by Tom Ken
Dog backpacks give your dog an extra purpose. They are basically storage spaces that are tied to your pup, enabling it to help out by carrying water, first aid kits, and other items as you go for a walk.
In addition to that, these backpacks enable your dog to have a proper workout, with the extra weight helping them to build muscle. That said, in this article, we look at the best dog backpacks that you can get to help your pet enjoy these benefits.
1. Ruffwear Approach Dog Pack (Best Overall)
2. Outward Hound Daypak (Best Budget)
3. Industrial Puppy Service Dog Backpack (Best for Service Dogs)
4. Kurgo Dog Saddlebag Backpack (Best Adjustable)
5. OneTigris Dog Pack (Most Comfortable)
6. Excellent Elite Spanker Dog Pack (Best for Outdoor Use)
7. Ruffwear Palisades Dog Pack (Best for Trails)
Ruffwear's dog pack takes the overall best position because it has a very practical design. This design includes 4 stash pockets plus external gear loops that give easy access when on the trail.
The saddlebags containing these pockets have a weight-forward design that stabilizes the pack for comfortable carrying. This reduces strain on your dog for easy load carrying.
Additionally, these bags have a form-fitting inner surface while the pack has an integrated harness with 5 adjustment points for comfortable fitting.
Other features include bright orange and green color options with reflective trims for better visibility in low light conditions on the trail, a light loop for attaching a beacon for improved visibility, and a strong aluminum V-ring plus reinforced webbing loop for leash attachments.
The only problem is that the unit is quite expensive and relatively heavy.
For those looking for an affordable, high-quality dog backpack, Outward Hound's Daypak is the best option. The unit is equipped with 4 expandable pockets but weighs a mere 10.24 oz. when empty. As such, it causes less fatigue to your pet whether empty or full.
In the inner section, the pack is lined with breathable mesh material for comfort and breathability. Multiple adjustable straps are also included for perfect fitting.
You also get a reflective piping plus bright coloring for improved nighttime visibility, a D-ring clip for leash attachments, and a top handle for easy lift-assist.
However, despite having multiple pockets, the pack has a small capacity that fits only a few items. This is because it is primarily built for quick getaways and everyday errands with your dogs. That said, the pack is still capable of holding your walking and hiking essentials.
Apart from having "service dog" patches on both sides, Industrial Puppy's backpack has a 2-in-1 design that can be used as an animal vest or dog backpack. The saddlebags are removable to leave the vest and this makes it ideal for service dogs.
That said, the patches are removable and they should be removed when the dog is off the clock or during playtime. They also have reflective surfaces and these combine forces with the reflective safety band at the front to improve nighttime visibility.
More features include heavy-duty double-stitched nylon construction, a comfortable mesh lining, an easy-swap parachute clasp, and a welded D-ring for leash attachments. However, you don't get external gear loops for quick access.
This dog backpack from Kurgo stands out because it has a total of 8 adjustment points. As a result, it can be easily fitted on any dog size and the saddlebags can also be moved up or down to accommodate different dog sizes.
Aside from that, the pack is lined with a breathable mesh material, which keeps the interior ventilated for better comfort.
It has reflective strips on the sides for better visibility, a chest pad with a bottle opener, a rear D-ring for leash attachments, which can also be used as a bottle opener, and a padded handle for easy lift-assist.
However, the backpack is only available for 30-85-lb and 50-110-lb dogs. There is no option for small dog breeds.
OneTigris' dog pack offers the best comfort because it is made using soft high-density cotton canvas, which is lined with a breathable padded mesh material. Additionally, it is held firmly to your pup's body using neck and belly straps, which are adjustable for comfortable fitting.
Apart from that, the unit is equipped with one zipped compartment on each side and semi-open pockets for quick access.
More features include front and read D-rings for leash attachments, a sturdy lift handle, and an elastic band on the straps for tight-fitting. However, the pack is only available for medium and large dogs, and it does not have reflector strips.
There are a couple of features that make this dog pack the best choice for outdoor use. For starters, it is made using a tough, high-quality 1000D nylon material, which withstands rough handling outdoors without tearing.
The unit also has durable duraflex UTX quick-release buckles, a high-strength lift-assist handle, a horizontal pocket for keeping your umbrella within close reach if it starts to rain, and a molle system for carrying gear.
Inside, elastic bands are built-in for holding and fixing the items inside as you go for walks while a left-right symmetric design enables you to balance the weight evenly on both sides so that your dog is not weighed down on one side.
Despite being this tough, the pack has a soft padded lining that makes it comfortable to your pet and prevents chaffing on its skin. You also get a porous buckle for leash attachments if your dog gets too wild.
On the downside, the unit only has 2 pockets, but these are complemented with external gear loops for carrying more items and easy accessibility. Also, it is only available for medium and large dogs.
When walking through the trails, you and your pet are bound to get thirsty. Ruffwear's Palisades dog pack is designed to take care of this by having two 1-liter BPA-free hydration bladders for storing your pup's water.
