When it comes to things that make a camping trip great, one of the most important is your canine friend. Your dog only wants to be with you, and for them a camping trip is as much of an adventure as it is for you.
We love to camp with our dogs, but from time to time, using a leash or tether, to keep them near camp can be a hassle. Long leads can be attached to your car or a tree, but they become a tripping hazard or your pup ends up wound around everything.
Over time, we have found that one of the best solutions for camping with our dogs is a portable dog fence. These handy set-ups will allow your dog to enjoy camping, and you don’t have to worry about tripping on a lead or your dog running off.
When we shopped for a dog fence for camping, we found that there were a lot of really nice options, but the choices were a little overwhelming. If you are shopping for a portable dog fence, we’ve put together this list of the best and sturdiest portable dog fences on the market.
1. Yaheetech Heavy Duty Pet Playpen
Our pick for the best portable dog fence is the Yaheetech heavy-duty pet playpen. While there are many similar products on the market, we liked this one the best because it comes with three height options, and three size options.
This fence is really the most versatile for a variety of spaces, and dogs. If you have small dogs, the 24” option with 16 panels might be the perfect size, larger dogs do well with the 40” tall option. When it comes to camping we recommend that you select the 16 or 24 panel option, otherwise even the folded down fence is bulky.
This fence is made of powder coated iron which is both durable and is fairly light weight. The whole fence folds down into a neat stack which can easily tuck into your trunk, or store in your RV. The fence has two door panels that have easy to secure latches.
Our favorite feature of this fence is that it can be arranged into any shape you need, so it is very versatile for any camping spot. Our biggest complaint is that the stakes that come with the fence are pretty flimsy. If you can invest in some more durable stakes, it’s probably worth it.
- Easy set-up, no tools required
- Comes in three height options
- No set shape, adjust to fit your area
- Stakes are a little flimsy
- Gate could be sturdier
- Minor rusting can occur
2. BestPet Pet Playpen Dog Kennel
Very similar in design to the Yaheetech fence is the BestPet playpen. While we found very few differences in the two fences as far as construction, set-up and convenience, we were disappointed that this fence only comes in one size.
The BestPet pet playpen does come in three different fence heights but with only 8 panels. While this might be perfect for smaller spaces, you’re stuck with limited shape options, and if you have more than one larger dog, this fence option could be a little crowded.
The BestPet playpen collapses down compactly so it is easy to travel with, and with fewer panels, this is one of the more compact options available. Hollow metal construction makes this portable dog fence lightweight and easy to maneuver.
- Easy to assemble
- Double gate latch for added security
- Good for indoor or outdoor use
- Not great for large dogs
- Gaps between panels
- Wire mesh seems flimsy
3. FXW Dog Playpen
The FXW dog playpen is another nice option that comes in varying height and panel numbers. This playpen has some features that we like much better than some other playpens, but there are also some downfalls, which set it behind our favorite.
First, we really like that the pins that connect the panels extend to the top of the panel, and have rounded tops. This keeps smaller dogs and puppies from getting their feet stuck in the gap.
Also, this portable fence comes with more study stakes with rounded tops, so you’ll have an easier time securing this fence at your campsite. We also think that the materials for this fence seem a bit more robust.
The real downfall on this fence is that the individual panel size is smaller than with our first two options. So even though you get 16 panels, the overall size of the fence is smaller. Also, we didn’t love the automatic latch on the door of this fence. It seems convenient, but the gate has to be pushed completely into the latch for the latch to catch. If you’re not paying attention, your dog could sneak out.
- Three panel height options
- Nice variety of panel number options
- Rounded connector rods and stakes
- Not as compact when disassembled
- Smaller panels
- Automatic latch not as secure
4. Giantex Dog Play Pen with Door
The Giantex dog playpen is our favorite for larger dogs, though it will work fine for dogs of all sizes as well. The Giantex, as its name suggests, comes in 40” and 48” tall panels, making it perfect for larger dogs or dogs that can jump out of other portable fences.
The Giantex dog playpen comes in 8 or 16 panel options. The 16-panel option has two door panels, so it can be configured as one large, fenced area or split into two smaller areas.
We also like the construction of this portable fence, better than some of the other options. The frame and mesh are made from light-weight steel, which feels more durable than some of the other materials. However, even though the material is “light-weight” steel is heavier than other materials, so this portable fence is actually heavier than other options.
- Taller panel options for larger dogs
- Easy to assemble
- Quality Materials
- Bulkier than other options
- Connector rods are kind of flimsy
- Can slide around on some surfaces
5. BMS Indoor/Outdoor Dog Fence
Though a quality product, the BMS indoor/outdoor dog fence, doesn’t provide the level of versatility provided by other products on our list. The BMS dog fence comes in one configuration only – eight, 40-inch panels, one with a gate.
While we’re not excited about the single size options, this dog fence is really a nice option, especially if you want to use it for both camping and keeping your dogs controlled inside your house. The BMS fence can be set up in three configurations, and is easy to put together.
We felt that the construction and materials for this fence were reasonable, though we did notice some chipping in the coating after a couple of uses. This fence does not come with stakes or the ability to stake down, so if your dogs get rowdy, they can easily move this fence around.
- One size fits all
- Easy assembly, no tools required
- Compact when folded up
- Paint isn’t as durable
- Can’t purchase replacement panels
- Doesn’t stake down
What are the so-called “portable dog fences”?
