Best Backpacks for Dogs
For hiking, biking, or simply a bit of help for a senior or immobile pooch, backpack carriers can be a perfect solution. If you want to make sure you’ll choose the safest, comfiest, and the most stylish backpack for your dog, read on!
Dog carriers come in all shapes and sizes- each of the types suitable for different purposes. For instance, while a plastic portable crate dog carrier might be a good solution to transport a sick pet to the vet’s office, a carrier bag is usually a more suitable option for travel. Backpacks for dogs are mainly used for hiking, biking, and walks with pooches who can’t, for any reason, keep up with their pawrents. With a backpack to carry your dog in, you can make sure they get to enjoy the experience without having to strain themselves.
What to Look For In Backpacks for Dogs
Before you go on a trip with your pooch on your back, you need to make sure that they’ll be safe and comfy and that the carrier won’t put any unnecessary strain on your back and shoulders, either. Design, material, capacity, size- these are all important factors you should consider before getting a backpack to carry your pet.
Backpacks for dogs come in different designs- and it’s not just about various styles. There are backpacks for dogs that have mesh openings, bubble-like plastic windows, openings for front and back legs (something similar to baby carriers), backpacks with an opening just for the pet’s head, etc. Needless to say, not all types of backpacks for dogs will suit your needs. Your pet might feel snug as a bug in a carrier that lets them have legs out front or prefer being transported in an enclosed backpack. Factor in their tendency to wiggle and wriggle in carriers, comfort needs, and size before settling on a certain design.
For obvious reasons, backpacks for dogs are usually meant only for small and medium size breeds, but there are still plenty of size variations available. To really make sure your dog will be completely safe and comfortable in the backpack you chose for him, you will have to double-check the measurements. If the carrier is too cramped, your pooch will be both uncomfortable and not secured properly. Similarly, if the backpack carrier is too spacious, it’s not safe for carrying your pet.
While most pet parents just want the backpack to be as lightweight as possible – justified, since they’ll be lugging a chonky pooch around on their backs – sometimes you still need a little bit of extra storage capacity for travel necessities. For instance, if you’re using a backpack for dogs because you’re hiking, having a few pockets for your supplies such as treats, poop bags, etc. can be a very handy feature.
When looking at backpack materials, pick those that are durable, weatherproof and suitable to handle heavy-duty use. The more rugged, the better! The last thing you’d want is for some paper thin fabric ripping and tearing while your pet is in the carrier. Similarly, you should pay attention that the fabrics are breathable and ensure proper ventilation- high-quality mesh is usually the best choice for backpack openings.
Even the most conveniently designed, completely secured dog backpack that could endure years of merciless use can end up in the trash can if it fails at one thing: being comfortable. If you have to wear your pet in a backpack and the straps cut into your shoulders or if your pooch is expected to sit or lie still in a cramped and uncomfy space, it just won’t work. Opt for backpacks for dogs that have an ergonomic design, padded straps, and padded or lined space for your dog to rest while enjoying your company.
Needless to say, not all backpacks for dogs are made the same. Some might look cute but they’re not durable enough, others are more appropriate for travel than for hiking, and so on- it’s important to choose the one that will be the perfect match for your pet. To find out which of the most popular backpacks for dogs is the one that’s ideal for you, read on!
1. Editor’s Pick: Kurgo’s G-Train Dog Carrier Backpack
A durable, sturdy dog carrier backpack for heavy duty use, the Kurgo’s G-Train will be your favorite hiking accessory for years to come. The backpack features armor sole bottom and it’s made of lightweight, water-resistant and durable ripstop material. It’s easy to clean and the interior is machine washable. To boot, the Kurgo’s G-Train doubles as a traditional carrier so you’ll get even more use out of it. This fire-engine red dog backpack will hold pooches for up to 25 pounds- perfect if you want to explore the outdoors with your compact canine!
2. Runner Up: Petsfit Expandable Pet Carrier Backpack
This pet carrier backpack is perfect for travel: not only that you can carry your pet on your back, but it doubles as a temporary playpen your pooch can relax in when you arrive in the hotel room or when they are driving with you in the car. The back of the backpack unfolds to uncover an extension made from mesh material with self-locking zipper design, so they will be safely contained but the air will circulate freely and they get a clear view of their surroundings. The backpack is made from scratch-resistant durable oxford cloth in a neutral grey color, and the 4-sided mesh windows ensure your pet’s comfort during travel. Measuring 12.6″ by 10.2″ by 16.5″ when not extended and 24.4″ by 10.2″ by 14.2″ when fully extended; this backpack is best suited for toy and small breed dogs that weigh up to 15 pounds.
3. Best Ergonomic: K9 Sport Sack Rover 2 Dog Carrier Backpack
The K9 Sport Sack Front Facing Dog Backpack is designed with longer wear in mind, making it a suitable (and ergonomically friendly) choice for hiking, biking, skiing and more. With a wide variety of sizes, there are options available for a wide spectrum of different dogs weighing up to 80lb, especially the larger dogs.
