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Best Portable Dog Fence For Camping and RVs in 2023

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Kelly Headshot

By Kelly Beasley

Last Updated: January 25, 2023

You love your pets, don't you?

They become part of our family. Heck, they might be your only family.

It's no surprise that you want them to come along with you for the adventure when you go camping.

At most public or private campsites, rules are in place about dog restraints.

Often, they are not permitted to be left outside on a tether. In such cases, a portable dog fence for RV camping is handy.

A large camping dog fence or small pet playpen accommodates almost any breed or size. Remember, even the best portable dog fence is no substitute for proper walking.

Dog sitting in front of RV

Photo by @WilliamTrinklePhotography

Already know all about this subject? Just looking for the reviews? Click the button below to jump down to the product reviews.

Guide To Camping Dog Pens

A small or large exercise pen lets your dog or cat enjoy the outdoors with you.

It can also make the chore of potty time easier because you can let them out in the playpen area to relieve themselves.

Why An RV Pet Fence?

Three possible reasons:

  • Containment/ sleeping area
  • Potty time
  • Playtime

Rest assured that you cannot let your dog roam free when you are at an official campsite.

This is, of course, for the safety of your dog and the safety and comfort of other dogs and people in the campground.

Therefore, rules are in place. You must keep your dog contained in campgrounds, be it on a leash or in a portable dog playpen or a fenced-in area.

If you are boondocking, you can have dogs off-leash. But it should still always be watched by you and UNDER YOUR CONTROL 100% of the time.

Jack Russell Terrier dog looking through fence

No, there's no getting out to pee on that tire over there...

These durable RV dog fences can also be used at home. Use it for various things. You can teach your dog to go potty in a specific yard area.

Or use it indoors as a place for your dog to sleep, or to contain them when guests come over, etc.

Types Of RV Fence For Dogs

Indoor Pens

Indoor doggie playpens come in many forms and materials.

People usually use this type of playpen for dogs to keep their pet safe from harm, and it can keep them from destroying the house. Or it makes a good sleeping place.

Leaving your dog in your RV for the first time can be traumatic for them.

Why?

Because they don't know that you're coming back when you leave. Instead, all they know is they are stuck in a cage.

So your pup might do anything to get back to you if they think they have been abandoned in a foreign place, i.e., your RV. This is especially true if they have separation anxiety at your house.

Think about it- how can they possibly know you are coming back?

This creates separation anxiety, and your loyal dog could try tearing the RV apart to get out.

Having a place your dog knows and is comfortable will help them feel safe and secure in your RV or tent.

Midwest Pet Crate

If they have a space at home, like a crate or small pen, they should also have it in your RV.

If they know that you come back when they are in their little personal space at home, they could connect that you will also come back when they are in their bed area in your RV.

Other Good Uses

An indoor dog area is also an excellent place to contain your pet(s) when they come inside after rain.

Or, if you have gregarious dogs, a durable playpen for dogs is a good way to keep them out from underfoot when guests visit.

Precision pet soft sided play yard

Simply put them in their exercise pen.

Some people also use these pens for their cats.

Outdoor Portable Camping Fence

This type of playpen should be waterproof. And get one made with high-quality materials.

You can get a dog fence to let your dogs do their business outside your RV or tent, or it can allow them to watch the activity in the campground.

Some portable dog kennels for camping can be changed into different configurations.

You can shape it as an octagon, rectangle, or whatever you need.

Family walking dog

Easy assembly is another bonus for your foldable metal dog fencing to have. If you get enough RV pet fencing, it's like a tiny backyard for your pet to use.

Fido can stretch their legs in the dog fence a little, depending on the size of the enclosure you purchase as well as the size of your dog.

Just find dog enclosures for camping that are rustproof, gives your dog some decent square feet of space to use, and allows them to enjoy the outdoors without being on a cable where they can get all tangled up.

Puppy Training Pen

If you get a puppy, camping or not, it's a good idea to give them an area of their own.

