If you love hiking or camping together with your four-legged friend, letting him carry a dog backpack containing some of his important belongings could help ease up your load. Dog backpacks are actually a thing these days. Plus, it also provides him with a great form of exercise along with other significant benefits.

Hence, if you’re convinced to buy a backpack for your canine friend, we have prepared a short guide along with reviews of the best dog backpacks on the market to help you with your buying decision.

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How to Choose the Best Dog Backpack

As dog lovers, we all know that they have different characteristics, both physical and psychological. As such, it’s essential to choose the right backpack for your pooch by following these considerations:

Check if it’s vet-approved

Your primary reason for letting your dog carry a backpack might be to promote health and fitness. However, it’s best to consult your dog’s vet first. Inquire about the best type of backpack your dog should carry depending on his weight or breed.

The rule of thumb is that dogs should only carry something that is 10 to 12 percent of their overall weight. Too much load can cause serious physical damage to your dog, especially if he’s not fully grown yet or is already aging.

Check its adjustability

Various shapes and sizes are designed for different dog breeds. However, the better ones are those with adjustable straps as they can easily fit on any dog regardless of his size. To get the most perfect fit possible, it’s best to measure your dog’s exact girth.

With adjustable straps, the backpack won’t fall off or get loose from the back of your dog. You also have to be careful that the straps won’t strain your dog’s neck. Moreover, a backpack that perfectly fits on his body will provide him with the comfort he needs while hiking.

Check how much load the backpack can support

In general, a dog backpack should only carry lightweight hiking essentials such as water bottles and packs of food. Putting too much load that exceeds the limit of a backpack can damage it over time, and it may even cause discomfort on your dog.

You should also check if the backpack can distribute the load equally on both sides. Too much load on one side of the backpack can make it harder for your dog to carry it.

Introducing Your Dog to His New Backpack

It’s also important to learn how you can familiarize your dog with his new backpack. Some dogs react negatively when putting on their backpack for the first time. It’s actually normal. The good thing is that dogs are highly trainable, and training them to carry their new backpack should not be a long-term problem. Here are a few tips to help them get used to their backpack faster:

Do some walking sessions with your dog

When putting on a backpack on your dog for the first time, the first step is to take him to a walk outside. Since it’s his first time wearing it, make sure not to put on any load yet. Allow him some time to get used to it first without any strain.

Increase the load slightly for every walking session

After several walking sessions with an empty backpack, it’s time to let your dog carry some weight in it. For every session, just add a little load inside the pack, and then a little bit more on the next session, and so on until the pack reaches its limits. Don’t rush your dog to carry heavier loads immediately as this could only intimidate, even scare, him. Give his body time to adjust.

Associate pleasure with the training sessions

You can also include activities that your dog loves during training sessions such as fetch and ball catching. Let your dog think that he’s just playing rather than training. After every successful session, reward him with his favorite treats for some positive reinforcement.

10 Best Dog Backpacks

Outward Hound Daypak

Outward Hound Daypak

Offers Maximum Visibility with Its Reflective Piping

The Outward Hound Daypak makes sure your dog stays close within your sight due to its reflective piping and bright coloring for maximum visibility. Regardless of the size of your dog, this dog backpack sure is a perfect fit due to its adjustable straps.

In addition, it has expandable pockets to store your valuable belongings such as car keys, identification cards, and cellphones. It also has a breathable mesh to let airflow pass by your dog’s skin and keep him cool. Both sides of this backpack have pockets to enable weight distribution so your dog won’t struggle carrying it.

Why We Like It:
  • Its bright colors help you keep a watchful eye on your dog at all times.
  • It comes with breathable mesh that prevents potential skin irritations.
  • It evenly distributes weight on both sides.
What We Don’t Like:
  • It has no warranty or money-back guarantee.

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Ruffwear Approach Dog Backpack

Ruffwear Approach Dog Backpack

The Backpack Made for Long Adventures

The Ruffwear Approach dog backpack is specially made for long adventures. Both of its sides are equipped with a saddle bag to allow your dog to carry the load in a stable and comfortable manner. All of its straps are adjustable to perfectly fit around his body, offering a full range of motion alongside customizable adjustments.