If you enjoy getting out and exploring the world, but feel guilty for leaving your dog behind, this is a great option. This backpack is designed to keep your dog safe and secure regardless of its size and body shape. An internal frame with inner padding adds to your dog’s comfort while on the go while dog lumbar support straps help to prevent unnecessary injuries. The wide base of the bag accommodates your pet along with the largest of tails. Side cooling venting zippers allow your dog to cool off when hiking in the warmer weather, while a detachable dog sun/rain hood can be attached to keep your dog fully covered.
For you, the dog owner, weight distribution straps help to make the bag easier to carry, regardless of the weight of your dog. A padded back panel makes it more comfortable. Its design also encourages airflow along the back panel to keep you from feeling overheated. If you do head out without your dog, the backpack can be converted to hold gear with up to 60 liters of space. This dog backpack comes in 3 sizes: large, extra large, and extra-extra large . All 3 sizes suit dogs up to 80 lbs of weight, but are designed to suit dogs of different length and girth. Large suits dogs 20” to 23” long and with a chest circumference up to 34”, extra large is for dogs 23” to 26” long and with girth up to 37”, and the extra-extra large is a match for dogs 26” to 29” long and with a chest girth of up to 40”.
4. Best Front Carrier: Pawaboo Pet Carrier Backpack
A tiny pupper is so easy to travel with! But you can’t possibly expect to carry them in your hands all the time, no matter how lightweight they are. A nifty carrier backpack for dogs, such as this one from Pawaboo, however, can help keep your hands free and your dog safe. Designed as a classic strapped backpack, it can be worn both on the front and on your back – whatever the situation calls for. Four reinforced holes will fit your dog’s paws, and a durable zipper will keep everything nice and secure. Keep in mind that the straps can be adjusted to your liking and are also protected by nifty safety buckles- nothing is left to chance with this design. Perhaps most importantly though, is the fact that your pet won’t be constrained, chafed, or uncomfortable when you carry them around in the backpack. Thanks to fabric-covered elastic fittings, your pet will receive gentle support without any pressure. The inside of the backpack features a thick layer of super-soft sponge that will make the whole experience enjoyable for both you and your pet. The outer fabric is meshed and breathable, minimizing perspiration and heat. This pet carrier backpack comes in small which fits pets up to 5.5 lbs, medium for dogs up to 8.8 lbs, large that can support up to 15.4 lbs, and extra large which fits dogs weighing up to 24.6 pounds.
5. Best for Small Breeds: Outward Hound PoochPouch Dog Backpack
Neutral colors and toned down design make Outward Hound PoochPouch favorite with pawrents who don’t to be flashy when out with their fur baby. Naturally, the aesthetics are not the only thing that this backpack has going for it. Affordable but durable, this backpack for dogs supports dogs that weigh up to 15 pounds and can be worn or back or in front, over your chest. While the main compartment with mesh sides for ventilation is for your dog to sit in, the backpack also has nifty pockets for other essentials you might need on your hike.
6. Best for Toy Breeds: Whizzotech Pet Carrier Backpack
Technically, this is not a backpack per se- rather, it’s a front pack. This carrier has a legs-out, tail-out design, which lets your pupper enjoy the breeze and being touted around like a pampered baby- which probably isn’t that far from the truth. If you have a pet that’s too crafty and mischievous to be in a standard backpack where you can’t see them most of the time, a front pack is the way to go. Plus, your pooch will certainly appreciate all that ventilation on a long hike! The Whizzotech Pet Carrier comes in 4 sizes and supports dogs that weigh up to 22 pounds.
7. Best for Hikes: apollo walker Pet Carrier Backpack
Practical, reliable, and escape-proof, this carrier backpack for dogs will make sure that your dog is comfortable and cozy while you hike, travel, or just go for a long walk with your senior pooch. The clever design features two-way entry for easy access, top mesh window for more headroom and visibility, and soft fleece bedding on the bottom so they can cozily curl up to take a nap on the go. Claw-proof mesh, zipper buckles, and built-in leash tether make sure that your pet is safe and securely restrained so there’s no possibility of accidental break-out. The dimensions of the backpack are 11.4” by 12.6″ by 16.8″ so it is a good fit for small to medium-size dogs.
8. Best Sherpa Lined: PetAmi Premium Pet Carrier Backpack
The PetAmi Premium backpack for dogs is a perfect match for toy and small breeds. The backpack is spacious and comfy for a petite pooch, as it has a sturdy back and bottom lined with soft sherpa. The mesh ventilation gives your pooch a bit of a breeze and the ability to look around and enjoy the scenery. The two clasps that go over your chest and belly will help distribute the weight and lower the impact on your back, all the while increasing stability and safety of your pet. Finally, with 9 colors to choose from, you can rest assured that this pet backpack won’t stick out like a sore thumb.