Here are a couple of options:

1. Use a bottomless one to teach them where to go in the yard.

2. Use it for containment when you're away.

If you are taking your puppy on a camping trip, you need one for the same purposes.

You don't want them to poop all over or tear up your RV.

Dog drinking water from bottle

Having a place to sleep familiar to your puppy is also a good idea, whether it's your puppy's playpen or another bed or crate.

In general, dogs like having a regular schedule.

Training Your Dog To Like Their New Camping Fence Area

You cannot just buy a portable pet playpen or a crate for your dog, stick them inside, walk away, and expect them to be happy there.

For all they know, they just got stuck inside a box and will never get out. They don't innately know they aren't stuck in a life-threatening situation and shouldn't try to escape.

Dog pooping on grass

Never mind me. Just doing my thing.

To them, they will die if they don't escape.

Survival instinct is healthy and a natural reaction to being stuck in a small space. Introduce them to your dog enclosure for camping slowly and use positive reinforcement.

Watch this great video on how to get your pet to love their new little space.

This Video Is About Crate Training A 'Puppy', But Will Work Just The Same On A Grown Dog

How To Choose The Right Portable Pet Playpen For Your Pet

Now that you know the uses camping dog fencing might be good for, it's time to decide how exactly you will be using your dog camping pen.

Consider:

  • Size
  • Material
  • Height
  • Whether you need a door or not
  • How narrow must the fence grating be
  • Do you need stakes?

Let's discover why you may or may not want some of these features for your RV pet enclosure.

Camping Pet Fence Material

This is a significant factor.

Does your pup chew to get out of a crate-type environment? Will it be an inside or an outside setup?

If you have a chewer, don't get a soft-sided playpen. Yours should be very durable and escape-proof.

If using it outside, you need it to be a waterproof material. Here are some common types of materials:

Poodle on paddleboard

Plastic RV Dog Fencing: Good for outdoor use as it won't rust.

Lasts a long time. Dogs may be able to chew through if it's a big dog.

These pens are usually good about not scratching floors.

Metal RV Dog Pen: This is the most durable type of portable RV fence.

If you have a dog who chews, this is perfect.

Look for a metal fence that has been coated to protect against rusting for outdoor use.

Woman holding dog

Polyester and Mesh Enclosures: Camping pet enclosures that are made from materials are light and easy to store.

The bottoms of some are waterproof, so if your pet has an accident, it stays contained.

This material is destructible and will be useless if you have a chewer.

If you have a dog that likes to jump, these work well because some come with a zippered top.

Size

Most dog pens aren't huge.

You COULD get more panels for some models to make a larger pen, but your space is probably limited if you are in a campground.

dog sitting in grass

Photo by @WilliamTrinklePhotography

Consider whether you want your pet contained by the gates the second he goes out the door or if you want it standing on its own.

You may need more panels if you want to make a fence surrounding your door.

If you have large dogs, an RV portable pet fence with just four panels won't be large enough.

To Door Or Not To Door?

Some RV pet fences have a door option. Can you step fully over the fencing?

If not, consider getting the door option if there is one.

Dog lying on back in grass

Happy dog... happy dog... happy dog...happy dog...

Storage

Where will you store the RV fencing for dogs while you are on the road?

Some people store their camping dog fences in their tow vehicles.

Others keep it inside their RV or camper until they reach their destination, immediately setting up 'shop' for their pup upon arrival.

Storage probably isn't a huge factor unless you're dog owners toting Great Danes around with you, LOL!

Great Dane dog lying in grass

Gonna need a bigger crate...

Using Your Portable Dog Fence For Camping

Keep in mind a few things while you are using your playpen outdoors.

Presence

First, it's not a good idea to put your babies out in the outdoor dog fence, then go inside and take a nap.

A lot of bad could happen. Your pup could be stolen, a bird of prey could get them, kids might do something mean to them, feed them something they can't eat, they might bite someone reaching in, etc.