The unit is also fitted with external gear loops and stash pockets, which keep your water and other items within close reach for easy access on the trail.
Other than that, the unit has a modular setup with removable saddlebags, which leave your pup wearing a vest for attaching your leash. Leash attachments are done on a strong aluminum V-ring that is reinforced with a webbing loop to prevent tearing.
More features include 5 adjustment points for tight-fitting, a reflective trim and light loop for enhancing visibility in the dark, and a compression system that stabilizes items in the pockets. However, all these features make the pack very expensive and very heavy.
If you have a small dog that weighs in the range of 15-30 lbs., this Outward Hound backpack is the best one you can get for it. This is because the bag has a 16-20-in. girth and a 26-in chest size, which is the ideal size for small dogs.
That said, there is an extra-large option and both are available in bright, reflective colors and accents for better visibility. Other features include detachable saddlebags, 2 mesh pockets, and a D-ring for leash attachments.
Just by the look of it, this backpack is meant for tactical hunting dogs because it has a camouflage color. It comprises a camouflaged harness and 3 detachable camo pouches that blend in easily outdoors.
That said, the unit is built using 1000D nylon fabric for enhanced durability, and has a breathable mesh-padded interior for better comfort. You also get a molle system for attaching gear outside the pouches, a hook-n-loop design for attaching patches, and a heavy metal ring for leashes.
Though quite large and with two roomy pockets, Wellver's dog backpack is very affordable and this makes it ideal for those who are on a tight budget. That said, the pack is still well-built because it has a breathable mesh lining that offers a cool and comfortable inner surface.
More features include a D-ring for the leash, a top handle for lift-assist, and vibrant, reflective color options.
EzyDog's Summit dog backpack is characterized by a rugged design that primarily consists of a tough and durable polyester outer shell. This material is designed to handle rough handling on the trails without tearing.
However, the inner lining is made using cotton, which places a soft, comfortable cushion on the dog's skin. Other features include 2 zipped and 2 easy-access pockets, reflective strips at the front and rear ends, and a welded rust-proof D-ring for leash attachments.
As the name suggests, this dog pack is designed for tactical dogs because it is built using tough and water-resistant 1000D nylon material. The pack also comes in either black or coyote brown colors, which camouflage easily on the trails.
That said, the unit is equipped with two main zipper compartments, two hook-n-loop closed pockets, and a top zipper pocket with a clear ID card window for the dog's ID.
This backpack is very similar to its sibling ( OneTigris tactical dog pack) because it is built using 1000D nylon material, which is very tough and durable.
Aside from that, the unit has large 3-liter pouches that are complemented by two loop panels, which can hold water bottles, umbrellas, treats, dog food, and other extra items.
Other features include a reinforced grab handle, a UTX duraflex clip for leash attachments, 2 adjustable straps for fitting different dog breeds, and a breathable mesh lining.
Jiepai's backpack is more of a medium-duty tactical pack because it is built using 500D nylon, which is not as tough as 1000D nylon. That said, the material is still quite good because it meets military specs and the saddlebags have hook-n-loop panels for attaching "service dog" patches.
You get adjustable straps with a durable UTX duraflex quick-release buckle, a molle system for carrying gear, a top handle, and a metal V-ring for attaching the leash.
If you just want a small backpack for your dog, be sure to check out 2Pet's dog backpack because it has two compact 9 x 5.5-in saddlebags. As such, it is ideal for carrying small water bottles, poop bags, toys, and the like.
These two saddlebags are removable and detach/attach from the harness using Velcro stripes for quick removal. You also get a D-ring for leash attachments and a top handle for easy lift-assist.
The first thing to consider is your dog and to be more specific, its age. Even though we don't recommend the backpacks for puppies or senior dogs, you can get small units that will not carry much and weight them down.
Other than that, you need to check your dog's breed size because these backpacks are classified for small, medium, or large breeds. Universally compatible backpacks are better because you can switch them between your different dog breeds if you have a mix of them.
A dog backpack's size is measured to fit on a certain range of neck and chest sizes. This is very important to check because it must fit to be comfortable to carry.
Measured in inches, be sure to measure the widest area on your dog's neck and ribcage, then get an appropriate girth size for it.
A dog should carry about 25% of its body weight in the backpack and this includes the weight of the pack. Therefore, the heavier it is, the less the cargo that you will be able to load inside. This means that lighter ones are better to buy, so long as the build quality is not compromised.
That said, Outward Hound's Daypak has a slight edge over the others because it weighs only 10.24 oz.
You can have two same-size backpacks but one has 2 pockets while the other has 4. The one with 4 pockets is better because it helps you have better organization of the stored items. All in all, the more the pockets, the better.
In addition to this, you should check for external gear loops and molle systems, which give additional space for carrying extra items such as gear. For this, be sure to check out Ruffwear's dog pack.
A backpack's build quality is primarily determined by the material used to make it. These units are mostly made using nylon, which can have different degrees of toughness. For instance, 1000D nylon is tougher and more durable than 500D nylon.
