Love big walks but have a puppy that can only manage strolls? Or maybe you have an old dog that just can’t keep up anymore? Sounds like you need a dog backpack carrier!
Dog carriers are a great way to make sure your four-legged friend can stay by your side when you’re out exploring the great outdoors. After all, it seems silly to leave them stuck indoors all day and then get back exhausted from a huge walk only to have to take them out for walkies.
Dog backpacks and carriers come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. One of the most common carrier styles you’ll come across is supported, box-like structures that allow your dog to remain seated while poking its head out for fresh air. The other kind is essentially a harness attached to your body and is much softer.
Each kind has its own pros and cons but, ultimately, it’ll come down to whatever’s comfiest for both you and your loved one.
As there are so many options currently on the market, we’ve put together this list of the best dog backpacks for hiking to help you find the one that’s right for you (and your furry friend!).
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First up on our list of the best dog carrier backpacks for hiking is the Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack.
Scared that your hound will mess up your new bag in an instant? Fear not, this bag features a water-resistant top and a waterproof bottom. Plus, we absolutely love that you can remove the interior pad and pop it in the washing machine – tidying up after your pup has never been so simple.
This sturdy backpack can hold dogs up to 25 lbs in weight and features a window that can either be wide open or covered with mesh to allow constant ventilation. Your dog will be held securely in place by the tether that attaches to its harness.
You’ll be nice and comfortable while carrying your load too thanks to the hip belt and sternum strap that help spread the weight of your pet evenly. Plus, the ventilated back panel will keep that cool air flowing even when you’re on uphill adventures.
But it doesn’t stop there – this bag is just full of features that we love. It’s airline and TSA friendly, it has heaps of storage options (including laptop and tablet sleeves), dual water bottle holders (one for you and one for your pet), a top handle carrier, compression straps… the list goes on – we’d honestly be tempted by this bag even if we didn’t have a pet!
Our major complaint is the price… it won’t be within everyone’s budget. Having said that, if you can afford it, this bag comes with the Kurgo lifetime replacement or repair service so you may never have to purchase another carrier bag again – definitely worth the investment!
One of the reasons we love the K9 Sport Sack Trainer so much is because it combines the softness of a dog sling with the security of a carrier backpack.
As the name suggests, this carrier works like a sack – the dog site in the middle with its head peeping out of the top. The side panels of the top are covered with mesh, making this a great carrier for summer hiking, and there are dual side pockets for other possessions too.
There’s a carabiner clip inside at the top that you can clip to your dog’s harness for added security (in case you have a wiggler!) and you can also tighten the side straps to hold your pooch in place.
Available in sizes XS-XXL you can be sure to find the bag that suits your dog – although bear in mind that the XS is the only size that doesn’t come with a lumbar support strap (we don’t want you to feel like you’re missing out!). As well as this lovely, supportive strap, the shoulder straps are moisture-wicking (basically, they repel water) to keep your shoulders sweat-free while you hike.
We do wish this bag had more storage options (a few pockets never hurt anyone) but overall, this is one great backpack at a very reasonable price.
If you’re looking for a backpack carrier for smaller dogs that won’t break the bank, you should definitely check out the Pawaboo Carrier Backpack.
Built for pups or small dogs weighing 5-15 lbs, this backpack has it all at a fraction of the price we’d expect to see. Unlike the other backpacks we’ve looked at so far, this design allows your pet to hang facing outwards and is great for stretching those little limbs (and wagging tails).
The elastic limb-holes are super soft and padded to make sure they don’t rub your pooch raw, and the overall mesh and polyester construction is lightweight, durable, and breathable. Once the limbs are through the holes, zip the main compartment closed and adjust the cross-back shoulder straps to get the perfect fit.
The sponge padding on the shoulders is nice and thick for carrying comfort, and the polyester will naturally repel water, although if it rains a lot there’s not much water protection for your dog overall.
It doesn’t offer any storage for your gear either, so we recommend reaming this up with a fanny pack or small side bag (or, even better, convince someone else to come with you can carry the rest of the gear).
