Best Dog Hiking Backpack Carriers

Dog backpack carriers are the perfect setup to bring your pup on all your adventures. However, there are tons on the market—and not all backpack carriers are created equally. 

So, how do you choose the best carrier for your specific breed? Which brand is better than the rest? Which is the most affordable? Can you use them to bring your dog on flights?

We’re here to answer all your questions and more. To get you started, we’ve compiled a quick list of some of the best dog backpacks carriers on the market, including they’re specifications, what we liked about them, and what we didn’t like. 

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about dog backpack carriers.

Why You Need a Dog Backpack Carrier

The last thing you want to do is leave your four-legged friends behind when you take off on your next adventure. Or worse, have to carry them when they run out of steam halfway through your hike. Having a backpack carrier will allow you to take them with you wherever you go, hassle-free.

If you have a dog that weighs up to 25 pounds, a backpack carrier is essential. Even if you’re not into hiking, many of them double as a TSA-friendly pet carry on.

The Best Dog Backpack Carriers for Hiking:

We’ve chosen the following dog backpack carriers based on the most important criteria: weight distribution, sturdiness, security, and comfort—for both you and your pup. Ultimately you should choose the backpack carrier based on your dog’s size, weight, needs, and the amount of back and shoulder support it offers for you.

Now, without further ado, here’s our list of the best dog backpack carriers for hiking, starting with our tops pick:

Preview Best Overall Premium Pick Best Value
Product Name PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack for Small Cats and Dogs Kurgo Dog G-Train Pet Backpack Carrier K9 Sport Sack Trainer Front Facing Adjustable Dog Backpack Carrier
Specifications
  • Price: $38.99
  • Weight: Up tp 18 lbs
  • Size: 12.5 x 10.2 x 16.3 Inches (L x W x H)
  • Material: 600D high grade polyester; sherpa lined
  • Price: $134.99
  • Weight: Up tp 25 lbs
  • Size: 13″ W x 21″ H x 10″ D
  • Material: Polyester and mesh
  • Price: $74.95
  • Weight: Up to 30 lbs
  • Size: Multiple sizes
  • Material: Polyester, mesh
Pros
  • The backpack comes with plenty of storage, including a place for your pet’s ID
  • Comes with a detachable collapsible water bowl
  • The safety buckles lock the zippers to keep the back from opening
  • Mesh windows allow for an unrestricted view and airflow
  • It’s water-resistant and has a waterproof bottom
  • Can be tethered to your dog’s harness for safety
  • It’s lightweight and durable
  • TSA-approved
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Comes in different sizes for different breeds
  • Veterinarian-approved
  • Lightweight, durable, and comfortable
  • Comes in different colors
Cons
  • The bottom is fitted with cardboard, which may irritate your back as you walk
  • Cardboard fitting also tends to sag after a while
  • Zippers tend to get stuck
  • Too big for toy-sized dogs and small puppies
  • The bottom tends to sag with consistent use
  • The carabiner clip tether is a little bit flimsy
  • Zippers tend to break off easily
  • The chest strap rides a bit high
  • Limited pockets/storage
Price $38.99 at Amazon $134.99 at Amazon $74.95 at Amazon
See more See the PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack for Small Cats and Dogs See the Kurgo Dog G-Train Pet Backpack Carrier See the K9 Sport Sack Trainer Front Facing Adjustable Dog Backpack Carrier

PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack for Small Cats and Dogs

Bottom Line

The PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack for small cats and dogs is perfect for both outdoor adventures and travel. With three mesh windows and sherpa lining, the PetAmi Deluxe is designed for maximum comfort and unrestricted airflow. There’s also plenty of room to move around, and the straps are padded for your comfort.

This pet carrier backpack is also equipped with plenty of safety features, such as a small leash attached from the inside, safety buckles on the zippers, and two-sided entry. The entire backpack is also reinforced to keep the structure upright at all times.

