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Campers Swear By This Portable Device That Keeps Dogs Safe -The Best Portable Dog Fence for Camping (2024)

| Updated Feb 6, 2024

We RV with our dog, Bo, and now use what we consider the best portable dog fence for camping. We tell you all about it and give you some good alternatives, too…

We've traveled with a dog since we started RVing over 11 years ago (and for many years before that in pop-up camper-mode). We started RVing with our beloved dog, Tai, a big, beautiful, and hairy Norwegian Elkhound. When he passed on, we got another Elkhound named Bo, and he's been traveling with us ever since.

We LOVE traveling with our dog, and we're certainly not alone. RVers are often dog owners with furry friends in all different shapes and sizes.

But traveling with a dog comes with its challenges… Especially when it comes to keeping your dog safe and contained.

We've recently discovered the best portable fence for our adventurous dog, which we're going to show and tell you about. But we know the best fence for us might not be right for you.

So, we also list great alternatives to help you find the right portable dog fence for your furry friend.

If you buy something through our links, we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. It helps keep our lights on so we can continue to provide helpful resources for RVers. Read our full affiliate disclosure here.

And Bo has his own Amazon List right here Bo’s Favorites – RV Lifestyle Pet Supplies.

The Best Portable Camping Dog Fence (For Us)

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SpotOn GPS Fence is our top choice because it fits our dog's needs perfectly, and we think it's a great option for many of our fellow RVers. You can get a complete introduction by watching the video above and see how it gives us peace of mind on our two properties and while we travel.

You can also read our Complete Review of SpotOn Satellite Dog Fence, but we'll summarize the key points here.

Why the SpotOn GPS Fence Works for Us

It's important to understand why the SpotOn fence works for us and why it won't work for some campers. It comes down to how and where we RV, as we are primarily boondockers.

As boondockers, we prefer camping in remote locations and rarely camp in traditional campgrounds. That means we're not confined to a small campsite, nor do we often encounter many people.

We also recently purchased two RV properties, where we camp/live for extended periods of time. So, virtual fences are the way to go since we can't easily move physical fences around these big sites.

The SpotOn fence allows us to easily set virtual perimeters that instantly sync with the dog collar Bo wears. If you watch the video or read our full review, you can see how easy it is to set boundaries by walking the perimeter or drawing it on a map in the app.

It beeps whenever he approaches a boundary to alert him not to proceed further. After a few days of training, he listens to these beeps and stays within his set perimeter.

Campers Swear By This Portable Device That Keeps Dogs Safe -The Best Portable Dog Fence for Camping (2024) 1

Why SpotOn Might Not Work for You

SpotOn is designed for open outdoor use and needs a minimum of a 1/2 acre to work correctly, which is 21,780 square feet of space. To give you an idea, that's about 150 feet by 150 feet if it was a square plot.

Their website states that the boundary “should be at least 80 feet wide at its narrowest point. Because your dog will hear tones 10 feet inside the boundary, if your fence is too narrow at any point, your dog will not be able to move freely without constantly hearing tones.”

So, as you can see, SpotOn is not a good option for keeping your dog confined to a traditional campsite. It would beep nonstop. That's why we have a list of temporary dog fence options below for those who only camp that way.

The other main limiting factor is its cost. As stated in the video, the Spot On Fence system we purchased was not cheap. It costs $1295 (you can take $100 off using the promo code RVLIFESTYLE100). But since one collar can be used to set up multiple fences in multiple locations, it was money well spent for us.

3 Great Alternatives for a Portable Camping Fence

Invisible fences are ideal in certain circumstances, but physical fences are still a great way to create a safe environment and play area for your pet. They come in many different sizes for small dogs, large dogs, and everything in between.

If you're trying to simply contain your dog on a traditional camping site, a physical RV dog fence is probably the way to go. So, here are some of our top picks that offer easy setup and easy storage. Hopefully, you can find the best solution for you.

Safety Note: Dogs shouldn't be left alone in outdoor playpens when you leave a campsite. It's against many campgrounds' regulations and isn't a good idea as dogs may escape (or be stolen) without supervision.

1. FXW Dog Playpen

The FXW Aster Dog Playpen is a favorite among RVers. This RV pet fence comes in different heights and with a different number of panels. So, you can buy 24″ tall panels for smaller dogs or up to 40″ tall for larger dogs and from 6 to 48 fence panels.

This playpen has two key features that set it apart from others. The first is that it doesn't have sharp edges; its ground stakes have a round ball on top. The second is its upgraded door latch that prevents the pet from accidentally pushing it open.

Preview Product Price
FXW Dog Playpen FXW Dog Playpen

2. IRIS USA Dog Playpen

IRIS USA makes a few different playpens for dogs, primarily for smaller outdoor areas or indoor use. Like the FXW, it doesn't have sharp edges, is easy to assemble and fold down and store.

