Taking your dog hiking or camping can make the trip so much more enjoyable. However, it also means you’ll need to bring more gear with you. Instead of lugging dog hiking gear by yourself, let your canine friend carry their own supplies and essentials with their very own dog hiking backpack while traversing through the terrains of Connecticut hiking trails.
There’s an ever-growing market for bags for dogs to carry and wear, so you have plenty of options to choose from. Picking the right one for your dog can be a challenge, though. With that in mind, here’s our carefully curated list of the best dog hiking backpack options out there!
1. Best Overall: Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack
The Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack is a veterinarian-approved dog rucksack. It features a four-point adjustable chest harness, an adjustable back harness, and an adjustable belly strap. All of which ensure a snug, but comfortable fit. Moreover, since it’s available in three different sizes, you’ll surely find one that fits perfectly for your dog. Meanwhile, the non-slip buckle system not only allows for it to stay in place during your Malibu hikes, but it’s simple to put on or remove too.
This K-9 backpack’s ergonomic design features mesh panels and perforated EVA foam, which provides ultimate comfort and breathability. In terms of storage, this backpack for dogs comes with two spacious main compartments, one on each side, with external zippered pockets. Take note that there are no interior pockets, which can be a downside for some. The upside, however, is that it has a robust material with reflective paneling on the front, rear, and sides for added visibility during low-light conditions.
- Veterinarian approved
- Four adjustable points
- Reflective paneling
- No internal pockets
2. Best Day Pack: Ruffwear Front Range Day Pack
If you’re just going on a quick day hike through the trails of the best parks in NYC, be sure to bring with you the dog saddle bag from Ruffwear. It boasts plenty of internal storage for treats, water bottles, and other doggy essentials. Inside the main compartments, you’ll even find internal mesh pockets for better organization of gear! And since it has a weight-forward design, it distributes the weight of its contents evenly, providing maximum stability and support to your dog when on the move.
It has a five-point adjustment system so it fits perfectly for your dog. Admittedly, there is a learning curve in figuring out how to adjust the cinch straps. Another drawback to this doggie backpack is its material. While it is durable, it gets dirty rather fast as the dog fur easily sticks to the denier polyester material. On a positive note, the foam padded harness and belly strap make it comfortable for all-day wear. There are three leash attachment points, for harness, reduced leash pulling, and for tethering your dog to your own hiking bag whenever you need.
- Expandable internal storage
- Even weight distribution of contents
- Three leash attachment points
- Straps can be difficult to use and adjust
- Gets dirty quick
3. Best Overnight Pack: Ruffwear Approach Pack
Another great dog hiking backpack from Ruffwear to consider is the Approach Pack. Designed for longer hikes and even overnight adventures, it’s a must-have when camping in Yosemite National Park or other popular campgrounds. It features larger pockets that can fit water bottles, collapsible bowls, and other dog hiking gear. The external side pockets allow for quick access to essentials such as doggie snacks and waste bags. There are several external loops for storing a leash when not in use or hooking up additional accessories.
Similar to the Ruffwear Front Range, it has a weight-forward design for even weight and load distribution. Unlike the former, though, there are only two leash attachment points, one in the front and another at the back. You can choose from four sizes, but even the smallest option can still be too large for smaller breeds. Other noteworthy highlights include its five-point harness adjustment, and padded handles.
- Even weight distribution
- Plenty of internal and external storage space
- Padded handle
- Only two least attachment points
- Not for smaller dog breeds
4. Best for Backpacking: Himal Outdoors Dog Backpack
For longer outdoor adventures, the dog backpack from Himal will provide safe storage space for all your canine’s gear. It comes with two large panniers with ample space for essentials such as food, collapsible bowls, water bottles, and more. Besides the main pockets, it has exterior Velcro pockets for quick access to other items. And while it has adjustable straps, it’s only available in one size, which suits both medium and large dog breeds. With that in mind, pet-owners with smaller breeds may want to look for other backpacking backpack options. The Himal Outdoors Dog Backpack is made from 600D nylon. With such fabric strength, it can withstand rugged excursions. Although it isn’t the most breathable material out there, the soft mesh lining does offer enough comfort during hot temperatures.