9. Best Mesh: WOYYHO Pet Backpack Carrier
Made from durable and breathable mesh canvas, this cute and adaptable dog backpack carrier is a good choice for well-behaved pooches. The leash ring and safety mesh net do ensure your pooch is safe during walks, but a rowdy doggo will have no problem trying to break free out of this backpack. While this is a durable, cozy carrier, there’s no padding on the straps- so if you are planning on going on a long hike, you might want to consider if it will be comfy enough for you. WOYYHO pet backpack is suited for dogs under 10 pounds and can be carried front-facing or back facing.
10. Honorable Mention: SlowTon Pet Carrier Backpack
Comfy to wear and comfy to be carried in, this sturdy dog backpack carrier doesn’t just provide plenty of room for your pet but also has extra storage space for all the essentials you might need for your trip or the visit to the vet’s office. With one zippered pocket and one water bottle pocket, you can pack treats and refreshment, or even some of your pet’s favorite toys to make the travel easier on them. But even with all that weight on your back, you won’t feel any strain because this design features adjustable shoulder straps, and chest and belly belt that help distribute the weight equally. Measuring 13’’by 11.4’’ by 16.5’’, this backpack suits dogs up to 14” tall and weighing 15 lbs.
11. Best Premium: Kurgo K9 Rucksack Backpack for Dogs
Stylish and practical, the K9 Rucksack combines modern design with unparalleled function. In addition to carrying your pooch in it, you can also pack a laptop, a tablet, and various much-needed trinkets in many zipped organization pockets this backpack has. Whether it’s for having your pet with you on the daily commute or going on an adventure in nature, K9 Rucksack will have you covered. Made from durable and water-resistant materials, this backpack also features contoured and air-mesh padded straps for your comfort and a machine-washable interior pad for your pooch to rest on. K9 Rucksack is made to fit dogs that weigh up to 25 pounds.
12. Best for Walks: Adorrie Backpack
The Addorie Dog Backpack is a great choice for small dogs under 11 pounds. It is perfect for all kinds of outdoor activities and has a safe, multi-functional design that provides your pet a homey space in the great outdoors. Please make sure you measure your dog properly so you purchase the perfect sized bag for your pet! The dimensions of the backpack are: 13.8″ X 11.4″ X 15”. The backpack has an upper cover that provides extra safety to ensure that your dog doesn’t jump out at inopportune moments, and its adjustable drawstring makes it easier for you to interact with your pup while on the go. The backpack includes front pockets for you so you can keep a water bottle, toys or additional storage space. With your purchase you get a free gift of a poop bag holder and 15 poop bags, something every dog parent needs! There is a removable washable mat so that your pooch is supported through your adventures but the cleaning is easy for when you get home. Finally, what we adore about the Addorie backpack is the amount of mesh used in construction so you know that your pup is getting plenty of clean air and proper circulation.
13. Also Consider: Coppthinktu Dog Carrier Backpack
This cute and versatile dog carrier backpack can be worn two ways: as a back facing carrier and a front facing carrier. The straps can also be adjusted accordingly, crossed for added support when the pet is in the front and regular for backpack option. While robust and durable, this type of carrier is more suited for short distances rather than hikes in the great outdoors. If you have a senior or a pooch that sometimes needs to be carried on longer trails, this fun backpack carrier is a good choice. Coppthinktu dog backpack is designed for dogs that weigh between 5.5 and 26 pounds.
14. Best Basic: Pet Gear I-GO2 Roller Backpack
This is not just your “ordinary” backpack for dogs- it’s actually 5 products bundled up into one. In addition to a comfy, spacious backpack, the Pet Gear I-GO2 is also a carrier, car seat, roller bag, and a tote. How pawesome is that? This impressive backpack for dogs comes in 4 sizes and it’s suitable for dogs up to 25 pounds.
How long can a dog stay in a backpack?
Using a dog backpack as a carrier is convenient, but you shouldn’t go overboard. Provided that the backpack meets all the standards of comfort and safety, your pet shouldn’t spend more than 2 to 3 hours in it without a break. They will need to stretch their legs, go potty, or eat and drink before you put them back in the carrier- it’s important to meet all your pet’s needs even when you’re out and about.
How do you train a dog to sit in a backpack?
Not all dogs will get comfortable with the idea of being carried in a backpack from the get go- in fact, many dogs are hesitant at first. To train your dog to be carried in a backpack, you need to rely on positive reinforcement methods: use treats and praise to encourage your pooch to sit still in the backpack. Start by letting them get familiar with the backpack, sniff it and get into it before putting them on your back. Crate training can help speed up the process, too- it makes your pet comfortable when spending time in small spaces.
Are backpacks bad for dogs?
Dog backpacks are not inhumane per se, but if the dog is anxious in enclosed spaces or when picked up, using a backpack can cause them a lot of stress. For dogs that are trained and comfortable in carriers, when used properly, a backpack for dogs is completely safe and will be a pleasant experience- they get to be around you and right by your side on your next adventure.
We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.
A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.
More by Angela Vuckovic