Puppy dogs on table

We're not out to scare you here. We're just being honest. These are just a few things that could happen.

Indoors

Provide blankets and toys if you are using the portable RV dog fence indoors for a place to play and/or rest.

If you have a puppy or a dog that is puppy pad trained, you CAN put a pad in the dog fence area, but only if it is large enough for them to get away from it.

If you force them to 'go' and then have to stay near it, it may dampen their instinct to not go in their bed area, making it much harder to potty train.

Below the summary, we feature the best dog pens we know about.

Summary

For dog owners, bringing pets along while camping is a rich, rewarding experience.

Naturally, our pets are part of our family, so it's natural to want to bring them along.

Therefore, having a camping pen for dogs or cats is an important part of bringing pets.

Finally, it is a great idea to keep them safe with an outdoor camping dog play area, safe from other dogs. It keeps the leash at bay until it's time for their daily walk.

Dog sitting with leash in mouth

Walk me! Even a big yard gets boring after only a few days...

Portable dog pens for camping provide a few options for containment. Rest, play, or a restroom break.

Get a portable pet fence for camping, and camp with them for as long as possible!

Now let's look at the best playpen and why we think that they are a good bet.

The Best Dog Camping Fencing Reviewed

There are a few different types of dog pens for RVers out there.

Picking a specific type of material will greatly depend on your pet's personality when in an enclosed space.

If you have small dogs, you may need a roof to protect them from birds of prey.

Metal playpens can be expanded, while a soft-sided enclosure is chewable. Take these things into consideration while shopping to keep your dog safe.

Best Soft-Sided Dog Playpen For Camping

Precision Pet Soft Side Play Yard

Precision pet soft sided play yard

Pros

  • Ground stakes included
  • Water resistant for indoor or outdoor use
  • Comes with a carrying case
  • Bottom floor panel and cover are removable and washable
  • Zippered top and bottom panels

Cons

  • Not good for larger dogs or dogs that chew

The Precision Pet Soft Side Play Yard comes in small, medium, and large. It's a great enclosed portable pet play area for your dog, cat, or other pet to safely play in or rest.

Choose Size

Continue Reading Precision Pet Soft Side Play Yard Review

Best Metal RV Dog Fence

MidWest MaxxLock Split Door Dog Pen

Midwest portable dog fence

Pros

  • Split door for easy access to inside without dog running out
  • 16 SF of space
  • Black electro-coat finish (Rust resistant)
  • Durable, heavy-duty metal
  • Multiple heights to choose from

Cons

  • None that we can find

The ever-popular Midwest portable doggie pen has been around for over 90 years. They are well-known in the dog show and breeder worlds for dependability.

5 Available Heights

Continue Reading Midwest Dog Playpen Review

Best Metal Dog Playpen With Topper

Advantek Pet Gazebo

Advantek pet gazebos

Pros

  • Topper for shade and escape protection
  • Three sizes available
  • Can attach more to make a bigger run area
  • Offers accessories to provide extra shade

Cons

  • None that we can find

This is a very well-designed pet pen. It has useful features not found in most other pens. They can't jump out and can't chew it up.

3 Available Heights

Continue Reading Advantek Pet Gazebo Review

Conclusion

Your dog can be kept happy and safe when enclosed (temporarily) inside a playpen while you are camping.

They can do their business inside the portable fence or just use it as a place they can relax outside while you are at the campground.

If you have big dogs, using a camper dog fence gives you a little more foot room in your RV. (But please provide them with enough space in the playpen to be happy and able to move around themselves.)

There's nothing better than bringing your furry friends camping with you instead of dropping them off at a kennel.

Get the best portable dog fence for their needs and enjoy your camping trip.

They want to be with you, too!

Camp On, Addicts!