Therefore, we recommend getting a 1000D nylon-built pack if you intend to take your dog through the harshest terrain. A perfect example of this is service dogs, and these require tactical packs like Petvins' dog pack.
Some backpacks are meant for tactical dogs, others for hiking, and others for regular use. You should pick according to the functionality you want because the heavy-duty tactical and hiking units are quite costly. It would make no sense to buy such only for regular light use.
Don't let your dog carry the pack uncomfortably. Whether it is heavy or is made using tough materials, always ensure that the inner lining is made of a breathable mesh fabric that reduces heat buildup.
Some units are also made using soft materials such as cotton, which does not hurt the dog's fur. For this, check out OneTigris' dog pack.
This factor is very important if going out to the trails for long periods. Anything can happen. It might rain, or you might encounter puddles or cross shallow rivers. If this happens, the contents stored inside can get wet.
However, if the pack is weather resistant, such conditions should not worry you. Even for normal use, we recommend weather-resistant backpacks because you and your dog might be caught out in the rain someday.
No. They are not good for puppies because their bones are still developing. They are also not good for senior dogs because they may cause a lot of stress on their joints. These backpacks are safest for young, healthy adult dogs.
The main criteria to look for are the neck and chest girth and these are easy to measure. However, some backpacks are rated for a certain dog weight range and length. You need to check the specific requirements for each backpack before buying it.
That said, for the girth, you should measure the widest section around your dog's neck and ribcage.
Generally, we recommend a weight that does not exceed 25% of the dog's weight and it should be balanced on both sides of the pack. This means that larger, heavier dogs can carry more than smaller ones.
However, if your dog is not used to carrying a backpack, you can begin by placing lighter weights such as 10-15% of its body weight, then gradually increase to 25%.
Everyone (and every dog) should carry their own cross. Therefore, you should pack the dog's essentials in its bag and yours in your bag.
For the dog, pack its water, treats, food, a first aid kit, and the like. If the pack is not full and the 25% weight limit is not reached, you can put your phone and keys in the pack. Let it help you out a bit.
Himal Outdoors Dog Backpack, Dog Hiking Backpack, Hound Saddle Bag for Medium & Large Dog - Walmart Link
Outward Hound, Lightweight Dog Backpack, Hiking Gear for Dogs - Walmart Link
OneTigris Dog Backpack for Medium & Large Dogs, Nylon Backpack for Dogs Tactical Pet - Walmart Link
OneTigris Dog Pack Hound Travel Camping Hiking Backpack Saddle Bag Rucksack for Medium & - Walmart Link
JiePai Dog Backpack Harness Dog Hiking Backpack Saddle Bag Pack Rucksack Dog Vest with - Walmart Link
Kurgo Dog Saddlebag Backpack, Back Pack Dog Harness, Hiking Pack for Dogs, Packs for Pets - Walmart Link
Ruffwear's Palisades dog pack - Walmart Link
this Outward Hound backpack - Walmart Link
EzyDog's Summit dog backpack - Walmart Link
OneTigris tactical dog pack - Walmart Link
Himal Outdoors Dog Backpack, Dog Hiking Backpack, Hound Saddle Bag for Medium & Large Dog - eBay Link
Outward Hound, Lightweight Dog Backpack, Hiking Gear for Dogs - eBay Link
OneTigris Dog Backpack for Medium & Large Dogs, Nylon Backpack for Dogs Tactical Pet - eBay Link
OneTigris Dog Pack Hound Travel Camping Hiking Backpack Saddle Bag Rucksack for Medium & - eBay Link
JiePai Dog Backpack Harness Dog Hiking Backpack Saddle Bag Pack Rucksack Dog Vest with - eBay Link
Kurgo Dog Saddlebag Backpack, Back Pack Dog Harness, Hiking Pack for Dogs, Packs for Pets - eBay Link
Ruffwear's Palisades dog pack - eBay Link
this Outward Hound backpack - eBay Link
EzyDog's Summit dog backpack - eBay Link
OneTigris tactical dog pack - eBay Link
All in all, Ruffwear's dog pack takes the overall best position because it has a practical and balanced weight-forward design with 4 pockets and external gear loops. It also has 5 adjustment points for comfortable fitting.
However, if you have a service dog, we recommend Industrial Puppy's backpack due to its versatile 2-in-1 design and heavy-duty nylon construction.
If you are on a tight budget though, be sure to check out the affordable Outward Hound's Daypak, which is still well-equipped for the job.
About Tom Ken
Tom has worked with many veterinary surgeons as a nurse at different veterinary clinics throughout his life.
There, he provides care for sick animals; such as: dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, and sometimes reptiles.
He has good work ethics and gentle hands; hence, the doctors as well the pet owners have come to love his presence alot.
With this site, he aims to help the readers ensure their pets' wellbeing, learn how to care, and proivide medical treatment as needed.
Joshua received Veterinary Technician Degree at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN.