The Best Dog Backpacks Reviewed

I have been looking at many local stores and places to find a backpack for my dog. All I could find in my local stores where harnesses. I continued my search online only to find out that this is much harder than I thought. Hours I have been reading reviews online. Choose a pack is difficult when you can’t see and touch it like when you are in the store.

Every type of hike requires a different type of backpack. For hikes of multiple days you need a pack that is more durable and probably biggers bags, that can carry more items. Also, more comfort is desirable for longer hikes. For shorter hikes you can for a cheaper pack that has smaller bags, because you probably take fewer items with you.

You can read my post How I Found a Hiking Backpack for My Dog to get more information on how to get started.


Below I have combined reviews of all the backpacks I have been looking at.


Outward Hound Daypak

I have this pack a couple of weeks now and it’s a fine pack for beginners. It’s a nice pack for day walks and small hikes.

Here are some technical details

This is my dogs backpack
My dogs Daypak
  • It’s got a D-ring clip for easy attachment of a leash
  • Two expendable bags on both sides for lightweight carrying
  • it’s got a small reflector on both sides
  • Adjustable straps
  • Breathable mesh harness for airflow and keep your dog cool


I have read in reviews that the bags might rip apart very quickly, but to me, the material feels ok. I haven’t noticed any of that wear and tear yet. The max weight my dog can carry is about 800 grams which can make a difference of course.

The Daypak comes in three sizes: small, medium and large. If your dog has a girth between 11 inches and 32 inches (27cm and 82cm) you will find one of these 3 sizes right for you.

With the adjustable straps, it should be an easy fit. Make sure it’s not to tight and not to loose around the chest.

How to Fit

This daypak is easily fit if you follow this step by step

  • Unbuckle and loosen all the straps
  • Slip the pack over your dogs head
  • Center the pack on your dogs back. The pack should sit close to his neck
  • Step you dogs front right paw through the front right loop
  • With the center strap threaded, secure front belly strap to front buckle
  • Secure back belly strap to back belly buckle
  • Adjust chest strap to a secure fit
  • Tuck the loose end of the chest strap through the chest panel
  • Roll all loose strap ends toward the buckles and secure rolled ends to Velcro tabs

Now you are ready.

The pack comes in two bright colors, blue or green. For high visibility this is great. But better attach an extra led light when you walk in the dark or when there is fog. It would be nice if the back had something where you can clip a led light on.

Pro’s

  • Weight is lifted over the shoulders and not the back
  • Bright colors
  • Large breathable mesh
  • lightweight

Con’s

  • D-ring is not made for hard pullers
  • Water resistant not waterproof. You can spray it with a waterproofing solution for extra protection
  • Chest strap does not have a buckle release


Outward Hound Kyjen 2500

Another backpack from Outward Hound. Prices of the packs differ very much around the globe. In the U.S. the price of the Kyjen 2500 is about the same as the daypak. The prices in Europe are 2 times the price of the daypak. In Australia, it’s the other way around. That is if you buy it through Amazon.

Here are some technical details

  • It has removable bags. Great when you take a break you can easily take the weight of your dog
  • It comes in four bright colors you can choose from. Orange, blue, green and red. And it’s got a little reflecting strip on the side
  • Larger pockets than the daypak for carrying more items
  • Comes with integrated water bottle holder and mesh pockets


The pack is made of super strong nylon material to make it endure longer hikes. Unlike the daypak this one doesn’t have a D-ring so you have to combine it with a normal collar. Which is fine, since the D-ring of the daypak is not suitable for strong forces like from pulling.

Most country’s it’s only available in size small. Which is for dogs with a weight between 15 and 19 pounds (6kg – 9kg) or with a girth of 12 to 25 inches (30cm – 63cm).

Pro’s

  • Might be able to clip an extra led light to the back or the sides
  • Removable bags. Very nice when you take a break easy to remove the weight from your four legged pal.
  • The zippers are waterproof

Con’s

  • No breathable mesh
  • Only one size to choose
  • No D-ring


K9 Pursuits TRAIL-blazer For Hiking and Walking

Is the next choice of backpacks has individual removable bags which is great to remove the weight from your dog for a little while when hiking. Underneath the bags, it’s got a nice lightweight breathable harness. The harness is fitted onto your dog with easily adjustable straps. The top handle is for control and if needed for lifting. It’s got a D-ring at the back for attaching a leash.

Here are some technical details

  • Individual removable bags are great when you want to give your dog a breather
  • Lightweight breathable harness
  • Top handle for control and lifting
  • D-ring which looks stronger than the one on the daypak
  • Large reflective lights on both sides


The pack is made of strong durable material designed for medium to long hikes. When you got the right fit with the adjustable straps you don’t have to loosen them every time you take of the harness. Which makes it easy and quick to put on to your dog. The D-ring at the back looks a lot stronger and might be able to endure more pulling.

The pack comes in 1 color (blue) and in three sizes: small, medium and large.

The small size is for dogs with a weight between 11 and 33 pounds (5kg – 15kg) and a girth between 9inch and 18inch (25cm – 50cm).

The medium size is for dogs with a weight of approximately 11 to 55 pounds (5kg-25kg) and girth between 18inch and 27inch (48cm-70cm).

The large size is for dogs with a weight of approximately 55 to 105 pounds (25kg-48kg) and girth between 26inch and 33inch (68cm-85cm).

Pro’s

  • Separate removable bags
  • Light harness with breathable mesh
  • Large reflective lights

Con’s

  • Not waterproof
  • D-ring makes the pack shift a little when you attach a leash
  • Only available in one color


Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack

This is a pack from Mountainsmith’s top collection. It’s designed together with a sled dog veterinarian to make the most ergonomic backpack for dogs. They have done a great job at it. The pack is highly adjustable to make sure it will be the perfect fit for every dog. This pack is designed for long hikes and not have your dog feel any discomfort.

Here are some technical details

  • The chest harness is adjustable at 4-points for perfect fitting
  • Back harness is independently from chest harness adjustable
  • Padded sternum straps for comfortable fitting
  • Adjustable belly strap
  • Top handle for control and lifting
  • Ergonomically tapered torso shape
  • Breathable air mesh panels increase ventilation and prevents overheating of your k9
  • Large reflecting lights on the front, side and back


Mountainsmith is known for building one if not the best k9 backpacks for hiking. They have made it their mission to create quality long durable, comfortable and functional packs. Their gear is designed for the heaviest outback hike adventures you can think off.

The pack comes in two colors, azure blue, and Heritage red. And three sizes:

The small size is for dogs with a weight between 25 and 45 pounds (11kg – 20kg) and a girth between 20inch and 30inch (50cm – 76cm).

Medium size is for dogs with a weight between 40 and 80 pounds (18kg – 36kg) and a girth between 24inch and 40inch (60cm – 101cm).

Large size is for dogs with a weight between 80 and 120 pounds and more(36kg – 54kg and over) and a girth between 32inch and 44inch (81cm – 111cm).

Pro’s

  • It’s highly adjustable
  • Large reflecting lights in front, both sides, and the back
  • Doesn’t slide on the back of your dog when you don’t divide the weight equally

Con’s

  • The top mesh panels are not made of real mesh material
  • When you use the D-ring it adjusts the fitting of the pack when he pulls a lot. Not a big issue if you just use his collar


RUFFWEAR – Approach Pack

How many beer cans can a backpack hold? Thought this would be a nice little fun fact you would like to know. The bags are so large they can easily fit 4 to 6 cans or 2 cups of food and a liter of water on both sides.

Off course I don’t recommend you should do this don’t overweigh the bags. If your dog is new to carrying a pack then start light. Begin with no weight at all. Let your dog get comfortable with the pack and slowly build up some weight.

You need to do more training if you want to lift more weight. So does your dog.

The radial cut saddlebags use a passive compression technique to create a perfect form fitting for better load balancing and comfortable carrying. It is a lightweight pack created to fit perfectly and comfortable on your dog with excellent functionality. The large bags are created to fit everything your dog might need on a trail.

The stitching and integrated handle make it a nice looking, all you need, high-quality backpack. Suitable for every hike.

Here are some technical details

  • Stash pockets and external gear loops
  • Padded top handle for easy lifting and control
  • Non-slip girth straps for comfortable fitting and good load dispersion
  • Radial-cut bags designed to make the weight hang near the neck
  • 5 point adjustable fitting
  • Anodized aluminum V-ring for attaching a leash
  • Reflective trim and light loop for attaching a safety light


Ruffwear is a global company that designs dog wear with great passion. The outdoors is a way of life and trough this way of life comes their ability to design great outdoor gear for our k9 friends.

The pack comes in two colors: Orange poppy, and Meadow green. The pack is available in four sizes. Ruffwear measures the size only by girth select your best match based on this size.

