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Sleeping Bag for Dog?
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Karl Keating
(KarlKeating) - MLife
Sleeping Bag for Dog? on 12/02/2008 18:56:13 MST Print View

I hope to take my ten-year-old German shorthair pointer backpacking with me soon. At home, he sleeps indoors on a dog bed and likes to be covered with a blanket, even when it's not particularly chilly in the house. No doubt he will look at me askance if, when in a tent, I'm cozy in a sleeping bag and he's simply beside me on a pad.

Can anyone recommend a (lightweight!) dog-specific sleeping bag that would be appropriate for a 63-pounder? (He otherwise will have available a Granite Gear dog coat and trail booties, but I doubt those will be enough to keep him warm.)

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Sleeping Bag for Dog on 12/02/2008 19:02:52 MST Print View

I read something about Montbell releasing some next year. They will only have 3 sizes, but they adjust accordingly to fit different breeds. :-p

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: Sleeping Bag for Dog? on 12/02/2008 19:04:57 MST Print View

I got a coleman sleeping bag for dog at Works great. Not exactly an ultralight sleeping bag, more like the old fashioned sleeping bags but sized for a dog, and easy to clean (wash).

Edited by marti124 on 12/02/2008 19:06:30 MST.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Sleeping Bag for Dog? on 12/02/2008 19:07:10 MST Print View

I just carry an extra piece of closed cell foam for underneath, and my old MB UL Down Inner, which can be snapped close to make ~ sleeping bag, or just piled on top of the dog. I think a dog bag would be a very good beginners MYOG project too!

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Sleeping Bag for Dog? on 12/02/2008 19:18:24 MST Print View

Slight thread drift here...

Be sure your 10 year old dog is up to a backpacking trip.
Nothing is more woeful that a suburban marshmallow floundering halfway through the trip.

My apologies if he is rough and tumble and ready to go. :-0

Randall Miller
(speyguy) - F

Locale: Cascadia
Canine sleeping bag on 12/02/2008 19:30:16 MST Print View

Yeah, agree. MYOG possibilities are plenty. Another option that I’ve done for my dog was to go to Goodwill and buy a fleece pullover (they are almost a dime a dozen). I cut the sleeves off just above her elbows. The only other mod was to make about a 10 inch cut at the bottom front of the fleece (dogs waist and stomach area), take some of the girth out and sew it back up to make it fit more snugly. It doesn’t have to be pretty. I put that on her and give her a pad to sleep on. I put it in a gallon size ziplock bag and she carries it herself. She’s a Golden, so she has a little bit longer hair than your dog, so not sure if it would work for you. But it’s cheap.

Edited by speyguy on 12/02/2008 19:59:10 MST.

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Sleeping Bag for Dog? on 12/02/2008 19:38:43 MST Print View

I've heard the Jacks at Jacks'R'Better are working on a wearable canine quilt, so the poochies can take care of their nature calls during the night on their own.

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
Re: Sleeping Bag for Dog? on 12/02/2008 20:32:34 MST Print View

I guess the main problem is finding something small that will stay securely over the dog. An 8-12 ounce down blanket would probably be perfect until the dog shifts around and it falls off him (nylon ripstop is too slippery...). Depending on your dog's personality, your best solution might be to snuggle up next to each other and lay your own sleeping bag over both of you like a quilt.

Edited by artsandt on 12/13/2008 11:16:47 MST.

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: Sleeping Bag for Dog? on 12/03/2008 07:59:21 MST Print View

What about a little cheap fleece blacket? Light, tough and probably would stay on okay. Fleece doesn't pack the smallest but it would be better than down for a dog. Plus you could even hand sew little clips/straps on it if he had a hard time keeping it over him.

My pup doesn't use a blanket anywhere even though he's spoiled and sleeps on our bed at home. If he gets really cold, he'll just squeeze in between my wife and I in the tent or slide up next to one of us.

There's nothing wrong with carrying a little blanket for him, just that dogs usually don't "need" one in temperatures that most of the backpacking population goes out in.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
down comforter on 12/03/2008 09:08:21 MST Print View

Go for the Cadillac. Just get your dog a really nice Western Mountaineering Down Comforter that they can use. I am sure the dog will be really warm no matter where you are.

Edited by bpeugh on 12/03/2008 09:09:53 MST.

