The Best Dog Backpacks

If you frequently take your dog on day-long excursions, you don’t have to carry all his supplies in addition to your own. Instead, get your dog a backpack and let him help you out! With a backpack, your canine companion can carry his own water, food, treats, and other necessities when you’re out and about for the day. If you have a hyperactive dog, using a weighted dog backpack can also help calm him down and give him a better workout every time you go for a walk.

We reviewed dozens of dog backpacks to identify the best of the best. Durability, comfort, and adjustability were some of the most important factors we took into consideration. We also looked at whether each backpack could be converted into a dog harness. We narrowed our search down to 5 of the best dog backpacks on the market today.

Top pick
Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack

The Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack is the best backpack you can buy for small, medium, and large dogs.

Our favorite dog backpack that we looked at was the Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack. Made of durable nylon, this all-purpose backpack has a vet-approved ergonomic design. It’s lined with breathable mesh for a comfortable fit, and the single adjustable belly strap makes it easy to put this backpack on your dog. This backpack is available in sizes small, medium, and large, making it a good choice for a wide variety of dog breeds.

The 5 Top-Rated Dog Backpacks for 2018

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best OverallMountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack4.5
Runner UpOneTigris Dog Pack4.1
Best Budget BuyOutward Hound Daypak Dog Backpack4.0
Best Dog Backpack HarnessService Dog Harness with Detachable Backpack4.4
Best Dog Hiking BackpackRuffwear Approach Full-Day Hiking Pack for Dogs
4.7

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Our Top Pick: Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack

If you’re looking for a great all-purpose dog backpack, the Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack is one of the best options out there. This backpack is equally great for routine walks and for long days out on the trail. Made of 210D ripstop nylon, this pack is both durable and lightweight. It’s lined with mesh panels to keep your dog cool and comfortable, even on warm days. Two roomy zippered pouches provide plenty of space for everything your pup needs while out and about.

The Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack comes in small, medium, and large sizes. The small size fits dogs from 25 to 45 pounds, the medium is best for dogs 40 to 80 pounds, and the large is designed to fit dogs from 75 to 120 pounds. The adjustable chest harness, back harness, and belly strap let you customize the backpack’s fit for your dog.

This backpack comes with a metal D-ring attachment that you can clip your dog’s leash to. It comes in red and blue. Both color options have reflective trim for nighttime safety.

Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack Key Features:

  • Three sizes fit dogs 25 to 120+ pounds
  • Adjustable harness
  • Ergonomic design
  • Breathable mesh lining
  • Two zippered saddlebag-style pockets
  • Top handle for control
  • Metal attachment for leash

Our Runner Up Pick: OneTigris Dog Pack

Runner up
OneTigris Dog Pack

Take your dog’s necessities anywhere with the OneTigris Dog Pack.

$35.98 USD

Affordable yet high-quality, the OneTigris Dog Pack was our second-favorite pick of all the dog backpacks we looked at. This pack has two large side pockets that can fit plenty of necessities for your dog, plus a top zippered pocket that can hold small items like keys. The backpack also has a convenient clear top panel that fits an ID card.

Each of the saddlebags on this backpack has a long Velcro strip on it that’s perfect for attaching any patches you might want or need to use. For instance, hiking enthusiasts might want to add reflective patches to the pack for additional safety in the woods. If you have a service dog, it’s a good idea to add patches that tell people not to pet your dog. (Patches don’t come included with the backpack, so look for them separately if you want to use them.)

The OneTigris Dog Pack is best for medium to large dogs. According to the size chart, dogs weighing 55 to 100 pounds can use this adjustable backpack.

OneTigris Dog Pack Key Features:

  • One size fits dogs weighing 55 to 100 pounds
  • Two adjustable belly straps
  • Two saddlebag-style pockets with hook-and-loop closures
  • Saddlebag pouches measure 10″ X 1.8″ X 7″
  • Small top zippered pocket
  • Clear top panel for ID
  • Velcro side panels for attaching optional patches
  • Durable, water-resistant nylon material
  • Padded underside

Best Budget Pick: Outward Hound Daypak Dog Backpack

Budget pick
Outward Hound Daypak Dog Backpack

Budget-minded dog owners will love both the price and the functionality of this backpack.

$16.89 USD

With more than 1000 reviews on Amazon, the Outward Hound Daypak Dog Backpack is a very popular choice among dog parents, and it’s easy to see why. This is a great basic pack that costs half as much as some of its more expensive counterparts. If you don’t need a dog backpack that has a lot of added bells and whistles, or if you’re looking for a starter backpack just to get your dog used to wearing one, this pack is a solid choice.

