Our Top 3 Picks
Whether you are planning a hike with your dog or just need to make regular walks a bit more challenging – a dog saddlebag, also known as a dog backpack, could be the ultimate thing for you! With a dog backpack, hiking becomes a lot more fun, as your pup does not only get some extra weight to carry but a challenge and a job to carry out. It is no secret that dogs like to be kept busy and that they are happy when they feel they have been entrusted with a task.
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All dogs regardless of size can strap on a pack, as there are lightweight dog backpacks perfectly suited even for the smallest of fur friends. Let your dog carry his or her own dog water bottles, dog bowls, stuff the pockets with plastic bags to pick up after them, or just let your pup get used to the feeling of having something on their back. It will tire them out more during regular outings and leave them feeling satisfied with the notion of having contributed to something.
How We Chose The Best Backpacks for Dogs
Picking the right pack for hikes, trails, or camps is important because you will need something to withstand extreme situations when dealing with external factors during an adventure. That’s why we’re here to deliver only the best for you and your pooch. Here’s a brief summary of how we choose the perfect dog backpacks for hiking.
- Lightweight – A lightweight dog backpack will come especially handy for long trails or long hikes. Also, depending on your dog’s age, having a light pack weight is beneficial as this won’t put unnecessary pressure on your dog. Although heavier backpacks can carry more load, a lighter backpack is preferable, especially for smaller dogs. Having a lightweight pack can also make your dog’s movement more flexible, which is easier for them to manage when going on long hikes.
- Adjustable – Adjustable dog backpacks allow you to alter the backpack whenever so that it would be a perfect fit on your dog’s chest, neck, and head. Your dog would be uncomfortable on something too loose or too tight on them. Backpacks with adjustable straps are great for accomodating dogs of all sizes.
- Sturdy and Durable – Of course, if you often venture into the woods and like to go on hikes and trails every once in a while, you will want a backpack that can survive even after two to three uses. A pack made with durable materials is the one you want
- Certified content. This article has been fact checked and verified by our veterinary advisor.
Approved By: Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM
Words from our DVM, Sara Ochoa:
“Dogs with back problems or those breeds prone to back problems such as [the] Dachshund should not wear backpacks.”
View The Best Dog Hiking Backpacks Below
1. Ruffwear Approach Dog Backpack
- Brand: Ruffwear
- Colors: Campfire Orange, Meadow Green, Orange Poppy
- Item Size: XS to XL
- Features: Comfortable Load Carrying, Integrated Harness, Easy On-the-trail Access
These Ruff Wear backpacks come in 5 sizes, from XXS to XL, so that you can find one that fits small dogs, medium dogs, and large dogs. It’s a safe and secure dog hiking backpack because of the clip-in with strong aluminum V-ring and reinforced webbing loop leash attachment points.
The Ruffwear Approach full-day hiking backpack comes with an integrated dog harness and reflective stripes, making it light to carry around and safe for walks in dark and trafficked areas. The streamlined design makes it comfortable to wear for a longer period, and the load distributes evenly for safe runs and jumps. It has sheltered buckles and non-slip straps that make it stay in place even on the most active dog.
+ Comes in 5 different sizes
+ Reflective stripes for visibility
+ Even weight distribution
+ Comfortable and lightweight
+ With form-fitting saddle bags
+ Perfect for outdoor adventures
– No padded straps which can be uncomfortable when rubbing under a dog’s armpit
– Hard to balance for some dogs
Why We Liked It – Ruffwear backpacks are known for their high quality and durability, but what we found the most appealing was the range of sizes! It is great to see a product for active dogs also taking small fur friends into consideration. For dog hiking or camping, make sure to not increase the load to 25% more than your dog’s body weight.
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2. Outward Hound Daypak Dog Backpack
- Brand: Outward Hound
- Colors: Brown, Green, Blue
- Material: Mesh, Nylon
- Features: Expandable pockets, Adjustable straps and breathable mesh, Reflective accents, Water resistant fabric
The Outward Hound Daypack comes with four expandable pockets, perfect for storing whatever you want your dog can carry for you. It is easy to spot from a distance thanks to its bright colors with reflective details. This high-visibility and top-rated dog backpack are made to fit a pouch on the go! The cooling mesh material provides a rich airflow, which helps to keep the pet dog cool even during physically challenging hikes.
