Best Dog Backpack for Hiking: 5 Lightweight Picks With Extras

If you enjoy long hikes across mountains and down winding trails, you know that this can take a lot of effort.

Hiking is a strenuous activity and takes a lot of energy. So you can’t always expect your dog to be able to keep up. 

But it’s still great to take your dog with you. Your dog will appreciate being in the great outdoors, and they should be getting as much fresh air and exercise as you can give them.

But, sometimes your dog just isn’t up for hiking as long as you. 

If your dog is elderly, ill, a small puppy, easily tired, or just plain lazy, a dog backpack is a great way to get them out and about, just without expecting too much from them.

These are some of our favorites!

A dog backpack looks like a cross between a baby carrier and a backpack.

They allow you to pop your pooch inside to give them a break, but they will still allow them to have their head out in the fresh air.

They will be able to see everything and enjoy being outdoors, but it will be you who is doing all of the leg work (literally).

When it comes to buying something for your dog, you will want to make sure that it is of the best possible quality. A dog backpack is no different.

You want to know that your dog will be safe, comfortable, and happy in their backpack. So, to help you out with this, we’ve put together a list of the best available dog backpacks. 

Review of The Best Dog Backpack for Hiking

#1: PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack for Small Cats and Dogs, Puppies

PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack for Small Cats...
  • Designed for the maximum convenience and comfort for you and your pet while hiking, traveling, or...
  • YOUR PET WILL TRAVEL IN COMFORT – Well ventilated design for optimal airflow, two-way entry for...

Dimensions: 12.5” x 10.2” x 16.3”

This backpack is also one of the most affordable options available. It’s not surprising that such a niche product can be a little pricey.

You are probably happy to shell out a few extra dollars if it means that your dog will be safe and comfortable.

While this backpack isn’t cheap, it definitely isn’t excessively expensive like some other options available on the market. 

This backpack has a large mesh window at the front so your dog will be able to pop their head out into the fresh air if they want to.

But it is structured well enough that a small dog would also be able to curl up and sleep or rest if they want to.

One of the reasons for dog backpacks is that some dogs suffer from anxiety. So, if your dog is a bit overwhelmed and intimidated by the outside, this is a great option.

Rather than forcing your dog’s head out of the top, they can stay inside and only stick their head out once they feel comfortable enough to. 

This backpack can be easily accessed through doors on either side. This allows for great flexibility and comfort for your dog.

It also has a handy pocket at the front that can be used for your phone, the leash (see our favorite leashes here), or perhaps a treat or two.

The straps of this backpack are thick, well padded, and sturdy. It comes in a range of colors so you can also wear a backpack that you can enjoy too. 

Usefully, this backpack also comes with a travel bowl. This is particularly useful for hiking, especially if you are looking for a backpack that your dog will only use sometimes.

If your dog enjoys walking or running on hikes with you but needs a backpack when they get tired, then they will also need a water bowl.

This bowl can be collapsed and also has a clip so it can easily be attached to the backpack. 

Likes:

  • Large 
  • Structured
  • Two doors on either side
  • Well padded
  • Mesh sections for ventilation

Dislikes:

  • Only available in one size

Other Great Options for Dog Backpack for Hiking

Runner-Up: Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack for Small Pets

Sale
Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack for Small Pets - Dogs &...
  • HANDS FREE PET BACKPACK CARRIER: Small dog hiking backpack is made for pets up to 25 lbs who enjoy...
  • WATERPROOF BOTTOM: Carrier backpack has a water-resistant fabric top with a water proof armorsole...

Dimensions: 13” x 21” x 10”

This backpack is quite a bit more expensive than the other options on this list, but there are good reasons for the high price. The design of this backpack is incredibly practical.

It can, of course, be used as a standard backpack. But it also features a handle across the midsection that allows you to carry it as you would a traditional carry case.

This means that this backpack can be used to carry your dog in multiple situations.

So you can carry your dog with their head poking out the top so they can see everything and get some fresh air, or they can lay down for a rest while you carefully carry the bag flat. 

When the backpack is being used as a traditional carrier, the shoulder straps can be easily tucked away so they won’t drag on the ground.

When used as a backpack, you will be able to fully support your dog.

This backpack has thick, padded shoulder straps, plus a set of straps that go around your waist and another set around your hips.

This will keep your hands free. It will also keep you and your dog as comfortable as possible.