Their pens are an excellent choice for RVers with smaller dogs and those who want to confine a space inside and out of their RV.

Preview Product Price
IRIS USA Dog Playpen IRIS USA Dog Playpen $62.99Amazon Prime

3. Heavy Duty Dog Tie Cable & Stake

We must start by saying we do not recommend tying your dog to a stake and leaving your campsite. However, many people like to keep their dogs tied to a stake while sitting out on their campsite instead of holding onto a leash. This heavy-duty stake and cable is a good choice for such use.

Preview Product Price
ROYAL PAW Heavy Duty Dog Stake ROYAL PAW Heavy Duty Dog Stake $35.95Amazon Prime

Some Campgrounds Do NOT Allow Dog Fences

Some campgrounds do not allow dog fences, and more and more are banning them. The main reason campgrounds are banning them altogether is that people are leaving their dogs unattended in a portable pet fence.

As we mentioned, your dogs shouldn't be left unattended outside your RV in a campground. It exposes your dog, fellow campers, and the campground to more risk. So, understandably, campgrounds are trying to minimize that risk.

Here's a helpful article: How to SAFELY Leave Your Dog Alone in Your RV (Cats, too!).

So, while traveling with a portable playpen is always a good idea, be aware that you can't always use it at certain campgrounds. It's best to check the pet policy or call ahead before your next camping trip.

5 Best Dog Camping Beds

Campers Swear By This Portable Device That Keeps Dogs Safe -The Best Portable Dog Fence for Camping (2024) 2

If you're looking for a dog pen, then you'll likely want a comfy camping bed for your pet as well. We have another article on the best dog camping beds worth checking out.

The list includes a doggy sleeping bag, a comfy mat, an elevated cot, and more. See the full list of the dog beds and their features

Looking for a way to keep your dog on your property without using a physical fence? Check out SpotOn GPS Dog Fence™

SpotOn works almost anywhere — but you need a lot that’s at least ½ acre

Why? Because you’ll need to allow for the fence alert/warning zone. The effective boundary for your dog is 10 feet inside the fence boundary that you walk. Walk your planned boundary with SpotOn's dog collar and your phone or draw your fence in the app. Truly, watching this video will show you how cool this technology is! True Location™ technology builds on conventional GPS and makes it better, giving you the most reliable fence boundary that never requires calibration. So your dog can have a great adventure without risking a great escape. Get professionally-developed training programs that’ll have your dog using SpotOn in a few simple steps!

If you LOVE RVing with your pet, you'll really enjoy the conversations we are having in our NEW Community in a Space JUST about pets! Join us and enjoy a stress-free, nice community of RVers.

Last update on 2024-07-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Mike Wendland

Published on 2024-02-05

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

5 Responses to “Campers Swear By This Portable Device That Keeps Dogs Safe -The Best Portable Dog Fence for Camping (2024)”

June 11, 2024at7:40 am, Neet and Angel said:

I’ve been looking for a portable dog fence for our next camping trip and this post has been super helpful. I’m considering the PetSafe Portable Fence, it looks like it would work great for our campsite. Do you guys have any experience with it?


February 06, 2024at3:24 pm, Rick & Jackie Ingram said:

We bought the Spot On fence about three months ago and it has given us a lot of peace of mind when Sig is out of the house. We have a fence set up around the property where we live and a fence set up around another property where we have rentals. It has worked flawless so far. We knew that we would need a way to keep Sig safe when we begin our RV journey later this year and the Spot On seemed to fit that need as well.


February 08, 2024at10:48 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Thank you for this feedback! Team RV Lifestyle


April 08, 2023at7:57 am, Chris Schiel said:

As for the GPS fence. We are currently getting our dog used to the Invisible fence brand dog fence. It takes a lot of training for the dog to get used to where their boundaries are. I cannot imagine going to different campsites and having the dog go through that. It would never know where to walk and not walk. I know my dog would NEVER leave the RV. Also, besides boon-docking, how many campsites have an 1/2 acre?
As for the screw type with the cable, We went with one of the plastic coated dumbbells. Due to the root system in many parks, we found that it is hard to drive into the ground and get out, We have a small dog and with that we can place it anywhere. Just make sure it heavy enough for him/her not to pull away.


April 08, 2023at11:01 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Glad you found a solution for your pet! Mike and Jen like to do a lot of boondocking, and with the beep warning system they have actually had a really good experience with their dog, Bo, learning the boundaries quickly and enjoying the space within the boundaries without a leash. Thanks for sharing your experience – definitely everyone needs to do what is best for their pet and camping style. Happy Trails! Team RV Lifestyle


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