Best Dog Backpacks for Hiking

10 Best Dog Backpacks for Hiking

Dogs love adventure. Whether it’s hiking, swimming, running, or exploring, they can’t get enough of it. Hiking is a great activity that keeps dogs calmer at home and provides valuable bonding time between you and your pet. Traveling with a dog backpack can make the adventure even sweeter. However, you must find the perfect backpack as some backpacks can be too large or too small for your dog.

Finding the best dog backpacks for hiking is definitely challenging, but there are some amazing products in the market today. Below is a list of the best and most sought out dog backpacks. Hopefully, the information provided helps you determine which backpack is right for you and your pup!

Top 10 Best Dog Backpacks for Hiking

Preview
Best Visibility
RUFFWEAR - Approach Full-Day Hiking Pack for Dogs, Orange Poppy (2017), Medium
Most Adjustable
Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack, Small Hiking Pack (Caribe Blue)
Most Durable
Kurgo Dog Saddlebag Backpack, Back Pack Dog Harness, Hiking Pack for Dogs, Packs for Pets to Wear, Camping & Travel Vest Harness, Reflective, Lightweight, Baxter Pack, For Medium & Large Pets
Wellver Dog Saddle Backpack for Hiking, Saddle Bag for Pets, Lightweight Travel Bag and Hiking Bag for Dogs (L, Green + Gray)
OneTigris Dog Saddlebag Tactical Dog Pack for Dog with 20"-26" Neck Girth and 34"-42" Chest Girth (Coyote Brown)
Title
RUFFWEAR - Approach Full-Day Hiking Pack for Dogs, Orange Poppy (2017), Medium
Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack, Small Hiking Pack (Caribe Blue)
Kurgo Dog Saddlebag Backpack, Back Pack Dog Harness, Hiking Pack for Dogs, Packs for Pets to Wear, Camping & Travel Vest Harness, Reflective, Lightweight, Baxter Pack, For Medium & Large Pets
Wellver Dog Saddle Backpack for Hiking, Saddle Bag for Pets, Lightweight Travel Bag and Hiking Bag for Dogs (L, Green + Gray)
OneTigris Dog Saddlebag Tactical Dog Pack for Dog with 20"-26" Neck Girth and 34"-42" Chest Girth (Coyote Brown)
Rating
4.7
4.5
4.5
4.2
4.4
Features
Aluminum V-ring, padded handle
V-ring, padded handle
Rear D-ring, padded handle
D-ring, handle
2 D-rings, padded handle
Adjustability
5 points of adjustment
4-point adjustable chest harness, plus adjustable belly strap and back harness
Stomach and back adjustments
Stomach adjustments
Neck and belly adjustments
Padded Straps
Chest and stomach
Sternum pad
Sternum pad
Sternum, back, and sides
None
Sizes
X-Small - X-Large
Small - large
30-110lbs
Small - X-large
Large
Visibility
Reflective trim
Reflective strip
Reflective trim
Bright colors
Low
Price
$74.50
$67.80
$49.77
Price not available
Price not available
Prime Status
-
-
Best Visibility
Preview
RUFFWEAR - Approach Full-Day Hiking Pack for Dogs, Orange Poppy (2017), Medium
Title
RUFFWEAR - Approach Full-Day Hiking Pack for Dogs, Orange Poppy (2017), Medium
Rating
4.7
Features
Aluminum V-ring, padded handle
Adjustability
5 points of adjustment
Padded Straps
Chest and stomach
Sizes
X-Small - X-Large
Visibility
Reflective trim
Price
$74.50
Prime Status
Button
Most Adjustable
Preview
Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack, Small Hiking Pack (Caribe Blue)
Title
Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack, Small Hiking Pack (Caribe Blue)
Rating
4.5
Features
V-ring, padded handle
Adjustability
4-point adjustable chest harness, plus adjustable belly strap and back harness
Padded Straps
Sternum pad
Sizes
Small - large
Visibility
Reflective strip
Price
$67.80
Prime Status
Button
Most Durable
Preview
Kurgo Dog Saddlebag Backpack, Back Pack Dog Harness, Hiking Pack for Dogs, Packs for Pets to Wear, Camping & Travel Vest Harness, Reflective, Lightweight, Baxter Pack, For Medium & Large Pets
Title
Kurgo Dog Saddlebag Backpack, Back Pack Dog Harness, Hiking Pack for Dogs, Packs for Pets to Wear, Camping & Travel Vest Harness, Reflective, Lightweight, Baxter Pack, For Medium & Large Pets
Rating
4.5
Features
Rear D-ring, padded handle
Adjustability
Stomach and back adjustments
Padded Straps
Sternum pad
Sizes
30-110lbs
Visibility
Reflective trim
Price
$49.77
Prime Status
Button
Preview
Wellver Dog Saddle Backpack for Hiking, Saddle Bag for Pets, Lightweight Travel Bag and Hiking Bag for Dogs (L, Green + Gray)
Title
Wellver Dog Saddle Backpack for Hiking, Saddle Bag for Pets, Lightweight Travel Bag and Hiking Bag for Dogs (L, Green + Gray)
Rating
4.2
Features
D-ring, handle
Adjustability
Stomach adjustments
Padded Straps
Sternum, back, and sides
Sizes
Small - X-large
Visibility
Bright colors
Price
Price not available
Prime Status
-
Button
Preview
OneTigris Dog Saddlebag Tactical Dog Pack for Dog with 20"-26" Neck Girth and 34"-42" Chest Girth (Coyote Brown)
Title
OneTigris Dog Saddlebag Tactical Dog Pack for Dog with 20"-26" Neck Girth and 34"-42" Chest Girth (Coyote Brown)
Rating
4.4
Features
2 D-rings, padded handle
Adjustability
Neck and belly adjustments
Padded Straps
None
Sizes
Large
Visibility
Low
Price
Price not available
Prime Status
-
Button