If you want comfort for everyone involved plus great value for money, then this carrier really is a winner!
Love summer hikes but worry about your dog overheating? Fear not, the Lollimeow Pet Carrier Backpack is the perfect solution.
The all-mesh construction of this carrier offers an unprecedented amount of ventilation, which is perfect for hiking in hotter climates. It’s also great for inquisitive dogs that like to know what’s going on – they can curl up at the bottom of the bag and still peek through the (scratch-resistant) mesh.
The window at the top can be left open or zipped closed, and there’s a leash attachment point for peace of mind.
One of the things we like most about this carrier is the dual entry – take your pick from the large side door or the top window. Although this pack is available in just one size, it’s not designed to hold the dogs in one position, which gives them the freedom to move around a little.
The minimalistic approach of this bag does help to keep the weight down, but it means you’re left with just two zippered side pockets for storage. and we love the strap at the front that helps with weight distribution.
Overall, this is a great option for summer hikes calmer dogs that like to stretch but won’t go wild – oh, and it’s very affordable too.
Time for another legs-out option, but this time with a front-facing possibility, the Coppthinktu Carrier Backpack.
Designed for dogs up to 22 lbs in weight, this backpack offers great comfort for both the carrier and the carried. The canvas fabric is sturdy yet soft, and the mesh panel on the front allows the body of the dog to breathe, although it doesn’t offer any protection from bad weather.
It’s also one of the more secure carriers we’ve come across – there’s a safety hook connecting the collar to the bag plus two buttons on the mouth of the bag so dogs can’t escape over the top (don’t worry though, these buckles are adjustable so you won’t end up choking your pet). There’s also a hanging D-ring on the side for extra gear or even another dog.
The shoulder straps and back panel are heavily padded, although we wish there was a sternum strap or hip belt to help with the weight distribution. There’s aren’t any storage options either, so you’ll have to take an additional bag or fanny pack with you.
If you like the thought of carrying your dog on your front, this bag has been designed with that in mind. Plus, it’s nice and comfortable, there’s no chance of your pooch escaping, and it definitely won’t break the bank.
If you want a carrier that lets your dog take in the surroundings, but offers a bit of protection against bad weather, then we recommend the Petsfit Sturdy Backpack.
Your dog won’t feel trapped in this carrier thanks to the large front mesh window, dual mesh side windows, and a top peephole. This carrier does, however, offer some protection against wind and rain, unlike all-mesh backpacks.
We love that this backpack features two entry points – one at the bottom and one at the side – so your pet can find the one that suits them most. Our absolute favorite feature, however, is the fact that the entire carrier can be collapsed and folded entirely flat for ease of transport – perfect if the car is already crammed full of people and gear (plus it makes for easy storage when not in use).
As well as padding on the shoulder straps and back panel, this bag features chest and waist straps, making it one incredibly comfortable backpack. Although there aren’t many storage options, we’re glad to see that there are at least two side zip pockets for treats or valuables.
It certainly isn’t overpriced, but this backpack does cost more than some of the others we’ve looked at, although we think it’s definitely worth the extra pennies for all of its perks.
Bring a touch of luxury along with you on your next hike with the PetAmi Carrier Backpack.
Don’t blame us if your dog doesn’t want to get out of this backpack at the end of the day… with sherpa-lined bedding on the interior, who can blame it?! And you probably won’t mind giving it a few extra minutes to snooze either thanks to the elaborate padding and chest and waist straps for load distribution.
The polyester fabric and sturdy frame will stand up to the test of times as well as repel water and abrasions, although the roof is unsupported and can sag a little. Plus, we love the safety features that will stop your little one from escaping – there’s a clip to attach to your pet’s harness as well as three buckles to make sure no zips come undone.
The dual entrances on either side make putting your pet inside that bit easier, and both sides feature mesh panels for ventilation and exterior mesh storage pockets for poo bags, treats, or any other bits of gear.