This backpack has plenty of space for other items. There are two water bottle sleeves and even a padded laptop compartment. These can be safely packed away without bothering your dog.

This bag is pretty bulky, but that is mostly due to how padded it is. It will keep your pooch as comfy as possible. 

Likes:

  • Available in multiple colors
  • Multiple uses
  • Well padded
  • Multiple support straps

Dislikes:

  • Expensive

K9 Sport Sack | Dog Carrier Backpack for Small and Medium Pets

K9 Sport Sack | Dog Carrier Adjustable Backpack...
  • The K9 SPORT SACK AIR SMALL is designed for dog breeds that weights up to up to 30lbs (13kg). The K9...
  • RUFF LIFE: Does your dog suffer from anxiety, depression, or have a physical disability? Or maybe...

Dimensions: 18.1” x 9.1” x 1.8”

This is a very simple and straightforward backpack. It is made from a thin material, which is actually a good thing.

It can be a concern carrying your dog on your back as you can’t be 100% sure that they are okay or even still there. This is especially true of a thick backpack.

The thinness of the material can also make your dog feel more secure as they will know exactly where you are as well. 

The thin nature of the material is also good as this backpack almost works as a dog raincoat with extra shoulder straps.

Although this backpack comes in five different sizes, it also has straps that can be tightened or loosened so your dog can fit snugly and comfortably inside the backpack and will also feel safe and secure.

The shoulder straps are thick and sturdy. So you can be sure that, even if you have a heavy dog, you will be able to give them the support they need.

You don’t want to risk them slipping down inside the bag or feeling uncomfortable.

The material is also moisture wicking so you can be fine working up a sweat without it bothering your pup.

This backpack also has holes for your dog’s front paws. This means that they can move around a little better and won’t just be sitting inside a backpack. 

Likes:

  • Available in multiple sizes
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Fully ventilated
  • Veterinarian approved

Dislikes:

  • Expensive

Mogoko Comfortable Dog Cat Carrier Backpack

Mogoko Cat Dog Backpack Carrier, Puppy Pet Front...
  • ❤Size M: 10.6"(L)*6.3"(W)*13.0"(H), recommend for 0.0 ~7.0 lbs weight and 10.0"~”13.0" back...
  • ❤Durable & Comfortable Material: Made from breathable mesh and polyester fibre, lightweight and...

Dimensions: 10.6” x 6.3” x 13”

This is a very smart-looking dog backpack. It can be worn on the back but is also well suited to be worn on your front.

So, if having your dog out of sight concerns you, this is a great alternative. 

One potential downside of this backpack is that the style does not allow much movement for the dog. This means that it might not be suitable for dogs that suffer from stress or anxiety.

If your dog becomes agitated when outside, you don’t want to be forcing them to be outside and unable to shelter or hideaway. 

This backpack is available in a wide range of bright colors as well as a standard black and gray. This is great for hiking as it will make you more visible. 

The bottom cover of this backpack can be removed, which is great for cleaning.

You should clean a regular backpack every so often, but you’re going to need to clean a dog backpack much more regularly, especially if your dog sometimes hikes alongside you and gets muddy paws. 

The material of this backpack provides supportive cushioning for both your dog and your back and shoulders. 

This backpack also has multiple pockets which you can use for all the accessories, snacks, and water bottles your hiking buddy needs. 

Likes:

  • Affordable
  • Available in multiple sizes
  • Available in multiple colors

Dislikes:

  • Dog has limited movement when inside

Outward Hound Lightweight Dog Backpack

Sale
Outward Hound PoochPouch Dog Front Carrier,...
  • HANDS-FREE, PADDED STRAP PET CARRIER: The PoochPouch Front Carrier is ideal for carrying smaller...
  • BREATHABLE & DURABLE: The PoochPouch Front Carrier is designed with lightweight, mesh fabric that...

Dimensions: 7.5” x 11” x 13”

This backpack is a little different from some other options available. It is a backpack specifically designed for a dog but only a very small one.

They would also have to be quite a calm and well-behaved dog. 

Your dog will have a lot more freedom in this backpack than in others. They will need to be seated at all times, but their head and upper body will be able to move about.

This might even make your dog feel calmer as they won’t have their head secured in one place. 

There is a harness inside, so you will be able to keep them from jumping out. But you will still need to be able to trust your dog to be relaxed inside the backpack.