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Sleeping Bag for Dog? on 12/03/2008 09:54:38 MST Print View

There has to be a niche there somewhere. Nunatak, do you realize how many doq sized quilts you can make with the down and Epic fabric it takes to make one of your quilts? I'm astounded at some of the prices of dog packs, so I'm sure you'd get a few buyers.

There's quite a few dog blankets and booties out there, I don't know how packable and light they are, as far as fitting into a dog-sized pack.

I kind of like this. :-)
Look through their dog clothes section and I'll bet you could find something at a reasonable price. I think a coat and some booties would keep Rover barky.

This place has some nice stuff to.

Edited by Coldspring on 12/03/2008 10:18:56 MST.

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
Sleeping Bag for Dog?? on 12/03/2008 10:15:38 MST Print View

I will need to hide this thread from my canine hiking partner. My loyal dog will request a trade or file for free agency if she finds out that not all dogs have to sleep on what nature provides. No need to buy a canine sleeping bag, buy (adopt) a tougher dog :).

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Sleeping Bag for Dog? on 12/03/2008 11:00:02 MST Print View

My wife just zipped her jacket around our dog on one trip.
Its front legs in the sleeves.

Edited by oware on 12/03/2008 11:00:49 MST.

Karl Keating
(KarlKeating) - MLife
Re: Re: Sleeping Bag for Dog? on 12/03/2008 18:38:36 MST Print View


No marshmallow he. He pulls hard on walks and still runs like a pup. It's his master who, in comparison, might be thought a marshmallow.


Karl Keating
(KarlKeating) - MLife
Thanks for the suggestions! on 12/03/2008 19:01:35 MST Print View


I looked at the recommended web sites and marveled at what is available: even wetsuits for dogs! And an electric parka!

On the observation that dogs indeed can be comfortable in uncomfortable-to-us temperatures, I think I'll begin simply (a foam pad and some sort of blanket) and work up from there, based on how he seems to tolerate things.


Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
What we did on 12/03/2008 21:09:09 MST Print View

One of my friends has a dog who is super fit (no extra fat) and is very short haired.

Poochie would shiver all night long! How unfair was beyond a pad (which all dogs deserve!) she had a sleeping bag added. No more fitful sleeps - pooch went off to doggie slumber, content and warm.

If you have an extra old down jacket consider that - it packs down and the dog can carry it as well.

So worth it to avoid a cold stinky dog trying to get in your expensive sleeping bag (or digging claws into the outside!) ;-)

Matt Rowbotham
(mrowbatham) - F
Dog Gear Ideas from the Dog Sledding world on 12/12/2008 09:24:17 MST Print View

These might be something worth looking at -

Also, just my 2-cents if you're using the dog booties with the hard rubber soles you might want to consider something else. In my experience (and that of thousands of other dog mushers) the flexibility provided by a cloth boot is the way to go (they're also much lighter for the dog!).

One of the best pieces of advice I've ever gotten re: working with dogs - Is to know what normal is, so you can recognize when something is wrong. i.e. know what your dogs pads and toes, etc look and feel like at home, so you asses their condition on the trail.

Here are a couple other good sources of dog gear -
I have this dog coat -


Edited by mrowbatham on 12/12/2008 09:27:24 MST.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
deleted on 12/12/2008 11:10:46 MST Print View


Edited by StainlessSteel on 12/13/2008 09:38:04 MST.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Old Vest on 12/12/2008 12:51:06 MST Print View

When I started taking my dogs winter camping I made doggie horse-blankets out of an old synthetic sleeping bag. Fastex buckle underneath and around neck. Simpler solution, bring an extra old-ish fleece or down vest. Size medium seems to work for 60-90 pound dogs. See!

dogs camped

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
Re: on 12/12/2008 14:56:54 MST Print View


Edited by artsandt on 12/13/2008 11:16:08 MST.

Matt Rowbotham
(mrowbatham) - F
Re:Re: False on 12/12/2008 19:58:25 MST Print View

"Alaskan sled dogs are able to sleep outside, directly on the snow, in sub freezing conditions. No sleeping bag, no booties."

Just to be clear, most sled dogs are given straw and dog blankets (coats) to sleep on and wear booties the majority of the time they're out on the trail working. Only really specialized dogs like Will Steger's "Polar huskies" or some old-school indigenous dogs are comfortable directly in the snow. Also, keeping in mind these dogs live outside year round in this environment and are conditioned for this type of thing.

