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Best Dog Backpack: Let You Dog Carry Some Gear for You

A dog and Ruffwear dog packs
John C. Porter
Written by John C. Porter

Have you noticed that dogs and hiking have been a rather popular thing lately? People love to hang out with their dogs while hiking outside – it creates an amazing bond between you and your dog, and not only that but also brings a lot of responsibility and care along.

If you ever encountered issues with not having enough backpack space for your food and water, then you can finally find a perfect backpack for your dog to carry and actually help you out when it comes to carrying certain equipment or anything usually needed for a good hiking experience.

When taking a dog to hike with you, you need to be aware of the fact that he/she will require a lot of water and enough food to keep up with you on the trail. The best dog backpack will easily allow you to store your dog’s food and water inside so he/she can carry it with him/her whenever it is needed.

A-must-have-for-hiking-and-camping-with-a-dog

Make sure you gradually increase the load of his/her backpack, so he/she can get used to it and after a while, there will be no issues when it comes to carrying his/her own weight even.

Before you decide to load his/her backpack with treats, food, water, bowls or anything alike, make sure you get to know about the basics related to the backpacks for the dogs. Luckily, we want to give you a hand with that.

In this article you will find a list of the most important features to look for before buying a dog backpack, as well as a list of the best or top reviewed models for sale. Hopefully, by the end of the article you’ll be able t buy the one that suits your dog best.

Product NameWeightSizeSpecific FeaturesPrice
Mountainsmith K-912.8 lb8.2 x 11 x 7.8 inchesSingle haul handle, adjustable belly strap, metal D-ring attachment point for leash, air mesh panels, ergonomical.Check price on Amazon
Outward Hound B00MN1 lb20.5 x 12.4 x 2.2 inchesAdjustable straps, breathable mesh harness, reflective accents, D-ring leash attachment, expandable pockets.Check price on Amazon
Cesar Molan B00ISA1.1 lb13 x 5 x 10.5 inchesWeight goes towards the front shoulders, durable, water-resistant, center buckle, reflective detailing, mesh cushioning.Check price on Amazon
Kurgo Baxter1.4 lb0.8 x 3.9 x 3.9 inchesLarge handle, ergonomic, 8 adjustment points for a near-perfect fit, rear-mounted leash hook, four reflective trim strips.Check price on Amazon
Ruffwear Singletrak0.65 lb15.4 x 16.9 x 1 inchesFoam-padded chest and belly straps, 5 points of adjustment, collapsible water bottles, reflective trim.Check price on Amazon
Ruffwear Approach2.1 lb16 x 5 x 10 inchesWaterproof, SBS reversed coil zipper, sponge padding, load compression system, assistant handle, reflective line, removable saddlebags.Check price on Amazon

Features to Consider Before Buying

Before you jump into any purchase, it is recommended to take a look at some of the key features that a dog backpack should have. It’s not only about the weight or the materials it’s made form, but about other handy and fundamental things that will differentiate one from the other. Below you will see what we mean.

Saddlebags

The shallow saddlebags are perfect for small dog breeds such as Pembroke Welsh Corgi. The shallow saddlebag should never reach farther down than 1 inch above the elbow of your dear dog.

A man hiking with his little dog while is wearing a Hiking Pack for Dogs

Try to look for saddlebags, which taper towards the rear of your dog – it will place the bulk of the weight on the shoulders of your dog, way better than the spine. Pick a backpack with removable saddlebags to ensure that crossing streams and other obstacles are no longer a problem. Removing the saddlebags helps a lot!

Weather Conditions

The weather conditions and climate determine a proper backpack for your dog. Make sure that you plan your walks or hiking accordingly and do not overload your dog with a bunch of useless things. This links to the weight of the backpack, which we will cover below, but that you don’t want ti to be tto much as to tire your pup or even injure him.

Two dogs with Hiking Packs

Weather conditions might affect which backpack you pick. If you usually go in walks during summer, you want a backpack that has a very good breathability, so your dog won’t be too warm/ If it’s during winter, a thcikcer backpack is better, or a backpack which is more water resistant.

