Best Dog Backpacks

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Ruffwear Approach
Test Winner: Ruffwear Approach
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Backpacks for dogs can help service canine and family pets contribute to their family’s daily activities, carry their own gear, and give them a sense of purpose. Finding the right pack for your dog breed and activity will ensure a comfortable fit and lasting durability. If you want to determine the best bag for your needs, be sure to take the dog’s size, gait, and activity level into consideration.

Then make sure those needs are coupled with load expectation and gear needs of you and your dog. But finding the best dog backpack for you and your canine friend can be difficult. Don’t worry, though, we’ve looked through the options and are happy to present a few of our favorites.

Standout Picks

Ruffwear Approach
If you’re looking for a backpack for dogs that keeps both your pet's comfort and your peace of mind in the forefront of the design, then look no further than the Ruffwear Approach Full Day Hiking Pack for Dogs. This pack not only features a design that allows your dog to move relatively freely, but it also provides a secure way for your dog to carry essential gear.
Onetigris Dog Pack
If you have a medium to large breed of dog, and you want a durable and comfortable dog backpack for them, you might want to consider this second option from OneTigris. Not only is it made from a tough cotton material, but it’s also very comfortable to wear.
Amazon Link
$35.98
Mountainsmith K-9
If you have an active dog that goes with you everywhere, having dog backpacks that moves with them can be a great asset. Designed with the help of a veterinarian, this dog back is specifically designed to allow your dog a free range of motion no matter where he travels.
Kurgo Baxter
If you’re looking for a dog backpack that offers great overall versatility and distribution of weight for your pet, the Kurgo Baxter is certainly one to consider. It’s a backpack that is at home in both the wilderness and urban settings.
Amazon Link
$59.95
Ruffwear Palisades
If a multi-day hiking adventure is in the future for you and your canine friend, the Ruffwear Palisades Backcountry Pack for Dogs is a great overall choice. It is designed with features that help keep both you and your dog on the move over the long haul.
Outward Hound
If you’re looking for relatively lightweight dog backpacks that are a great choice for those quick day hikes or a trip to the corner store, this dog daypack is certainly worth considering.
Amazon Link
$18.46
Outward Hound Denver
If you are looking for a casual backpack for your dog the Outward Hound Denver Urban Pack is the best balance between storage and lightweight streamlined fit. The two pockets are just right for carrying keys, cell phones, mail, waste bags, or leads.
Amazon Link
$23.59
Kurgo Wander
Designed with the working-class dog breeds in mind, this backpack is made for both comfort and functionality. The four reflective strips provide additional safety and visibility. The Kurgo Wander Dog Backpack is worth considering for rugged trips that put a strain on your dog.
Amazon Link
$79.99
Lifeunion Saddle Bag
Less of a harness, more of a backpack, the Lifeunion Saddle Bag backpack is made for comfort and long trips. Not exactly a lead-harness-type backpack, it is built more like a human backpack with padded straps and larger saddlebag capacity.
Amazon Link
$26.95
Alfheim Cotton Canvas
If you are looking for a lightweight, light activity backpack for your dog, the Alfheim Cotton Canvas dog pack may be right for your needs. Unlike the all-plastic counterparts, this pack is cotton canvas, which makes it breathable. It is multifunctional, for daily or travel usage.
Amazon Link

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Weight

As a general rule, dogs should carry about 10 to 15 percent of their overall weight when traveling through the wild, if they are using backpacks for dogs. This weight also includes the overall weight of the pack prior to filling it with items for them to carry. Therefore, looking at the overall weight of the doggie backpack can be important. In most cases, these backpacks for your dog are relatively lightweight, and easy for them to manage, weighing only a few pounds or less. So with these particular items, you won’t have to worry about them becoming too heavy if you use them correctly.

Adjustability

As you and your dog enjoy the great outdoors, chances are both of you are going to get into better shape. In the case of your dog, that means that having a pack that can be easily adjusted may come in handy sooner than you think. Therefore, we took a close look at how easy the backpack for dogs was to adjust. Are the straps easy to get to? Are the buckles or fasteners strong, yet easy to release? Are the areas around your dog’s legs and chest padded and adjustable? There were quite a few questions we asked, and thankfully, for the most part, these particular dog backpacks answered them admirably.