The extra small size is for dogs with a girth between 17inch and 22inch (43cm – 56cm). The weight is 0.8 pounds (0.36kg) and the capacity is 427 in³ (7L).

The small size is for dogs with a girth between 22inch and 27inch (56cm – 69cm). The weight is 1.05 pounds (0.48kg) and the capacity is 762 in³ (12L).

The medium size is for dogs with a girth between 27inch and 32inch (69cm – 81cm). The weight is 1.15 pounds (0.52kg) and the capacity is 885 in³ (15.5L).

The large/xlarge size is for dogs with a girth between 32inch and 42inch (81cm – 107cm). The weight is 1.3 pounds (0.59kg) and the capacity is 1465 in³ (24L).

Pro’s

  • Loop for safety light or beacon
  • Really large pockets
  • Stays on balance even in rough terrains
  • Large pockets and external loops for gear

Con’s

  • Not waterproof
  • Some fitting struggles with smaller dogs
  • The difference between medium and large/xlarge is big. Would be nice if large/xlarge is split in two sizes and large had more overlap with medium size.


Ruffwear Singletrak

Another fantastic backpack from Ruffwear. The difference with the Approach pack is the Singletrak is more low profile. Meaning it’s more suitable for a dog who likes to wander off between the trees or run off into the bushes where it gets more to endure from twigs, branches and other.

The pockets are a little smaller than those of the Approach pack, but still large enough to fit all the equipment your pup needs on a hike. And the cool thing is you get two collapsible water bladders with the pack.

The blue and red color both make your dog stand out in any terrain.

Here are some technical details

  • 5 point adjustable fixture for the perfect fit on all types of dogs
  • Low-profile pockets allow your dog to be agile
  • Big top handle integrated into the pack for control and easy lifting
  • Anodized aluminum V-ring and webbing loop to attach a leash
  • Two .6 litre collapsible hydration bladders
  • The chest and belly straps are foam padded
  • Attachment point for a safety light


This is a great pack the smaller bags that form nicely along the body of your dog for a perfect fit. The low-profile bags allow your dog to be more agile and with the collapsible water bags your dog stays hydrated for the long haul.

This pack comes in two colors blue and red, and is available in the sizes small, medium, and large/xlarge. Select the size that best matches the girth of your dog.

The small size is for dogs with a girth between 22inch and 27inch (56cm – 69cm). The weight is 0.7 pounds (0.32kg) and the capacity is 195 in³ (3.2L).

The medium size is for dogs with a girth between 27inch and 32inch (69cm – 81cm). The weight is 0.91 pounds (0.41kg) and the capacity is 195 in³ (3.2L).

The large/xlarge size is for dogs with a girth between 32inch and 42inch (81cm – 107cm). The weight is 1.3 pounds (0.59kg) and the capacity is 195 in³ (3.2L).

Pro’s

  • Foam padded straps
  • perfect formed bags that fit comfortable along the body
  • Stays on balance even in rough terrains
  • Comes with hydration bladders
  • attachment point for a safety light

Con’s

  • Not a lot of room to carry all things your pal needs for an overnighter
  • The Singletrak is an expensive pack. The pack might not be something for you if your on a budget
  • The pack is not water resistant.


Cesar millan Dog Backpack

Cesar Millan the dog whisperer himself. He is an established authority in the field of dog behavior. In his show he works with many tough to handle dogs and befuddled owners. Often he claims that dog misbehaviour is the result of being inside the house too much and not having enough exercise.

Take your dog out for a walk every day. By that Cesar means not just 10 minutes so he can do what he needs to do, but really walk him for at least an hour. Giving your dog a backpack for the walk can help get rid of that all that excess energy.

Here are some technical details

  • The pack is Water-Resistant
  • Reflective trim for better visibility at night or early mornings
  • Breathable mesh padding to keep the dog’s skin cool
  • Straps are adjustable and include elastic so it can adapt to the dog’s movements
  • Padded chest and belly straps for extra comfort
  • Extra center buckle for more stability of the pack and it’s content
  • Top handle for control and easy lifting
  • Large bags


The bags can easily fit a half liter water bottle on both sides. The pack is made of durable material and will withstand any kind of hike. What I find is really a plus on this bag is the extra center strap. This one makes the pack fit really stable on your dogs back.

This pack is only available in grey with some blue on the sides of the pockets and orange zippers. The pack is available in three sizes small, medium, and large. Select the size that best matches the girth of your dog.

The small size is for dogs with a weight between 20 and 40 pounds (9kg – 18kg) and a girth between 20inch and 30inch (50cm – 76cm).