1. Ruffwear Approach Dog Backpack

The Ruffwear Approach dog backpack comes in orange or green. Its radial cut saddle gives your dog a form-fitting carry. The pack is made with lightweight materials perfect for walks, hikes, and adventures.

The backpack comes with stash pockets for treats, five points of adjustment for a full range of motion, and a leash connection in two points. It also includes harness suspension for stability and comfort and reflective trim to ensure your pup stays nice and snug while hiking.

Specifications

  • High-visibility color with reflective trim
  • Aluminium V-ring leash attachment
  • Padded handle
  • Under-belly padding
  • Ultra-durable nylon
Pros
  • Padded straps
  • Lots of storage
  • Sturdy handle and leash attachment
  • Stable design
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Water-resistant, not waterproof

Sample Customer Review…My Boxer (and I) love this backpack! We use it all the time when we go hiking or even on our daily walks to give her a job to do. It has large pockets so that she carries everything we need on our day hikes except the car keys. We’ve even used it when we go on vacation to pack everything she’ll need for the trip. All the straps are adjustable so it can take a while to get everything situated correctly. However, having a deep-chested sometimes hard-to-fit dog, the more adjustable it is the better. We even used it once, with the appropriate counterbalance, to bring one of her puppy friends along on a long walk!

Read more reviews on Amazon.com.

2. Mountainsmith K9

The Mountainsmith K9 dog backpack for hiking is water-resistant to protect your dog’s gear from snow, rain, and any unpredictable weather. It’s a stylish and durable backpack great for your dog’s comfort. This dog pack comes with a four-point adjustable chest harness with a padded sternum pad and an adjustable back harness for a custom fit for your furry friend.

Also, on the harness is a padded tubular grab handle with an adjustable belly strap with reflective trims. The harness has two compartments that zip for accessories. Its ergonomically tapered torso shape works great for a better fit for your dog. The mesh panels and perforated EVA foam ensure your dog’s body temperature doesn’t get too hot while wearing the harness or during the hiking trip.