- Durable material
- Roomy panniers
- Velcro side pockets
- Limited least attachment points
- Doesn’t provide the best air circulation
5. Best For Large Dogs: Excellent Elite Spanker Dog Pack
The Excellent Elite Spanker Dog Pack is designed specifically for your medium to large dog breeds such as Alaskans, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers. Boasting a 1000D nylon construction, it can handle energetic large dogs and their favorite outdoor activities. There’s a soft inner padding that prevents chafing, though it is rather on the thin side. It has one Velcro and one buckle strap, both of which are adjustable. However, the Velcro strap tends to lose its stickiness over time. On the upside, the main compartments are spacious, and thanks to the external cross-bungee cords, you can still hook-up extra gear. It has a V-ring at the top for you to attach a leash. The handle is incredibly sturdy, allowing you to readily pick up your dog when needed.
- Designed specifically for medium to large dogs
- External cross-bungee cords for extra storage
- Velcro chest strap
6. Best for Medium Dogs: Cesar Millan Dog Backpack
With a chest girth measurement of 24 to 36 inches, this dog hiking backpack from renowned dog trainer Cesar Millan fits perfectly for medium-sized dog breeds. Crafted with an ergonomic design, the backpack sits higher on your dog’s shoulders, which keeps the weight off their lower bodies. Meanwhile, thanks to the adjustable elastic straps, your pup can run and move freely with nothing restraining their movements. Plus, since it’s made from durable and breathable materials, it promises ultimate comfort. It lacks a leash hook, so your dog will need to wear another harness if you want to keep them on one while out.
- Elastic straps adapt to your dog’s movements
- Designed specifically for medium dog breeds
- No leash attachments
- Small pocket compartments
7. Best for Small Dogs: IDOMIK Dog Backpack
Looking for a small dog hiking backpack for your pup? Ideal for smaller breeds, this puppy backpack features a main zippered compartment with ample space for dog treats, water bottles, and dog toys. Note that since there’s only one main compartment, the weight of the items inside is not distributed evenly. As such, you may have to limit the things to put in it. Made from nylon oxford with a soft mesh padding, it’s lightweight and breathable, ensuring comfort when taking your pup on daily walks or outdoor activities. It has a harness vest design that’s fully adjustable on the neck and chest area. You’ll find two metal D-rings along the top portion of the vest wherein you can attach your dog’s leash. The fast-release buckles allow you to easily snap-on and remove its leash. Plus, the bright and cute design will surely turn heads when out and about.
- Designed specially for small to medium dogs
- Quick-release buckles
- Just one storage compartment
8. Best Lightweight: Kurgo Baxter Dog Backpack
A long hike through the trails of the Appalachian Mountains is a rewarding experience, especially thanks to the captivating views. But it can even be more enjoyable if you bring your canine friend along. It can get tiresome even for these strong hiking companions. That said, you wouldn’t want any unnecessary weight weighing them down, thus you will want a dog hiking backpack that’s ultra-lightweight and comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
The Kurgo Baxter Dog Backpack is lightweight, so your dog won’t have trouble carrying it on their back, even for short or longer trips. Despite this, it’s still durable enough to hold all your four-legged companion’s gear. This Kurgo dog backpack comes in two sizes, though they run small. It may not be the best option for large dog breeds. It has two side saddlebags with external pockets each for extra storage, but they are rather small. In addition, it has an integrated harness with a leash ring on its rear and eight adjustment points.
- Lightweight and comfortable to wear
- Eight adjustment points
- Sizing runs small
- Small external pockets
9. Most Durable: Lifeunion Dog Saddle Bag
Made from a blend of high-quality polyester, the dog saddle bags from Lifeunion are extremely tough and durable. It can withstand high-energy dogs who love running around the best hiking trails in Ohio. Due to its material, you don’t have to worry about it tearing, stretching, or pilling anytime soon. On top of that, it’s waterproof! The straps are super adjustable, though they have a tendency to slide loose when not adjusted properly, causing the bag to move around when on the move.
You can find one D-ring along the topside wherein you can attach a leash. This hiking pack also features bar tack stitching, which reinforces its durability by helping to resist any rips. Moreover, the whistle buckle is made from polypropylene, which is another extremely durable material. The mesh netting on the underside provides ventilation and added comfort.
- Extremely durable construction
- Only one leash attachment
- Straps tend to loosen when moving
10. Best Tactical: OneTigris Hoppy Camper Doggy Backpack
OneTigris is a brand famous for its range of top-quality tactical backcountry gear. And its collection of dog hiking backpacks is no exception. The brand’s Hoppy Camper rucksacks are a reliable option for those who want to bring their furry friends with them on dispersed camping trips. The cotton canvas gives it a classic rucksack look that’s unique and stylish. Take note that while it has ample mesh padding on the underside, the canvas material isn’t the most breathable one out there, but it is still well made. The bag comes with reinforced stitching and sturdy zippers.