A portable dog fence is a handy item to carry with you when you’re camping or RVing with your dogs. Portable dog fences allow you to set up a secure space at your campsite where your dogs can hangout, without being stuck to a leash or tether.
Portable dog fences are great to have when you’re planning an extended stay in one place, and you don’t necessarily want to leave your dog in the RV or tent while you are enjoying the outdoors. Portable fences allow your dogs to stretch out, watch what is going on and have a place to do their business without being on a leash.
A portable dog fence is a great safety feature for your dogs especially if you are camping in more remote locations. These fences give your dogs room to move around, but keep them safe from wildlife or from running off if they see another animal.
How to choose the best portable dog fence
We selected the portable dog fences in this review based on a number of product features. For us, the list below has the product features that are the most important when selecting a quality portable fence that will keep our dogs safe and secure.
We have two large dogs, so size is a really important consideration for us. Our dogs like to have a bit of space to spread out, so we look for portable dog fences that will accommodate both of our dogs, but still be compact when folded down.
Size is directly related to the number of panels, as is the compactness of the structure when disassembled. Most portable fence options that we looked at came with 8 to 32 panels. Depending on your use or your dogs, you might not need 32 panels. However if you’re in one space for the long haul, the larger option might just be a better option for your dog’s comfort. Just keep in mind, the 32-panel option is going to take up a good amount of space in your RV or camping supplies, so if you’ve not got a lot of storage, you may want to select a smaller option.
The panel height of the portable dog fence you’re considering is as important as the size area of the fence. If you have larger dogs, or a dog that likes to jump, you will want to look for portable fences with taller panels.
In general we found that portable dog fence panels ranged in height from 24-inches to 48-inches. Shorter panels are fine for smaller dogs or even older dogs. If you’ve got larger or more rambunctious pets, you’ll want to consider taller panels.
The other consideration regarding height is any requirements that your favorite campgrounds may have. Some campgrounds will only allow fences with a particular panel height, so make sure you consult those requirements before buying.
We found that most portable dog fences came in either plastic or metal. Intuitively, we thought plastic might be easier to manage. However, we found that a sturdy yet lightweight metal portable fence was much more durable, and stood up to the rough housing of our dogs.
Look for portable dog fences that are made from coated iron or steel. Make sure that the fence you select is coated with a weather resistant coating so that it won’t rust in the weather.
Weight is an important consideration for a portable dog fence. If you have to go to the gym just to be able to move around your dog’s camping fence, then it’s probably too big or made from the wrong materials. And trying to lug around a really heavy dog fence isn’t fun.
On the flip side, while you want it to be easy to pick up, you don’t want it so lightweight that your dogs can move it or knock it down easily.
The great thing about most portable dog fences is that you’re not tied to just one shape. Even smaller options can be arranged in two or three shapes.
More panels increase the versatility of shape, and might be a better option if you know you’ll be in a strange shaped camping spot.
We won’t be vague about price. Portable dog fences are a bit on the pricey side. However, if you and your dogs want to have a relaxed camping experience, they are well worth the cost.
In our research we found that most portable dog fences range from $200 to around $500. Of course, smaller fences will cost you less than a larger option.
And while this may seem like a lot, if you consider the safety and security of your pet, especially in more remote locations, this cost is a small price to pay to keep your four-legged family member safe and secure.
Ease of assembly
Most of the pet fences that were selected for our list of favorites were really easy to assemble. Actually, before we tried some of these, we read reviews from other buyers, and looked for terms like, “easy to assemble”, “instructions were easy to follow”, and others that told us that we didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to set up a dog fence.
There are some pre-assembled dog fence kits that claim to fold down to a compact, portable configuration. However, we found that none of them were as compact at the fences that came completely apart, and stacked.
Also, if you have to carry extra tools just to set up your portable dog fence, you should probably find a different option.
Most portable dog fences come with a panel that has a door or gate. This is a pretty important feature because it allows you to let your dogs in and out without moving a whole panel. There are some things you need to keep in mind when looking at the door on your preferred portable dog fence.
First, these doors or gates aren’t that big. They’re actually pretty narrow, so you won’t be walking side by side with your pup to get them through the gate.
Second, most of the gates or doors don’t extend down the full length of the panel, so older dogs, or puppies may need help getting over the bottom of the panel.
Finally, not all gate latches are created equal. While quick connect latches seem like a good idea, if you don’t get the gate pushed all the way closed, you may end up with an open door, and a dog on the run.
What are the benefits of using portable dog fences?
We’ve mentioned a few of the benefits of a portable dog fence for camping, but here they are, one more time:
- Control of your dogs without leashes or tethers
- Protection from wildlife
- More comfort and space for your dogs
- Campsite is free of tripping hazards like leashes and tethers
Is there more than one type of RV dog fence?
There are a variety of portable dog fences that you can use with your RV. While the options that we selected are physical fences, some dog owners prefer an invisible fence for their dogs. These require a bit more strategy when setting up, but there are portable options out there.
If you want the security of a physical fence, there is plenty of variety to choose from. From large to small. Some fences can be expanded to use in yards, while others are made from materials that make them ideal for use indoors.
Depending how you want to use your portable dog fence, you may want to look for an option that can be staked down when outside but has feet that can be added as an option for using indoors. There are plenty of options out there, you just need to find the right one for your dog-friend and their camping adventures.