Rooftop tents are great for getting you off the ground and away from bugs and animals that might find their way into your tent (and all the tasty snacks inside). But you don’t want to leave your furry friend alone in the cold—especially if he’s a cuddle bug!
So, how do you get a dog in a rooftop tent? The best way to get a dog into a rooftop tent is to purchase or construct a ramp that can go to and from the tent. However, if they are small enough, you can also simply hoist them to your partner, pick them up using a harness, wear them on your back as you climb into the tent, or use a ladder.
Table of Contents
1. Purchase or Construct A Ramp
The best way to get a dog of any size into your rooftop tent is to either purchase or construct your own ramp. Why? It’s easier for dogs to get into the rooftop tent with themselves, and it’s easier on the owner’s back—especially for large dogs. Your furry buddy will be able to enter and exit the tent as they please.
Your dog will need to go to the bathroom, especially if he’s eaten some goodies in the woods he wasn’t supposed to. You don’t want to hoist your 50-pound dog out of the tent when he’s gotta go in the middle of the night! That doesn’t make for a dream overland adventure.
You have two options when it comes to a ramp for your rooftop tent:
- Purchase a ramp – Head over to your favorite internet retailer and purchase a ramp that can be adjusted to the height of your tent. We recommend the Pet Trex | Titan Telescoping Aluminum Pet Ramp | 28-62 Inches because it’s durable, lightweight and accommodates dogs up to 220 pounds. It’s also easy to adjust the height, making it ideal for various vehicles.
- Build your own ramp – If you aren’t so keen about spending $85, you can also make your ramp. All you need for a DIY doggy ramp is some wood, a saw, and some screws to hold it all in place. The main benefit of making your ramp is that you can customize it to fit your exact overland setup and tent height.
If you opt to build your own, here’s a great video that shows you exactly how to make your ramp. It’s a lot easier than you might think and doesn’t require extensive construction knowledge.
2. Use a Harness
The second-best option is to purchase a harness. There are two different harnesses you can choose from, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages:
- Dog Harness – A simple dog harness will fit snugly and comfortably around your furry friend’s body. There’s an attached handle to lift your dog into the tent. This is a better option for larger dogs, as it won’t hurt your back as much.
- Dog/Human Harness Combo – This type of harness is like a baby carrier. You strap yourself into the first harness and put your dog in the other, either placing them in front of you or on your back. Then, you both simply climb into the tent together.
A single dog harness might be best for larger dogs. We recommend the COODEO Dog Lift Harness as it offers full-body support, even for the larger breeds. This is especially ideal for older pets that might struggle with using the ladder.
For a dog/human harness combination, check out the Doggie Stylz Multi-Functional Full Body Lifting Dog Harness. It offers a superior fit that’s comfortable yet reliable. This is probably a better option for those with small to medium dogs. Can you imagine carrying a Husky on your back while climbing a ramp or ladder?
3. Use a Ladder
No, your dog probably won’t be able to use a ladder. But if your dog is small enough, you can simply carry him up the ladder.
You can also use the ladder to help you get larger dogs into the tent as well. Have your dog stand up so that his paws are on the ladder. Then, give your dog a boost and slowly lift him into the tent as he makes his way up the ladder. Here is a great video showing exactly how it’s done.
This option isn’t ideal for all situations, but it could help you avoid spending money on upgrades or crafting a ramp with wood scraps. If you’re unhappy with your current ladder or don’t find it sturdy enough to accommodate you and your dog, you also have the option of upgrading like in this video.
4. Hoist Up Your Dog
As a final option, you can always hoist up your dog to your partner waiting above. Just make sure you lift with your legs and not your back to avoid hurting yourself—especially if you have a large dog. This method isn’t ideal, as it’s not entirely comfortable for either you or your dog, but it can work in a pinch.
5. (Bonus Tip) Let Them Sleep in the Back of Your Vehicle
Of course, if nothing else works or you haven’t planned ahead, you can always let your furry friend sleep in the truck bed or back of your vehicle. In fact, some dogs may prefer to have a place of their own where they can quickly and easily go to the bathroom. Make sure he’s secured in some fashion so he doesn’t run off in the middle of the night.
Naturally, this doesn’t count as an official tip because it doesn’t involve getting your dog into the tent, but it’s still a viable option to consider.
Rooftop Tenting with Pets
It’s easier to get a dog into a rooftop tent than you might think. A ramp is typically the best option, either purchased or constructed yourself. This will allow your dog to enter and exit the tent as they need, which is essential—especially in urgent situations. A harness or simply hoisting him into the tent are also great options.
Which option is right for you depends on your dog’s size, age, and preferences. Weigh the pros and cons and come up with the solution that’s right for your overlanding style. Don’t leave your furry friends behind; they want to see the world too!