Camping with Dogs in New Zealand - Tips Tricks and Advanced Techniques

camping with dogs new zealand

Already started with back country adventures with your dog?

Iain and his crew of Kiwi Conservation dogs share some advanced tips and techniques they use while out in the field working and playing on the West Coast. 


Tips Tricks and Advanced Techniques

Fitness – you wouldn’t tackle a big trip without a bit of training so the same goes for your dog. This shouldn’t be a boot camp to kick start your pooches new adventure lifestyle. If they aren’t the athletic type then start small and ease into it. Dogs get DOMS too!

Training – make it fun for your dog and get creative. Pitch your tent on your lawn and spend a couple of nights familiarising your pooch with camp life before doing it for real.

Re-purpose your old gear – If you’re still sleeping on an old self inflating mat check out the new range of inflatable synthetic filled mats. You won’t go back and your old mat can be your dog’s new mat. I cut one in half and resealed it for a perfect dog sized camping mat. Same goes with old sleeping bags, cut them down and stitch them up! If you don’t have stitching skills or you think your dog deserves better gear than you, check out the Ruff Wear sleeping system here

Share your gear – for longer trips a good way to keep the weight down is having dual purpose gear. You might have to get used to the idea of sharing with your dog but it’s not as bad as it sounds. Your down jacket becomes a blanket to keep your dog warm, and a pillowcase to put your dry clothes in can work as an insulating mat inside the hut. Your dog also doubles as a pretty good hot water bottle too!

dog packs

Having your dog carry some gear in a pack is a pretty good tip too!


Advanced techniques

The Shoulder carry – as you venture further afield with your dog you will encounter obstacles that might prove a bit difficult like three wire bridges, or are just downright unpleasant like icy river crossings in the middle of winter. Teaching your dog to ride comfortably on your shoulders is a great way of overcoming these obstacles. With a bit of practice, it becomes a novel and comfortable way of tackling the obstacles and opens up a whole lot of new backcountry destinations!

 Have fun out there and be sure to tell us all about your adventures on instagram, facebook and in the shop!


ruffwear christchurch

Written by Iain 'Backcountry' Graham:

Iain, and his two Kiwi Conservation Dogs Rein and Brew, thrive on the challenge of a good adventure, and over the past 12 years they have been camping, hiking, climbing, canyoning and mountain biking their way around our backcountry. For them, adventure is a way of life and as each one ends there's always one lined up!