Best Dog Backpacks for Hiking of 2024

Dog backpacks are exceptional accessories because they instill a sense of pride in our canine companions and enable them to participate actively in hiking adventures alongside us. These functional accessories boost their self-esteem and provide a practical means for them to carry essentials during our excursions.

Although it might seem that backpacks could burden our four-legged friends and hinder their movements, the top-quality dog backpacks designed for hiking are specifically crafted to tackle this issue. These well-designed accessories prioritize even weight distribution, ensuring that the load is balanced and does not hinder the animal.

In our comprehensive guide to the most reliable and comfortable options, we’ve thoroughly tested these backpacks on the trails, ensuring that they meet the rigorous demands of outdoor exploration.

Best Dog Backpacks for Hiking in 2024

Best Dog backpacks for hiking reviews…

1. Outward Hound 22003 Day Backpack – Best Overall

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The Outward is our preferred dog backpack for day hikes. It allows you to pack all your dog supplies, including your first aid kit! This model features the option to insert weights or objects, enabling your pup to carry extra gear and essentials comfortably while on the go! It’s available in medium and large sizes, allowing you to select the one that best fits your dog’s unique dimensions.

Outward DayPak doggy backpack is thoughtfully constructed with breathable mesh fabric, which keeps your pet warm and comfortable. This Hound backpack is widely adjustable on the dog’s back by using straps. It is removable from the harness, so it can be removed for a break.

It is equipped with 2 saddlebags (one on each side), reflective strips, and a hand handle on the top. The color is highly visible; you can stay worry-free day or night. This model is lightweight, convenient, and has plenty of room for food, water, training accessories, and more.


  • Good value for the money
  • Four expandable storage pockets
  • Reflective accents for high visibility
  • Available in different colors
  • Padded grab handle


  • No front clip
  • Be careful to keep the weight balanced

2. EXCELLENT ELITE SPANKER Dog Backpack for Hiking

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The EXCELLENT ELITE SPANKER nylon dog backpack has been padded for comfort. It is one of the best dog backpacks for long hiking. This model consists of several pockets to have all the items you need at hand when hiking. For this purpose, the backpack was equipped with magnets to be able to carry other objects.

It is made of high quality and durable nylon material with neat stitching and soft padded lining to protect your dog’s skin and hair. You can put your phone, keys, or small EDC items in the zip pockets.

The front straps are adjustable and equipped with a magical sticker to add patches you like. The adjustable belly straps with UTX Duraflex quick-release buckle make it convenient. The molle system on the back helps you add more elements you want. The strap features a metal V-ring to attach a dog leash for better control and to keep your partner close during your adventures.


  • Capacious side pockets
  • Dual adjustment and fixation
  • Left-right Symmetric Design
  • Multi-functional
  • Versatile


  • Aluminum V-ring is not good enough

3. Cesar Millan Medium Dog Backpack for Hiking

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Cesar Millan, a renowned authority on dog behavior, endorses the use of his effective accessories tailored for small dog breeds. This dog backpack is equipped with two large side pockets that securely attach to the dog with buckles. All straps are elastic and adapt to the dog’s movements. The main strap attaches to the chest. It is recommended for dogs between 20-40 lbs (9-18 kg).

It is made from strong and durable material to keep up with your active dog. Its breathable mesh padding keeps your dog’s skin cool and comfortable. This saddle bag can hold your personal items, such as keys, mobile phones, or weighted elements for a tougher challenge.

It is waterproof for extra protection against unfavorable weather. The reflective strips ensure better visibility in low light hours or at night. A center buckle ensures additional stability for the contents of the bag. The strap is adjustable and incorporates double-stitch reinforcement and elastic elements to accommodate and adjust your dog’s movements.


  • Convenient size for medium dogs
  • Easy to get on (just slip it over the dog’s head)
  • Good craftsmanship quality
  • Breathable and compact


  • Strap is a bit short and tight for large dogs

4. Ruffwear Poppy Approach Hiking Pack for Dogs

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The Ruffwear Approach Dog Pack features a weight-forward saddlebag design that provides your dog with a comfortable way to carry the essentials for your trip. This item is suitable for large and heavy dogs. It serves as an emergency backpack, allowing dogs to be transported if you are injured along the way.

It is made of lightweight materials and components that allow comfortable fit and long-term durability. The padded and soft handle offers an optimal balance point with good load dispersion for controlled and comfortable lifting. This model is convenient to carry, and easy-access stash pockets are perfect for often-used items. The capacity is ideal for overnight adventures. 

Its integrated harness features provide for leash walking, lifting, and pulling. The harness can be adjusted according to the weight and size of the dog. The reflective trim allows you to keep an eye on your dog, even when the visibility is poor.