Specifications

  • Adjustable harness
  • 4 zippered pockets
  • Padded handle
  • Padded straps
  • V-ring leash attachment
  • Reflective trim
Pros
  • Padded straps
  • Highly adjustable
  • Durable
  • Lots of storage
Cons
  • Water-resistant, not waterproof
  • Pricey

Sample Customer Review…I tried a couple of different brands of dog packs before finally spending the extra money to get the Mountainsmith. I should’ve just bought this pack from the get-go. I got a medium-sized for my 65# Golden Retriever and it fits him perfectly. There is actually a ton of room for adjustment on these packs. This allows you to get the perfect fit for your dog. Lots of slight adjustments can be made and I feel like they allow this to be a lot more comfortable on a dog. It is also very easy to put on. The way all the straps unbuckle makes it a lot less cumbersome to put this pack on.

The material itself seems very durable. I feel confident it will definitely hold up in our outdoor excursions. Furthermore, the design is very ergonomically friendly to the dog. It keeps the saddlebags close to the dog’s side and over his front legs. My dog doesn’t even seem phased by it in the least. My bag sizes are also very large. There is one on each side and that’s the only storage. However, they are very spacious. I can fit plenty of food, a travel doggy bed, travel bowls, towel, and still have room to pack more.

Word of caution: don’t go too overboard loading up your dog with weight. My dog weighs 65 lbs. and I wouldn’t put much more than 4 lbs. on him at any given time. It may be easy to pack a lot in these bags, but keep it comfortable for your dog too.

Read more reviews on Amazon.com.

3. Kurgo Baxter

The Kurgo Baxter dog backpack comes in orange, red, or blue. It is lightweight, adjustable, and durable. This harness has ergonomic spine support for your dog as well as a great balance of weight for even distribution contributing to your dog being more comfortable. The backpack has two saddlebags for storing your essentials during your walk. There is a large padded handle and reflective trim as well as a rear leash hook. There are eight adjustment points for a custom fit. 

Specifications

  • Rear leash attachment
  • Reflective material
  • Padded handle
  • 4 zippered pockets
Pros
  • Adjustable
  • Chest strap bottle opener
  • Padded spine
  • Lots of storage
Cons
  • Water-resistant, not waterproof
  • Only 2 sizes

Sample Customer Review…I have owned this item for well over a year, probably going on two years now, and it is excellent and of very high quality. I am an avid hiker and love taking my dog (GSP mix) on the trails with me. She loves to wear her pack and gets super excited at the sight of it. It holds a few small items but is not large enough for a 17oz water bottle, so I had to get a soft side water bottle to put in it. She also carries a foldable bowl, a tennis ball, and 100 “doggie bags” and there is a little room left, so it does hold a fair amount of items.
We have given this item a lot of use, and it has held up very well, with no holes tears, or really any evident wear. We also get a lot of comments on it, everyone wants to stop us and ask about it and find out where they can get one.

The only thing to keep in mind is the size of the pack you order. My dog is a German Short Haired Pointer Mix, so she has a deep chest but a smaller stomach area. She ways about 40 pounds. I went with the large pack and it fits great around her chest but is loose in the back even on the smallest setting, but this has had no consequences at all. It works great and has never bothered her a bit.

Read more reviews on Amazon.com.

4. Wellver Saddle Bag

The Wellver saddle bag is made of high-quality mesh material for a cool and comfortable feel for your dog. This saddle is made of light and washable material to ensure your dog is not taking on too much weight. The washable material is long-lasting and a plus if your bag gets muddy after a hike.

The saddle is easy to use with adjustable straps to match the size and shape of your dog. There is a strong handle and D-loop for easy restraint on your dog. And most of all, the saddle has a large storage capacity perfect for long hikes and walks. 

Specifications

  • Breathable mesh
  • Padded handle
  • Large storage capacity
  • 4 sizes
Pros
  • Adjustable
  • Washable
  • High-visibility colors
Cons
  • Straps not padded
  • Unbalanced

Sample Customer Review…My dog is my caddie when I play disk golf. These “saddlebags” hold my disks and my pup seems very happy to tote them around for me. Will also use it for hiking. I measured my dog around the chest and ordered the recommended size–it fits perfectly. Like the bright color (yellow) as it makes him visible on the course or trail. Very happy with this purchase.

Read more reviews on Amazon.com.