Each of the saddlebags on this backpack has a larger zippered compartment and a smaller outer pocket. The zippered compartments are each big enough to hold a 20-ounce water bottle or something of comparable size. The pockets expand, which keeps the backpack compact if it’s not full of cargo.

This backpack comes in three different sizes and is fully adjustable, so it’s easy to get a comfortable fit for your dog. It comes in blue and green. Both color options include reflective trim for better visibility.

Outward Hound Daypak Dog Backpack Key Features:

  • Three sizes fit dogs with chest girth from 11″ to 32″
  • Two zippered compartments
  • Two outer pockets on saddlebags
  • Lined with breathable mesh
  • Adjustable straps
  • Reflective accents
  • Top handle
  • Metal attachment for leash
  • Blue and green color options available

Best Dog Backpack Harness: Service Dog Harness with Detachable Backpack

Best harness
Service Dog Harness with Detachable Backpack

This dog backpack can be used as a harness — just remove the detachable saddlebags.

$29.95 USD

Why own two pieces of equipment when you can accomplish the same thing with one? If your dog regularly wears a harness, this Service Dog Harness with Detachable Backpack gives you options. It functions as a regular harness by default. If you need to carry some extra supplies for the day, just attach the two removable saddlebags to the sides of the harness.

This harness/backpack duo is designed with service dogs in mind. Each side of the pack has a panel where you can attach patches to let the public know not to pet your dog. You can change out these patches as you need to, making this harness extra convenient — no need to purchase different harnesses to use while your dog is on and off duty.

Even if you don’t have a service dog, this backpack is a great choice if you’re looking for a high-quality harness with optional storage space. The top handle lets you grab your dog securely if you need to, and the D-ring attachment gives you a sturdy place to clip your dog’s leash. This harness is made to be worn for extended periods of time, so it’s lined with mesh for ventilation. Five size options make it simple to find the best fit for your dog.

Service Dog Harness with Detachable Backpack Key Features:

  • Five sizes fit dogs with chest girth from 14.5″ to 43″
  • Two saddlebags can be attached and removed from the harness as needed
  • Durable nylon material
  • Saddlebags measure 6″ X 3″ X 6″
  • Harness and saddlebags have panels for attaching service dog patches (sold separately)
  • Adjustable belly buckle
  • Sturdy handle
  • Metal D-ring for leash
  • Lined with mesh for all-day comfort

Best Dog Hiking Backpack: Ruffwear Approach Full-Day Hiking Pack for Dogs

Best for hiking
Ruffwear Approach Full-Day Hiking Pack for Dogs

Take your dog out for a day on the trails with this sturdy hiking pack.

$79.95 USD

Dedicated hikers – human and canine ones alike – need equipment that holds up well to wear and tear. The Ruffwear Approach Full-Day Hiking Pack for Dogs fits the bill perfectly. This dog backpack is as comfortable as it is durable, making it a good choice for all kinds of outdoor adventures. It’s lightweight enough that your dog won’t mind wearing it on the trail all day. The saddlebags’ generous capacity – 5 liters for the smallest size, 12 liters for the largest – gives you enough room to pack supplies for a full day on the trail, or even for a multi-day camping trip.

If you know your dog is going to wear his backpack for extended periods of time, finding a comfortable option that fits correctly should be your top priority. This pack comes in sizes extra-small through medium, making it a good choice for dogs with a chest girth between 17 and 32 inches. The padded straps adjust to fit your dog snugly and keep the pack from sliding around. This backpack is designed to distribute weight evenly so your dog will be able to easily carry his cargo all day.

Ruffwear Approach Full-Day Hiking Pack for Dogs Key Features:

  • Three sizes fit dogs with chest girth between 17″ and 32″
  • Comfortable, weight-forward design
  • Extra-large saddlebags with up to a 12-liter capacity
  • Padded, adjustable straps to prevent chafing
  • Sturdy top handle
  • V-ring attachment for leash
  • 5 adjustment points for perfect fit
  • Reflective trim

Who Should Buy a Dog Backpack

Do you like to bring your best canine friend with you on your hiking or camping trips? If so, a dog backpack might be the smartest purchase you make all year. A backpack allows your dog to carry his own food, water, waste bags, and anything else that might come in handy while you’re out. You won’t have to haul your dog’s things in your own backpack anymore, and your dog will most likely enjoy having his own job to do.

Dog backpacks are also a good option for especially active, energetic dogs. If your dog never seems to get tired out, no matter how much exercise he gets, using a weighted backpack can help him get a better workout without spending more time on your everyday walks. Some energetic dogs also calm down when they are given something to carry.

