Best Dog Backpack - Comparison and Reviews

Becky - author

Author: Becky Roberts
Last Updated: January 2020​

Do you and your dog spend a lot of time outdoors?

If so, you don’t have to carry all of your provisions anymore. Your canine companion can easily lug its share with the right dog-carrier backpack. Then you both get some good exercise!

The best dog backpack will have enough storage space to carry your dog’s drinking and feeding bowl, leash, chew toy, and even some of your own stuff. The design also should ensure that your pooch feels no discomfort and has a full range of motion while carrying the bag.

But there’s more than one dog carrier backpack out there, and each brand claims to be the best. After trying out backpack dog carriers from various brands, big and small, we unanimously agree that the Outward Hound Daypak Dog Backpack is the overall best dog backpack on the market.

Read on for information about all the top dog backpacks we tried and why we think the Outward Hound Daypak is the best.

Best Dog Backpack 2020 - Reviews

1. Outward Hound Daypak Dog Backpack Hiking Gear

We love the Outward Hound Daypak Dog Backpack and consider it the best dog backpack carrier for two big reasons: It’s super-affordable and has several top-quality features.

Unlike other pet backpacks that are available for less than $20, the Outward Hound Daypak Dog Backpack doesn’t compromise on size, durability, or comfort. Its lightweight design and expandable pockets ensure that your dog can easily move around with it, whether it’s loaded or empty.

Its saddlebag design has enough zippered compartments to carry your pup’s collapsible water and food bowl, as well as your water bottles. You can also use it to store keys, doggie bags, treats, ID cards, phones, and more while on an outdoor adventure.

To keep your pooch comfortable, the inside of the backpack is lined with a breathable, lightweight mesh that keeps your furry friend cool and prevents chafing. Its adjustable straps let you adjust the size to give your best friend the perfect fit.

Even when you aren’t on an adventure, this dog backpack is versatile enough to serve as a dog harness, thanks to its built-in D-ring clip.

There’s just so much to love about this backpack dog carrier!

Outward Hound DayPak Dog Backpack Hiking Gear

Pros    

  • Has a cooling, lightweight mesh that prevents chafing and keeps your dog from overheating.
  • Adjustable straps for a secure fit.    
  • Its expandable zippered compartments can securely carry different types of loads.
  • Available in different sizes for small to large dog breeds.
  • Available in two bright colors.
  • Has reflective trim for optimal visibility in low-light conditions.
  • Can double as a dog harness.
  • High rating from dog parents.
  • Padded handle on the back for controlling or assisting your pet.
  • Quick-release buckle for easy wearing and removing.

Cons

  • The straps aren’t padded.
  • Its material is not water-resistant.

2. RUFFWEAR Approach Pack

Even though they share similarities, this dog backpack should not be mistaken for the RUFFWEAR Palisades. The RUFFWEAR Approach Pack is more affordable but comes with many of the features that make the RUFFWEAR Palisades so attractive.

The RUFFWEAR Approach Pack is excellent for an outdoor adventure and could have been our overall best dog pack if not for its high price. But if you can afford it, the price is worthwhile when you consider the excellent quality and simple elegance of this dog pack and harness.

Its lightweight and streamlined design mean that your dog can carry different types of loads with ease. Its light weight and material make it comfortable for your pup to wear the RUFFWEAR Approach for hours at a time.

For a perfect fit on your dog, the RUFFWEAR Approach has five adjustment points that let you easily customize to fit. Most important, every part of this dog pack — from its straps and body material to its buckles and zippers — is built to last.