Effectiveness

Let’s face it; you and your dog are an unbeatable team, and you’ve faced a lot of tough situations together. You’ve hiked through rivers, scrambled up muddy slopes, and shared more than a few sunny days. Knowing this, it’s little wonder that you need your canine backpack to be just as tough as the two of you. After all, your companion is going to be carrying some pretty important stuff, right? It’s best to make sure that the bag is durable enough to handle things.

Thankfully the backpacks for dogs presented here are tough, and remarkably so. The materials used to make them not only resist tears, but also can withstand quite a bit of outdoor life, including weather, staining, and the occasional tumble down a hill.

Capacity

And finally, we took a look at how much each of these packs can actually carry, and carry safely depending on the dog using them. How easy are they to fill to capacity, overall? Can they only handle a few of the most common items used on the hiking trail, or is the capacity of the backpacks for dogs more pragmatic? In most cases, these dog backpacks proved to be able to carry their own in many different outdoor situations, making them a huge help instead of a hindrance. Dogs love having something to do. They want to feel needed and be part of the group. So having your canine companion carry something for you is a great way to keep them relatively well behaved and alert. However, they do need to be trained well in order to wear a doggie backpack. If your dog understands and obeys simple commands, such as “stay”, “come”, “leave it” or “sit” and “heel” chances are they’re ready to join you in the great outdoors while wearing a bag to keep their gear in line.

Top 10 Picks

1. Ruffwear Approach

Where to buy
Ruffwear Approach
Amazon Link

If you’re looking for a backpack for dogs that keeps both your pet's comfort and your peace of mind in the forefront of the design, then look no further than the Ruffwear Approach Full Day Hiking Pack for Dogs. This pack not only features a design that allows your dog to move relatively freely, but it also provides a secure way for your dog to carry essential gear.

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Overall Fit
The Ruffwear Approach Full Day Hiking Pack for dogs is available in sizes ranging from double extra-small to extra-large, and can easily fit around the girth of most dogs.

Toughness
This dog backpack is made from relatively lightweight material, and has been known to show wear, especially around the strap area and along the pockets themselves. It’s certainly not as tough as we would have hoped to see.

Adjustability
This backpack offers one of the best forms of adjustability that we’ve seen in a long time. The straps themselves are non-slip, and the buckles are sheltered so that they won’t become entangled in your dog’s fur. Plus, the harness features five different points for adjustment.

Weight
The doggie backpack is made from relatively lightweight materials and has a forward leaning design, so the weight is carried on the dog’s shoulders and front legs rather than the dog’s back. Prior to filling, the backpack weighs approximately 12 ounces.

Capacity
While the actual capacity of the two saddle bags is dependent on the size of the bag that you have, most people found them to be quite roomy and able to easily hold the dog’s water, treats, and a few odds and ends for the human companion.

Summary
While we would have liked to see the dog backpack made from a tougher material. Overall, we were impressed by the forward leaning design and great adjustability. Whether your canine companion is a Great Dane or a toy poodle, this is one that will be a joy to use.

2. Onetigris Dog Pack

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$35.98
Onetigris Dog Pack
Amazon Link

If you have a medium to large breed of dog, and you want a durable and comfortable dog backpack for them, you might want to consider this second option from OneTigris. Not only is it made from a tough cotton material, but it’s also very comfortable to wear.

Read more

Overall Fit
While this backpack for dogs does fit well, it is truly only designed for medium or large breed dogs. Even on the smallest setting, a small or miniature breed dog would simply swim in it. The range of girths that it will fit range from 30 inches to 45 inches, and the dog needs to have a neck diameter of less than 28 inches. However if you do own a larger breed, the cotton canvas material and secure buckles and straps provide for an over great fit.

Toughness
When it comes to durability, it’s hard to beat this example from OneTigris. Not only is the material strong and tough, easily resisting tears and punctures, but the zippers and fasteners hold up to even a dog’s tugs and bites.

Adjustability
Overall this pack is fairly adjustable, up to a certain point. The bag itself is designed to act as a saddle bag, with buckles and fasteners located underneath that can be adjusted to better fit the dog’s girth.

Weight
The pack weighs a hefty 13 ounces unloaded, so it does have a bit of weight to it, even empty. This best dog backpack is a great choice for active dogs that are healthy. If your dog has back or hip problems, other options probably should be considered.

Capacity
It features four pouches in total. The two main zippered pouches measure seven inches by 9.6 inches by 2 inches each, and the front pockets measure 7.7 by 5.3 by 1 inch in size. There is plenty of room to carry the smaller essentials, extra food, water, and a collapsible dog bowl as well.