5. OneTigris Blaze Tracker

The OneTigris blaze tracker is great for storage. It has 2 side pouches that zip with smaller ones on them for more storage. It also has a clear window on the top for ID storage in case of an emergency. This harness is perfect for anyone with limited storage. The harness comes with a built-in poop bag holder to limit space taken in the pockets. You can also store dog treats and toys.

The panel is great for service dogs or adding names or information–it’s a nice feature that makes the harness more customizable. There are two adjustable belly straps with quick-release buckles which help ensure your dog is comfortable and can be removed easily. There is a drainage hole at the bottom of the pouches in case of a spill or water or anything else. The drainage hole feature can come in handy during those long hiking trips.

Specifications

  • V-ring leash attachment
  • 3.5 x 4 in. ID card window
  • 13 oz. weight
  • Nylon canvas material
Pros
  • Durable
  • Adjustable
  • Zipper and velcro pockets
Cons
  • Water-resistant, not waterproof
  • Awkward strap design

Sample Customer Review…This sturdy backpack is perfect for my one-year-old husky/border collie mix who tends to pull on the leash. I fill each pocket with a couple of water bottles to weigh it down. It keeps him focused and happy, and I have to believe it makes him feel like he is working and working harder, which releases stress and energy. Handy to hold extra poopy bags, plus I make him carry his poop while on the walk until we can find a trash can! Super happy with my purchase!

Read more reviews on Amazon.com.

6. Caesar Millan Dog Backpack

The Caesar Millan dog backpack for hiking comes with two large side storage spaces to store all of your necessities. This bag is compatible with medium-sized dogs. The saddle can be a great way to give your dog more exercise. You can weigh down the backpack if your dog has high energy levels and can be used as an exercise alternative on days where you are a little too busy.

The dog backpack comes with reflective trim to help see your dog at night or by strangers passing by. The easy-to-use buckle straps make the backpack quick to put on and off. The material is durable and water repellent for any weather – which can help during unpredictable hiking days. The material is breathable and is padded with breathable mesh so you’re dog doesn’t overheat.

Specifications

  • Elastic straps
  • Padded underside
  • Reflective trim
  • 2 zippered pockets
Pros
  • Designed for training
  • Adjustable
  • Water-repellant
Cons
  • Not durable
  • Poorly sewn straps

Sample Customer Review…It’s a magic backpack! (I’m only 1/2 joking). I have a perpetually happy, and incredibly energetic, year-old German Shepherd mix. Most of the time she is bouncing off the walls like a toddler on a sugar high, but the moment her backpack is on, her entire demeanor changes to one of poised attentiveness.

I never bought weights for it (she carries a small bottle of ketchup in one pocket and BBQ sauce in the other), but somehow the mere act of wearing it while I take her on a walk removes all of the crazy from her brain. The quality of the material and craftsmanship is superb, and every strap adjusts for a perfect fit. When an inattentive driver almost hit us, the top handle allowed me to grab her like a 50lb suitcase and dive out of harm’s way, for which I am truly thankful.

I hesitated to buy this for a long time because of the price, but I can honestly say that, for us, it makes all the difference in the world. I highly recommend it.

Read more reviews on Amazon.com.

7. Outward Hound Daypak Dog Backpack

The Outward Hound Daypak dog backpack comes in either blue or green in a saddlebag style. This bag is great for both getaway or everyday trips–providing you with the perfect way to carry your dog and the essentials.

The backpack is made with mesh material to keep your dog cool throughout the day. It even comes with bright colors for better vision at night. The night vision is especially useful for late hiking trips. The style of the bag also provides a free form and light feel for full function. 

Specifications

  • Polyester material
  • Mesh top
  • 2 zippered pockets
  • Padded handle
  • D-ring leash attachment
Pros
  • Breathable material
  • Lightweight
  • High-visibility colors
  • Expandable pockets
Cons
  • Straps not padded
  • Stash pockets lack zippers

Sample Customer Review…We love the way this day pack fits and looks on our Husky. We ordered a small/med size for her. She’s about 50 lbs, and I only had to adjust the first stomach strap closer to her neck. I also like the straps that connect the two bags together; I’m hoping it helps keep the balance shifted. It has a comfortable pad on the front chest snaps and on the bottom 2 snaps. It’s generally easy to put on, from a family with avid dog hikers with experience in many different packs. It appeared to be made well, and we’re looking forward to taking it out on the trail; I just hope it holds up because my dogs are rugged. The pockets look like they’ll hold a lot of stuff, which will be great for when my husband, dogs, and I attempt the Appalachian Trail. 

