So we decided to take the dog with us in our Teardrop Trailer…
Camping with a dog, or any pet, in a Teardrop Trailer adds a whole new level of complexity to your trip. While Matthew has a lot of camping experience, and Megan has some, neither of us has ever gone camping with a dog. So in the true spirit of “f*%# yes!” (our motto), we decided to take Rufus, aka “the Mutthead” with us on our first weekend camping adventure in our Teardrops NW Trek.
We planned accordingly. Megan purchased a food and water dish to keep with the trailer as part of the kit. We went to Ikea and got a durable, neutral-colored polyester (i.e. washable) bedspread to cover everything in an attempt to contain his dog hair, as well as keep his talons from shredding our regular bedding. We took his dog “vest” to keep him warm and dry and packed extra towels to dry off wet paws.
We were excited to have Rufus experience the Oregon coast for the first time, as he’d never been to the beach. Having had our shakedown overnight trip sans canine, with the bed in the trailer being the same size that Rufus is allowed to sleep on at home, we figured there’d be plenty of room for we three, and while possibly a bit smelly from dog, we’d all be comfortable and warm.
Camping with a dog is very different than anything else
We were fortunate in that, as we went in early December, we had no neighbors, and all the woodland creatures stayed snug in their woodland homes. We didn’t have to deal with any poor behavior (actually, with all the new sights, smells, and change, Rufus did incredibly well, good dog!). It was dark and wet when we arrived at our campsite, and once we sited the trailer and parked the car, we learned the first challenge in camping with a dog.
Camping with a dog Challenge #1: Where to tie the leash?
We didn’t want to keep Rufus in the car all the time, and we certainly weren’t going to leave him in the trailer unsupervised, that meant keeping him on a leash, and securing the leash while we set up camp and cooked dinner. Easier said, than done. The only tie down point on our trailer is the front tow bar, which worked fine, except when it meant he was in the way while we were setting up our awning/tarp. It also meant that he was out in the elements along with us while we set up camp.
Tying Rufus to the front of the trailer also posed a challenge while we were in the galley getting dinner ready. He couldn’t see us and we couldn’t see him, which didn’t seem right. Once dinner was ready, we had a brief break in the weather, and broke out our spanking-new Kelty Lowback Loveseat Camp Chair (which we’ll review in another post, cause that thing is awesome!!!). The thing about a lightweight, folding loveseat is that it is, well, lightweight. We secured Rufus’ leash to the loveseat, and then had to take turns getting up to get our supper to keep Rufus from dragging it along with him.
Camping with a dog Challenge #2: Going to the Washroom
Dogs can, and will, do their “business” anywhere, and when it’s raining #1 is no problem, #2 is fine as well as long as you have your doggie bags with you and keep him out of other campsites or prohibited areas. But what do you do when you have to go to the washroom (or anywhere away from camp, for that matter)?
Again, we were fortunate in that the campground was empty, so we just took Rufus into the washroom with us. Cement floors, figured not that big of a deal, though most likely against the rules in a state park. However, and something we didn’t think about, getting up in the middle of the night also meant getting dressed in the trailer, with two bodies and a dog filling the space, as well as getting Rufus leashed and his coat on. Then returning to the trailer required everything in reverse, including wiping off his paws and coat to keep the bed from getting filthy and wet.
Camping with a dog Challenge #3: Is it really bigger on the inside?
Rufus is allowed to sleep on the bed at home from time to time. When we went on our first overnight, we found the cabin of our teardrop trailer to be quite spacious, surprisingly so. We figured Rufus would sleep at our feet, and as the mattress is as big as the bed at home, it would be no big deal.
Reality proved otherwise.
He loved sleeping with the hoomans, and as we expected, treated the cabin of the trailer as the best doggie den ever! While Rufus eventually settled down and did sleep at our feet, he also spent a fair bit of time glomping on us. All of this was a lot of fun until it came to actual time to sleep. With a full-size dog taking the back third of the cabin, stretching the width of the cabin, we either had to allow him to sleep on our feet, or curl up. We thought he’d slide under the cabinetry, but he didn’t really want to. While this wasn’t entirely different geometry than at home, where it makes a huge difference is when you have gear (clothing, bags, etc…) not stored in the cupboards. We had shoe bags to keep our shoes in, one piece of luggage, and some incidentals stashed in the “corner” of the cabin, this isn’t going to work in the future if Rufus comes with us.
Having Rufus in the cabin made sleeping more uncomfortable and cramped than we anticipated, and while we don’t think it’s prudent to have him sleep in the car overnight, and figure this might not be as big of an issue in good weather, we’re not sure what the solution is, yet.
Do you travel with your dog or other pets in your teardrop? How do you deal with our three challenges?
Share your ideas and experiences in the comments below!