Backpacks for Hiking with Dogs: Which One is Right for You?

Going hiking with dogs can be a memorable experience. Some dogs might even be willing to carry their loads. They could carry food items, water, and so on. Although not all dogs can do this, some will always want this challenge.

In carrying these loads, there are different backpacks that you can use for your dogs. You should, however, consider the durability and comfort of these backpacks. So, if you are planning a hike with your dog and looking for that perfect backpack, look no further. We will be reviewing some of the best backpacks available.

9 Best Backpacks for Hiking With Dog and Buying Guide

We will highlight our fair and thoroughly researched top seven best backpacks for your dog’s hiking experience. So, follow through as we take you on this ride.

1. Ruffwear Approach Dog Backpack

Ruffwear Approach Dog Backpack 1

Ruffwear Approach Dog Backpack

It includes collapsible water bowls and durable construction. This pack has space for everything your dog needs while exploring nature.

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This approach pack from Ruffler can be useful for hiking experiences or even overnight exploration. It is great for professional hikers and dogs that love the idea of overnight camping. Even though this backpack is quite pricey, it lasts longer than most of its counterparts.

This pack comes in with a lot of handy advantages. These advantages include stashed pockets, external gear loops, and coated zippers. The Ruffler Approach pack is designed to ensure that load stability is provided. It also offers a good weight spread across the pack.

The pack comes with a light and sturdy harness. This helps make the process convenient, as you can detach the pack and leave the harness on. It also has a padded strap that keeps your dog’s coat and skin intact. The covered buckles in the bag also sit in place for convenience. – This bag comes in sizes ranging from XXS to XL.

Highlighted Features:

  • Light and sturdy harness for convenience.
  • Highly durable material quality.
  • Padded straps to keep your dog’s skin intact.
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2. Outward Hound Kyjen Dog Backpack

Outward Hound Kyjen Dog Backpack

Outward Hound Kyjen Dog Backpack

This is crafted from durable and lightweight material, and this backpack is comfortable to wear, convenient to use, and highly functional.

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The Outward Hound Backpack is great for occasional, long-lasting trails and explorations. The pack has spacious saddlebag pockets, durable zippers, mesh pockets, and a harness for a proper fit.

This backpack is designed to take all your dog’s weight when at rest. It also provides quick and easy access to the contents of the sack. Internal mesh compartments and an elastic water bottle holder are added to aid your dog’s convenience.

The Outward Hound backpack features pockets that have vast pouches and zipper closures. This can help withhold food, fluid, and other similar accessories. This pack can be your adventurous dog’s best friend as it is easy to put on and can be adjusted for a comfortable fit. The sizes of the pack vary from S to XL.

This backpack has been well crafted with extremely durable nylon. This can come in handy to help with the task of the rough terrains that come along with the hiking experience. It also comes with reflective highlights that help to maximize awareness in natural locations.  

Highlighted Features:

  • Adjustable and comfortable fit.
  • Vast pouches and zipper closures to help hold food.
  • Compartments for added convenience.
  • Extremely durable material quality.
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3. One Tigris Mammoth Dog Pack

One Tigris Mammoth Dog Pack

One Tigris Mammoth Dog Pack

Its ergonomic, low-profile design is comfortable for dogs and functions well with pets of varying sizes.

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The mammoth dog pack is great for powerful dogs exploring rugged locations. This bag comes in quite different from the bags we have previously considered. It is made with heavy-duty materials and was designed for rugged landscapes. This will be quite beneficial for canine soldiers.

These bags are terrific. You can easily fasten them with the rail straps and the clip belts. However, an uneven charge can cause the vest to slide. Also, the buckles have not been well padded or sheltered. The design of the packs did not take sheltering or padding into consideration.

The mammoth bag has been designed to be comfortable for strong and large dogs. Such dogs will not make a fuss over little discomforts. There are molles on both sides that you can use to attach other accessories. These accessories can be magazines, food supplies, and the like.

The pack helps your dog maximize optimal comfort as much as possible. The Velcro panel and mesh design help to also offer better breathability and ventilation. The Mammoth pack comes in sizes ranging from medium to extra-large.