Top pick
Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack

The Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack is the best backpack you can buy for small, medium, and large dogs.

Important Features to Consider

There are plenty of good dog backpacks on the market, but not all of them are designed to do exactly the same things. Fit, carrying capacity, and durability are all important factors to take into account as you weigh your options. Here are a few key features you should look for as you pick out a backpack for your dog.

  • Fit. Will the backpack fit your dog correctly? Take your dog’s measurements and check sizing charts before you make a purchase. A backpack that’s the wrong size can chafe or slip off your dog sideways. Look for a pack with adjustable straps so you can customize the fit.
  • Carrying capacity. How much cargo do you want your dog to be able to carry? If you’re searching for a daypack for city excursions, a smaller pack will probably meet your needs. Larger backpacks are better suited for activities like camping. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t give your dog too much weight to carry, regardless of the size of the backpack you choose.
  • Breathability. If your dog will be wearing his backpack in hot weather, look for a pack that’s lined with mesh. This allows air to circulate close to your dog’s body, keeping him cool.
  • Padding. Padding on a backpack’s harness and straps can help reduce chafing and keep your dog comfortable.
  • Visibility. Reflective patches or trim make it easier to see your dog in dim lighting. A brightly-colored bag can also keep your dog safer in the woods and make it easier to find him in the unlikely event that he should get lost.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a dog backpack?

A dog backpack is exactly what it sounds like – a backpack designed for dogs. Most dog backpacks have two saddlebag-style pouches that rest on either side of the dog’s back. Your dog can carry his own supplies in his backpack, which lightens the load you have to carry when you go out with your pup.

How much weight can a dog carry in a dog backpack?

The amount of weight a dog can carry in a backpack depends on the size of the dog. Naturally, larger breeds can carry more. A good rule of thumb is that your dog should bear no more than 25% of his body weight in a backpack. For instance, a 40-pound dog can safely carry up to 10 pounds. If your dog isn’t used to carrying things in a backpack, start small and let your dog build up his strength before you give him anything too heavy. In addition, make sure to distribute weight evenly between both sides of your dog’s backpack.

Are dog backpacks safe for all dogs?

No. Dog backpacks are only suitable for younger adult dogs in good health. If your dog is a puppy, his skeleton is still developing, and he shouldn’t carry any substantial weight (although it’s probably okay for him to wear a small, light backpack occasionally). For a senior dog, carrying a backpack can be tiring, and the weight of the pack might put too much stress on his joints. Likewise, if your dog has arthritis or another health condition, he shouldn’t wear a backpack.

How do I measure my dog for a dog backpack?

Most dog backpacks are sized by girth. Some also use weight and length. To find your dog’s girth, measure the circumference of his rib cage at the widest point, right behind his front legs. To find his length, measure from the nape of his neck to the base of his tail.

Weighing a dog can be tricky. If you’re able to pick your dog up, you can use a standard bathroom scale to estimate his weight. Just step on the scale while holding your dog, and subtract your own weight from the total. If your dog is too big to lift, you can have him weighed at the veterinarian’s office.

Other Dog Backpacks We Reviewed

Top pick
Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack

The Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack is the best backpack you can buy for small, medium, and large dogs.

We looked at 20 other dog backpacks. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best dog backpacks list, they’re still the best of the rest, and one of them might be the perfect option for your pup. The information you’ll need to compare each backpack is included in the listing.

Small Dog Backpacks

BUYITNOW Cute Pet Backpack for Small Dogs

BUYITNOW Cute Pet Backpack for Small Dogs

This adorable bear-shaped backpack is the perfect way for your small dog to carry his own treats and other items while out and about.

Key Features:

  • Two sizes fit dogs weighing 5.5 to 16.5 pounds
  • Carrying capacity of up to 2 kg
  • Adjustable straps
  • Single zippered pouch
  • D-ring attachment for leash
  • Hand washable

Cost: $17

SarahTom 9-Inch Pet Backpack for Dogs

SarahTom 9-Inch Pet Backpack for Dogs

This cute, functional pack has two zippered compartments, a mesh pocket, and a water bottle holder. The harness is made of light, breathable mesh.

Key Features:

  • Fits dogs weighing up to 40 pounds
  • Adjustable belly strap
  • Single pack with two zippered inner pockets
  • Outer mesh pocket
  • Soft mesh harness
  • Metal ring for leash

Cost: $19

Stock Show Dog Cartoon Backpack with Leash

Stock Show Dog Cartoon Backpack with Leash

Choose from a number of charming animal designs for this small backpack. The soft velour and nylon material is lightweight and hand washable.