While it has two stainless steel D-rings, they are not meant for leash attachments. Instead, they’re for attaching additional accessories. Another downside is its topside handle, which, unlike other options, cannot be used for lifting or carrying your dog. On the upside, it’s equipped with two zipper panniers for storage with external pockets on the side for quick access to essentials. There’s even a transparent sleeve on the side wherein you can insert an identification card for your dog.
- Ample padding for comfort
- Reinforced stitching
- External pockets and ID sleeve
- The top handle is not meant for carrying or lifting
- No leash attachment
11. Best for Running: OneTigris Mammoth Dog Pack
Another great option that won’t impair your dog’s movement is the Mammoth Dog Pack from OneTigris. It’s made from water-resistant 1000D nylon with a mesh lining that ensures proper airflow, even during lengthier outings. It has considerably larger straps than most dog hiking backpacks out there. Thus, you don’t have to worry about it moving around when dogs are running during a hike. Your dog can run and jump as they please when exploring the paths at Wisconsin State Parks. Note that the leash hook is rather flimsy since it’s made from plastic.
Furthermore, the hidden zipper design prevents any hair from getting stuck in the zipper. In terms of storage, it can carry up to three litters worth of dog hiking essentials. The external cross-bungee cords come in handy for attaching extra gear, such as flashlights, waste bags, and more.
- Water resistant
- Wider, more secure straps
- External hook-&-loop panels
- Plastic leash hook
12. Best Budget-Friendly: Wellver Dog Backpack Saddle
On the hunt for the best dog hiking backpack that won’t break the bank? Look no further than the Wellver Dog Backpack Saddle. This budget-friendly option boasts two roomy compartments with semi-open side pockets for you to readily access all essentials. The wide hook-and-loop shoulder and chest straps provide a snug yet comfy fit. It doesn’t offer much stability, though, so it can slip and move around if the weight of its contents is not distributed evenly. Because it is made from a blend of polypropylene fabric and ripstop polyester, you know that it can withstand wear and tear. What’s more, it’s also water-resistant – perfect during a rainy hike.
- Wide straps
- Water resistant
- Lack of weight stability
- Only one leash attachment
13. Best Low-Volume: Outward Hound Daypack
The Outward Hound Daypack is a light-capacity dog backpack ideal for carrying snacks, water bottles, dog wipes, and waste bags. Designed for short outdoor excursions, it has four compartments, two of which are expandable for that extra storage space! There’s even a dedicated water bottle holder and mesh pockets. The straps are adjustable, with the ventral chest featuring two release buckles. Meanwhile, the front chest has no buckle, so you may have difficulty putting it on your dog. There’s a D-ring located on the topside for leash attachment, though it doesn’t have the most sturdy construction. The underside has a mesh fabric for comfort and breathability. You can choose from two bright color options with reflective detailing for high visibility, even during night walks.
- Expandable pockets
- Dedicated water bottle holder
- Poor leash hook quality
- Hard to put on your dog
14. Best Everyday: Outward Hound Denver Urban
Another affordable Outward Hound backpack to consider is the Denver. It’s the ideal backpack for dogs to bring during daily walks. Similar to the Outward Hound Daypack, it has two expandable main compartments with two external zippered pockets. It offers ample space that fits all your essentials while out and about in the city. It’s available in two sizes, so you can find the perfect fit for your dog. Although the strap adjustments can be difficult to use. There are two leash attachment points; one on top and another on the chest area. The easy-grip handle on top is great for restraining or guiding your dog through obstacles. That said, it’s not meant for carrying or lifting your dog. And thanks to the mesh padding, you don’t have to worry about your dog overheating while out on long walks.
- Great for everyday use
- Easy grip handle
- Difficult to adjust
15. Best with Harness: Titan Pupper Dog Backpack Harness
Looking for a dog hiking backpack with the best harness? Check out the one from Titan Pupper. Boasting an elongated design, this dog backpack harness combo offers full-body support to your dog. The design helps limit the pull and pressure on your dog’s upper body. The no-pull leash attachment on the chest area aids in lessening any strain on your dog’s collar. It likewise allows you more control of their energetic movements when going on walks or hikes.
Featuring five nylon web adjustment points, you can modify the fit to your dog’s size and body type. Made from a blend of waterproof oxford fabric and heavy-duty ballistic nylon, it can surely withstand extreme outdoor adventure when exploring the mountains of New Zealand. There’s a reflective striping on the outer layer, but it has a tendency to peel off overtime. The biggest downside to the hiking harness for dogs is its storage capacity. While it does have four zippered pockets, they are rather small. At most, it can fit an 8oz water bottle, a few doggie snacks, and waste bags.
