Last Updated: May 3, 2021

Best Dog Backpack Carrier For Hiking

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!

Our Top Picks

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!).

Top Product Overview

Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack for Small Dogs & Cats, G,Train Pet Backpack Carrier, Airline Approved, Cat Backpack, Small Dog Backpack for Hiking & Travel, Lightweight, Waterproof Bottom
  • Machine-washable, removable interior pad
  • Hip belt and sternum strap for great weight distribution
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K9 Sport Sack Trainer | Dog Carrier Dog Backpack for Pets (Large, Eclipse)
Best Allrounder
  • Side panels to increase ventilation
  • Lumbar support strap for carrying comfort
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Pawaboo Pet Carrier Backpack, Adjustable Pet Front Cat Dog Carrier Backpack Travel Bag, Legs Out, Easy-Fit for Traveling Hiking Camping for Small Medium Dogs Cats Puppies, Medium, Black
  • Extremely comfortable for owners and pets
  • Allows dogs to face outwards and stretch their limbs
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  • Great ventilation for summer hiking
  • Dual entrances
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Coppthinktu Dog Carrier Backpack - Legs Out Front-Facing Pet Carrier Backpack for Small Medium Large Dogs, Airline Approved Hands-Free Cat Travel Bag for Walking Hiking Bike and Motorcycle
  • Clip plus buckles for security
  • Heavily padded shoulder straps and back panel
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Petsfit Comfort Dogs Carriers/Backpack Hold Pets up to 15 lb
  • Fully collapsible for ease of transport and storage
  • Chest and waist straps aid weight distribution
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PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack for Small Cats and Dogs, Puppies | Ventilated Design, Two-Sided Entry, Safety Features and Cushion Back Support | for Travel, Hiking, Outdoor Use (Heather Gray)
  • Chest and waist straps aid weight distribution
  • Clip and three buckles to prevent escapes
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CozyCabin Latest Style Comfortable Dog Cat Pet Carrier Backpack Travel Carrier Bag Front for Small Dog Carrier Bike Hiking Outdoor (XL, Black)
  • Waterproof, removable base for easy cleaning
  • Suitable for front and back carrying
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Best Dog Backpack Carriers for Hiking


Top Pick

Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack

Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack for Small Dogs & Cats, G,Train Pet Backpack Carrier, Airline Approved, Cat Backpack, Small Dog Backpack for Hiking & Travel, Lightweight, Waterproof Bottom

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!

Pros

  • Machine-washable, removable interior pad
  • Hip belt and sternum strap for great weight distribution
  • Can carry loads of up to 25 lbs
  • Breathable, padded back panel
  • TSA and airline friendly
  • Lots of organizational features
  • Lifetime replacement/repair service included

Cons

  • Quite expensive

Product Information

  • Maximum weight: 25 lbs
  • Weight: N/A
  • Dimensions: 13 x 21 x 10 inches
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Best Allrounder

K9 Sport Sack Trainer

K9 Sport Sack Trainer | Dog Carrier Dog Backpack for Pets (Large, Eclipse)

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.

Pros

  • Side panels to increase ventilation
  • Lumbar support strap for carrying comfort
  • Interior carabiner and exterior cinch strap for security
  • Moisture-wicking shoulder straps to reduce sweat
  • Available in a range of sizes

Cons

  • Lacks storage options for gear

Product Information

  • Maximum weight: 30 lbs (all sizes)
  • Sizes available: XS-XXL
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Best Budget

Pawaboo Carrier Backpack

Pawaboo Pet Carrier Backpack, Adjustable Pet Front Cat Dog Carrier Backpack Travel Bag, Legs Out, Easy-Fit for Traveling Hiking Camping for Small Medium Dogs Cats Puppies, Medium, Black

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 light weight, 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!

Pros

  • Extremely comfortable for owners and pets
  • Allows dogs to face outwards and stretch their limbs
  • Constructed from durable materials
  • Very affordable
  • Adjustable cross-back straps for comfort and customized fit

Cons

  • Doesn't protect your dog from the elements
  • Lacks storage options for gear

Product Information

  • Recommended weight: 5-15 lbs
  • Material: Polyester fiber
  • Sizes available: S-XL
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Lollimeow Pet Carrier Backpack

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.

Pros

  • Great ventilation for summer hiking
  • Dual entrances
  • Scratch-resistant mesh for longevity
  • Rigid structure allows dogs to move around a little
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Just two zippered side pockets for storage
  • Only available in one size

Product Information

  • Maximum weight: 16 lbs
  • Dimensions: 15.2 x 11.4 x 16.5 inches
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Coppthinktu Carrier Backpack

Coppthinktu Dog Carrier Backpack - Legs Out Front-Facing Pet Carrier Backpack for Small Medium Large Dogs, Airline Approved Hands-Free Cat Travel Bag for Walking Hiking Bike and Motorcycle

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.

Pros

  • Clip plus buckles for security
  • Heavily padded shoulder straps and back panel
  • Mesh allows dog body to breathe
  • Designed to be front- and back-facing
  • Good weight capacity
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • No shoulder strap or sternum strap for weight distribution
  • Doesn't protect your dog from the elements
  • Lacks storage options for gear

Product Information

  • Maximum weight: 22 lbs
  • Material: Canvas shell and breathable mesh
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Petsfit Sturdy Backpack

Petsfit Comfort Dogs Carriers/Backpack Hold Pets up to 15 lb

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 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.

