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#120837 - 09/13/09 08:56 AM Keeping Pooch Warm
MissouriWalker Offline

Registered: 07/01/09
Posts: 26
Loc: USA
For those of you that hike with dogs: what do you do to keep your dog warm and comfortable in the tent? This weekend I camped overnight with the dog, and while I was comfortable with sleeping pad and sleeping bag, the dog couldn't find a good place to settle, due to the rocky terrain. I ended up trying to spread the sleeping bag out like a quilt, but then I got cold.

What do you do to protect your dog from the cold ground? I guess I could spread out extra clothes on the tent floor, and hope the dog nests on it. Will that be good enough? I don't plan on hiking if the weather forecast predicts freezing freezing temperatures.

#120858 - 09/13/09 01:58 PM Re: Keeping Pooch Warm [Re: MissouriWalker]
JimmyTH Offline

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 59
Loc: Indiana
Your dog needs to be more assertive, and probably will be with practice. I hiked with a Dalmatian for many years and when it was time to sleep he simply regarded me and the sleeping bag as furniture. Used to circle around and knead me into a comfortable pulp before laying down. We usually found a way to keep warm without anything extra. Sleeping in the open I'd scrape together debris to pad the ground but he'd need some extra help then, a tarp to keep the wind off. A pad of leaf debris under your tent floor might help.

Jimmy T

#120860 - 09/13/09 02:44 PM Re: Keeping Pooch Warm [Re: JimmyTH]
bigb Offline

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 124
Loc: Maryland
I cut a sleeping pad in half, light and easy for my dog to push around and dig at to get comfy


"In the beginers mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few."
Shunryu Suzuki

#120861 - 09/13/09 02:56 PM Re: Keeping Pooch Warm [Re: MissouriWalker]
Trailrunner Offline

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
Our doxies just burrow into our sleeping bags but they're not very big. Bigger dog = bigger problem staying warm.
If you only travel on sunny days you will never reach your destination.*

* May not apply at certain latitudes in Canada and elsewhere.

#120865 - 09/13/09 04:11 PM Re: Keeping Pooch Warm [Re: Trailrunner]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6765
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Hysson has a 1/8" Gossamer Gear Thinlight pad (cut to 36" long) that he curls up on. He generally cuddles up to my feet, keeping them nice and warm. (He is part of my sleep system!) If he's wet or if it's cold, I put a makeshift sweater on him made from an old polypro baselayer top. This has kept him warm down to at least 20 degrees. He carries both items in his doggie pack. Hysson is an indoor dog at home, so his coat isn't as thick as that of a regular hunting Labrador retriever that goes into freezing water to retrieve ducks. In fact, Hysson refuses either to swim or retrieve (the last because of his overbite--undershot lower jaw). He sure sheds a lot, though!

A short-haired, thin-coated dog needs a lot more warmth and should have a regular jacket, and perhaps a rain coat. My daughter's Vizsla (since deceased) needed both when out backpacking, plus a thicker sleeping pad.

The Thermarest folks used to make a sleeping pad for dogs, basically a 36" long Z-Rest. This pad was discontinued a few years ago. My granddaughter (age 7) now uses it as her sleeping pad. When I used it for Hysson, I had to carry it in my pack.

I like being able to roll up the GG Thinlight and stuff it in Hysson's pack, but he really needs something stiffer--several times during the night he shifts position and does the turn-around-three-times-before-lying-down act, which wads up the 1/8" pad. I may go back to something stiffer (maybe GG's torso-length Nightlite), carry it in my pack, and let Hysson carry something of mine of comparable weight. A 30" pad is plenty long enough because Hysson sleeps curled up in a ball. At $16 it's considerably cheaper than buying a Z-Rest and cutting it down.

Edited by OregonMouse (09/13/09 04:17 PM)
Edit Reason: add'l info
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#120875 - 09/13/09 06:07 PM Re: Keeping Pooch Warm [Re: OregonMouse]
Knaight Offline

Registered: 03/31/09
Posts: 50
Loc: Massachusetts
I'd been having trouble with this as well. My most recent solution was to cut the sleeves off an old fleece and use it as a jacket for him. It rolls up nicely into his backpack and it seemed to do the trick on this last trip.

Here's a picture: Archimedes in his jacket

#120881 - 09/13/09 09:06 PM Re: Keeping Pooch Warm [Re: Knaight]
MissouriWalker Offline

Registered: 07/01/09
Posts: 26
Loc: USA
Thanks for the suggestions. I'm thinking about cutting up my Thermarest Ridgerest for the dog, and training her to sleep on it.

#120944 - 09/14/09 09:13 PM Re: Keeping Pooch Warm [Re: MissouriWalker]
kbennett Offline

Registered: 10/27/03
Posts: 820
Loc: north carolina
Yup, the Ridgerest or a 4- or 6-section Z rest would be great. The ground insulation is important.
--Ken B


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