So the bottom line is, give your dog what it needs to be safe and happy out on the trail with you. I think dog blankets are a good idea for the majority of dogs when things get cold and windy. And booties are a good idea any time you're asking your dog to walk/run long distances. Regardless of how tough your dog might be.

Also, the primary function of dog booties is to protect their feet from abrasion, not necessarily to keep them "warm".


Edited by mrowbatham on 12/12/2008 20:25:28 MST.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
getting info on 12/12/2008 20:49:51 MST Print View

my gf is a vet, i'll ask her about this

Edited by StainlessSteel on 12/13/2008 09:38:51 MST.

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Dogs Love Warmth! on 12/12/2008 21:26:07 MST Print View

I'm not a dog person, and if I have a dog, it's an outside dog. (I live in the country.) Two years ago, I inherited an old dog, when it's owner died. The poor guy was just miserable in the cold weather. I put a lot of blankets and such in his dog house, but it didn't seem to help. I then rigged the dog house up with heat. It was toasty in there. The formerly frozen and sluggish boy went from the state of curling up and shaking to laying on his back with his feet up in the air enjoying the warmth, and he became happy and playful again. Well, the next thing I knew every dog in the neighborhood had found his house and it turned into a party pad. I never did have much luck with running his new friends off.

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
Re: on 12/12/2008 23:54:28 MST Print View


Edited by artsandt on 12/13/2008 11:18:12 MST.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Re: whatever on 12/13/2008 00:08:05 MST Print View

Indeed. If someone posts something which you believe is wrong or even dangerous, just point it out in a calm and respectful manner. Personally-directed comments usually just lead to a bit of a flame war and everyone goes home unhappy (including other people reading the thread!). We're all here to help each other, right?

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
probably right on 12/13/2008 09:36:47 MST Print View

you are probably right in that i could've been nicer in saying what i needed to. i just get upset when i see people pretend to be doctors (ie. webmd) and give health info that is inaccurate. i'll delete my other posts for the sake of community and leave this instead...

a dog IS in serious danger if his core temp drops to 96 (normal temps 100-103), and should be considered life threatening. dogs under anesthesia usually get close to 96 and have to be covered in a bear bag and hot water bottles, to maintain bodily functions. if you think that your dog's temp may drop this 4-6 degrees while backpacking, then i definitely recommend a sleeping bag.

to the OP, perhaps the best solution would be to get something of a extra wide bag, or even 2 mateables, and simply have the dog sleep in the same bag w/ you. this will use the principle of shared body heat that inuit people use in igloos (dogs are warmer than people). this will allow the dog to stay warm, and heat you up at the same time...

Bob Moulder
(bobmny10562) - M

Locale: Westchester County, NY
No mention of this yet on 12/22/2013 17:20:42 MST Print View

Something new I came across while googling this topic.

I ordered one and will post results when dog and I have some experience with it. According to the website, however, not available until the end of January 2014, so it will be a while.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Dog blanket on 12/22/2013 18:25:58 MST Print View

I would cut down a fleece blanket with a nylon shell, or make one. I wouldn't worry too much about a true bag, just something to drape over and a CCF foam pad under.

German Shorthairs are energy bundles-- I'm sure any healthy example could walk the legs off me. Not much for a coat though. They do make dog "jackets" which could help on the trail and in camp. A pack will help keep him warm and haul his stuff too.

Some breeds are very cold resistant, with thick under fur. I took a full shopping bag of loose fur when brushing my Aussie last week and I have to clean the rollers on my vacuum often. He will go out in the back yard and lay down in 40F rain just to watch the birds and the rain beads up on his back, which he shares with me every chance he gets :( I do keep a close eye on him in hot weather.

Bob Moulder
(bobmny10562) - M

Locale: Westchester County, NY
Re: Re: Dog blanket on 12/22/2013 20:58:39 MST Print View

My dog, Cyrus, with his pack

First time camping in cold (approx. 20degF) he was okay for the first 1/2 hr or so and then got cold and fidgety, despite my bringing a CCF pad for him. Eventually he ended up in the foot of my sleeping bag. He has a very fine undercoat which keeps him warm with very minimal exertion on his part so there is no problem during the day, but he gets cold when there is no activity for a while. The NobleCamper is advertised as weighing 24oz, which he can carry with his doggie backpack. He weighs 55 lbs and his total load is about 7 lbs, which he seems to carry with ease. He absolutely loves the snow and is lethargic when it gets hot and humid in the summer.