The Outward Hound Daypak dog’s small harness is one of the best dog hiking packs for the simple reason that it is designed for an adventurous dog who likes to explore! Its handle on the back comes in handy if ever you have to lift the dog or hold them back. The Outward Hound Daypack has a built-in dog harness for minimal trouble and maximum practicality.
+ High-quality dog hiking backpack
+ Includes 4 expandable pockets for storage
+ Comes with D-ring leash attachment
+ Cool and breathable middle mesh material
+ Reflective features for more visibility at night
+ With adjustable belly strap for a secure and tight fit
– Size chart is inaccurate
– Not for dogs who like to pull
– Hard to balance and doesn’t stay centered all the time
Why We Liked It – This Outward Hound Daypack earns its place on the list of best dog backpacks suitable for long hikes. It’s a lightweight dog backpack, easy on and off with expandable pockets to carry necessary items and sit comfortably on your pet dog.
3. Kurgo Baxter Dog Backpack for Hiking
- Brand: Kurgo
- Colors: Black/Orange, Chili Red/Barn Red, Coastal Blue, Wander
- Material: Polyester
- Recommended Pet Weight: Up to 110 lbs
- Features: Lightweight, Ergonomic, Four reflective trim strips
The two saddlebags on this product are big enough to hold anything your pup might need to bring with them on a hike or camping trip. The Kurgo Baxter Dog Hiking Backpack also has a handle on the back which is great when having to help your dog up somewhere, be that upon a rock or out of water.
The reflective trim on the saddle ensures easy visibility, especially in the dark. It comes with a rear leash hook that also works as a bottle opener. The Kurgo Baxter Dog Hiking Backpack is accompanied by a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects (providing it was bought new from an authorized sales point).
+ With 8 points of adjustments to fit most dogs
+ Sturdy handle on the back for maximum control
+ Two large saddlebags
+ Breathable materials
+ Padded sternum strap for comfort
+ Reflective strips for increased nighttime visibility
– Size chart is inaccurate
– Straps are not very durable and may slip off from time to time
Why We Like it: The bottle opener! Jokes aside, this Kurgo Baxter Dog Hiking Backpack places high in dog backpack reviews due to its durability and sturdiness. The saddlebags are big enough to hold your dog’s gear and hiking gear. It is one of the best dog packs for hiking currently available.
4. OneTigris Dog’s Pack
- Brand: OneTigris
- Colors: Black, Brown, Green
- Material: High density cotton canvas
- Features: Leash Attachments, Sturdy Lift Handle, Padded Mesh Undersides, Rugged Dual-way Zippers, Lots of Storage Space
A vintage-style dog backpack large dog breeds will love! Made out of high-quality cotton canvas material, it fits your medium- or large-sized dog like a comfortable glove. Comfort is the main motivation behind this product. While it lacks the sportier features of some of the best hiking backpacks for dogs, it is the perfect option for dog owners that like a classier look with all the basic functions.
Two large bags with zippers are enough to hold waste bags, small water bottles, keys, your cellphone, or anything else you might not fit into your own pockets. The handle on the back is mostly aesthetic, fine to use to hold a dog back from something but should not be used for lifting the pet dog from the ground. OneTigris is the best backpack for dogs for exciting activities, such as training, hiking, camping, long trail walks, backpacking trips, traveling, or everyday use.
+ Classy vintage style look with 3 color options
+ With front and back leash attachment D-rings
+ For medium and large dog breeds
+ Includes zipper compartments and semi-open pockets for storing essentials
+ Multi-functioning dog hiking backpack
+ Padded mesh undersides for breathability
– Handle is not recommended for lifting the dog
– Side packs need to be perfectly balanced or they will slip off
Why We Liked It – Not everyone likes the sportier look but might still want to activate their pet dog while strolling down the road in a busy city. This cotton canvas dog backpack is versatile. It’s great for walks, hikes, and camping, but also classy looking for the fashion-forward pup.
