Backpacking with Dogs
Lighting Options for your Dog

Lighting Options for your Dog

There are really only three lighting options for your dog when camping.  They are a light up collar, an attachable light, and a light up harness. The decision is based upon aesthetic preference but you should also consider the location where you are camping, and the ease of use of the light.

Location, Location, Location

The perfect example that highlights location consideration is camping at a public campground.  In this situation the light and reflectivity are a factor for the safety of your dog as there may be cars driving around.  The larger, more reflective, and notable the lights are the better.  In this scenario a light up harness or vest is a good option. 

Ease of use

While the light up harness is useful in an area where there may be cars and groups of people, it is not the easiest thing to put on and get setup.  The easiest option for lighting is the clip-on solutions.  These are great if you want to attach the light to a collar, the leash, or event the back of a harness.  The light of clip-on options is not as notable as the harness options, but it will enable you to see your dog across a field or in the nearby woods.


If you want to keep your dog looking like a stylish dog, then a light up collar might be the way to go.  They have on-off buttons and many or rechargeable or run on basic batteries.  Its not ideal to have to switch out collars, but if you leave the collar on for the entire and camping experience it can be pretty easy to use.

Other considerations

If your dog is like mine and likes to swim and jump in streams, I recommend selecting waterproof options regardless of the style you choose. Many of the lights offer different colors and flashing modes.  These are good when you are around other people and want to minimize or maximize the effect of the light.  Blinking helps draw attention if you are in a crowded place. The other option you will have is whether you want to recharge your light or if you want to replace batteries.  Most lights are LED and battery life isn’t a major consideration unless you will be out for several days without power, or you leave the light on overnight.

My Choice

When it comes to lighting for my dog, I chose a NiteHowl around the neck light. It sits on the dog like a collar but I don’t have to fuss with it like a collar.  Its easy and quick just like a clip-on but it is larger than a clip-on making it more visible.  If you see it from far away, it looks like a kid’s glowstick.  Which hopefully makes any cars a little more cautious.  And lastly, I can attach it to the back of my dog’s harness.

There are a lot of lighting options for your dog and they all work. Get an option that fits the location, ease, and looks that you want.  Waterproof is never bad and most will come with multiple colors and blinking options. Make sure you check out the other gear to bring when camping with your dog.