Whether we’re driving for a few hours or a few days, here’s the travel checklist that keeps our trips running smoothly.
Top 10 Road Trip Essentials To Pack For Your Dog
- No-splash water bowl – My favorite item for any road trip! I feel so much better knowing the hounds have access to water any time they’re thirsty.
- Collapsible food bowl – No sense bringing a big clunky bowl when you can flatten out a collapsible bowl and toss it in the dog food canister to save space.
- Food canister – These are durable and secure. Skip the risk of ripped bags or a plastic tub the dogs can break into (trust me, I’ve dealt with both!).
- Water jug – Never worry your dog won’t like the local water or that you won’t have access to water (scenic overlook, anyone?!). Bring some from home for your pet and you.
- Waste bags – Make sure you bring more than one poop bag because your pup will need a potty break and you're a responsible pet parent!
- Seat hammock – Obviously I have a thing for Kurgo products, but it's because they work great. When the dogs ride in the back car seat, this keeps out the dirt, hair, water, etc. I use the version that keeps them from falling in the foot wells. It also has openings for seat belt clips for a safe car ride.
- Travel dog bed – For really a long road trip, I fold down the backseat and lay these down so the pups can sprawl out as needed. And with the waterproof bottom on this, I don't hesitate to set it down anywhere during our pit stops and camp-outs. I usually toss in a few cozy blankets as well.
- Long leash – Give your furry friend a little freedom even if they need to be leashed.
- Carabiners – These are gold in my eyes. I bring at least four on each trip. Connect your leash to anything to keep your hands free to unpack, make lunch at a rest stop, etc. Also great for setting up a dog zip line for a bit more freedom during a camping trip.
- First aid kit – Even if you get just a basic "human" first aid kit, you should always have one in your car. And I've used it for some of the most random non-emergency reasons: gloves for cleaning up trash someone else left at a campsite, bandaid for a papercut when we couldn't find the office first aid kit, Sharpie (I added) for filling out campsite registration forms, extra leash for catching a stray dog, etc.
I keep the following items in my car no matter what. They’re stored in an old backpack I keep behind the front seats.
- Portable battery jump starter – After several times of hoping a kind stranger would help me jump start my car, one of which was at a deserted trailhead, I upgraded from only having basic jumper cables to this do-it-myself battery pack. Tested and approved!
- Roadside emergency kit – I keep the dog + human first aid kit with my hiking backpack, but I also have a first aid and roadside emergency kit I always keep in the car.
- Water + granola bars – Emergency hydration and sustenance.
- Tie down straps – Handy for strapping things to the roof or anywhere.
- Toilet paper – Encountering just one trailhead outhouse without TP was enough motivation for me to always have a backup roll stashed in the car.
- Paper towels / disinfecting wipes – Spilled juice, dog puke, etc. You want to be able to clean up those unexpected messes.
- Leather gloves – Good for carrying around firewood, picking up trash, keeping your hands clean and protected from anything. You can get a basic pair from any Home Depot, Lowes, etc.
- Hammer – Usually I just bring this when I’m bringing a tent (hammering in tent stakes), but I like having it in the car regardless.
- Multi-tool – I keep one in my hiking backpack and one in my car. One of those items that is helpful to have just about everywhere.