5. Outward Hound Denver Urban Pack
- Brand: Outward Hound
- Colors: Brown, Green, Blue
- Features: Easy Grip Handles, Adjustable Straps, Breathable Material, D-Ring Leash Clips
You might want more than just the best dog hiking backpack, and perhaps you are also looking for a product that will make your dog look great? These Outward Hound top dog backpacks combine the best of both, presenting a functional pack with two large storage pockets and mesh material on top to keep the dog cool.
Moreover, it has comfortable padded straps that keep the backpack in place and make your dog look like the most stylish pouch in town. This dog travel bag is among the best dog backpacks for city strolls and casual walking adventures. Still, it will also work great for camping trips or less extreme hikes.
+ Combines style and function
+ Mesh material to keep the dog cool
+ Perfect for city walks
+ Lightweight and comfortable
+ With adjustable chest strap harness
+ Two large expandable pockets
– Actual size smaller than listed
Why We Liked It – This dog travel pack is the perfect example of a product for someone who just wants to make their dog walks a bit more challenging! Strap on the backpack and let your pooch do the heavy lifting. Its two expandable pockets can carry all the essentials for hiking, including poop bags on the go.
6. Lifeunion Polyester Dog Saddle Bag
- Brand: Lifeunion
- Colors: Blue, Neon Green, Orange
- Material: Polyester
- Features: Mesh & Breathable Saddle Top, Highly Visible Reflective Strip, Waterproof Sturdy Polyester, Adjustable Straps
Lifeunion is a quality product that comes in three different sizes and in a variety of colors, for you to pick the one that best matches your dog’s as well as your own personality. This fully rain-proof dog hiking backpack is made with durable polyester, making it one of the best dog packs for hiking and other physically challenging activities.
The rubber padded handle on the back gives you full control over your pup in situations where it might be needed or where the dog could use some help. The quick-release buckles are made with high-quality plastic that won’t budge if put to the test, and the straps make sure that the pack sits comfortably where it’s supposed to.
+ Made from high-quality polyester material
+ Fully waterproof and durable pack for hikes
+ Visible reflective strips for enhanced visibility at night
+ Padded and breathable back material
+ Rubber padded handle
+ Pockets on each side for added storage
– Saddlebags size may not be enough for big loads but enough for lighter loads
– Sizing chart is inaccurate
Why We Liked It – One of the best dog backpacks, especially for dogs that like to get wet by jumping in shallow water during hikes and other outdoor adventures. It has one pocket on each side made to carry all the essentials you need for an outdoor adventure, including poo bags, water bottles, dog food, and your own food.
7. Pawaboo Adjustable SaddleBag
- Brand: Pawaboo
- Color: Red + Gray / Black + Gray / Blue + Gray / Orange + Gray
- Item Size: Medium sized (Chest Girth: 27.6″- 31.9″; Belly Girth:16.1″- 21.7″; Neck Girth:20.0″- 23.6″)
- Material: High quality 600D Oxford cloth
- Features: Expandable Pockets, Adjustable Straps, Breathable Mesh
Suitable for dogs weighing between 40-60 lbs – this Pawaboo product is specifically designed to fit all your outdoor activity needs. Its expandable and spacious pockets make it perfect for a longer trip or for going camping, where the dog can pitch in and help out by carrying some of the gear. The easily adjustable SaddleBag is made with high-quality Oxford cloth. It is comfortable enough for your dog to wear for a longer period.
Thanks to its high comfort and breathable materials, it surpasses several of the best dog saddlebags on the market, as it won’t bother your furry friend. Choose between blue, green, orange, and pink colors, and pick one that goes with your style or combines nicely with your pup’s coat colors.
+ Multiple colors to choose from
+ Made with high-quality 600D Oxford cloth
+ For medium to large dogs
+ Easily adjustable chest strap for a comfortable fit
+ With five leash attachment points for stability
+ Not bulky and fits well on your dog’s shoulders
– Some stitching can be faulty
– The size of the pockets are not enough for some
Why We Liked It – The large pockets are very convenient for the dog to carry something beyond just your keys and cellphone. With this ergonomically designed saddle bag, your pouch can easily carry his own water or dog food for longer outings.
8. Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Hiking Backpack
- Brand: Mountainsmith
- Colors: Caribe blue, Lava Red
- Features: Adjustable Back Harness, Two Storage Compartments, Accessory Pockets, Reflective Trims
This adjustable dog backpack from Mountainsmith is a must-have if you and your dog like venturing on outdoor adventures. With its four adjustable attachment points, your dog is kept safe and secure. When hiking or camping, it’s important to bring all the essentials for emergencies. This backpack has two compartments and zippered pockets to carry food and your dog’s load essentials.
For maximum comfort, your dog’s backpack shouldn’t rub on their armpits while they walk because this causes discomfort. Thanks to the padded straps, your dog’s skin won’t have to suffer from chafing, preventing any scrapes or graze on their skin.
+ Adjustable back harness for a custom fit
+ Four attachment points in the chest
+ Padded sternum strap for comfort
+ Two compartments and zippered pockets for easy storage
+ Padded handle
+ Single adjustable belly strap
– Not removable saddlebags
– No neck buckle for easy on and off
Why We Liked It – Dog parents love this for dogs, especially with the reflective trim and light-colored design, which adds more visibility when used during the night. According to some reviews, it’s one of the best dog backpacks around to have. Its durable material and water-resistant feature add to the appeal.
9. Hanshengday Tactical Dog Vest
- Brand: Hanshengday
- Colors: Black, Khaki
- Features: 1000D Nylon, Elastic Strap Design, 2 Accessory Bags
This monster truck of backpacks for your dog takes the idea of dog packs to a whole new level! Hanshengday is suitable for guide dogs and service dogs of different kinds, but also for hiking with dogs, climbing, and exploring. Made with durable materials for heavy-duty usage, tight stitching, adjustable straps, and no-break V-rings.
The outside of the Hanshengday Tactical Dog Vest is robust and water-resistant nylon. At the same time, the inside is breathable mesh, making it the perfect combination of durable and comfortable. The Hanshengday Tactical Dog Vest comes with reflective Velcro stickers, a detachable water bag, and a drawstring bag for easy storage.
+ Suitable for service dogs and large dogs
+ 1000D nylon, soft and breathable material
+ Includes 2 detachable water bags and drawstring bag
+ Reflective patches and velcros for increased visibility at night
+ Durable and military class rubber handle
– Actual size may be smaller than listed; opt for a bigger size to ensure compatibility
– Clips break easy
Why We Liked It – First of all, it makes your dog look pretty badass. Second, it has heavy-duty features not found in other sportier models. It is ideal for someone who perhaps works with their dog in a professional setting (service dogs, police dogs, etc.). But it works just as great for hiking or any outdoor adventure with your pooch.
Shopping in the summer? Opt for a cooling vest for dogs.
10. Petsfit Dog Travel Backpack
- Brand: Petsfit
- Color: Grey
- Item Size: Medium – chest size: 54cm-81cm; Large – chest size: 65cm-97cm
- Material: 600D Oxford
- Features: Lightweight, Perfect fit
This Petsfit lightweight dog backpack fits the body perfectly and has two spacious pockets – one on each side. The smallest size is made to fit dogs weighing up to 15lbs, and a bigger version for dogs up to 50lbs.
This dog pack is held in place with straps, buckles, and buttons to ensure a comfortable experience for your favorite fur buddy. Have your dog carry small items for you, such as keys or money, or why not have him carry his own treats in the Petsfit dog travel backpack?
+ Made for small and medium-sized dogs
+ 2 large pockets with durable zippers
+ With 2 adjustable chest straps and 1 neck strap
+ Durable Oxford material
+ Simple and stylish design
+ Versatile dog hiking backpack
– The handle can’t be used for lifting your dog
– Sizing listed is not accurate
Why We Liked It – This Petsfit backpack is the perfect accessory for small to medium dogs who enjoys hiking and camping. Its multi-functional feature is the greatest part of this backpack. And its dimensions are sure to fit on your dog’s body, making it suitable even for long trail walks or everyday use.