Edited by bobmny10562 on 12/22/2013 21:01:48 MST.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re:Re: False on 12/22/2013 22:03:57 MST Print View

>"Also, the primary function of dog booties is to protect their feet from abrasion, not necessarily to keep them "warm"."

Yes. Booties are for abrasion. Dogs can only take so much running on gravel roads (a few to maybe as much as much 10 miles) early in the dog sledding season if the snow hasn't fallen yet. In good snow conditions healthy, well-conditioned dogs run over 100 miles a day, day after day.

But the other reason to bootie dogs is to prevent icing between their toes. Much as if you had a pebble between your toes, it hurts and injures them. The musher ideally notices those conditions early and booties up the dogs (as many as 64 booties!) Otherwise, the musher has to clear the ice from each foot of each dog and then bootie them.

REI and your pet store sell a set of four, spiffy, logo'ed dog booties for $10 to $90 (!!!). Up here, everyone pays a dollar each and they are a simple pouch of nylon with velcro closure made a local sewer. If you have more than one dog and are clever, you'll get them color-coded for size.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re:Re: Booties and Blankets on 12/23/2013 07:42:25 MST Print View

"Up here, everyone pays a dollar each and they are a simple pouch of nylon with velcro closure made a local sewer. If you have more than one dog and are clever, you'll get them color-coded for size."


Been doing this for the last 3 years with great success. I measured paws (Front paws are bigger than rear paws on my dog.), ordered 4 each three sizes (for less than 1 Ruff-Wear booty), and haven't looked back.

This is the 3rd season of 2 hours a day on snow and gravel and they're wearing on the single layer cloth "soles". So now we're putting that side "up". One had a blowout on the toe seam.

In the spring we look for the one or two that got stripped by the crust (and poor "installer" technique.)

Back to the thread....

We made a "saddle blanket" from fleece that covers the dog around the chest and well beyond her butt. (when she curls up that extra length is required.) It connects under her chest and groin with velcro. It stays in place when she gets up, circles, and settles in (for the umpteenth time). It only gets used at night in the tent. Otherwise it becomes a sodden mess.

Edited by greg23 on 12/23/2013 14:32:55 MST.

Mark S
(gixer) - F
Doggy hot water bottle on 12/23/2013 13:37:32 MST Print View

Great thread.

Our Jack Russell tends to feel the cold, more so than any of the other 12 or so dogs i've had over the years.

Tried using the footbed of a old sleeping bag, tried wrapping her up in my clothes that i wasn't wearing, tried getting her to sleep on my rucksack, but she still tends to shiver to the point where it wakes me up.

So now i just have her in the foot of my sleeping bag with me, she tends to sleep around where my shins are so i'm not too worried about accidentally kicking her in my sleep.
Works both ways as well as she's warming up my feet and i'm warming her up.

If you consider this though it's very important to have a bit of a procedure for checking the dog for ticks and having her clean in the sleeping bag.

Diane Pinkers
(dipink) - MLife

Locale: Western Washington
Don't forget the extra food on 12/23/2013 14:27:52 MST Print View

Don't forget, the dog may need a little food boost at night before bedtime, if he is fit and has little body fat to keep him warm. Even just a little extra peanut butter wouldn't be a bad idea, with fat to keep his burner burning all night long.

There was a great recipe for homemade dog cookies in Lipsmackin' Backpackin', that was all vegetable based, no meat in it, so no worries about spoilage. Carbs and fat for all day travel over many days.

Cabela's has cheap dog booties that work pretty well. As a vet, I recommend them for older dogs that are weak and having a hard time on slick floors at home, but they are not the heavy rubber bottomed booties--something that allows proper ground feel works better for the dogs.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: booties on 12/23/2013 15:55:27 MST Print View

I tried the rubber bottomed boots on my Aussie. He was hilarious to watch, taking huge steps and weirded out. Once I got him outside, they went flying. He really only has two speeds: off and full tilt. I gave up.

The light nylon ones sound promising. We would take our Springer cross country skiing and he loved the snow, but the combination of furry and webbed feet found him with monster snow balls pretty quick in the wrong conditions.

I recall something about people using spray cooking oil on dogs feet and there are pad wax products that are a mix of mineral oil and beeswax, all of which can end wherever the dogs feet land, like your sleeping bag.

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Re: Sleeping Bag for Dog? on 12/23/2013 20:45:18 MST Print View

Hi Karl - Maybe you could get a children's sleeping bag for your dog?