RUFFWEAR Hiking Pack for Dogs, Medium Sized Breeds, Adjustable Fit, Size: Medium, Orange Poppy, Approach Pack, 50102-801M

Pros

  • Very attractive design that’s available in three colors.     
  • Comfortable enough to wear all day.
  • Comes in sizes for small to extra-large dogs
  • Can be easily adjusted to give your pet a secure fit.
  • Has enough room to ensure your dog has a full range of motion.
  • High ratings in customer reviews.
  • Its saddlebags are form-fitting yet large enough to carry various types of loads.
  • Features lightweight mesh and padded straps to prevent chafing 
  • Double leash attachment points, so you can also use it as an everyday dog harness.
  • A padded handle on the back for handling or assisting your canine companion.
  • Reflective trim for optimal visibility in all lighting conditions
  • Cushioned straps for your dog’s chest and belly.

Cons

  • It’s quite expensive.

3. Industrial Puppy Service Dog Vest

This multipurpose dog vest works great as a dog harness and backpack. The backpacks are removable, so you can attach them for outdoor adventures and detach them to use the vest as just a harness.

The detachable backpacks have pockets big enough for various objects, including poop bags, dog treats, water bottles, and more.

The heavy-duty, double-stitched nylon body guarantees durability, while the breathable mesh lining on the inside guarantees your dog will be comfortable. The backpack’s sleek design makes it one of the best hassle-free options for service dogs.

The backpack itself is lightweight enough that your dog can wear it without discomfort, even when there’s a load in the bag.

Service Dog Vest With Hook and Loop Straps and Detachable Backpacks - Harnesses In 7 Sizes From XXS to XXL - Service Dog Harness Features Reflective Patch and Comfortable Mesh Design (Black, Large)

Pros

  • Available in various sizes for small to XXL dogs.
  • Comes with adjustable straps for a secure fit that won’t impede your dog’s range of motion.
  • Body and straps comprise a highly durable nylon material.
  • Quick-release buckle for easy wearing and removing.
  • Comes with a durable handle and a D-ring to attach a leash.
  • High rating from buyers.
  • Reflective trim for optimal visibility in all lighting conditions.

Cons

  • Available in only one color.
  • The straps aren’t padded.

4. OneTigris Dog Pack Hound Travel Camping Hiking Backpack

This sleek backpack has a functional and tactical design with minimal frills. If you buy this one, you don’t have to bother purchasing a harness separately.

It features several zippered storage spaces for your dog to lug everything it will need for any outdoor adventure. There’s also enough room to carry some of your stuff. And if you need more storage space, you can expand on what’s available with the bag’s Velcro patches on the sides.

Our of our favorite things about this backpack is the built-in holder for quick access to your waste bags, it ideal for outdoor adventurers like you, who are wise enough not to litter.

Another positive about this bag is the extremely durable and waterproof 1000D nylon material with which it’s made.

OneTigris Dog Pack Hound Travel Camping Hiking Backpack Saddle Bag Rucksack for Medium & Large Dog (Black - 1000D Nylon)

Pros

  • Highly durable and waterproof, making it ideal for use in all weather conditions.
  • Padded underside for your dog’s comfort.
  • Suitable for medium and large dogs.
  • Comes with several useful pockets and compartments to carry what you need.
  • Sleek, non-bulky design.
  • V-ring on the back to attach a leash.
  • Breathable mesh lining to avoid chafing and keep your pup cool.
  • Suitable as a harness or backpack for leisurely strolls or tough hikes.

Cons

  • Not suitable for a small dog.
  • No handle on the back for assisting or controlling your dog.
  • The straps aren’t padded.

5. Kurgo Dog Saddlebag Backpack

If you want a backpack that can carry as much as possible, the Kurgo Baxter Dog Pack comes highly recommended. But because the Kurgo Baxter is for dogs who can carry heavy loads, it’s available in only two sizes — for a medium or large dog.

To support its large capacity, the backpack is made with durable materials that can withstand tough use, even in rugged outdoor conditions. In spite of this, the backpack is surprisingly lightweight.

To give your pooch a secure fit, you’ll find eight adjustment points. And to ensure that your pet doesn’t stray with your luggage, there’s a rear-mounted leash hook that lets the backpack double as a harness. There’s also a grab handle on the back for assisting or restraining your dog.