Weight

Always try to pick a backpack with the least weight as possible, simply because the heavier backpack is, the more your dog will be tired. And make sure the backpack is never more than 25% of your dogs weight.

A dog-wearing-a red backpack for dogs

Also, if it’s too heavy of a backpack your dog might end up injured. Remember that this is not a walk in the park, you are taking your dog for a hike. So, just like you get tired and have to put an extra effort to carry your own backpack, the same applies to your dog. Therefore, too much weight will turn out to be a problem.

Padded Handle

A sturdy padded handle will be helpful for the rough terrains and terrains where you are required to comfortably lift up your dog and help him/her cross an obstacle he/she usually would not manage alone.

a brown dog with a backpack

The pad in the handle seems like a “luxury” feature, since just the handle would be enough. However, the pad will make it easir for you to pull or grab without your hands getting wounded in any way. And trust us, during a hike you are probably going to be grabbing your dog quite often.

Waterproof

Water resistant backpacks are awesome because these will protect the food, treats, and everything else completely dry, even when the rain occurs. Most of the dog backpacks are water resistant up to a certain extent, but that doesn’t mean they are completely waterproof.

A dog wearing a waterproof pack on a rainy day

They will resist a few rain drops, but only a very selected few will actually withstand water. These are probably your ebst choice if you’re not hiking during summer. Sure, they’re less breathable and heavier, but you can be cerian nothing will get wet.

Top Products on Today’s Market

Now it’s time to focus on the specific models of dog backpacks. Considering each of the features above, you should now pick the backpack that will suit your dog best. This list includes different models all in different weights, sizes and with particular features. Read them carefully and choose the best one.

Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack

Price: $44 – $70

Weight: 15.8 lb

Dimensions: 8.2 x 11 x 7.8 inches

Specific features: Single haul handle at the top of the pack, fabric nylon/210D nylon 6.6 junior ripstop 420D Duramax nylon 210D nylon embossed liner, single adjustable belly strap, metal D-ring attachment point for leash, air mesh panels against canine body for increased ventilation, ergonomically tapered torso shape.

Best use: Walking, hiking, outdoor activities, mountaineering.

Description: The Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack is often said to be the best backpack for the dogs ever made, approved by veterinarians and designed to fully fit the needs of the dog as well as the needs of the owner. Not only looking nice, but also extremely good, this backpack is priceless!

It has very simple designs with two saddlebags on each side, and each one with a zipper that opens it up really easily. It’s great for storing anything.

Plus, the padded handle, which is one of the features mentioned above, as something to look for, is great. It’s very easy and comfortable to grab hold of it and avoid your dog from running too far away, or simply if you want to keep him close to you.

The adjustable belly strap is something that your dog will appreciate. Not all the dog backpacks have a belly strap that is exactly comfortable, this one is padded and easy to adjust. This means your dog won’t be uncomfortable during the whole time you are hiking together.

PROS:

  • Fair price
  • Very durable
  • Very comfortable

CONS:

  • The belly strap might get a bit loose after a while of walking

Related: Your dog will surely get hungry and thirsty while hiking for a long time, the Sunny Beginning Travel Pet Bowl might be exactly what you need for your loyal companion!

Check the price on Amazon

Outward Hound Daypak Dog Backpack Outward Hound Daypak Dog Backpack

Price: $15 – $20

Weight: 1 lb

Dimensions: 20.5 x 12.4 x 2.2 inches

Specific features: Adjustable straps & breathable mesh harness, reflective accents and vibrant colors, D-ring leash attachment, expandable pockets.

Best use: Hiking, outdoor activities

Description: The very light capacity backpack Outward Hound Daypak Dog Backpack looks truly adorable, and not only that, it is a high quality product which will surely fit comfortably on your dog and serve its purpose for a long time. Good for various weather conditions and approved by many dog owners.