Summary
If you’re looking for a dog backpack for a larger breed dog that is durable enough to withstand the wilderness during the winter months, this example from OneTigris is a great one to consider. While we would have loved to see a slightly larger size range, overall this is one tough pack.

Amazon Link
$35.98

3. Mountainsmith K-9

Where to buy
Mountainsmith K-9
Amazon Link

If you have an active dog that goes with you everywhere, having dog backpacks that moves with them can be a great asset. Designed with the help of a veterinarian, this dog back is specifically designed to allow your dog a free range of motion no matter where he travels.

Read more

Overall Fit
This doggie backpack comes in three main sizes: small, medium and large. Each of these sizes fit a girth range from 20 inches to a total of 44 inches, and are designed for dogs weighing between 20 and 120 pounds. So chances are you’ll be able to find a size that fits your dog the best. In addition, the mesh panels against the dog’s body certainly added to the overall comfort.

Toughness
Since it is made from tough rip-stop nylon material, this canine backpack is fairly durable and there weren’t too many complaints about tearing or punctures. In addition, the material helps to repel rain and snow, so you won’t have to worry about your supplies getting damaged by the weather.

Adjustability
Truth be told, one of the drawbacks we found with this particular bag was the level of adjustability. There really was only one way to adjust the backpack, which lessened its true versatility. While the simple construction and design was nice, we would have liked to see a bit more flexibility.

Weight
This pooch backpack is relatively lightweight, weighing just under a pound prior to loading.

Capacity
Depending on the size of the pack, a dog can carry up to fifteen pounds of materials or supplies in this bag. The weight is fairly evenly distributed, and the straps help to prevent too much chaffing or undue pressure when used correctly.

Summary
While we were a bit disappointed with the limited methods of adjustability, we did enjoy the fact that this particular dog backpack came in a wide range of sizes and was ergonomically designed for a dog’s body. If you have an active dog that wants to go everywhere with you, this is a great choice for them.

4. Kurgo Baxter

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$59.95
Kurgo Baxter
Amazon Link

If you’re looking for a dog backpack that offers great overall versatility and distribution of weight for your pet, the Kurgo Baxter is certainly one to consider. It’s a backpack that is at home in both the wilderness and urban settings.

Read more

Overall Fit
If you’re dog ranges in weight between 30 and about 100 pounds, then this backpack for dogs provides a great overall fit. While there were some complaints overall about the ease of adjustment, most people found that their dogs were comfortable and were able to move well.

Toughness
Although it was made to withstand harsh conditions and inclement weather, quite a few customers found the canine backpack to be less than durable. Problems were most often encountered in the quality of the zippers and where the straps were sewn onto the backpack itself.

Adjustability
While the built in harness was a nice added feature, quite a few customers found that it made accessing the adjustment buckles somewhat awkward.

Weight
The overall weight of the product is about 13.6 ounces, so it is relatively lightweight, and adds little to what your dog is carrying on its back.

Capacity
Depending on the size purchased, it can hold a maximum of 3.75 liters or 7.5 liters of material.

Summary
While there were some issues with adjustability and minor issues with zipper and seam failure, overall this dog backpack provides a comfortable way for your dog to be part of the team, on the trail or off. If you’re looking for a fairly versatile dog bag with a built in harness, this is one to get.

Amazon Link
$59.95

5. Ruffwear Palisades

Where to buy
Ruffwear Palisades
Amazon Link

If a multi-day hiking adventure is in the future for you and your canine friend, the Ruffwear Palisades Backcountry Pack for Dogs is a great overall choice. It is designed with features that help keep both you and your dog on the move over the long haul.

Read more

Overall Fit
Most people found that the overall fit for small and medium dogs were good overall, but that the large and extra-large were a little bit tight around the girth for dogs over 40 inches. However, the weight distribution of the pack was fairly even across the back of the dog, and avoided the hip area nearly completely.

Toughness
Overall, this dog backpack is one of the toughest we’ve seen. The material is fairly lightweight, tough, and water resistance. Unless your dog has a habit of chewing on its toys and equipment, it should last you quite a while.

Adjustability
Generally speaking, most people found this backpack for dogs to be easily adjusted, provided that the dog was well behaved.

Weight
Depending on the size selected, this bag can weigh anywhere from 1.75 lbs to 2.15 lbs, so it is fairly heavy overall. However, the weight distribution is fairly good across the animal’s back, and most dogs found it to be relatively easy to carry. It addition, the removable load bearing bags made it easy to lighten the load when necessary.