Read more reviews on Amazon.com.

8. Lifeunion Saddle Bag

The Lifeunion Saddle bag is a high quality polyester backpack. It’s durable and waterproof features provide you with a secure area to store accessories. Having a waterproof and spacious bag can be wonderful when hiking with your dog. There is enough storage for treats, toys, food, and much more. This saddle bag comes with adjustable straps and is mesh lined for a comfortable and custom fit. With a reusable poop bag dispenser to save storage space and make picking up after your dog quicker and easier.

Specifications

  • Polyester material
  • Mesh underside
  • Rubber handle
  • D-ring leash attachment
Pros
  • High-visibility colors
  • Reflective trim
  • Padded straps
  • 3 sizes
Cons
  • Semi-durable
  • Not highly adjustable

Sample Customer Review…This bag serves its purpose and more. Not only am I able to store things on it for my dog to carry and keep his mind occupied but it’s strong enough for me to give him a workout with a 5-pound plate in each pocket. It’s also strong enough for me to lift him up by the handle (minus the extra weight) and he weighs 82 pounds. I am completely pleased with my purchase. Use it with the weights at your own risk though, it’s not necessarily meant for that.

Read more reviews on Amazon.com.

9. Ultimate Direction Vest

This dog backpack for hiking is lightweight and customizable. Its nylon fabric keeps your pet cool and comfortable. The large expandable side pockets hold a variety of items, while the smaller side-stash pockets are best for easy access to treats or a leash. Each of the pockets closes with zippers, and it comes with a collapsible bowl. 

Specifications

  • Woven nylon mesh
  • Adjustable straps
  • 5-10L storage, depending on size
  • 11oz. weight
  • Handle and leash attachment
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Collapsible bowl included
  • Adjustable
Cons
  • No padding for straps
  • Not very durable

Sample Customer Review… I agree with the other reviewers that padded straps and maybe a more robust loop for a leash would be ideal. But this is still a 5-star pack. The quick-release collapsible bowl is amazing for quick water breaks and way harder to lose with the clip. It is way lighter and has better storage than our previous doggy pack and has already received lots of compliments. I haven’t packed water in it yet, but it has been perfect for trail poops and my phone/keys.

Review from UltimateDirection.com.

10. Outward Hound Crest Stone Explore Pack

This high-visibility dog backpack for hiking is great for spotting your furry friend on the trail. It’s lightweight, durable, and fun. The top is made of woven mesh and boasts compression webbing to keep the load balanced. The material is water-resistant and each pocket can be closed with zippers. Plus, the handle for helping your dog over steep terrain or out of harm’s way is padded for your comfort.

Specifications

  • 2 zipper pockets
  • Adjustable straps
  • Compression mesh webbing
  • Handle and 2 leash attachments
Pros
  • High visibility
  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable
Cons
  • Not waterproof
  • Not very durable
  • No padding for straps

Sample Customer Review… This was a good buy. It fit well, but I had to be careful to balance it properly when I put more than twelve ounces to one side. Our dog used it to carry her food, blanket, and treats during a week-long backpacking trip through densely forested, rocky hills in Northeastern Iowa. We did not use the D-ring, instead choosing to clip the lead to her regular collar, as the D-ring is positioned in a place that allows her to pull with more strength. This bag is lightweight and seems intended for light use, not hauling gallons of water or small children or anything. But, as I said, it held up well during our week-long trip that started with about one-and-a-half pounds of dog supplies. It got quite dirty due to the bit of rain we’d had and the need to dig a new den every night, but otherwise, it came out without a mark on it. I liked the material, which allowed for sturdy support but didn’t act like a second coat in the super-humid, 90-degree sunlit areas.

