Best Dog Bowls for Hiking and Road Trips

Dog bowls—literally the first thing I pack for any trip. A durable, packable dog bowl is a key part of a successful adventure with your furry friend. And there are plenty of options out there, so it’s just a matter of figuring out which travel dog bowl meets your needs best. Listed here are a few of the best dogs bowls for hiking and travel that work for us. 

A brown dog drinking out of a red fabric dog bowl on a hiking trail
MuttRuk RollOut Travel Bowl

How to Choose a Dog Bowl for Hiking and Road Trips

At home, most dog owners (myself included) use ceramic or metal bowls of some sort. These are great, for home. But they’re a bit heavy and bulky to fit in a back pack for a hike. Less is more for road trips as well. That’s where the dog bowls designed specifically for travel come into play.

What to look in the best dog bowls for hiking and travel:

  • Collapsible or Foldable – A dog bowl that will collapse down to a smaller size saves space in your backpack or car. More room for snacks!
  • Weight – If you’re a backpacker or hiker, you don’t want a heavy bowl in your backpack or your dog’s backpack. This is where the fabric bowls win, without a doubt. But the collapsible silicone bowls are still doable and a great option for road trips and more.
  • Waterproof – Not all travel dog bowls are meant for water. And for those that are, some are more waterproof than others. Many of the fabric-style bowls are only intended for a quick drink on the go; they may only have a light waterproof  or water-resistant seal. Your best bet is a silicone bowl if you’re leaving water out all day. 
  • Capacity – How much water do you need your bowl to hold? Small dogs drink less than large dogs. Whoa, what?! Yeah, wild, I know. 
  • Durable – Many of the collapsible dog bowls are made of silicone, which is quite durable. But also consider any other materials used, such as a plastic top edge that could crack or break over time. And don’t discount those fabric bowls in this category! Most foldable, fabric-type bowls use a 600-denier fabric, which is durable enough to stand up to your backcountry treks or inner-city strolls.

​What is Denier? It’s a unit of measurement to determine the fiber thickness of individual threads used in the creation of fabrics. Fabrics with a high denier count are thicker and more durable. Those with a low denier count are softer and silkier.

A collection of various styles of travel dog bowls.

​Dog Bowls for Travel

​These are the travel dog bowls Hercules and Cool Whip have used over the years. Also the ones they currently use.

Foldable Options

​These are the most compact and packable dog bowls for hiking. They’re typically made of a 600-denier polyester outer layer and a waterproof interior.

MuttRuk: RollOut Travel Bowl ($20) – This is my current go-to travel bowl for outdoor adventures (I have both colors!). MuttRuk has thought of everything for this bowl: flexible, durable, waterproof material that rolls up and secures with a snap; plus, a small carabiner to hook the bowl right to the side of your pack, leash, etc. You don’t even have to take off your backpack to access the bowl—unclip it, unroll it, and fill it with water from your hydration pack.

Ruffwear: Quencher ($15) – I received the small version of the Ruffwear Quencher in a Cairn subscription box several years ago. It was a great win back then and still is. Packable and durable. It also has a loop to attach a carabiner. 

Outward Hound: Port A Bowl ($7) – This was the very first travel bowl I purchased for the dogs. It has an elastic loop to attached a carabiner or, as I use it, to keep the bowl rolled up when not in use. Not quite as waterproof as the other two, but still a solid option—especially for under $10!

Three foldable dog bowls in pink, blue, and gray.
A white dog drinking from a red foldable travel dog bowl
MuttRuk RollOut Travel Bowl
A while dog drinking from a pink Ruffwear travel dog bowl
Ruffwear Quencher Travel Bowl

Collapsible Options

These dog bowls collapse down flat. They aren’t quite as compact and light as the foldable bowls, but they are a bit more sturdy. I prefer these when I know we’ll have a home base, such as when we’re camping or on a road trip. You can leave the bowl full of water all day and it won’t leak out at all.

Kurgo: Collapse A Bowl ($10) – I love these bowls and have one in every color! I leave one in the car for emergency water needs and use the other two during road trips. Because they collapse down flat, they fit right in the dog food container without taking up any extra space. Plus, they have the small carabiners to attach them to a backpack if you take them hiking, etc. 

Ruffwear: Bivy Collapsible Dog Bowl ($25) – I don’t remember how I wound up with this bowl, but it was my first introduction to a collapsible dog bowl not made of silicone. What’s important about that? It’s weighs a lot less.

Three travel dogs bowls
Kurgo Collapse A Bowl on the left, Ruffwear Bivy Collapsible Bowl on the right

​Fixed-form (Silicone) Options

Not the type of bowl you’d toss into your backpack for a hike, but a fixed-form silicone bowl is perfect for road trips and extended camping adventures. The collapsible bowls are pretty durable, but my dogs inadvertently collapse them part way if I leave them out unattended. This is where a fixed-form bowl comes in handy: hotels, campsites, in the car, etc. 

Sleepy Pod: Yummy Travel Bowl ($30) – I received this bowl set in a gift bag at a dog car-safety event. Legit the best thing I’ve ever received in a gift bag! It doesn’t pack down smaller but it is still well designed for travel. The inner bowls are too small to use as food bowls for Cool Whip and Hercules, but the no-spill water is a total significant change for road tripping. Bonus: I accidentally ran it over once and didn’t do it a bit of damage. 

Kurgo is one of the only other companies I’ve seen with a similar bowl suitable for adventure travel. So, if you don’t need the interlocking food bowls, this could be a great alternative for just the no-splash water bowl. (Note: I’ve never actually tried Kurgo’s no-splash bowl.)

A 3-piece set of silicon travel dog bowls
Sleepy Pod Yummy Travel Dog Bowl
A silicon dog bowl survives being run over!
A silicon dog bowl survives being run over!