This backpack is also available as a front pack. Rather than just simply wearing the backpack on your front, Outward Hound has adapted their backpack to be suitable for the front.

The straps have been adjusted and the bag itself will be more comfortable.

This will allow you to carry your pup around and keep an eye on them. This is great if you feel a little anxious about your dog being out of sight. 

The backpack has several pouches for carrying items, but these can be removed or altered to make a little more space for your pup.

Likes:

  • Available in multiple sizes
  • Available as a front pack or backpack
  • Includes harness
  • Water resistant

Dislikes:

  • A little expensive

Buyer’s Guide

Safety

When it comes to doing anything with your dog, you’re going to want to make it as safe as possible. When you first saw images of dog backpacks, your first question was likely if they are safe or not.

This is absolutely a good question to ask. When it comes to pet accessories, there are some that are definitely intended to look fun but can actually do your pet some harm.

So, first of all, are dog backpacks safe? Generally, yes. Dog backpacks are actually intended to keep your dog safe, especially on a hike.

If you have a small puppy, they may get overwhelmed or tired when out on a hike and need carrying. (Having a dog is very much like having a furry baby who never grows up.)

But you can’t carry your dog in your arms while you’re hiking. So a dog backpack is a great idea. They will allow your dog to rest and stay comfy instead of overexerting themselves. 

They are also great for dogs who are ill, elderly, or suffer from anxiety.

Just because your dog can’t walk well by themselves doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t still enjoy the great outdoors. Dogs love being outside, so being able to carry them around is great.

To make sure your dog backpack is safe, there are a few factors to look out for.

A harness is one of the most important features. This will keep your dog safe and secure and stop them from shifting around inside the backpack.

It will also stop them from clambering around or even jumping out. (It’s still wise to have their collar and leash handy though.)

Keeping your pup safe involves more than just backpacks – a lot more! Click here to see recommended safety gear you might have forgotten.

Comfort

As well as safety, your dog’s overall comfort is important too. For your dog to be able to sit properly, the backpack should have a flat base.

This is why several backpacks on this list have a square shape. It is to allow your dog to sit or even curl up for a nap on the bottom of the backpack.

Mesh sections are also important to make sure that your dog can breathe properly. They are also important to make sure your dog doesn’t overheat.

Dog backpacks are made from thick material that is often padded for your dog’s comfort. This can get very warm so it’s important to make sure they have a well-ventilated space.

Although you are most likely thinking about your dog more than yourself, your own comfort is also important. Carrying a heavy backpack is difficult enough.

But carrying a backpack with a dog, who will be moving around and probably wriggling, will be even more difficult.

Even if your dog is small and light, you will eventually begin to feel their weight, especially as you will be hiking and exercising yourself. 

So it’s important to find a backpack with strong padded straps.

You will also need some pockets and pouches to carry your things as well as some treats and toys (this variety pack will please any dog – and it’s bargain priced!) for your dog.

So make sure that you have enough for all of your needs too.

When to Use a Dog Backpack

Dog backpacks are practical items. They help your dog when they are too tired, small, elderly, or anxious to move around on their own.

They allow them to still get fresh air and see the outside without having to tire themselves out.

The most important thing to consider is if dog backpacks are good for your dog. You will need to ease your dog into the backpack. They will need to get used to it.

Placing your dog in any confined space might make them uneasy, especially if they are already anxious or ill.

So make sure to allow your dog to spend time around it, and allow them to spend time inside it before you take them hiking.

Do Dogs Like Being Carried?

There isn’t a definitive answer to this. Every dog has its own personality, so some will love to be carried and others will hate it.

When considering a dog backpack, it’s important to think about how your dog responds to being carried.

If they are calm and enjoy being carried around, then a dog backpack is a great way to include them in your hike.

If they don’t, then perhaps it’s a better idea to cut your hikes shorter and make it easier for your dog to keep up with you on foot. 

But, that said, they could hate being carried by a person but enjoy being in a backpack. So it’s worth trying out.

Final Thoughts

If you’re considering a dog backpack to carry your dog on a hiking trip, the most important thing to consider is their safety and comfort.

Your safety and comfort are, of course, also important. But your dog may become anxious or confused when you’re trying to place them inside their backpack.

This is why we have chosen the PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack for Small Cats and Dogs, Puppies as our favorite backpack.

It will give your dog the most freedom and the best level of comfort. Your dog should love every second. 

Last update on 2021-10-27 at 03:00 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API