Read more reviews on Amazon.com.

Buying Guide: Things To Consider When Purchasing A Dog Backpack

Now that you have viewed the best dog backpacks for hiking, how do you know which is the right choice for you and your pup? Considering the features of each backpack is a great start.

Design

Most dog backpacks for hiking are saddlebags with two pouches that fall on either side of your dog. Look for designs that distribute weight evenly across your dog’s back, and pack with even distribution in mind. Single packs can actually injure your dog, and some are meant only for people carrying light breeds.

Material

If you choose a pack with straps, make sure they don’t fall around your dog, especially near a urine stream. Prioritize your dog’s comfort! Buckles should be padded with a bit of fabric to prevent chafing. If your dog is going to carry lots of equipment, invest in a pack with padded straps. Avoid materials like cotton or canvas. While they seem attractive, they actually absorb moisture and will make your dog’s pack heavier, not to mention prone to mold and mildew.

Accessories

Some dog backpacks for hiking come with handles for helping your dog through rugged terrain. If you plan to hike in a place with steep slopes, using a sturdy, padded handle to lift your dog is safest for both of you. Other dog backpacks are meant for casual hikes. They have minimal padding and pockets that are perfect for short excursions.

Keep the kind of activities you plan to do with your dog in mind as you look for the perfect backpack. All dog backpacks should have a place to secure a leash, even if you plan to let your dog roam free. 

Size

Getting a backpack that fits your dog is essential. A small pack will chafe against your dog, and a big pack will fall off. So, it’s important to follow the instructions of your chosen dog backpack manufacturer when choosing a size.

To find the measurements of your furry friend, you’ll need a measuring tape. Find the girth of your dog by wrapping the tape around the fullest part of the dog’s chest, just behind its front legs. Some sellers might ask for your dog’s weight or its length from the nape of its neck to the base of its tail, too.

If you find that your dog is between two manufacturer sizes, it’s important to pick the larger size. Rather than cramming your dog into a backpack that’s too small, you can adjust a pack down to its size.

Adjustments

When putting your dog into its backpack, it’s important to secure the bag without making it too tight. Backpacks must be snug enough to stay still on your dog while it’s walking. But if the pack is too tight, it will rub against your dog. Hot spots are most likely to occur where the straps pass between your dog’s front legs and chest.

Some dog backpacks for hiking are more adjustable than others. If your dog is prone to chafing or doesn’t fit well into most gear, consider investing in a pack with adjustable straps.

Capacity

The best dog backpacks for hiking come in many different sizes for different kinds of activities. For short walks and hikes, you’ll only need a pack that can hold up to 5 liters. For trips lasting multiple days, a pack with up to 25 liters of capacity is best. Many packs offer both; they usually hold enough equipment for just a day but expand for longer journeys. Some packs even have extra gear hooks to attach items. As a general rule, your dog’s backpack needs to have enough room to hold a bowl, food, water, and some treats.

A dog should never carry more than 25% of its body weight. Depending on your dog’s fitness level, this number might be closer to 10%.

Waterproofing

Even if you don’t plan to walk in the rain, consider a waterproof or water-resistant backpack for your dog. In the event of a surprise shower or a dog who loves to splash in puddles without warning, a waterproof backpack is the difference between wet and dry items. Most dog backpacks are made with waterproofing in mind. For extra rain protection, keep an eye out for flaps over zippers. 

Quality

Depending on the activities you plan to do, the quality and durability of the pack may need to be different. Dog backpacks boasting handles and leash hooks need to be extra durable. Look for heavy-duty stitching in these places and test your dog’s pack before you go adventuring. Try lifting your dog in its pack to gauge whether it feels secure.

Conclusion

Bringing your dog on hiking trips is a wonderful treat for you and your pet. Now you have all the information you need to purchase your new backpack. Remember, the best dog backpack for hiking fits your dog well, has the right amount of storage space, and is easy to carry. Good luck on finding and choosing the best dog backpacks, and happy hiking!

Written by Brittany Beh; Contributor: Abigal Honbarger and Jack Leduc

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