Highlighted Features:

  • Velcro panel and mesh design for optimal comfort.
  • Heavy-duty materials are suitable for rugged landscapes.
  • Molle for attaching accessories.
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4. Kurgo Dog Saddlebag Backpack

Kurgo Dog Saddlebag Backpack

Kurgo Dog Saddlebag Backpack

This is a top pick for dog lovers who enjoy hiking with their dogs. This technical, versatile dog backpack features an integrated harness and vest.

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The Kurgo Saddlebag is a lightweight bag that is great for hikers who love to trek at night and go camping for days. It comes with two pockets that you can use to keep your dog’s essentials, such as food items and travel bottles.

This pack comes with a dog harness integrated with a rear-mounted ring. This ring can be used to attach your pet’s leash. You can also use the other ring as a bottle opener. It features a padded handle that can control or guard your dog against obstacles during hiking.

It comes with reflective strips on the side that can help to increase visibility in the dark. This will help you spot your dog when you settle for evening camps. The backpack comes with about eight adjustment points. These points can help to generate a custom fit for your dogs.

There is also a saddlebag that you can move up and down. The kurgo backpack comes in two sizes. The Baxter size is for dogs that weigh between 30 and 85 lbs. The other size is the big Baxter size for dogs weighing between 50 and 110 lbs.

Highlighted Features:

  • Eight adjustment points for a custom fit.
  • Reflective strips to increase visibility in the dark.
  • Large padded handle.
  • Integrated dog harness.
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5. Himal Outdoors Dog Backpack

Himal Outdoors Dog Backpack 2

Himal Outdoors Dog Backpack

Designed to be comfortable for use. It is made for holding pets up to 20 lbs. It comes with a built-in harness which allows you to attach a leash.

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The Himal Dog backpack is a very durable pack that is made for medium and large dogs that love to explore the wilderness. It is made of durable nylon with a soft mesh that lines underneath. This soft mesh offers a cool and secure feel for your dog.

The dog vest harness can be adjusted anytime for a more comfortable fit. The adjusted straps can fit dogs with a neck size of 31.5 inches and a chest size of 35.8 inches. It also comes with zipped side pouches that can be used to pack your dog’s essentials.

The exterior pockets come with a Velcro lock that helps ascertain your belongings’ safety. The Himal Outdoor backpack has a sturdy padded handle to help your dog cross obstacles. So, your dog finds it easy to cross things like a river. The rear-mounted d-rings can also help you hold your dog leash in place.

Highlighted Features:

  • Sturdy paddled handle.
  • Comfortable soft mesh that offered a secure feel.
  • Zipped side pouches to keep the dog’s essentials.
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6. Ruffwear Switchbak Dog Harness
Ruffwear Switchbak Dog Harness

Ruffwear Switchback Dog Harness

It is a comfortable, supportive dog backpack. This dog backpack is designed to carry your dog’s vital gear safely and ergonomically.

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The Ruffwear Switchbak combines the features of a harness and backpack into one fitting. It is suitable for short hikes and dogs that can only carry lightweight loads. It comprises a foam-padded design that helps with comfortable extended wear.

This harness can be worked around to any fit, as it comes with five adjustment points. It also comes with reflective accents and an aluminum V-ring that you can use to hook your dog’s leash. It can also attach the webbing loop on the chest for pulling dogs.

It has a padded belly strap that provides stability and comfort, especially when carrying loads. It also comes with a paddled handle to assist your dog in guarding against obstacles. The sizes range from extra small to extra large. You can use a mild detergent to wash this pack and air dry for maintenance practices.

Highlighted Features:

  • Paddled belly strap for stability and comfort.
  • Reflective accents.
  • Adjustments point to a suitable fit.
  • Foam padding.
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7. Ytonet Dog Backpack Carrier

Ytonet Dog Backpack Carrier 1

Ytonet Dog Backpack Carrier

This stylish and functional pet carrier backpack is easy to carry. Made of high-quality materials that are safe for your pet.

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This backpack is made from eco-friendly polyester that is resistant to scratching. It is very durable, and the room ensures your dog is comfortable. The Ytonet backpack is suitable for small and medium-sized dogs that weigh about 18 lbs.

This backpack has two entrances so your dog can stick its head out. This means you can play with your dog without putting the pack down. You can readily roll up the top pad cover for convenience purposes. Four breathable mesh windows help to provide visibility and ventilation.

This backpack has a reinforced structure that helps ascertain your dog’s safety. The bottom zipper with a lockable function adds a more secure fit for your pet. The multi-storage pockets on both sides can help you store the dog’s essentials.

