I love the idea of the pop-up in/over the ex-pen, Leslie! We brought an ex-pen with us when we camped with Kodi several times as a puppy last summer, and I was always moving the dang thing around to keep it in the shade.
OTOH, he spent very little time in it, because he wanted to be with us. It was only the last time we went that I felt safe having him on the ground, (by then he'd had all his shots) so he mostly sat in our laps anyway. We did take him for walks, but on a leash we could limit sniffing the ground and mouthing things. But he was very little when he started camping with us... the first time was just 3 days after I brought him home from the Kings!
Our trailer has a bump-out, so there was plenty of room to set an ex-pen up inside for rainy days in a 1x3 configuration. This year, I'm sure he won't need the ex-pen in the trailer, but we will probably bring all three of our pens along to make one big pen when we go in July. We'll be camping with both of my brothers' families, and they both have dogs too. I figure if we put our pens together, all three dogs can have plenty of romping room and company without having to be on leashes. I really don't think Kodi will need a leash to stay on the camp site this year... he's very good about staying close. But I KNOW that my younger brother's hound cross will take off, and my older brother's Sheltie is still young enough that I'm not sure he has had the training to be counted on to stay close. It will be easier to have the same rules for all of them, I think.
We found that when we needed to go somewhere with out him, Kodi was very happy to stay in his crate inside the trailer, with the shades down and the air conditioner set so that the fan stayed on whether the air conditioning kicked on or not. I think the hum of the fan tended to drown out noises outside. I know some dogs are terrible if left in a trailer by themselves, but Kodi has always been pretty comfortable as long as he's comfy in his crate with a soft bed and a chewy. We never left him for TOO long, but we could all go to the beach for a swim, for instance, and he'd be fine. (he got to go to the beach in the evening, when dogs are allowed)
The only thing I'm a little concerned about this year is that my brother has set up this family camping trip to a state park in VT, and it will be a solid WEEK of "dry" camping... something we've never done before. We do have a generator, but I guess you can only run it at certain times of the day. The biggest problem is that he gets so dirty when we are camping... I ended up having to at least rinse him off several times each trip last summer, and that was when his coat was MUCH shorter. I'm SURE they don't encourage dogs in the human showers
but we will have to really conserve water in the trailer tanks because there are no water or sewer hook-ups. So I'm not sure how I can bathe him in the trailer either. He's never had a cold water bath, so I'm not sure that taking him down to the cold water/community faucet for a bath is a viable idea either.
Does anyone else dry camp with a (mostly white) long haired dog? How do you deal with it?