Best Dog Backpacks Buyers Guide
Most dogs are not satisfied with simple walks around the block twice a day, and they tend to need more of a challenge. Has your furry friend ever shown destructive behavior, such as chewing, howling, or barking? It could be a sign of boredom, and a dog backpack might be just the perfect way to fix it!
When wearing a backpack, the dog gets to wear himself out in a different way, not just because of the additional weight but because of the mental exercise that comes with it. Dogs do great when given a task, so consider letting your furry dog carry small items for you the next time you go for a walk or the next time you head out for a hike. Read on for our full buyer’s guide!
Important Things to Look for In Buying Dog Backpacks
There are various dog backpack products out there, all made with their specific purpose so that every dog owner can find exactly what they want for their dog. Before purchasing, it is a good idea to sit down and think about what the pack for dogs will be used for and look for a product that suits those needs. Some are better suited for challenging hikes in difficult terrain, while others make the perfect accessory for a downtown walk. Dog backpacks are great for having your dog help you carry things. They are also ideal for mental activation and a healthy learning process for your fur friend.
Quality & Design
The more active you plan to have your dog while wearing his pack, the more important quality and design are. For example, for those who plan to hike in mountains and tough terrain, it can be great for the pack to have a sturdy top handle. This lets you lift the dog if needed and help them climb steep sections or get up on a rock or over a fallen tree. If this is something you think would be useful, make sure you get a backpack with a handle that can support your dog’s weight.
Price on Amazon
The price differences can be quite big, and there is nothing to say that expensive is always better. The best thing you can do is figure out what type of backpack you need for your dog, and after that, you can move on to compare models and prices. A positive review can be worth a lot more than a high price on Amazon.
Most backpacks for your dog are made with materials that cater to the dog’s comfort. It is of utmost importance that the dog can move and function normally while wearing it. Keep an eye out for breathable mesh fabrics, as it helps your dog stay cool, and make sure the pack has straps to keep it in place. A backpack that stays on without sliding around is much more comfortable than one that moves around as the dog moves forward.
How to measure dog for a backpack?
The most important thing to measure before deciding on a size is your dog’s girth. This is the widest part of their ribcage and the most essential measurement to assure you’re not only getting the best dog backpack but one that actually fits.
Where to buy a dog backpack?
The best place for buying hiking packs for dogs is on the internet. Many pet stores carry a model or two, but when shopping online, you get a chance to review and compare several different models, you can check reviews and customer comments, and make a more informed decision. The internet is also a great way to compare prices and get a good deal on the product you choose to ultimately purchase.
What is the best dog backpack for hiking?
Consider going with the Ruffwear Approach full-day hiking pack or the Kurdo Dog Carrier Backpack for dog hiking gear. They come with several handy and sturdy features to help you on your adventure.
Both are made with durable materials, with reflective stripes for visibility. The Kurdo pack even comes with leash attachments that also serve as a bottle opener. They are designed with active dogs in mind and evenly distribute the weight for safe carrying during longer periods.
What is the best dog backpack for city strolls?
The OneTigris Dog Pack and the Outward Hound Denver Urban Pack are great choices for walks in a city environment. They are functional and lightweight, with small pockets for things like your keys, wallet, or cellphone, and best of all – they look trendy and sleek and will make your dog look both stylish and comfortable.
The key to finding the right backpack for your dog is to check for customer reviews and carefully consider all the features of your choices. Regardless of what you choose having a dog hiking backpack and going on hikes together will be a great bonding moment for you and your fur baby. The most important thing is that both of you are enjoying the experience and your dog is comfortable with the backpack.
How much weight can your dog carry with their backpack? It is recommended that a dog not carry more than about 25% of their own weight, and if they are new to wearing a backpack, it is best to start out light and work their way up.
Did You Know?
Even tiny dogs can benefit from a challenge and are just as capable of carrying extra weight as larger dogs. The Ruffwear Approach Dog Backpack comes in miniature sizes, so just make sure you adapt the weight to your dog’s size and weight, and then your little pooch will be good to go!
Read about the health benefits of walking with your dog here.
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