- The five-nylon web adjustment points ensures snug fit
- Ideal for active and energetic dogs
- Small pockets
16. Best East of Use: Pettail Hound Dog Saddlebag
Equipped with four whistle buckles, the Pettail Hound Dog Saddlebag is extremely easy to put on even the most rambunctious breeds. The chest straps ensure perfect fit and provide extra security, but more importantly, makes the bag stay in place while your dog is running or jumping. There’s a rubber handle and a well-built leash attachment made from stainless steel alloy along the topside, so you can have extra control when hiking. Storage wise, there are two zippered pockets, but with limited capacity. These dog hiking bags come in three different sizes, but they run small, so you may want to size up.
The saddlebag is made from a blend of polyester material and nylon fabric, which are both incredibly robust and waterproof. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about your dog overheating during sunny days thanks to the soft sponge filling and mesh lining on the underside that allows proper ventilation.
- Four quick-release buckles
- Sponge filling for extra comfort
- Robust and waterproof
- Small pockets
- Sizes run small
17. Best Stability: JiePai Dog Backpack
Do you have an overactive and energetic furry companion? If so, you’ll need a dog hiking backpack that won’t slip and go loose when they are chasing squirrels or jumping over puddles. The wide chest and hook-and-loop belly straps with heavy-duty buckles of this dog backpack ensure it stays in place. Meanwhile, the Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment (MOLLE) system allows for better weight distribution when attaching items to the exterior webbing panels. Both of these features mean you don’t need to worry about the dog backpack sliding to one side. Although, you still want to be mindful not to overload the two side pouches, both of which can carry up to 3 liters’ worth of items. That’s more than enough storage space for long day hikes and even an overnight trip.
- Roomy storage pockets
- Great balance and stability
- No reflective trimming
18. Best Value: Futesi Dog Backpack
The Futesi dog backpack is a simple, affordable, and efficient option for many pet owners. It’s made from heavy-duty canvas fabric that ensures durability, while the mesh lining on the underside promises proper ventilation. While it’s comfortable to wear, you wouldn’t want to get caught in unexpected downpours, since the material isn’t waterproof. It comes with two pannier-style compartments with two-way zippers, which provides just enough space for your dog’s essentials. The chest strap measures around 29 to 36 inches while the neck-straps fit between 22 to 32 inches, making it ideal for medium to large dog breeds.
- Ideal for medium to large dogs
- Not waterproof
19. Best for Night Hiking: EzyDog Summit Outdoor Dog Backpack
Looking for a dog bag you can take with you on late night walks? Surely, you’ll appreciate the added visibility from the reflective patches of the Summit Outdoor Dog Backpack from EzyDog. Not only that, the reflective trimming along the exterior likewise offers added safety when caught in bad weather. If you do find yourself in the middle of a drizzle, you don’t have to worry about your dog’s gear getting wet. This is thanks to the bag’s ripstop material and waterproof zippers. It features a dog backpack harness design that allows for maximum comfort and control. The additional girth strap is a nice bonus that secures the bag in place when hiking downhill the mountains in the Philippines. It’s not the most ideal option for longer trips due to the rather small compartments. But it works just fine for quick hikes.
- Reflective piping
- Additional girth strap
- Small pockets
20. Best Water Resistant: Doggles Dog Backpack
Constructed with waterproof nylon fabric, water-resistant zippers and reinforced stitching, you don’t have to worry about your dog’s hiking gear getting wet with the Doggles dog backpack. It features expandable side saddle bags with internal pockets, which can carry water bottles, bags of treats, waste bags, and more. Additionally, it’s available in five different sizes, including a XXS one. As such, even smaller pups can wear it comfortably, whether it’s on hiking trails or on the city streets. The all over reflective piping on the exterior is also a great bonus for nighttime use. The biggest flaw to this dog bag is the placements of the zippers. They can be difficult to pull and even get caught in your dog’s fur when opening them in a rush. That said, you may need to take extra caution when zipping and unzipping them.
