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.
- 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 Backpack Below
1. Ruffwear Approach Dog Backpack
These Ruff Wear backpacks come in 5 sizes, from XXS to XL, so that you can find one that fits your pet dog regardless of whether you’re a small-dog person or a big-dog person. The best dog packs aren’t just for large dogs, which this product is proof of, and you can find a size that fits the smallest of chihuahuas perfectly.
The Ruffwear Approach full-day hiking pack comes with an integrated dog’s 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 longer periods of time, the load distributes evenly for safe runs and jumps, and the sheltered buckles and non-slip straps 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
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.
Alternative option: Dog Slings.
2. Outward Hound Daypack
This high-visibility and top-rated dog backpack is 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 Daypack comes with four expandable pockets, perfect to store whatever you want your dog can carry for you, and it is easy to spot from a distance thanks to its bright colors with reflective details. The Outward Hound travel Daypack dog’s small harness is one of the best dog hiking packs for the simple reason that it is designed for an adventurous dog with a lust to explore! The handle on the back comes in handy if ever having to lift the dog or hold him back, and the Outward Hound Daypack has a built-in dog’s harness for minimal trouble and maximum practicality.
+ The pockets expand to fit more
+ 3 sizes – small, medium and large
+ Cooling mesh material
+ Reflective details
Why We Liked It – To be the best hiking pack for dogs, a product needs to be lightweight, easy to put on and take off, have enough pockets to carry necessary items and sit comfortably on your pet dog. This Outward Hound Daypack has all that and therefore earns its place on the list of best-rated dog backpacks.
3. Kurgo Baxter Dog Backpack for Hiking
The two saddlebags on this product are big enough to hold anything your pup might need to bring with him on a hike, camping trips or an intense walk. The Kurgo Baxter Dog 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 also in the dark (especially if you use a flashlight or a head-lamp), and it comes with a rear leash hook that also works as a bottle opener. Not only can your pouch carry your stuff for you, but he can also open your well-deserved beer at the end of the day! The Kurgo Baxter Dog Backpack is accompanied by a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects (providing it was bought new from an authorized sales point).
+ Sturdy handle on the back
+ Two large saddlebags
+ Breathable materials
+ Lifetime warranty
+ Reflective trims
Why We Liked It – The bottle opener! Jokes aside, this Kurgo Baxter Dog Backpack places high in dog backpack reviews due to being durable and sturdy, with a warranty that shows how much the manufacturing company itself believes in the pack. The saddlebags are big enough to hold most hiking related items, and it is one of the best dog packs for hiking currently available.
4. OneTigris Dog Pack
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, and 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 esthetic, fine to use to hold a dog back from something but should not be used for lifting the pet dog from the ground. This canvas dog bag might as well be the best backpack for dogs that engage in less extreme activities, such as exciting walks, simple hikes and camping trips.
+ Classy vintage style look
+ Soft and very comfortable
+ For medium and large dog breeds
+ 3 color options
+ Great for hiking with dogs
+ Small bottle holder
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; great for walks, hikes and camping, but also classy looking for the fashion forward pup. Extra plus for comfort.
5. Outward Hound Denver Urban Pack
You might want more than just the best dog backpack for hiking, and perhaps you are also looking for a product that will make your dog look great? These top dog backpacks combine the best of both; presenting a functional pack with two large storage pockets, mesh material on top to keep the dog cool and comfortable padded straps that keep the backpack in place, while also making 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 but 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
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 your dog can carry your wallet and your cellphone for you when going out for coffee (make sure you pick a dog friendly café), and you will notice how great he or she will feel afterwards! Dogs are great at helping, so getting a chance to help out gives them a chance to feel good about themselves.
6. Lifeunion Polyester Dog Saddle Bag
A quality product that comes in three different sizes and in a variety of colors, for you to pick the one that best match your dog’s as well as your own personality. This fully rain-proof dog 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 to for example get over obstacles. 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.
+ Fully waterproof
+ Easy to put on and take off
+ Rubber padded handle
+ Pockets with strong metal zippers
Why We Liked It – When buying dog backpacks reviews are a great way to get an idea of what you are going to get, and this product here has all the qualities to rank high as one of the best backpacks for dogs, especially those that like to get wet by jumping in shallow water during hikes and outdoor adventures.
7. Pawaboo Adjustable SaddleBag
Suitable for dogs weighing between 40-60 lbs – this 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 and is comfortable enough for your dog to wear for a longer period of time.