Key Features:

  • Two sizes fit dogs weighing from 5.5 pounds to 16.5 pounds
  • Multiple designs and colors to choose from
  • Zippered pouch
  • Metal attachment for leash
  • Matching leash included with backpack

Cost: $15

Large Dog Backpacks

2PET Dog Backpack for Hiking

2PET Dog Backpack for Hiking

This backpack features a one-click harness that makes it easy to put on an active dog. The saddlebags are detachable from the harness.

Key Features:

  • Fits dogs with girth of up to 37″ and neck circumference between 16″ and 28″
  • Detachable saddlebags
  • One-click adjustable harness
  • Elastic bands for water bottles
  • No attachment for leash

Cost: $27

BONAWEN Dog Backpack for Hiking and Camping

BONAWEN Dog Backpack for Hiking and Camping

This heavy-duty backpack is made with large dogs in mind. The large size fits dogs 78 to 100 pounds, while the XL fits dogs weighing more than 100 pounds.

Key Features:

  • Two sizes fit dogs weighing 78-100+ pounds
  • 600D oxford cloth
  • Two roomy zippered pockets
  • Padded handle
  • Water-resistant
  • D-ring for leash
  • Matching leash sold separately

Cost: $33

EJG Training Vest for Medium and Large Dogs

EJG Training Vest for Medium and Large Dogs

Convert this military-style harness into a dog backpack by attaching the three included pouches. The pack comes with a collapsible dog bowl, a folding spoon, and a patch.

Key Features:

  • Three sizes fit dogs with girth between 16.5″ and 40.3″
  • Padded collar
  • Mesh lining for breathability
  • Molle system design
  • Three detachable pouches
  • Two harness handles
  • Waterproof
  • Includes collapsible bowl, folding spoon, patch

Cost: $57

Dog Backpack Harnesses

Go Fresh 2-in-1 Dog Harness and Backpack

Go Fresh 2-in-1 Dog Harness and Backpack

This harness with snap-on saddlebags is a great all-purpose choice for small, medium-sized, and large dogs.

Key Features:

  • Three sizes fit dogs 25 to 75+ pounds
  • Lightweight ripstop polyester material
  • Two removable saddlebags
  • Two sectioned zippered compartments
  • Inner water bottle pocket
  • D-ring for leash
  • Yellow reflective trim

Cost: $20

OSPet Saddle Bag Backpack for Large Dogs

OSPet Saddle Bag Backpack for Large Dogs

Two detachable saddlebags make this dog backpack equally useful for running errands in town and heading out for a weekend of camping.

Key Features:

  • Three sizes fit dogs with girth between 20″ and 40″
  • Oxford material and mesh
  • Two zippered storage pouches
  • Saddlebags attach to harness with buckles
  • Adjustable straps
  • Reflective trim
  • Rubber handle
  • D-ring for leash

Cost: $26

Petvins Tactical Dog Vest with Detachable Pockets

Petvins Tactical Dog Vest with Detachable Pockets

This Molle-system harness comes with a tool pouch, a first-aid pouch, and a waist bag.

Key Features:

  • Three sizes fit dogs with girth between 18″ and 39″
  • 1000D nylon material
  • Mesh lining for breathability
  • Molle system design
  • Three detachable pouches
  • Hook-and-loop panels for attaching patches (not included)
  • Two metal leash attachments

Cost: $40

Dog Hiking Backpacks

Cesar Millan Dog Backpack

Cesar Millan Dog Backpack

Designed by dog behaviorist Cesar Millan, this backpack features padded elastic straps for extra comfort.

Key Features:

  • Three sizes fit dogs between 20 and 120 pounds
  • Two zippered saddlebags
  • Harness straps have elasticity for comfort
  • Breathable mesh lining
  • Water-repellent
  • Sturdy top handle
  • No metal attachment for leash

Cost: $50

Doggles Dog Extreme Backpack

Doggles Dog Extreme Backpack

This dog backpack is made to last through years of active excursions. It’s waterproof, sturdy, and comfortable for your pup to wear.

Key Features:

  • Five sizes fit dogs with girth between 12″ and 50″
  • Waterproof material
  • Heavily stitched for durability
  • Two saddlebag-style pockets
  • Reflective piping
  • Top handle
  • D-ring for leash

Cost: $22

GrayCell Dog Pack

GrayCell Dog Pack

This hiking pack is available in several high-visibility colors. It comes with a collapsible silicone bowl.