Capacity
This bag features a set of hydration bladders. While this feature certainly comes in handy on the long hot hikes, it does decrease the amount of available capacity. However, it should be noted that in most cases there is more than enough room for the necessities of traveling with a dog overall a few days.

Summary
While the overall dog pack is a bit on the heavy side, we found the Palisades Backcountry Pack from Ruffwear to be both durable and versatile. The added features such as removable saddle bags and hydration bladders make it a great overall choice for the longer trails.

6. Outward Hound

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$18.46
Outward Hound
Amazon Link

If you’re looking for relatively lightweight dog backpacks that are a great choice for those quick day hikes or a trip to the corner store, this dog daypack is certainly worth considering.

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Overall Fit
Depending on the size ordered, this bag can fit dogs ranging in size between twenty and seventy pounds overall. Most found that the weight distribution to be even across the dog’s back, and the straps were well placed to provide a great range of movement overall.

Toughness
While the overall fit was found to be adequate, this item is certainly not the most durable we’ve seen. There were quite a few reports of dogs easily chewing through straps, or the removable bags being removed by tree branches. However, if your dog is out of the chewing stage, and you’re not planning on going into a forest with low hanging branches, it should last for quite a while.

Adjustability
Overall most people found this particular pooch backpack to be easily adjustable. The adjustment buckles are easy to access and use. Sizing can be an issue if your dog is between sizes. While ordering the next size up is recommended, the backpack may seem a bit loose, even tightened all the way.

Weight
Considered lightweight, this pack is practical and will not add any undue weight to your dog, thus giving you more versatility when packing your dog’s backpack. Although it does wick up some moisture, it does not soak up volumes of water and become heavy either.

Capacity
This is more of a casual, day pack for your dog, rather than a rugged hikers pack. It is large enough to carry a drink bladder, snacks, and even the mail; but not big enough to carry supplies for an extended trip. The secondary zippered compartments do extend storage capacity quite a bit.

Summary
The lightweight nature of the this saddle bag makes this a good choice for short walks, mail runs, neighborhood strolls, and short strips. The lightweight, breathable design is great for short trips on hot summer days.

Amazon Link
$18.46

7. Outward Hound Denver

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$23.59
Outward Hound Denver
Amazon Link

If you are looking for a casual backpack for your dog the Outward Hound Denver Urban Pack is the best balance between storage and lightweight streamlined fit. The two pockets are just right for carrying keys, cell phones, mail, waste bags, or leads.

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Overall Fit
Depending on the size of the pack you choose, this backpack fits dogs between 25 and 100 pounds, with girths between 16 and 44 inches. The minimalism of this backpack assured a comfortable fit without any bulkiness to get caught on things. It fights tightly, like a human backpack, and does not wiggle or shift, when properly sized.

Toughness
Compared to its counterparts, this dog backpack has more positive durability reviews than others. Users boasted its rugged nature and resistance to snagging on branches. The synthetic canvas is resistant to fraying and tearing.

Adjustability
The wide ranges of dog sizes the two backpack sizes cover make it for a versatile pack. All of the straps are adjustable, giving this pack a streamlined fit and comfortable sizing. Placement of the straps enables full range of motion by your dog, ensuring no rubbing or discomfort will be experienced on long hikes.

Weight
Weighing in at under 3 pounds, this doggie backpack won't weight down your animal. Although the material is quite absorbent, it will not hold much water or become water-heavy in wet conditions. It was made for lightweight loads.

Capacity
Compared to its counterparts, this backpack does not hold much. It’s perfect for carrying just the essentials, such as keys, mail, waste bags, and other lightweight, small items. Its still surprisingly roomie, despite shallow, narrow compartments. It may hold small water bottles and collapsible water bowls.

Summary
The Outward Bound Denver Urban best dog backpack is made for lightweight carrying and not extended hiking trips. Its durable enough for rugged day-hikes, yet lightweight and streamlined for active daily use. The mesh panels make it a great choice for warm weather when breathability is vital to your pet's comfort.

Amazon Link
$23.59

8. Kurgo Wander

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$79.99
Kurgo Wander
Amazon Link

Designed with the working-class dog breeds in mind, this backpack is made for both comfort and functionality. The four reflective strips provide additional safety and visibility. The Kurgo Wander Dog Backpack is worth considering for rugged trips that put a strain on your dog.