It also features several pockets and gear loops to stash away the necessities of your adventure. Just like the Outward Hound Daypak, the Ruffwear Approach also has a feature to help you keep an eye on your dog. It has a reflective trim exterior so that you can easily spot your dog in case he wanders off too far away. It also has a built-in light loop for Ruffwear’s beacon light although this light is sold separately.

Why We Like It:
  • The reflective trims could come in handy in case your dog wanders too far from you.
  • The straps can be adjusted accordingly to your dog’s size.
  • It allows you to equally balance the load your dog will carry, thanks to its saddlebags.
What We Don’t Like:
  • It’s quite expensive considering it has almost the same qualities as the Outward Hound Daypak.
  • The built-in light loop is basically useless without the Ruffwear Beacon Light which is sold separately.

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One Tigris Dog Pack

One Tigris Dog Pack

Ideal for Running and Camping Activities

The One Tigris backpack is a multi-functional product suitable for various activities such as camping, hiking, long trail walks, long jogs, runs, and any other vigorous trips. In other words, it’s specially built for the rough outdoors.

The underside is padded with thick layers for topnotch durability, and it’s completely water-resistant which could be beneficial in case you and your dog will be passing by streams, rivers, and falls. Both of its sides has zipper compartments where you can store several necessities such as a first aid kit, food packs, flashlights, poop bags for your dog, and many more.

Its straps can be adjusted to perfectly fit on your dog’s back, belly, and chest. Even if your dog is running at full speed, the backpack will never fall off thanks to the straps’ secure lock.

Why We Like It:
  • Its durable construction allows it to withstand rough outdoors.
  • It comes with all the right features to give your dog comfort and ease when carrying it.
  • Very affordable and features many great qualities
What We Don’t Like:
  • The colors are quite dark, making it quite hard to keep an eye on your dog in case he wanders far away from you.

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Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack

Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack

The Perfect Backpack for Light Trips

The Mountainsmtih K-9 is ideal for light trips such as simple hiking and walking. It’s built with a sternum pad for added protection and durability. It has an adjustable dog harness which comes with 4-points, allowing you to customize it to perfectly fit on your dog’s chest and back; the same goes for its single belly strap.

Both sides have zippered pannier pockets to securely store the belongings. Moreover, it also has a single haul handle in case you need to carry this dog backpack on your own.

Why We Like It:
  • The colors are bright enough to help you spot your dog.
  • All of its straps are easily adjustable.
  • Padded with sternum paddings for protection against any bumps and abrasions.
What We Don’t Like:
  • No warranty offered in case of accidental damages and certain defects

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Ruffwear Palisades Dog Backpack

Ruffwear Palisades Dog Backpack

A Feature-Packed Option

The second Ruffwear entry on this list has all the features you’ll need in any type of outdoor activity. This backpack is equipped with two spacious removable saddlebags, dog leash attachment, padded handle, hydration bottles, four attachment point harness, and a reflective trim exterior.

The saddlebags have a load compression system to secure the load while your dog is walking or running. The saddlebags are very spacious, allowing you to load as many belongings as you want as long as your dog can carry them. It also sports a V-ring aluminum secure leash attachment if you want to keep your dog close using a leash.

Similar to the Ruffwear Approach, the Palisades’ reflective trim exterior helps you spot your dog from a distance even during nighttime. In addition, it also comes with two BPA-free hydration bottles to help keep your dog hydrated during your hikes and runs.

Why We Like It:
  • The load compression system is very beneficial to help secure the load inside the saddlebags
  • The leash attachment and padded handle could come in handy
  • Its reflective trim exterior is very helpful when it comes to keeping a watchful eye on your dog.
What We Don’t Like:
  • Mainly due to several features, most notably the saddlebags and hydration bottle inclusion, this dog backpack is inevitably expensive

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Outward Hound Crest Stone Explore Dog Backpack

Outward Hound Crest Stone Explore Dog Backpack

Lightweight and Simple Yet Highly Efficient

Another quality product from Outward Hound, the Crest Stone Explore has two secure and spacious pockets with compression webbing to evenly distribute weight on both sides. Its belly strap is adjustable to perfectly fit around your dog’s body.