This is also one of the most affordable dog backpacks available, hence the reason why so many people buy it. Just keep in mind, that although it is a good product, it’s not exactly the most durable, resistant or comfortable one.

This doesn’t mean it’s bad, as a matter of fact, it has gotten excellent reviews, but it just means that you shouldn’t expect perfection.

That being said, it’s more breathable than most of the other backpacks, and your dog will love you even more for this. Also, the saddlebags are also very spacious and easy to open and close. The handle isn’t as comfortable as others, but it’s still very reliable.

PROS:

  • Very affordable price
  • Excellent breathability
  • Comfortable

CONS:

  • Not as durable as other models
  • Handle isn’t as comfortable as in other models

Related: In case of any injuries to your dog, you will want to have the Canine Friendly First Aid Kit and help out your loyal hiking companion in danger.

Check the price on Amazon

Cesar Milan Dog Backpack Cesar Milan Dog Backpack

Price: $50 – $70

Weight: 1.1 lb

Dimensions: 13 x 5 x 10.5 inches

Specific features: Designed so that weight goes towards the front shoulders, strong and durable fabrics, water-resistant, center buckle, reflective detailing, mesh cushioning

Best use: Walking, mountaineering

Description: A little bit pricey, but surely worth it – The Cesar Milan Dog Backpack is a true masterpiece of a backpack, fully water resistant and designed to fit your dog perfectly. The weight of this backpack is focused towards the front shoulders where your dog is the strongest, saving up the energy of the dog and its owner of course.

Many people know Cesar Milan for being the famous dog trainer or tamer, and he certainly knows dogs pretty well. That’s the reason why this specific backpack has the design for the weight on the dog’s shoulder. It is by far the most comfortable one for your pet.

It was also built with water resistant fabrics. So no, it is not 100% waterproof, if you sink it in water after a while it might give up, but it certainly is very resistant, and it can easily handle the rain without things getting wet.

PROS:

  • Special design for the weight of the backpack to go onto the dogs shoulder, which means it will be more comfortable
  • Very good water resistant materials
  • Breathable
  • Extremely comfortable

CONS:

  • Expensive

Check the price on Amazon

Kurgo Baxter Dog Backpack Kurgo Baxter Dog Backpack

Price: $50 -$60

Weight: 1.4 lb

Dimensions: 0.8 x 3.9 x 3.9 inches

Specific features: Large handle for extra control, Baxter size fits dog’s 30-85 pounds, big baxter size fits dog’s 50-110 pounds, ergonomic spine support, 8 adjustment points for a near-perfect fit, rear-mounted leash hook, hassle-free Kurgo lifetime warranty, four reflective trim strips

Best use: Walking, hiking

Description: Easily loaded the Kurgo Baxter Dog Backpack looks comfortable, and it really is comfortable. Designed to be strong and extremely protective in all possible weather conditions, this backpack offers everything a hiking dog requires for a reasonable and very low price.

Amongst the dog backpacks this is a bit heavier, so keep that in mind. It is probably for bigger dogs or breeds, for example a Labrador, rather than a smaller dog. You have to keep in mind that if you don’t want to injure your dog, the backpack should never weight more than 25% of your dog’s weight.

The saddlebags are extremely spacious and even come with an exterior zipper for storing something more. Finally, it has reflective strips that will facilitate your dog’s visibility wherever and during whichever time of the day you decide to go hiking.

PROS:

  • Reflective strips
  • Very spacious and comfortable saddlebags
  • Very comfortable

CONS:

  • Pricey
  • Not suitable for smaller dogs

Check the price on Amazon

Ruffwear Singletrack Hydration Pack Ruffwear Singletrack Hydration Pack

Price: $80 – $100

Weight: 0.65 lb

Dimensions: 15.4 x 16.9 x 1 inches

Specific features: Foam-padded chest and belly straps, 5 points of adjustment, collapsible water bottles, the reflective trim.