Kurgo Baxter Dog Backpack, Dog Saddlebag, Dog Pack, Adjustable Saddlebag for Hiking, Walking, Running, Camping, Coastal Blue

Pros

  • There’s enough space in both zippered saddlebags to carry provisions for you and your dog.
  • Available in four attractive colors.
  • Features reflective piping to keep your dog visible in all lighting conditions.
  • Comes with a Kurgo lifetime warranty.
  • Tough leash D-ring on the back that can double as a bottle opener.
  • Padded handle for a comfortable grip and to assist or restrain your dog.
  • High rating from dog owners.
  • Easily adjustable nylon straps for a secure fit.
  • Ideal for a rugged outdoor adventure.

Cons

  • Bulky design.
  • It’s not waterproof.

6. Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack

The Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Backpack isn’t inexpensive, but it is an excellent all-purpose backpack. Its design guarantees that the saddlebags and straps stay out of your dog’s way while he runs, jumps, and plays.

With a durable nylon body and attractive design, the Mountainsmith K-9 is suitable for various outings with your furry friend. And its two big zippered pouches can carry enough provisions for both you and your dog.

The Mountainsmith K-9 is available in various sizes, for small to large-sized dogs, so you won’t have any trouble finding one that‘s the right fit for your dog. This design also features a four-point adjustable chest harness to make sure the backpack doesn’t slip around while your dog plays.

Mountainsmith K-9 Pack, Azure Blue, Medium

Pros

  • Padded sternum strap to prevent chafing or other discomforts.
  • Made with super-durable 420d HD Nylon Ripstop material.
  • Quick-dry and easy-to-clean.
  • Two big, easily accessible zippered pannier pockets for all your stuff.
  • A sturdy handle on the back for controlling or assisting your dog.
  • Reflective trim all around the backpack to keep your dog visible, even at a distance.
  • Available in three colors.
  • A positive rating from dog owners.
  • Metal D-ring attachment for a leash.
  • Its breathable mesh lining ensures optimal ventilation for your pup’s comfort.

Cons

  • Quite pricey

7. Lifeunion Adjustable Service Dog Supply Backpack Saddle Bag for Camping Hiking Training

This backpack brand might not be as popular as the others on this list, but it is nonetheless worthy of your attention. It has an attractive and comfortable design that will keep your dog looking stylish while carrying provisions.

In addition to its good looks, the Lifeunion Adjustable Service Dog Supply Backpack is highly durable and functional. Its high-quality 600D double polyester body is waterproof, too, which makes it suitable for outdoor adventures in just about any weather.

This Lifeunion backpack also features enough zippered pockets to securely carry your dog’s collapsible bowls, food, treats, toys, and more.

Lifeunion Adjustable Service Dog Supply Backpack Saddle Bag for Camping Hiking Training(Black,Small)

Pros

  • Affordable price for an impressive product.
  • Sturdy rubber handle on the back for assisting your dog.
  • Built-in D-ring leash attachment for keeping your dog close at hand.
  • Reflective piping for optimal visibility in all lighting conditions.
  • Waterproof body to shield your dog and protect the backpack contents.
  • Adjustable straps for a secure fit.
  • Available in several colors.
  • Soft-mesh lining on the inside provides good ventilation and prevents chafing.
  • High rating from buyers.
  • Padded chest strap.

Cons

  • Getting the right fit for your dog requires careful measurement.

8. Wellver Dog Backpack

Here’s another not-so-popular brand with a great product at an affordable price. It has enough pockets to carry provisions for you and your fur baby. Its lightweight design makes it suitable for anything from light neighborhood strolls to long outdoor hikes.

And if your dog likes to get dirty, it’s OK because this backpack is super easy to clean!