- Water resistant
- Available in five sizes
- Expandable storage
- Zippers can be hard to use
21. Best Comfort: 2PET Dog Backpack
Keep your canine friend comfortable when exploring the great outdoors with the dog hiking backpack from 2PET. It’s made from soft but durable materials that provide comfort even during extended wear. In addition, the saddlebag and harness design doesn’t place any pressure on your dog’s back while wearing them. There are three adjustable straps — two along the chest area and one around the neck. The straps are considerably longer than most, which makes the bag ideal for larger dogs. But they’ll still fit snug against your dog’s body with no chafing even when adjusted properly. Several quick-release buckles lock the bag in place.
The saddles are attached to the main harness using Velcro strips. As such, you can remove them to let your dog roam around or rest without added weight. The two storage compartments are roomy, though don’t expect to carry overnight hiking gear. Unlike other options out there, it doesn’t feature any reflective trimming or paneling. You can choose from two different sizes and they are available in either pink or blue.
- Detachable saddles
- Comfortable to wear
- Straps can be too long for some breeds
- No reflective trimming
How to Choose the Best Dog Hiking Backpack
Dog Breed and Size
Your dog’s breed and size are important factors to take note of when choosing a hiking backpack for them. Different brands have different sizing charts for their dog bags, so it’s best to get the exact measurement of your dog before buying one. Generally, you’ll need to measure your dog’s upper neck, lower neck, and chest circumference.
Adjustability and Fit Options
Opt for a hiking backpack for your dog with multiple adjustment points. Having adjustable straps allow for a customized fit, which in turn provides maximum stability. After all, you wouldn’t want the bag to be slipping or sliding down your dog’s body constantly. Furthermore, while you want a snug and secure fit, you don’t want a bag too small or tight that it may cause discomfort to your pup.
Weight and Capacity
Similar to choosing the best travel backpack, weight and storage capacity are highly essential aspects to consider when looking for a hiking bag for your dog. Some rucksacks have limited space that’s just enough to carry a small water bottle, a few treats, and other small essentials. There are several other options, however, that boast plenty of space to store food and gear during long backpacking trips. Regardless, you may want to consider bags with side pockets or gear loops for that extra storage space.
Leash Attachment Points
No matter how well-trained your dog is and how used to hands-free walks they are, it’s still best to have the option of leashing them when outdoors. That’s why it’s important to look for dog backpacks with hook attachments for leashes. If the dog hiking bag has multiple attachment points, it’s likewise important to note their placements. Most packs have leash hooks around the chest or back of the neck. A dog pack with leashes also eliminates the need for them to wear another harness or collar.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Backpacks for Hiking
Are Dog Backpacks Cruel?
Absolutely not! In fact, dog backpacks have several benefits. Particularly for working breeds, wearing a backpack to carry their own gear and essentials provides a sense of purpose and discipline. The added weight of backpacks also allows for them to get the exercise they need.
Do Dogs Like Wearing Backpacks?
Not all dogs will like wearing backpacks. It’s typically working breeds that quickly grow accustomed to wearing one. It can get some time for them to adjust to the sensation, and some may never get used to wearing one. Slowly introduce them to wearing one and give plenty of encouragement such as treats and praises to make it a more positive experience for them. If your dog still refuses and starts getting aggressive, there’s no point in forcing them to wear it.
What Is the Most Comfortable Backpack for Dogs?
A dog backpack for hiking made from soft and breathable material with padding is your best bet for maximum comfort and ventilation. After all, you wouldn’t want your dog to overheat during long hikes. Make sure the straps are padded, as well, to avoid any chafing.
How Much Weight Should Your Dog Carry?
Your dog’s body weight plays a crucial role in how many items you can put inside their backpack. As a rule of thumb, both the weight of the backpack and the items inside should not be over 25% of your dog’s own weight. However, consider your dog’s breed, age, stature, physical ability, and overall health. For senior dogs or ones with health issues, do not load a bag to its maximum limit. Moreover, if your dog is just starting out with wearing backpacks, start off with only 10% to 12% of their weight.
What Do You Put in a Dog Backpack?
Essential items to put in a dog backpack include a water bottle, collapsible bowl, a bag of treats, waste bags, and a small doggie first-aid kit. If you have the room, you can even include toys, towels, leashes, training collars, and muzzles. Keep in mind not to overload the bag to avoid any pain, discomfort, or even injuries.
What is Dog Hiking Backpack vs Dog Hiking Carrier?
A dog hiking backpack is not the same as a dog carrier backpack. As the name suggests, dog backpack carriers were designed to carry your four-legged companions when they get tired during long hikes. They also have compartments for storing hiking gear and essentials. Some dog hiking backpack carrier options can be worn on either your back or front. On the other hand, the bags mentioned above are all backpacks for dogs to wear.