Best use: Hiking, outdoor activities, walking

Description: A sleek and low profile hydration pack Ruffwear Singletrak Hydration Pack is an awesome piece of equipment for your dog, this backpack can be used pretty much anywhere and is designed to fit your dog comfortably, providing enough heat and protection from the weather conditions.

Some even use it at snowy days and have no issues spending time outside thanks to this backpack. This dog backpack includes a hydration pack, a feature that rarely any other dog backpack includes.

Through this hydration pack, your dog can be fully hydrated for the entire hike or trip. It will also give him extra energies and save you time and a hassle as you don’t have to stop, to give him any water.

The foam padded chest and belly straps make this one of the most comfortable backpacks. Plus, it is definitely the lightest one, which means it suits all types and sices of dogs, and they won’t be tired at the end of the trip.

PROS:

  • Includes a hydration pack for the dogs
  • The most lightweight one
  • One of the most comfortable ones

CONS:

  • Very pricey

Related: The Comsun Collapsible Dog Bowl is a good add-on to this and any other dog backpack. Collapse it to make it small, put it in the backpack and take it out whenever you want to feed your pup.

Check the price on Amazon

Ruffwear Approach Hiking Pack Ruffwear Approach Hiking Pack

Price: $70 – $90

Weight: 2.1 lb

Dimensions: 16 x 5 x 10 inches

Specific features: Waterproof Oxford material, SBS reversed coil zipper, waterproof, sponge padding, scratch-resistant polyester material outer layer, load compression system, assistant handle, reflective line, removable saddlebags

Best use: Hiking, walking, mountaineering

Description: Multi day outdoor activities are no longer a problem! The Ruffwear Approach Hiking Pack is designed so amazingly well that it will keep your dog’s treats and food dry at all times and keep your dog comfortable while on an adventure with you, something that not all backpack have.

This backpack offers it all without any hesitation and the price is more than acceptable for what is given in return.

The removable saddlebags are a very good feature. When your dog is feeling tired, just take them off quickly without having to go through the longer process of taking the whole backpack off. This is just one of the benefits removable saddlebags have.

PROS:

  • Waterproof
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Very spacious saddlebags

CONS:

  • Pricey
  • The belly straps aren’t very comfortable for the dog

Related: The Ruffwear Knot A Leash is commonly bought with this and other dog backpacks. It’s just an extra measure of safety if you want to keep your dog away from any trouble.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrapping Up

Hiking with a dog can be extremely fun and relaxing for you and not just you, but your dog too! Never forget that just like you, the dogs can get tired too, they can’t carry the heavy things for a long time, and they require patience, effort and training to actually be able to keep up with you on the hiking adventures as you might want.

A white Dog-with-backpack

All of that said, you should now have a much better idea of what dog backpacks are like, what you should look for in them, before buying one, as well as knowing how to handle them, what to expect and which model will suit your dog better.

Have you seen any other model that we might have missed? Do you have any experience with dog backpacks? Please, if you have any comments, thoughts or questions, don’t be shy. Just type in the comment section the below, we want to hear what you have to say!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John C. Porter
John C. Porter

John is passionate about hiking long distances. His record is over 65 miles in one day with backpacking gear. John hiked over 10 thousand miles, tried over 100 hiking shoes and visited 56 countries so far. His favourite hiking route is West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

  • Evans Owell

    The idea that my dog can have its own backpack has never struck me until now. I do not even think that I knew about dog backpacks until now. But if I am to get one for my dog I think I would go with the cheapest option; the Outward Hound Daypak Dog Backpack, just to test the waters first and see how it reacts to the backpack. It’s an old dog and learning this ‘new trick’ could be a challenge.

    • John C. Porter

      Love to hear about that!

  • Jerry Little

    I would sure would love to see my dog in one of these, preferably the Kurgo Baxter Dog Backpack. It looks quite spacious so I think he will help me carry his food and bowls and do more than just follow me behind the trail. It also looks neat and trendy, so it should not be hard to convince him to let me strap it on his body.

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