Specs

  • Price: $38.99
  • Weight: Up tp 18 lbs
  • Size: 12.5 x 10.2 x 16.3 Inches (L x W x H)
  • Material: 600D high grade polyester; sherpa lined
Pros Cons
  • The backpack comes with plenty of storage, including a place for your pet’s ID
  • Comes with a detachable collapsible water bowl
  • The safety buckles lock the zippers to keep the back from opening
  • Mesh windows allow for an unrestricted view and airflow
  • The bottom is fitted with cardboard, which may irritate your back as you walk
  • Cardboard fitting also tends to sag after a while
  • Zippers tend to get stuck

Kurgo Dog G-Train Pet Backpack Carrier

Bottom Line

The Kurgo G-Train pet backpack is constructed with all-around water-resistant fabric and a waterproof bottom to keep the back from absorbing water when you put it on the ground. It’s also stain-resistant and easy to clean. It has excellent security features, including a lightweight carabiner clip tether that can be easily attached to your dog’s safety harness.

This backpack also has tons of storage, plenty of space, excellent ventilation, and just the right amount of padding to keep your pup comfortable during long hikes and flights. It’s TSA-approved and can be used on its side as a carrier. The company also offers a lifetime warranty for all they’re products.

Other features include compartments for your laptop, a water bottle, top handles, and load-bearing straps.

Specs

  • Price: $134.99
  • Weight: Up tp 25 lbs
  • Size: 13″ W x 21″ H x 10″ D
  • Material: Polyester and mesh
Pros Cons
  • It’s water-resistant and has a waterproof bottom
  • Can be tethered to your dog’s harness for safety
  • It’s lightweight and durable
  • TSA-approved
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Too big for toy-sized dogs and small puppies
  • The bottom tends to sag with consistent use
  • The carabiner clip tether is a little bit flimsy

K9 Sport Sack Trainer Front Facing Adjustable Dog Backpack Carrier

Bottom Line

The K9 Sport Sack adjustable dog backpack carrier is available in multiple sizes to cater to both small and medium-sized dogs. The backpack carrier is veterinarian approved and is available in several different colors.

This backpack allows for your dog’s head to poke out and face front, so you’re both always hiking and adventuring in the same direction. It has mesh sides for optimal ventilation and just the right amount of padding for your pup’s comfort and the necessary weight distribution for yours.

Specs

  • Price: $74.95
  • Weight: Up to 30 lbs
  • Size: Multiple sizes
  • Material: Polyester, mesh
Pros Cons
  • Comes in different sizes for different breeds
  • Veterinarian-approved
  • Lightweight, durable, and comfortable
  • Comes in different colors
  • Zippers tend to break off easily
  • The chest strap rides a bit high
  • Limited pockets/storage

Petsfit Soft Pet Backpack Carrier for Hiking

Bottom Line

The Petsfit Soft pet backpack carrier was made for dogs up to 15 lbs and has a multi-strap design that includes chest and hip straps for maximum support. It has both a front and top entrance for accessibility and plenty of mesh windows, so your pup gets a nice view.

You also have the option of leaving one of those mesh windows open while tethering your dog’s leash or harness to the inside clip. There is plenty of ventilation and space in this backpack for your dog to move around and get comfortable. It has two small side pockets to store the essentials, and it’s also collapsable, making it easy to store.

Specs

  • Price: $54.99
  • Weight: Up to 15 lbs
  • Size: 13″Lx11″Wx17″H
  • Material: 600D X 600D Oxford cloth and 230D polyester lining
Pros Cons
  • Comes with a built-in safety tether
  • Has the option to roll up the front mesh window
  • Has plenty of ventilation
  • Can be stored easily
  • Limited storage pockets
  • Might be a little small for dogs closer to 15 lbs
  • Tends to become uncomfortable on longer hikes

NICREW Legs Out Front Dog Carrier

Bottom Line

The NICREW Legs Out Front dog carrier differs from the other backpack carriers on this list in that it allows you to carry your pup in the front, rather than in the back. This backpack is great for smaller dogs who tend to become anxious or fussy, as it allows their head, arms, and legs to poke out so you can pet them as you walk. It also allows them to see everything you see without restriction.

The carrier’s design is very secure, breathable, and lightweight, and it’s easy to get your pup in and out when the time comes. The carrier also ranges from sizes small to extra large so that you can find your dog’s perfect fit. For your comfort, the shoulder straps are 1.5 inches wide with plenty of padding, so there’s no strain and no edges digging into your skin.