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Overall Fit
The Kurgo has an ergonomic padded spine support that helps evenly distribute the two saddlebags weight on the dog’s spine comfortably. The rear lead hook and breast strap placement also minimize discomfort for long trips.

Toughness
Most customers reported that the durability is quite rugged with normal use. Only two customers reported any tearing. As with most dog backpacks, it might be a good idea to attach the lead to a collar or harness separately from the pack. With normal use the packets do seem to hold up well.

Adjustability
The sizing makes this pack perfect for working class breeds between 30 to 85 pounds. It is a one size fits most. Customers did report that the straps seemed to loosen during normal use and adjustments may be necessary, particularly with uneven loads.

Weight
Weighing in at under a pound, this doggie backpack frees up your dogs load capacity and enables your dog to wear this pack for longer periods. Saddlebag placement is lower than most other bags, thus lowering your dogs center of gravity.

Capacity
The large saddle bags provide room for essentials, like water bottles and waste bags, as well as items for longer trips, such as food, toys, and treats. Both bags are fully detachable without removing the saddle harness, thus enabling you to reduce the workload temporarily, without fussing with the entire gear setup.

Summary
The Kurgo Wander canine bag is considered a rugged outdoor pack for long trips and working-class medium-sized dogs. Its construction is a little more versatile than other comparable packs. A warranty is offered with this pack.

Amazon Link
$79.99

9. Lifeunion Saddle Bag

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$26.95
Lifeunion Saddle Bag
Amazon Link

Less of a harness, more of a backpack, the Lifeunion Saddle Bag backpack is made for comfort and long trips. Not exactly a lead-harness-type backpack, it is built more like a human backpack with padded straps and larger saddlebag capacity.

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Overall Fit
With 3 main sizes available, this camping pack fits girths from 21 to 50 inches. The straps are adjustable, to accommodate individual needs without sacrificing comfort. Sizes do run a bit large.

Toughness
The material and construction are fairly durable for rugged use. At least one customer was dissatisfied with the zipper, but the overall construction has held up under normal, active, conditions.

Adjustability
The backpack only comes in medium, large, and extra-large. Sized do run large, and therefore most dogs, on the small side of medium, will have trouble with the fit. Be sure to measure your pooch before deciding on the size that rights for your breed.

Weight
This pack weighs between 7 and 13 ounces, depending on the size needed. Despite the bulky packs and padding, this backpack is fairly lightweight and shouldn’t tire out your pet.

Capacity
Each pouch holds up to two small kittens. Which means your water bottles, waste bags, and pet food containers should fit in the bag nicely. Caution should be used in overfilling the pouches, both for your pets comfort and the zippers durability.

Summary
Overall the Lifeunion Saddlebag bag is a bargain for what it offers. This pack offers durability for other indoor and outdoor use and is designed for long hikes and camping excursions. It will also work nicely for daily working-dog activities.

Amazon Link
$26.95

10. Alfheim Cotton Canvas

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Alfheim Cotton Canvas
Amazon Link

If you are looking for a lightweight, light activity backpack for your dog, the Alfheim Cotton Canvas dog pack may be right for your needs. Unlike the all-plastic counterparts, this pack is cotton canvas, which makes it breathable. It is multifunctional, for daily or travel usage.

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Overall Fit
This pack is one-size-fits-most and will fit most large breeds. It is built for dogs larger than 50 pounds and a 20 inch girth. Its is even large enough for some small pony and horse miniatures.

Toughness
Overall it is not very durable and is slated for lightweight use. While it may not hold up under the weight of water bottles, it is great for currier duties and light pack trips.

Adjustability
Fitting sizes medium to extra-large, this dog backpack is quite adjustable. However, its harness straps leave a bit to be desired in the animals comfort. Most customers reported that it worked well for hard-to-fit dog sizes.

Weight
At just under 13 ounces, this pack is lightweight, despite its heavy cotton canvas construction. The minimalistic design reduces weight by eliminating unnecessary parts.

Capacity
With 4 pockets in total, this dog saddle bag backpack holds quite a bit. While it won’t fit anything too large, it will fit basic necessities, such as waste bags, small bottles of water, treats, and mail.

Summary
If you want to make your dog feel like a useful member of the family all day at home, or want a little extra storage on a hike or walk, this bag is decent for most light daily use. The Alfheim Cotton Canvas Dog Pack is the active dog’s companion and large enough for small horses or hard-to-fit large dog breeds. It won’t haul heavy military gear, but it will help service dogs and family pets with light tasks.

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