This backpack is ideal for smaller dogs, especially for young ones who have just recently started carrying loads. Moreover, its light green color can help you spot your dog even during the dark.

Why We Like It:
  • The compression webbing is proven to be useful when balancing the load to help your dog comfortably carry it
  • Comes with a D-ring attachment for a leash
  • Very affordable
What We Don’t Like:
  • Unfortunately, it won’t last long compared to other bags

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Kurgo Baxter Dog Backpack

Kurgo Baxter Dog Backpack

A Good Mixture of Comfort and Security

The Kurgo Baxter dog backpack is equipped with two spacious saddlebags which both have large zippered pockets to stash in small belongings. Aside from that, it also has a reflective trim and padded handle.

It could also act as a harness thanks to its mounted leash hook. This allows you to keep your dog from wandering off. Finally, it’s the first entry on this list to offer a lifetime warranty. However, it falls short of a money-back guarantee.

Why We Like It:
  • Complete with features to help your dog carry your belongings with ease
  • The mounted leash hook is a great inclusion to prevent your dog from wearing dog collars to connect to the leash
  • It offers the much-needed lifetime warranty
What We Don’t Like:
  • The straps are not so adjustable compared to the previous entries on this list

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Pawaboo Dog Backpack

Pawaboo Dog Backpack

A Budget-Friendly Outdoor Backpack Alternative

The Pawaboo dog backpack is perfect for dogs weighing around 30 to 60 pounds. Its two spacious saddlebags have expandable pockets where you can store a bulk of your load. The straps are highly adjustable to perfectly fit your dog’s girth and neck circumference.

Your dog will also have a comfortable feeling wearing this backpack, thanks to its 600D Oxford and breathable harness. This backpack is perfect for any outdoor activity, including shopping for groceries in the market and walking on the sidewalks.

Why We Like It:
  • Its pockets and saddlebags provide a decent amount of space
  • The straps have topnotch adjustability
  • Available at a very affordable price
What We Don’t Like:
  • It doesn’t have a reflective trim unlike most of the entries on this list

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Pettom Dog Saddle Backpack

Pettom Dog Saddle Backpack

Highly Durable and Long-lasting

The Pettom saddle backpack is ideal for a back-country trip that’ll last for several days. This is made possible by its night reflecting protection, load compression system, water-resistant material, and sponge padding. All of its straps are highly adjustable to perfectly fit the girth of your dog’s belly and neck.

It’s made of a scratch and abrasion-resistant material, making it one of the most durable entries on this list. Your dog won’t even feel the slightest discomfort, thanks to its breathable mesh that allows airflow.

Why We Like It:
  • Complete with necessary features for a multi-day outdoor trip
  • Highly durable and long lasting
  • Resistant against abrasion and scratches
What We Don’t Like:
  • No warranty and money-back guarantee

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Lifeunion Adjustable Service Dog Supply Backpack

Lifeunion Adjustable Service Dog Supply Backpack

Topnotch and Highly Recent Option

The Lifeunion Adjustable Service Pack offers topnotch durability at a really affordable price. It’s made of 600D double polyester which also makes it water-resistant. Both of its saddlebags allow you to store all the travel essentials of your dog.

It also has a rubber handle in case you’ll be carrying it yourself, along with a D-shaped metal leash attachment to control your dog more efficiently and keep him close at all times. Most importantly, its straps have high adjustability for a customized fit.

Why We Like It:
  • Can last for a long period of time
  • Designed to provide your dog comfort while carrying it
  • Available at a very affordable price
What We Don’t Like:
  • It doesn’t have a reflective trim compared to the other products in this list

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Conclusion

Looking for the best dog backpack is not as hard as you might think. In general, you just have to look for the one that is best for your dog, as you would with other outdoor dog products like dog boots, collars, and more. Moreover, we recommend that you check out the products that we have gathered.