The bottom pads of this pack are removable and cleanable as it adds to the extra comfort your dog can benefit from. It can readily be folded flat, so you can store them easily when not in use. The back straps make it quite comfortable for hiking activities.

Highlighted Features:

  • Multi-storage pockets.
  • Scratch-resistant ventilated mesh windows.
  • Paddled back and shoulder strap for comfort.
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8. PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack

PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack

PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack

It is a great option for pet lovers looking to carry their favorite furry friend around on a hike while still keeping things organized.

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This is a very comfortable backpack that can be used for hiking and trekking. It was made using high-grade polyester. It fits well for dogs weighing up to 18 lbs and is available in twelve color variants.

The PetAmi Deluxe backpack comes in well-ventilated to allow for good airflow. It features a two-way entry so your dog can easily wear and put it off. The mesh zip-up window comes in great to enhance headroom and visibility.

This backpack also features sherpa-lined bedding for great comfort levels. The pack is designed in such a way that your dog can move easily without issues. However, even with this design, it does not collapse easily during the trips.

The PetAmi backpack also considers safety as it has safety straps and buckles to ensure better safety conditions. The waist and shoulder buckles help to provide extra support for your dog. The side pouches can be used to store pet essentials.

Highlighted Features:

  • Functional storage pockets.
  • Extra back and shoulder padding.
  • Safety buckles.
  • Sherpa lined the bed.
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9. COODIA Dog Carrier Front Chest Backpack

COODIA Dog Carrier Front Chest Backpack

COODIA Dog Carrier Front Chest Backpack

Made of quality fabric and a simple nice design. It has a spacious compartment for holding other stuff, such as food, a water bowl, and a leash.

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This pack’s front and back designs make it easy for one to take care of their dogs. The head-out design comes in great for the comfort of your dog. The two sides of the carrier are made with mesh fabric that helps with good ventilation.

The COODIA backpack has zippers on both sides, giving you free access to the pack’s contents. The built-in safety lock feature comes in to help protect your dog from flopping. The straps can be easily adjusted for comfort while hiking, trekking, or walking.

The carrier is almost weightless and comes in four size variants ranging from small to extra-large. It has three color options for small, medium, and large dogs.

Highlighted Features:

  • Comfortable and weightless.
  • Multiple pocket options.
  • Breathable sides.
  • Safety locks for better safety conditions.
  • Adjustable straps.
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Is it Safe to Carry Your Dog in a Backpack?

Putting your dog in a backpack is like carrying it on your shoulders. It can be difficult for the animal to breathe, and the straps can cause injury if they are too tight. If your dog gets loose and starts running away from you, running off without being tethered or restrained by a leash is unsafe. The backpack is load also puts pressure on the dog’s joints and can affect their mobility.

Moreover, dogs have sharper senses than humans, so they may become more agitated when carried in a backpack due to the extra sensory input they feel while riding on your back or shoulders. In these cases, you should carry your dog in something smaller such as a pet carrier or duffel bag.

Finally, you should avoid carrying your dog in a backpack if there is any chance someone will try to take them from you and run away with them. Your best bet would be putting your dog on a chain or harness while you carry it on your back and then letting it off when necessary so it doesn’t get lost or stolen.

How to Keep Your Dog Safe While Carrying in a Backpack

So, you want to carry your dog in a backpack. But, there are some potential risks you should keep in mind. Your dog could get out of the backpack and cause harm to others or himself. Your dog may also be uncomfortable, and it may not be able to breathe well in the pack.

There are many things you can do to prevent these risks. First, you don’t want your dog exiting the pack while it’s going fast–especially if no one is around to stop the dog from running into traffic or something similar.

Second, ensure your dog can breathe easily inside the pack and won’t be too hot or cold. You can add extra padding in places where your dog needs it most (like his tummy) to feel comfortable riding in a backpack.

A few other factors that affect how safe carrying your pet is included whether or not you have any dogs with aggressive tendencies with your pet. If one of these dogs gets out of his pen when you open the pack up, it could lead to an altercation between them if they see each other during their ride.

It might also be problematic if your pet has very short hair–either because they grow faster than they do now or shed more often since they don’t need as much protection against the elements as a long-haired animal.

What To Consider Before Buying a Backpack For Hiking With a Dog

With the dozens of backpacks available on Amazon and other online stores, selecting one that meets your needs can be difficult.