On the front of the bag, there’s a zippered mesh window and an exterior zippered pocket for valuables. And if that wasn’t enough, this backpack comes with an included clip-on, foldable bowl, and a name tag on the front for easy identification – how sweet. Oh – it’s also available in a tonne of colors too.
The main issue we have with this bag is that, if you’re tall, the base of the pack is likely to push into your lumbar and get very uncomfortable with time, which is a massive shame because, otherwise, we love this bag!
And last but by no means least on our list of the best hiking dog backpacks is the CozyCabin Backpack.
As the name suggests, comfort is the name of the game with this pack. The mixture of padding, Oxford fabric, and the breathable mesh has resulted in one ultra-comfortable cocoon-like carrier.
The head hole at the front is lined with padding and can be adjusted using a pull cord to get the perfect fit. Oh, and you should be comfy too whether you use this as a front- or back-facing carrier thanks to the heavy padding on the shoulders and the cross strap that aids weight distribution.
There’s a safety buckle inside too to attach to your pet’s harness, and the base is fully waterproof and removable for ease of cleaning (although it’s not actually the comfiest, so if your pet’s a diva, throw in a blanket or cushion). We also like the small stash pocket at the front for your valuables, and there are dual mesh side pockets too (although they aren’t the tallest).
Overall, this is an affordable, comfortable carrier available in a range of colors and sizes and it’s very reasonably priced too.
Clearly, there’s a lot to consider when choosing which backpack carrier is right for you and your trusty companion. If you’re still struggling to pick one, we recommend weighing up the following factors:
In terms of your comfort, we definitely recommend a carrier with a chest and/or waist strap if you’ll be carrying heavier loads – it really can make all the difference. You want to make sure that there’s a decent amount of padding in the shoulder straps and also in the back panel so you don’t feel every wiggle in your spine.
In terms of the dog, if you’re going for a framed carrier, then make sure there’s enough padding around the head hole (a cushioned base is always nice for them too). With the harness-like packs, again make sure that the limb holes are nice and padded.
Whichever type you go for, make sure there’s enough ventilation so your pet doesn’t overheat in hot weather, but also be aware that they may need a blanket in colder conditions.
As a minimum, you want your carrier to clip onto your pet’s harness. Ideally, you also want buckles that stop the zips from undoing too, especially if you have a lively pooch. Avoid carriers with zero safety features.
Box-like carriers have the advantage of giving your pet the freedom to curl up at the bottom or peep its head out of the top hole. Alternatively, the harness-like carriers don’t give this freedom, but they do give your dog an added sense of security as they’re closer to you and are able to see without obstruction.
For anxious pets, we definitely recommend a front-facing harness-like carrier, as you’ll be able to comfort them with your hands if you need to.
Still struggling to decide which dog carrier is right for you? Here are our top three to see if we can help you make that tricky choice:
If you’re looking for a way to carry your pooch in comfort but you don’t want to break the bank, then we definitely recommend the Pawaboo Carrier Backpack.
This really is the perfect carrier for dogs that like to keep an eye on their surroundings. This harness-style carrier is durable, exceeding comfortable, and surprisingly affordable – what a winner!
All things considered, our best all-round carrier is the K9 Sport Sack Trainer. Its open-topped roof and mesh side panels allow for great ventilation, yet the design means you can keep any wrigglers nice and close (and comfort them if you need to!).
On top of that, the moisture repelling shoulder straps and lumbar support will make light work of the carrying itself (well, almost).
It’s available in a range of sizes so that no one’s left out, and we were pleasantly surprised by the price tag!
But which dog backpack is our absolute favorite? You probably guessed it… it’s the Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack.
This bag makes carrying heavy loads a breeze thanks to its great weight distribution and, unlike many carriers out there, there are loads of storage options for your gear.
It’s also TSA-friendly, features a machine washable base pad, and is constructed from high-end materials, plus it comes with an unlimited warranty too – there really is no reason why this bag shouldn’t last you a lifetime!