog owners out there have the perfect sleeping bag to choose for your tiny pooch.
In fact, I might bring one of these with me to California for Christmas so my in-laws’ dogs can both curl up inside it. They’d be so warm and comfy during “cold” winter days in California.
You can purchase this sleeping bag in three colors: black, chocolate, or sage, so it should be pretty easy to pick a color that matches your own camping gear if you want to. Also, this sleeping bag is surprisingly easy on the wallet — certainly much less expensive than sleeping bags made for humans!
Outrav Dog Sleeping Bag
This is the sleeping bag I got for Eira because with dimensions of 48″ in length and 36″ in width, it promises to fit dogs of all sizes. Eira, who is a medium-large dog, just barely fits in the sleeping bag, so I wouldn’t recommend it for large or extra-large dogs. But it’s the perfect fit for medium-sized dogs, and it’s got key features that make it stand out from the pack.
First, it’s waterproof. If you’ve ever been camping, you know that your gear’s waterproof-ness (or lack thereof) can greatly affect your trip. Once, when I was a kid, I thought it would be really fun to sleep in a bike trailer with my friend so we could go to sleep under the clear, starry sky. My parents were in their RV; her parents were in a waterproof tent. We piled sleeping bags over ourselves and I remember thinking, “I’m so warm and cozy that even if it rained, I’d stay dry!”
Later that night, I awoke soaking wet. A storm had sprung up and drenched our layers of blankets and sleeping bags until they were a sopping mess — and we were sopping wet. We escaped into the RV for the rest of the night, where everyone else was cozily sleeping (including Clancy!).
After that, I made sure to stay in a waterproof tent. With this sleeping bag for dogs, your dog can sleep in that front section of the tent where there’s an overhang and not get wet if the ground gets damp from frost or dew or even rain. Or your dog can come inside the tent if there’s room, where there’s less of a chance of getting wet. But I’ve found that even the best tents often get condensation on cold nights that drips down onto the tent floor and gets things a little damp.
All this to say that camping is always an adventure, and this sleeping bag will help you stay prepared.
So what did Eira think of the sleeping bag? Well, first she laid down right on top of it!
Hmmm…that’s not quite how you use the sleeping bag, Miss Eira!
I had to convince her to get off so I could unzip the bag. Then I had her lie down on the open sack and I zipped it shut around her. She loved it!
Just barely fits, but she’s cozy and warm!
Once she’s had the sleeping bag for longer, she’ll probably just wiggle in through the opening. A lot of dogs love curling up in tight, cave-like spaces, and that’s exactly what this sleeping bag provides. The smaller size, while difficult for larger dogs to wiggle into, provides the perfect small, enclosed space for your dog’s body heat to get trapped inside for optimal warmth.
Another key feature of this dog sleeping bag is that it comes with a carrier bag and rolls up to a small, light size. It takes up hardly any space, so packing it for a camping trip is a cinch.
The Outrav sleeping bag and its carrier case.
After your trip is over, bring your sleeping bag home and throw it in the washer to get it clean. Don’t put it in the dryer to dry, though: it’s best to hang it or lay it flat and open to dry.
The sleeping bag all rolled up and in the little waterproof sack. I love how small it rolls up! It’s very lightweight, too.
And make sure you clean this sleeping bag and all your camping gear after each trip and well before the next one so that you don’t have dirty or damp gear!
Mac Sports Large Dog Sleeping Bag
Finally, a sleeping bag that fits the larger pups! Sadly it doesn’t ship to my location, Alaska, or else I would’ve grabbed this one to give Eira a tiny bit more wiggle room. This one measures 40″ x 33.5″ and is perfect for bigger pooches — think around 60-70 pounds. So many sleeping bags on the market are for small or medium dogs, so it’s lovely to see a slightly larger bag. Even big dogs need extra warmth on a camping trip!
Featuring the same oval-round shape as most dog sleeping bags (the shape suits their natural sleeping position), this large bag has a squishy headrest for your pup’s chin. It also comes with a carrying case, so you can fold it down for easy transportation and storage. The exterior is water-resistant nylon; the interior is a soft microfiber.
Take note that this is a super fluffy sleeping bag, which is good for your dog! But unlike the Outrav, it doesn’t roll up into a tiny size. It will take up almost as much space as a sleeping bag for people. If you’re planning for a weekend camping trip, this is perfect. If you want to go backpacking with your dog, you might want to use the Outrav (which I use for my 50-pound dog) and put it in your dog’s saddle pack.
Noblecamper 2-in-1 Dog Bed and Sleeping Bag
Is your dog a bit of a diva? This awesome 2-in-1 dog bed and sleeping bag from Noblecamper is a little round padded bed with a sleeping bag that zips over it, and it’s perfect for small to medium dogs. The really neat thing about this sleeping bag and bed is that the bed features three stake-out loops to keep your dog’s bed from flying away in the wind. It’s water resistant and the bed will keep your dog dry if it rains (although putting him under the tent’s overhang would be smart in this situation, too).
Have you ever used a sleeping bag when you take your dog camping? I haven’t yet because Eira’s only been camping once, and the weather was pretty warm. I still think she would’ve benefited from using her dog sleeping bag, though! It’s already almost too chilly in Alaska to go camping at all — unless you’re an avid snow camper (I am not). So we’ll have to test her sleeping bag in the real world next summer.
Laura Ojeda Melchor grew up with two beloved German shepherd dogs—Clancy and her daughter, Bella. From the time her family brought Clancy home, Laura took on the duty of pooper-scooper and potty trainer. As a teenager Laura helped her mother care for Clancy during her pregnancy. She still remembers fondly the exciting, frigid winter night when the seven special puppies were born. Laura kept the youngest puppy—Bella—and potty trained her, too. She taught Bella important commands, took her for long walks, and spent hours throwing tennis balls for her.
In November, Laura brought home a sweet new puppy, Eira Violet. Eira is half Alaskan malamute and half German shepherd, and Laura loves her deeply. She chose not to use a crate to potty train Eira and was pleasantly surprised at the results. She now has a sweet, energetic dog who always uses the potty outside, plays well with Laura’s toddler, and enjoys long family walks in beautiful Alaska. If you were to meet Eira, she’d bound up to you with a wagging tail and get you running around the yard with her in no time.