Wellver Dog Backpack Saddle Bag Travel Packs for Hiking Walking Camping,Small

Pros

  • Suitable to wear in all weather.
  • Available in sizes for small to large dogs.
  • The breathable mesh lining keeps your pet cool and comfy.
  • Quick-release buckles for easy wearing and removing.
  • Super affordable price for this high-quality pack.
  • Two big pockets for your pet’s things.
  • Comfortable handle and D-ring on the back for controlling your pooch.
  • Available in several bright colors.
  • Padded chest strap.
  • Can double as a harness.

Cons

  • Not waterproof.
  • Getting the right fit for your dog requires careful measurement.

9. BUYITNOW Cute Pet Backpack Harness

This affordable yet adorable backpack is ideal for stylish dogs. It is designed similarly to a human backpack, which makes it very different from many of the packs on this list.

This backpack can’t carry as much load as the other backpacks we tried. It is best and most suited for small dogs that can’t carry heavy loads, anyway.

BUYITNOW Cute Pet Backpack Harness Travel Outdoor Hiking Adjustable Leash Saddlebag for Small Dogs

Pros

  • Made from high-quality cotton with a fantastic texture.
  • Mesh lining to keep your dog cool and comfy.
  • Adjustable chest and side straps for a custom fit.
  • Super affordable.
  • Strong leash attachment D-ring on the back for keeping your dog close.
  • Quick-release buckle for easy wearing and removing.

Cons

  • Not suitable for rugged outdoor use.
  • Small load capacity.
  • No grab handle, so it’s not suitable for a harness.
  • Cleaning it can be a chore.

10. Outward Hound Denver Urban Pack Lightweight

Here’s an excellent, tough backpack — as long as you don’t mind its limited load capacity. It has two large pockets and two smaller zippered pockets on the side. These compartments can hold only mostly flat objects, so you might have to carry your dog’s food and water.

Its trendy design is perfect for outings in the city but not so much for the wild outdoors. So, if you aren’t much of an outdoorsman and your outings with your best friend are limited to pavement walks, this backpack is a lovely choice.

Denver Urban Pack Lightweight Urban Hiking Backpack for Dogs by Outward Hound, Small/Medium

Pros

  • Stylish design.
  • Adjustable belly strap for a secure fit.
  • Can double as a harness.
  • High rating from buyers.
  • Available in different sizes, for small to extra-large dogs.
  • Dual D-ring and padded handle for keeping your pooch close.
  • Lightweight build that won’t impede your dog’s movements.
  • Mesh lining provides good ventilation and prevents chafing.

Cons

  • Cleaning it can be a chore.
  • Not suitable for a rugged outdoor adventure.
  • Limited capacity
  • The straps aren’t padded.

How to Choose the Best Backpack for your Dog

The best backpack for you and your dog isn’t always the cheapest or the most expensive one. Instead, the best backpack is one that offers all the features you need without exceeding your budget.

To help you with finding the right backpack, we’ll add to this review some standard features that any good dog pack must have.

dog in sling

What Features to Look for in a Dog Backpack  

Comfort and Fitting

A dog backpack must be the right size for your dog. It can’t be so tight that it suffocates your pooch, impedes its limbs, or causes any other discomfort. At the same time, the backpack can’t be so loose that it can easily fall off or impede your pup’s movement.

The best doggy backpacks also have adjustable straps, so you can customize its fit to suit your dog’s changing needs. The more customizable the fit, the better.

Weight Carrying Capacity

Like humans, there’s a limit to how much a dog can carry in a backpack, especially if you’re on a long-distance hike. If your dog is small, a bag with minimal weight and storage capacity will suffice. But if your dog is big and fit, and you want him to carry as much as he can, you need a bag with enough space to secure a heavy load.

But regardless of a backpack’s weight and size capacity, be careful not to overload your dog because it puts excessive strain that can cause injury.

Secure Buckles

The backpacks we reviewed fasten to your pup with buckles or Velcro. We recommend packs with sturdy buckles because they are more secure and durable. The more robust the buckles, the less likely it is that the backpack will unfasten and fall off.