Before settling on this model, we experimented with three other models from the same brand, which tended to slide and didn’t exhibit the durability we were looking for.


  • Durable and comfortable
  • Efficient load carrying
  • Non-slip straps and sheltered buckles
  • Excellent harness and reflective trim
  • Sturdy handle and metal D-ring
  • Large side pockets


  • A bit expensive
  • The bottom material is pretty rugged

5. OneTigris Dog Backpack for Medium & Large Dog

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Thanks to its comfortable design and fully adjustable hooks, the OneTigris dog backpack fuses attractive design with the functionality and safety of a professional trekking backpack. It is structured to fit like a jacket on the dog and hugs it softly preventing the weight from falling to one side.

The side bags are spacious and equipped with internal and external pockets. The lightweight and waterproof fabric with reflective parts, and above all, the numerous padded parts with a breathable structure make it an outstanding choice at an affordable price.

It has two side pockets with semi-open compartments for dog food, water, snacks, etc. It has 2 adjustable straps, making it suitable for medium and large dogs. However, it is not lightweight, weighing 1560 grams.

This model is available in different sizes. Each size can also be adjusted with Velcro fasteners so that the wearing comfort is increased. The carrying strap is buckled around the chest. Overall, its cotton canvas with high density provides your beloved dog with a better grip and does not hurt the fur.


  • Multifunctional dog harness backpack
  • Easy to adjust for different size dogs
  • Upgraded no-slide, snug-fit structure
  • Breathable and very comfortable
  • Durable pockets


  • D ring isn’t available on the back
  • No handle on the top

6. Kurgo Baxter Dog Saddlebag for Hiking & Camping

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Kurgo Baxter is our ultimate choice for the best dog backpack for hiking. It is very comfortable to wear for a dog. This model is designed to distribute the weight closer to the dog’s shoulders where the force is strongest. It is a beautiful deep red dog bag with many reflective details in lightweight waterproof material.

It has an integrated harness and a top handle that allows you to grab the dog at any time with ease. Kurgo Baxter dog backpack is equipped with a rear hook which can be used with a leash. This also acts as a bottle opener. This medium-sized dog pack is available in 3 colors and is fully adjustable.

It is made of strong and durable material to keep up with your active dog. The breathable mesh padding ensures a comfortable fit. The reflective stitching will increase visibility in the dark. In the side pockets, there is enough space for personal items such as keys, cell phones, or other items. However, the saddlebags aren’t removable.


  • Back handle for easy control
  • Front and rear leash attachments
  • Total eight adjustment point
  • Tiny zip pockets on each bag
  • Solid built quality


  • Sizing is way small

Best Dog Backpacks for Hiking Buyer’s Guide

Best Dog Backpacks for Hiking

Before choosing a dog backpack for hiking, it is essential to know the details of the product and its characteristics. The market is saturated with more or less attractive models but not all of them are adequate. Here are some factors you need to consider when buying the best dog backpacks for hiking:

Size and Dimension

Ensure the backpack is appropriately sized for your dog’s breed and weight. A snug and comfortable fit is essential to prevent discomfort and ensure stability during hiking. Each dog has unique needs. This is why various categories exist to cater to different models and sizes.

  • Dog backpack for small dogs
  • Backpacks for medium-sized dogs
  • Dog backpack for large dogs
  • Backpack up to six kilograms

However, it is important that the dog feels comfortable and has enough cushioning. Models where the dog only has its legs free should only be used for a short time.


Referring to the carrying capacity of the dog hiking backpack, it’s crucial to consider the primary purpose of the backpack. For longer vacations spanning several days, opting for a model with a larger capacity is advisable. Conversely, a small and light backpack is sufficient for a day hike.

Weight Distribution

It is essential to verify that the product features five adjustment points to distribute the weight effectively inside the dog backpack. This will prevent the harness from shifting or overturning during the entire journey.

Selecting a backpack that doesn’t place the weight directly on the animal’s spine is crucial for ensuring the dog’s comfort and well-being. These considerations contribute to a secure and balanced load distribution and enhance the overall hiking experience for both the dog and the owner.


Even if the fabric is waterproof, make sure to inspect closure points, including zippers. A high-quality dog backpack should feature water-resistant fabric to protect items effectively stored inside the side bags against water and atmospheric elements. Look for backpacks equipped with reliable protection systems to prevent water infiltration. This will ensure that your dog’s belongings and essentials stay dry and secure during outdoor adventures.