Pros

  • Fully collapsible for ease of transport and storage
  • Chest and waist straps aid weight distribution
  • Dual entry points
  • Padded should straps and back panel
  • Lots of windows but some weather protection

Cons

  • Just two zippered side pockets for storage
  • Slightly expensive

Product Information

  • Maximum weight: 15 lbs
  • Material: Oxford cloth
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PetAmi Carrier Backpack

PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack for Small Cats and Dogs, Puppies | Ventilated Design, Two-Sided Entry, Safety Features and Cushion Back Support | for Travel, Hiking, Outdoor Use (Heather Gray)

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!

Pros

  • Chest and waist straps aid weight distribution
  • Clip and three buckles to prevent escapes
  • Dual mesh side pockets and a front zippered pocket for storage
  • Great ventilation yet some weather protection
  • Durable material and lots of color choices

Cons

  • Roof can sag a little
  • Base pushes into the lower back of taller people

Product Information

  • Maximum eight: 18 lbs
  • Dimensions: 12.5 x 10.2 x 16.3 inches
  • Material: Polyester fabric, Sherpa-lined interior
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CozyCabin Backpack

CozyCabin Latest Style Comfortable Dog Cat Pet Carrier Backpack Travel Carrier Bag Front for Small Dog Carrier Bike Hiking Outdoor (XL, Black)

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 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.

Pros

  • Waterproof, removable base for easy cleaning
  • Suitable for front and back carrying
  • Dual mesh side pockets and a front zippered pocket for storage
  • Adjustable head hole
  • Cross-strap aids weight distribution

Cons

  • Base may require extra padding
  • Side pockets could be taller

Product Information

  • Recommended weight: 0-6.6 lbs (M); 6.6-8.8 lbs (L); 8.8-12 lbs (XL)
  • Material: Oxford fabric, mesh, and padding
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What To Look For In A Dog Backpack Carrier For Hiking

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:

Comfort

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.

Safety

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.

Style

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.

Our Top 3

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 the surroundings. This harness-style carrier is durable, exceeding comfortable, and surprisingly affordable – what a winner!

Pawaboo Pet Carrier Backpack, Adjustable Pet Front Cat Dog Carrier Backpack Travel Bag, Legs Out, Easy-Fit for Traveling Hiking Camping for Small Medium Dogs Cats Puppies, Medium, Black
16,523 Reviews
Pawaboo Pet Carrier Backpack, Adjustable Pet Front Cat Dog Carrier Backpack Travel Bag, Legs Out, Easy-Fit for Traveling Hiking Camping for Small Medium Dogs Cats Puppies, Medium, Black
  • 【Recommended for 5LB < Small Dog & Cat < 15LB 】: Pawaboo dog carrier backpack is designed for carrying small dogs/cats, we highly recommend for puppies less than to 15 LB (The larger dog may bring too much weight-bearing for the owner). Please DO measure your pets and choose according to the size chart (fig.2).
  • 【Considerate Detail-oriented Design】: Legs-out and tail-out design keep your pet safe and comfortable; Hook and loop, zipper and elastic openings allow you to fit your dog inside comfortably; Quick Release Buckles on the end of straps ensure quick installation with just one hand.

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!

K9 Sport Sack Trainer | Dog Carrier Dog Backpack for Pets (Large, Eclipse)
487 Reviews
K9 Sport Sack Trainer | Dog Carrier Dog Backpack for Pets (Large, Eclipse)
  • The K9 SPORT SACK TRAINER LARGE is designed for dog breeds that weights 30 lbs and less. The K9 Trainer - Large will fit dogs with the length of 20-23 inches and have a girth up to 31 inches. Typical dog breeds that will fit this size backpack include Beagle, Corgi, French Bulldog, Mini Golden Doodle and Sheltie. Use it as a dog travel bag for hiking, bikes, subways, shopping, motorcycles, skiing, dancing..heck the possibilities are endless!
  • TRAINER BACKPACK: Do you hate seeing big, sad puppy dogs eyes as you walk out the door for an adventure, leaving your best friend behind? Our trainer dog sports backpack are ideal for owners who want to take their pups with them, but are looking for an economical solution. Our backpack carrier are great for dogs who suffer from anxiety, depression, or have a physical disability. Our pet backpack are also great for older dogs or puppys that may not have the stamina for your next big adventure.

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!

Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack for Small Dogs & Cats, G,Train Pet Backpack Carrier, Airline Approved, Cat Backpack, Small Dog Backpack for Hiking & Travel, Lightweight, Waterproof Bottom
1,136 Reviews
Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack for Small Dogs & Cats, G,Train Pet Backpack Carrier, Airline Approved, Cat Backpack, Small Dog Backpack for Hiking & Travel, Lightweight, Waterproof Bottom
  • Hands Free Pet Backpack Carrier - Small dog hiking backpack is made for pets up to 25 Pounds who enjoy the outdoors interior Swivel tether latches onto harness to keep pet secure dog travel backpack is airline and TSA approved. Always check with your airline dimensions are 13" W x 21" H x 10" D.
  • Waterproof Bottom - Carrier backpack has a water-resistant fabric top with a water proof armorsole bottom front facing dog backpack is stain resistant and easy to wipe clean removable, machine-washable interior pad