But bear in mind that while the buckle should be sturdy, it shouldn’t be so tough that unfastening it will be a hassle for you or your dog. The best dog packs all use tough, quick-release buckles.

Zipper Quality

A dog backpack can have all the pockets and space in the world, but it all means nothing if they aren’t secure. With this in mind, choose a bag with robust zippers or other reliable fastening mechanisms.

We recommend packs that use steel zippers because they are sturdier and more durable. But some packs also use plastic zippers that hold up well, too. Either way, the better the zipper, the more secure your contents will be.

Mesh Lining

Any high-quality dog backpack will feature a breathable mesh lining that prevents chafing and can lead to discomfort, bald spots, and skin irritation. A mesh lining also promotes ventilation between the backpack and your dog’s skin, keeping him cool and preventing overheating.

For your dog’s safety, never put a backpack on your dog if it doesn’t have a mesh lining.

Water-Resistance

This feature isn’t essential, but it is useful. A waterproof backpack will keep your dog dry if you run into a rainstorm. More important, if your dog decides to stray into a pond or other water, a waterproof design will keep the sensitive items in the backpack dry.

If your outings with your dog might lead to getting wet at any point, seriously consider a waterproof dog backpack.

FAQs

How much weight can a dog carry in a backpack?

Most dog backpacks have a pouch on each side. Be sure to maintain equal weight on each side to avoid throwing your dog off balance. Most important, don’t overload your dog’s backpack.

The amount of weight your dog can handle will depend on its size and health. If your dog is unwell or aged, it’s best not to load it down with a backpack. If your dog is healthy, never attach loaded backpack that weighs more than 25 percent of the dog’s body weight.

How do you measure a dog for a backpack?

Accurately measuring your dog is crucial to getting a backpack that fits. A perfect fit will give your furry friend a full range of motion, won’t be stifling, and won’t chafe around the neck, belly, or chest.

To get the best measurement, follow these steps:

Measure the length of your dog — from the base of the tail to the base of the neck.

Measure the girth of your dog by measuring around the widest part of your dog’s ribcage, from chest to back.

Measure the width of your dog’s neck, encircling the circumference of the broadest part of your dog’s neck.

Are backpacks good for dogs?

Backpacks are an easy way to give your dog some much-needed exercise. They are especially effective for active and energetic dogs because they help the dogs burn off some of that excess energy.

But if your dog is very young, old, ill, or recovering from an injury, it’s best not to put a backpack on him. The extra stress of carrying the bag might exacerbate the condition of an ill or injured dog. It also will put more strain on the ailing heart and joints of an old dog. And for a young pup, it might have a negative effect on bone development.

Only use backpacks for dogs who are mature and strong enough to carry them.

What dog can carry the most weight?

The bigger a dog, the more weight it can carry. Big dogs that can pull the most weight include the American Bully, Pit Bull Terrier, Bulldog, Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, and German Shepherd.

Just remember that no matter how strong your dog is, you should never load him with more than 20-25percent of his healthy bodyweight.

Why use a dog backpack?

You can get a backpack for your dog to carry or a backpack to carry a dog.

Backpacks to carry dogs allow you to take your small-breed pups on outings, even if they can’t handle the walk. They are quite similar to baby carriers, but some come with features that let you carry your little pooch and other provisions. These carrier packs come in front-facing and back-facing designs.

A backpack for your dog to carry fits onto its back so it can carry some of the load when you’re on an outdoor excursion. You can pack it with dog food, bowls, toys, and your water bottle and keys, for example.

Are baby carriers safe for a dog?

You can use a baby carrier to carry a small dog, but it’s not the best choice because the baby carrier won’t have some of the specialized features that an actual dog carrier has. As such, it is best to use a dog carrier rather than a baby carrier for your dog.

Also, for your dog’s safety and comfort, we recommend only using a carrier that’s the right fit for your dog’s size.

 

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