To simplify your decision-making process, we’ve collected important factors to consider when buying a backpack.

1. Features You Need

One of the first things you should consider when buying a hiking backpack is what features you need.

Some people might need a pack with a built-in rain cover so they and their dog can stay dry while on the trail. Others might want a pack with a built-in hydration system so they don’t have to carry extra water (which can add weight).

You should also look for packs that are easy to access because sometimes your dog will need to get in and out of the backpack to relieve themselves.

2. Which Brand Is Right For You

Some brands specialize in top-quality hiking backpacks, like Columbia and Osprey, which can be expensive. Other brands are more affordable but may not have the same level of quality.

It’s important to consider which features you want from your backpack and how much you want to spend on it.

3. Frequency of Use and Budget

Another good exercise for determining whether a backpack is right for you is considering how often you plan to use it and your budget.

If you only use a backpack once or twice a year and don’t want to spend too much on one, it may not be worth buying from a brand like Columbia or Osprey.

However, if you want a more durable bag that will last longer and meet your dog’s needs during your hiking and camping trips, these brands might be worth the investment.

4. Materials Used

Another thing that makes a good hiking backpack is the type of material it’s made from. If you’re looking for something waterproof, there are plenty of options on the market.

But if mobility and quick drying are more important to you, one option would be to find a backpack made from nylon or polyester.

What Conditions Apply Where You Can Carry Your Dog in a Backpack?

Certain conditions apply where you can carry your dog in a backpack. So, if you’re wondering whether you can carry your dog in a backpack, the answer is yes. But, some conditions must be met first.

For example, if you’re walking your dog with a leash, then it’s okay. If you meet all these criteria, knowing your dog will be safe and sound while walking with you is good.

However, if you’re walking your dog without a leash and have it sitting on your shoulders or chest area, it may not be safe for them to be carried this way. On the other hand, if this is the only way for you and your furry friend to enjoy walks together

How Do You Take a Large Dog on a Hike?

You’re out for a hike, and your dog is enjoying the fresh air and scenery. But, before you know it, you’ve hit a snag. You can’t go any further because too many rocks and trees are in your way. You could carry your dog on your back like people used to do in the wilderness, but that would be a lot of work. Luckily, there are other options.

There are lightweight hiking packs for dogs to carry along on your hikes. These packs make carrying a large dog much easier, so you can take them without worrying about the weight or difficulty of the hike.

Additionally, these backpacks come with specially designed padded pockets so that your pet is comfortable while they’re traveling on their trip.

What Do You Do With Dog Poop When Hiking?

One of the biggest risks associated with carrying your dog in a backpack is that you could cause harm to others while on your hike. To avoid this, be sure to keep your dog on a leash at all times. Another way you can minimize the risk of harming others is by carrying water for your dog and disposing of it after each use.

If you’re concerned about your dog’s health, consider having them wear a back carrier or harness instead of a backpack. With these options, you can still take your pet along for the ride without risking any harm to them or anyone else around them.

How Much Weight Can My Dog Carry In a Backpack?

A dog’s weight will vary depending on your pet’s breed, age, and size. But, generally speaking, dogs should not carry more than 20 percent of their body weight in a backpack.

This is based on the fact that some dogs may be able to carry more of their body weight than others, but there’s no widely accepted scientific evidence for a specific maximum amount of weight that can be carried.


Choosing the right backpack for hiking with your dog can make all the difference in your outdoor adventures. With so many options available on the market, deciding which one is right for you can be overwhelming. We hope this guide has provided useful information and insights to help you make an informed decision.

Consider factors like size, durability, ventilation, and features like water resistance and pockets when selecting a backpack for hiking with your furry friend. Additionally, don’t forget to consider your dog’s size, weight, and comfort when selecting a backpack that suits your needs.

You and your dog can enjoy the great outdoors comfortably and safely with the right backpack. Whether you’re embarking on a day hike or a multi-day adventure, investing in a quality backpack is a worthwhile investment that will enhance your hiking experience for years to come.

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Written by Jane Miller

Hey there! I'm Nomadic Jane, a digital nomad and travel blogger. Since 2009, I've been traveling the world and exploring cultures through my travel blog.

In addition to writing about travel and adventure, I also share my best tips on how to become a digital nomad so you can have the freedom to travel, too!