4 Best Options for Tethering Your Dog When Camping

Tethering your dog when camping is essential to keeping your dog safe and freeing you up to get tasks done around your campsite. In this guide, we walk you through the pros and cons of each alternative for tying up and containing your dog.

Dogs love camping. Our dog Chika loves the freedom the most when we are camping. The freedom to explore, sniff and wander around. Sometimes, it is all well and good to let her explore and wander near our campsite. Sometimes she needs to be contained or tethered to keep her safe, because we are busy, it is a requirement of the campground or there are other dogs nearby.

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Why Should You Contain or Tether Your Dog when Camping?

It is necessary to have a way to tether your dog when camping. A system or method for tethering your dog is something you should have in your items of camping gear you carry for your dog.

The reasons for containing or tethering your dog when camping are:

  • It is the rule of the campground or caravan park,
  • Keep your dog from running away or wandering off,
  • Keep your dog safe,
  • Stop them from visiting other campers, and
  • Allow you to get tasks done without having to supervise your dog. 

Related read: Dogs Travel Useful Commands

Best Options for Tethering Your Dog when Camping

There is no best option for containing or tethering your dog while at your campsite. Every dog and owner is different. It is up to you to decide which option will work best for you, your dog and your camping set up.

road trip with a dog

A Rope

Tying up your dog with rope is the easiest way to tether your dog and is our chosen way to keep Chika contained when we need to at our campsite.


  • It only requires a length of rope, so there is little to carry in the way of equipment.
  • It is simple to use – tie one end to Chika’s dog collar and the other to a fixed point on our caravan or something like a tree. 
  • It is versatile, meaning we can move around where we tie her up on our caravan or at our campsite. 


  • Chika is constantly getting tangled up around the caravan jockey wheel, our table and chairs or any other items we have outside at our campsite.
  • Ropes fray over time.
  • Ropes can come untied and let your dog roam free without you knowing.
  • If Chika lunges against the rope, it causes our lightweight pop top caravan to jerk suddenly. Also, if your dog lunges often or too hard it could injury them.


  • Check your dog’s rope regularly for wear and tear
  • Use a swivel attached to each end of the rope to help prevent it tangling up on itself
  • Tie multiple knots (I do three) are tied at each end of the rope to prevent it from coming undone
  • Only use a rope as a tether for a dog that will not constantly tug or pull against it. 
dogs camping

Ground Stake and Cable

A ground stake and cable are similar to using a rope. It is purchased as a set and comes with a metal stake that screws into the ground and a length of plastic-covered wire cable to attach to the stake and your dog’s collar.


  • The stake can be put in the ground anywhere on your campsite, giving you more freedom to decide where to tether your dog.
  • It is a simple system to use.


  • Plenty of dogs have the strength to pull the stake out of the ground.
  • If the ground is too hard (rock) or too soft (sand), the stake will not go into or stay in the ground, making it useless for tethering your dog. 
  • The plastic covering on the cable wears off over time and the cable frayed. 


  • Stake and cable systems are available in different sizes; find one that best suits your size dog.
  • Have a secondary tethering option for your dog for those times the ground is not suitable to use a stake. 

A Dog Cable Run or Dog Zip Line

For the purposes of this post, a dog cable run is a length of rope or wire fixed tightly between two points low to the ground and a dog zip line between two points up high. A second length of rope (or similar) is attached to your dog’s collar and to the fixed line where it runs freely from one end to the other.


  • It gives your dog more freedom to move around your campsite.
  • The zip line option prevents entanglements because the rope attached to your dog is above your dog’s head and off the ground. 


  • It gives your dog more freedom to move around your campsite; they could end up under your feet. 
  • There needs to be space to set up the run or zip line between two points that has no obstacles in the way. 
  • Getting the tension tight enough on the fixed line can be difficult if you do not have the right set up. 


  • A cable run or zip line are best for dogs that like to move about and do not pull excessively on their lead or tether.

Portable Fencing

Portable dog fences are a containment system for your dog that probably gives your dog the most freedom. It is similar to your dog being in their backyard.


  • Portable dog fencing is a brilliant option for small and medium dogs. It can give them plenty of room to wander about, to have their bed, food and water bowls and play. 


  • Carrying a portable dog fence is a lot of equipment to carry along with your regular camping gear.
  • It can take some time to set up and pack up. 
  • Some portable dog fences are heavy.


  • Portable fencing is available in various sizes, configurations and materials. We recommend you research and find the best one for your dog. 
  • The other option is a portable wireless dog fence. These require a commitment to training your dog to use it, but if you do, it removes the physical barrier of a metal or plastic fence. 

Happy travels and camping to you and your dog!


tethering your dog when camping

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