Thanks to its high comfort and breathable materials, it surpasses several of the best dog saddle bags on the market, as it won’t bother your furry friend at all while he or she wears it. Choose between colors like blue, green, orange and pink, and pick one that goes with your style or that combines nicely with your pup’s coat colors.
+ Multiple colors to choose from
+ Large saddle bags
+ Made with Oxford cloth
+ For 40-60 lbs dogs
+ Easily adjustable
Why We Liked It – The large pockets are very convenient when wanting the dog to carry something beyond just your keys and cellphone, and with this ergonomically designed saddle bag your pouch can easily carry his own water or dog food for longer outings.
8. FrontPet Explorer Ultra Light
As a contrast to many other best pack for dogs candidates, this product has a sleek design without bulky side pockets. It does not slow the dog down and is ultimate for hikes with many obstacles, as it sits firmly where it is supposed to thanks to not being oversized, while still having plenty of room for your furry friend to carry essential items and hiking gear.
The pack is extremely durable; made with rip-stop nylon, a double-stitched construction and reinforced padding, making it the best dog pack for backpacking, hiking, exciting neighborhood walks and much more.
+ Sleek non-bulky design
+ Perfect for narrow passages and difficult terrain
+ Made with durable materials
+ Ergonomic with proper weight distribution
Why We Liked It – This ergonomically designed light backpack is one of few models that offer the chance to store a lot, without making the backpack bulky. The design is perfect for a more challenging terrain, as it eliminates the risk of the furry friend getting stuck because of bulky side bags.
9. Hanshengday Tactical Dog Vest
This monster truck of backpacks for your dog takes the idea of dog packs to a whole new level! It 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 made of robust and water-resistant nylon while 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
+ Durable materials that won’t break
+ Large dog appropriate
+ Storage bag and stickers included
+ Great for hiking with dogs
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 and is ideal for someone who perhaps works with their dog in a professional setting (service dogs, police dogs etc. etc.).
Shopping in the summer? Opt for a cooling vest for dogs.
10. Petsfit Dog Travel Backpack
A harness made for smaller dogs, where the smallest size is made to fit dogs weighing up to 15lbs, and with a bigger version for dogs up to 50lbs. This Petsfit dog travel backpack is lightweight, fits the body perfectly and has two spacious pockets – one on each side.
This pack for dogs 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
+ Two large pockets with durable zippers
+ Durable Oxford material
+ Simple and stylish design
Why We Liked It – It is always great to see products that encourage a small dog owner to let their miniature pup be just as active as a big dog would (and should) be. Small dogs are often underestimated and thought to need less activation and less exercise, which isn’t the case at all.
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 family member carry small items for you the next time you go for a walk, or the next time you head out for a hike or go camping. Read on for our full buyers guide!
There are a variety of 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 to 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, but 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 be while wearing his pack, the more important is quality and design. For example, for those who plan to hike in mountains and tough terrain, it can be great for the pack to have a sturdy handle on top. This allows you to lift the dog if needed, and to help him or her climb steep sections or to 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 differences in prices can be quite big, and there is nothing to say that expensive is always better. The best thing you can do is to 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 an expensive price on Amazon.
Most backpacks for your dog are made with materials that cater to the comfort of the dog, because it is of outmost important 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 a lot more comfortable than one that bumps up and down 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 his or her 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 for comparing prices, and to get a good deal on the product you choose to ultimately purchase.
Best dog backpack for hiking
For dog hiking gear, consider going with the Ruffwear Approach full-day hiking pack or the Kurdo Dog Carrier Backpack, as 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 and the Kurdo pack even comes with leash attachments that also serves as a bottle opener. They are designed with active dogs in mind, and evenly distributes the weight for safe carrying during longer periods of time.
What is the best dog backpack for city strolls?
The OneTigris Dog Pack and the Outward Hound Denver Urban Pack are both 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.
Regardless of what model you choose to get for your dog, you are guaranteed to come home with a happy and tired dog at the end of the day, providing that the backpack is used correctly. Choose the best dog backpack based on what you intend to use it for, pay attention to customer reviews and always make sure you measure your dog before ordering; to avoid having to send it back when it doesn’t fit.
It is recommended that a dog should not carry more than about 25% of their body weight in their pack, and if they are new to wearing a backpack it is best to start out light and work your way up.
Did You Know?
Even tiny dogs can benefit from a challenge and are just as capable of carrying extra weight as a larger dog. The Ruffwear Approach Dog Backpack comes in miniature sizes, so just make sure you adapt the weight to the body weight of the dog, and then your little guy or girl will be good to go!
Read about the health benefits of walking with your dog here.
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