Removable Side Bags

Dog backpacks are designed based on the harness principle, and putting them on the dog may require some effort as they need to be adjusted to fit the dog’s body. Therefore, we recommend choosing models with removable side bags so that you can detach them when the dog is at rest. This allows the dog to lie down freely without any encumbrance and prevents overloading them with weight.

Models without removable panniers may require frequent removal and reattachment of the harness, which can be tiring for both owner and dog. This process becomes particularly risky in steep or potentially hazardous outdoor areas, where the dog may be left unhooked.

Compression System

It is beneficial to ensure that the side bags are securely attached to the body, preventing them from dangling downwards and causing discomfort for the dog. This way, our companion can move freely in a completely natural manner, even in the wildest of nature. Also, it’s important to remember that a dog backpack can serve as a regular harness attached to a leash, not just for exceptional occasions but also for everyday walks.

Attachment Points for the Leash

The dog backpack should have at least one attachment point for the leash and possibly other attachment points in different positions. This is useful either for moving the leash or for attaching important accessories.

Integrated Water Connections

Of course, it’s crucial to bring water with us to hydrate our dog during our adventures. A good-quality dog backpack will typically have designated compartments where you can store one or two bottles of water.

However, if your dog backpack doesn’t come with these features, ensure to carry a lightweight and possibly foldable water bowl that can be easily attached to the backpack. This way, you can provide your dog with water whenever needed without any hassle.

Front Loading Bag

The dog’s torso is the area with the greatest strength in their body. Therefore, it is completely safe and advisable to choose a dog backpack for hiking that has a front load design.

Reflective Surfaces

Opting for a dog backpack with a reflective surface is a crucial consideration for the safety of our pets. In situations where visibility is reduced, either due to darkness or the dog hiding in foliage, reflective parts enhance visibility, making it easier to locate them. For extended hikes in the wilderness, you might also want to consider a GPS tracking system as an additional safety measure to prevent the risk of your pet getting lost.

Material and Weight

A dog backpack must be robust and at the same time offer good ventilation. Therefore, the sides are often made of mesh to ensure perfect air circulation. The rest of the dog backpack is often made of nylon, polyester, and other water-repellent materials.

It is essential to choose a backpack that can be easily washed. It is a tool that will come into direct contact with all the elements of nature. Besides this, it would be better to choose a tear-resistant material with UV filter, waterproof, and dirt-repellent for easy cleaning.

The weight is largely negligible because a dog backpack usually weighs a maximum of two kilograms.


A dog backpack is an essential accessory for hiking with your furry companion. Whether you prefer a backpack, a dog belly bag, or a shoulder bag, there are numerous models of dog backpacks available online. Our dedicated research and comprehensive reviews aim to streamline the selection process for you. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask us in the comments section. We hope this guide has assisted you in finding the perfect dog hiking backpack for your adventures.


Are dog backpacks safe for hiking?

Dog backpacks for hiking are safe products for our pets, and in most cases, dogs will soon get used to wearing them, greatly appreciating them. However, make sure to avoid overloading the panniers with weight.

How does wearing a backpack help my dog?

Carrying a backpack helps build muscle mass and thus leads to a healthier life. They also help build confidence and positivity in the dog who will feel proud of himself. The feeling of “embrace” generated by the harness will also serve the dog to soothe it in case of anxiety.

From what age can the dog wear a backpack?

For small or medium-sized dogs, we expect them to reach at least 18 months of age. For larger breeds of dogs on the other hand expect them to be at least 2 years old. When you start introducing the dog backpack to the animal, remember that it will always be necessary to consider a first training period.

Do dogs like to wear a backpack?

Backpacks are not just an element of practicality. Most dogs like to wear backpacks when walking, hiking, or vacationing with their owner. There are very few dogs who cannot accept that they have something on, and despite training, they will not be able to overcome the mistrust.

How should I introduce my dog to a backpack for hiking?

  • Start with a lightweight backpack and gradually add weight as your dog gets accustomed to wearing it.
  • Allow your dog to wear the backpack around the house or during short walks to get used to the feel.
  • Use positive reinforcement, such as treats or praise, to create a positive association with wearing the backpack.
  • Monitor your dog’s behavior and comfort level, adjusting the fit or weight as needed.

How much does a good dog backpack cost?

The price of a dog backpack depends on the variant. If the dog is to be carried while hiking, the price for the backpack is between 30 and 150 dollars. A backpack carried by the dog costs 50 dollars on average.

Can I use a regular backpack for my dog?

While you can technically use a regular backpack for your dog, it’s not recommended. Regular backpacks are not designed with the necessary features, such as padding, ventilation, and weight distribution, needed for a dog’s comfort and safety during hiking or outdoor activities. It’s best to invest in a dog-specific backpack designed for this purpose.

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