  • Looking for more camping inspiration? Check out what else we have here on Camp Addict for the RVer.
Kelly Headshot

As a seasoned and passionate RVing expert, I have dedicated myself to living the full-time RV life for over 5.5 years, immersing myself in the unique quirks and joys of the boondocking lifestyle and gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience along the way. In December 2020, my business partner and I made the transition to part-time RVing, but in January 2023, we hit the road once again, this time in our trusty vans. My mission is to help others embrace the RVing lifestyle with confidence and excitement, armed with the knowledge and resources needed to make the most of their adventures. I believe that the more you know, the more you can truly appreciate and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of the open road. Join me on this journey and let's make some unforgettable memories.

  • Hi Kelly,
    I love animals and started to collect them while I was young. I have had lots of farm animals as well as exotics. I recommend doing so only if you have a good pet sitter or farm hand. Otherwise you will loose your ability to just take off when you want.
    Happy camping,
    Lauren

    • Hi Lauren,

      Yep, the struggle is real. They are two of the things I love most in life, travel and animals, and I either have to figure out how to have an EXTREMELY RELIABLE and knowledgeable person to watch them while I’m away, or I must sacrifice my ability to travel. I hope you have someone so you can get away here and there. Thanks for the comment!

  • Hi, we often go for picnics with our 2 little dachshunds. We usually just sit at the back of our car with our picnic chairs. Is there any kind of pen that we can put around the car to keep the dogs penned in but still beside us?
    I know this sounds a bit complicated but hopefully you know what I mean!????

    • Hi Sharon,

      Doxies!!! I’ll bet they are cute. So I apologize, but I am not exactly sure what you mean. So you sit in picnic chairs behind the car? Wouldn’t a regular wire pen work? Do you want it to enclose the car, or just your dogs and yourselves? Thanks.

  • Hi, Would like to add a particular product to the the playpens you considered. We discovered a pet “gazebo” from Advantek that comes in sizes from 3′ all the way to 8′. This gazebo is a great compromise between a dog crate and the soft-sided playpens. It is easily assembled and disassembled, has a roof for shade and protection from the elements, and it has a door that allows for easy access. And yes, it can even be used for cats (with minor modifications at the base to discourage sneaking out)! We actually have 2 gazebos – the small, and the large. The large stays in our backyard (when we aren’t RVing), set up under a shady tree. It is the perfect place to contain a pet when gates have to be kept open, or we have guests over who aren’t dog people (rare, but it HAS happened). The small gazebo is set up inside the house, and is used whenever a dog needs to be contained in a smaller space, but still has space to get up, move around a little, have a snack, etc. Perfect size for when one of our dogs had surgery, and had to have her movement severely restricted. We purchased the large gazebo at a farm supply place (Big R), and the small one at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Have been very pleased with both of them; the quality is good, and both have been put up and taken apart many times with no problems. You can even get a tote bag for the gazebo, which is what we use when we are RVing. Just another possibility for those looking for a portable solution to safely contain their pet when RVing!

    • Hi Sue,

      Thank you for the recommendation! We didn’t find much out there when we did this page, so we didn’t offer many choices.

      I do like that it has a top on it.

      We will look into it and may even add it to this page. Thanks again! Happy to hear you like yours.

      (And happy to hear you don’t have many ‘non-dog people’ friends, lol!! ????)

  • Excellent article and very informative! I am looking for a soft-sided pop-up style (or other easily portable) play pen/play yard for my little 4 pound Chihuahua. He goes everywhere with me, but there are times I do have to leave him, sometimes at a friend or family member’s house. When we do go camping, he goes along. He has a travel backpack that I usually carry him in, but have been looking for something bigger that I can bring with me. I hate to leave him too long just in his backpack.
    A google search of the best portable/travel play yards brought your site up, and I’m so happy it did!

    • Hi WB,

      That’s great, we are happy you found our site! Are you going to get a pen for your chi then? I’m sure he will be happier in it than being a long time in the backpack. Hope you get to use it often because that means you are camping a lot. Enjoy!

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