Key Features:

  • Two sizes fit dogs between 36 and 100 pounds
  • 600D oxford material with mesh lining
  • Two zippered saddlebags
  • Adjustable straps
  • Reflective accents
  • Rubber handle
  • Metal D-ring for leash
  • Comes in red, green, orange, and blue
  • Collapsible bowl included

Cost: $30

Kurgo Dog Backpack for Hiking, Walking, or Camping

Kurgo Dog Backpack for Hiking, Walking, or Camping

Looking for a dog backpack that won’t slip or slide around? The harness of this pack has eight adjustment points, so finding the right fit for your dog is easy.

Key Features:

  • Two sizes fit dogs from 30 to 110 pounds
  • Saddlebags are adjustable for your dog’s comfort
  • Designed to distribute weight evenly
  • Padded chest
  • Mesh lining
  • Rear-mounted leash hook doubles as a bottle opener
  • Several color options

Cost: $45

Lifeunion Adjustable Supply Backpack

Lifeunion Adjustable Supply Backpack

This backpack is a solid all-around choice for dogs of all sizes. It’s functional enough to serve as a hiking pack, but it also makes a great city daypack or service dog backpack.

Key Features:

  • Three sizes fit dogs with girth between 13.4″ and 39″
  • 600D polyester material
  • Waterproof
  • Mesh lining
  • Fully adjustable
  • Sturdy buckles
  • Two zippered saddlebags
  • Rubber handle
  • D-ring leash attachment

Cost: $23 to $30, depending on size

Mode Style Dog Hiking Pack

Mode Style Dog Hiking Pack

With five adjustment points, plenty of padding, and roomy saddlebag pockets, this dog backpack is both functional and comfortable on the trail.

Key Features:

  • Three sizes fit dogs from 15 to 100 pounds
  • Harness adjusts at five points for the perfect fit
  • Two saddlebag-style zippered pockets
  • Top handle
  • Metal attachment for leash
  • Reflective strips for visibility
  • Quick-release buckles
  • Padded for comfort

Cost: $17

MY PET Adjustable Saddlebag Backpack for Dogs

MY PET Adjustable Saddlebag Backpack for D0gs

Use this backpack’s adjustable saddlebags to carry water and a travel bowl for your dog, or put weights in them so your dog gets better exercise while out and about.

Key Features:

  • One size fits dogs weighing 20 to 60 pounds
  • Durable nylon material
  • Mesh harness
  • Two zippered saddlebags
  • Fabric handle
  • Metal attachment for leash

Cost: $15

Outward Hound Denver Urban Pack

Outward Hound Denver Urban Pack

This daypack for dogs isn’t just functional — it also looks great. While it’s designed with city trips in mind, this dog backpack also makes a great hiking pack for shorter nature excursions.

Key Features:

  • Two sizes fit dogs with girth from 16″ to 44″
  • Stylish, minimal design
  • Two large side pockets with buckle fasteners
  • Two small zippered pockets
  • Top handle and D-ring clip
  • Adjustable belly strap
  • Mesh top

Cost: $33

Pettom Dog Saddle Backpack

Pettom Dog Saddle Backpack

If you and your dog like spending multiple days out in the wilderness, this extra-large backpack might be the perfect choice for your pup. It’s designed to distribute weight well and provide stability, even when your dog is carrying a heavier load.

Key Features:

  • Three sizes fit dogs with girth between 18.9″ and 40.9″
  • Saddlebag capacity of 10L (size S), 14L (size M), and 19L (size L)
  • Waterproof, scratch-resistant polyester material
  • Mesh lining
  • Even weight distribution
  • Reflective trim for safety
  • Top handle
  • Metal D-ring for leash
  • Available in red and green

Cost: $65

Ruffwear Singletrak Low-Profile Hydration Pack for Dogs

Ruffwear Singletrak Low-Profile Hydration Pack for Dogs

This backpack is a great choice if your main concern is making sure your dog can carry enough water for long hikes. It features two built-in, collapsible water bottles that don’t add much bulk to the pack. Stash other necessities in the pack’s two smaller pockets.

Key Features:

  • Three sizes fit dogs with girth between 20″ and 42″
  • Includes two collapsible, BPA-free water bottles that hold 20 ounces each
  • Five adjustment points
  • Padded straps for day-long comfort
  • Two zippered pockets for non-water necessities
  • Reflective trim
  • Hand washable
  • Top handle
  • Sturdy fabric loop for attaching leash

Cost: $87

Wellver Dog Backpack

Wellver Dog Backpack

This all-season dog backpack is sturdy and washable. It’s an excellent value for the price, offering all the functionality you need in a basic hiking pack for your dog.

Key Features:

  • Three sizes fit dogs up to 58 pounds
  • Adjustable straps
  • Mesh lining
  • Two zippered saddlebags
  • Top handle
  • Metal D-ring for leash

Cost: $16

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