The medium size is for dogs with a weight between 40 and 90 pounds (18kg – 40kg) and a girth between 24inch and 36inch (60cm – 91cm).

The large/xlarge size is for dogs with a weight between 80 and 120 pounds (36kg – 54kg) and a girth between 32inch and 44inch (81cm – 111cm).

Pro’s

  • Foam padded straps
  • Center buckle for extra stability. Stays on your dog’s back through rough terrains
  • attachment point for a safety light
  • Water-resistant

Con’s

  • No extra loops to attach a safety light, leash or other equipment
  • No size for extra small dog’s


Pettom Dog Saddle Backpack 2 in 1

The first two in one saddle pack in this review list. This pack can be used as harness when the bags are removed. Also very easy to remove the load when your taking a breather.

The pack is made of a very durable material. Designed to protect against wear. Even the buckles can be tucked away for protection. The load compression system ensures the load of the bags is equally divided over the dogs back.

The pack has a high capacity bag on each side. You can rest assured this will fit all the items your dog needs on a hike.

Here are some technical details

  • 2 in 1 harness and backpack
  • Removable bags
  • Load compression system
  • Light reflectors on the side
  • Waterproof and scratch resistant material
  • Lightweight mesh and padded top
  • Top assistant handle
  • Zinc-alloy D-ring to attach a leash
  • Sheltered buckles


The Pettom is very durable and good quality. If you want a backpack with the quality of a Ruffwear but for a little bit cheaper price then this is the pack for you.

The saddle pack comes in two colors red and green, and is available in the sizes small, medium, and large. Select the size that best matches the girth of your dog.

The small size is for dogs with a girth between 19inch and 28inch (48cm – 71cm).

The medium size is for dogs with a girth between 23inch and 34inch (58cm – 86cm).

The large size is for dogs with a girth between 29inch and 41inch (73cm – 104cm).

Pro’s

  • Load compression system
  • Easy removable bags
  • Many attachment point for a safety light or other equipment
  • Waterproof

Con’s

  • Pack might run a little big according to some reviews
  • When submerged in water the bags fill with water


Kurgo Baxter Dog Backpack

The Kurgo Baxter is highly adjustable backpack. The fitting of the bags can even be adjusted to make it more comfortable. It can be used as a harness with a rear mounted hook to attach a leash. The leash hook can also be used as a bottle opener, which I think is a handy feature.

Some models have the bottle opener on the rear leash hook. Other models have the opener attached to the front chest pad. For me it is not clear which model has the opener atached to the front chest pad.

The harness has a large breathable mesh and padded back support that provides weight support and comfortable fit. The two large bags can carry all items your dog needs on a hike, and have reflective trims on both sides for better visibility during the low light hours.

The adjustment sliders on both sides hold the bag straps in-place. Constant movement can detach the straps after a while, and then the bags will fall down. I think Kurgo could have done a better job on this.

Some technical details

  • eight adjustable points for optimal fitting
  • Two large removable bags provides room for all hiking essentials
  • Large padded handle with reflective trim on top
  • The pack can be used as a harness and backpack
  • The rear-mounted leash hook can be used as bottle opener
  • Reflective trim strips provide better visibility from multiple angles
  • Padded back support for ergonomic fit


Two brothers grew up exploring the woods of Vermont, with their dogs. Being taught the hands-on-approach in the retail apparel store of their parents they later started the company Kurgo. A company that now designs all kinds of dog apparel.

The backpack comes in three colors orange/black, coastal blue and chili red. The pack is available in two sizes which Kurgo named “Baxter” and “Big baxter”.

The Baxter is for dogs with a weight between 30 and 85 pounds (13.6kg to 38.5kg) and the capacity is 427 in³ (3.75L).

The Big Baxter is for dogs with a weight between 50 and 110 pounds (0.36kg) and the capacity is 427 in³ (7.5L).

Pro’s

  • Leash hook with integrated bottle opener
  • Padded back support
  • Lifetime warranty

Con’s

  • Only two size available. This pack is not for small or extra large dogs
  • The adjustment sliders on the top of the bags are the only thing holding the straps in-place.



Author: Erwin Borgers

Hi, I’m Erwin. I grew up with two cats, but I always wanted to have a dog. Since my wife and I lived together, we have Mayla. She is a very sweet King Charles Spaniel. Together we spend countless of hours in the forest near our home. We love to walk together and now I want to share what I learned about walking dogs and what I learned about dog gear with you.