Specs

  • Price: $16.99
  • Weight: Up to 20 lbs
  • Size: Sizes range from small to extra large
  • Material: Polyester and mesh
Pros Cons
  • Has a calming effect on anxious pups
  • Mesh paneling keeps your dog cool
  • Holds your dog close against your chest so you can interact with them and so they can see the path ahead
  • Comes in a nice range of sizes for all types of breeds
  • While the extra-large can carry up to 25 pounds, it may be too snug for dogs that size
  • Takes some getting used to (for you and your pup)
  • The velcro straps tend to come undone after prolonged used

Zaines Casual Canine Backpack Carrier

Bottom Line

Zaines Casual Canine backpack carrier is a hands-free carrier that functions like most backpack carriers for dogs. However, it has one extra special feature: an optional mesh tent that expands frontward up to 22 inches so your pup can rest on their bellies!

This backpack was designed with self-locking zippers for those with sneaky pups, and it has plenty of storage for all your dog’s necessities. The Casual Canine Backpack is easy to care for and has a removable berber mat that can be spot cleaned and hung to dry. While there’s no waist strap, the shoulder straps are nice and padded for your comfort.

Specs

  • Price: $85.99
  • Weight: Up to 22 lbs
  • Size: 8 x 6 x 10 inches
  • Material: Polyester and mesh
Pros Cons
  • Has an expanding mesh tent
  • Lightweight, durable, and long-lasting
  • Easy to clean
  • Ample storage pockets
  • Self-locking zippers
  • The bottom tends to sag after extended use
  • Openings are small, making it difficult to get your dog in and out
  • Not as roomy for dogs closer to 15-20 lbs

Outward Hound Pooch Pouch Dog Front Carrier

Bottom Line

The Outward Hound Pooch Pouch comes in two sizes: small and medium. It’s constructed from weather-resistant fabric with two large mesh sidings so your pup will stay dry and cool throughout your hike. It’s got internal safety harness clips that will attach to your pup’s collar or harness to keep them in place and the shoulder straps are padded for your comfort.

For extra support the Pooch Pouch sports a chest and waist strap, and it has a storage pocket right in front for the essentials. This backpack is mostly suited for dogs with smaller frames, so if your pup has a length torso, they may not fit properly.

Specs

  • Price: $39.99
  • Weight: Up to 10-20 lbs
  • Size: 8 x 11 x 10 inches
  • Material: Polyester and mesh
Pros Cons
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Pup gets to poke their head out for an unencumbered view
  • Great bottom support
  • Weather-resistant fabric
  • Only suitable for small-framed dogs
  • Also too big for toy-sized dogs
  • Safety clip is flimsy

Mogoko Comfortable Pet Carrier Backpack

Bottom Line

The Mogoko Comfortable Pet Carrier backpack comes in several color options and three sizes. It’s lightweight, made of polyester and reinforced mesh for supportive straps and optimal ventilation. It also has an open hole with an adjustable drawstring for your pup to pop its head out.

This backpack has two zippered storage pockets, adjustable straps, and a removable bottom cover for easy cleaning. However, the design of this backpack carrier may not be for everyone as it seems to only fit a certain dog body type.

Specs

  • Price: $36.99
  • Weight: Up to 7 to 15 lbs
  • Size: 14.88 x 12.05 x 1.57 inches
  • Material: Polyester and mesh
Pros Cons
  • It’s TSA approved
  • There are multiple color options
  • Can be carried in the front
  • It’s lightweight
  • Only suited for certain dogs
  • Bottom support tends to weaken
  • Needs constant adjusting

KritterWorld Adjustable Pet Carrier Backpack

Bottom Line

The KritterWorld Adjustable Pet Carrier is a lightweight and durable nylon backpack with soft, breathable mesh windows. It’s designed for smaller toy-sized dogs and is also suitable for cats.

It has a built-in leash attachment for your pet’s safety, a removable fleece lining for easy cleaning, and adjustable padded straps for your comfort. This backpack also has one large zippered opening at the top to get your pet in and out with ease and mesh storage for your water bottle.

Specs

  • Price: $27.76
  • Weight: Up to 7 lbs
  • Size: 17.01 x 12.52 x 2.76 inches
  • Material: Nylon and mesh
Pros Cons
  • Large mesh viewing window
  • Adjustable, padded straps
  • Sturdy bottom
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Only suited for toy-sized dogs
  • Not enough back support
  • May be too small for dogs closer to 7 lbs

Pet Gear I-GO2 Roller Backpack

Bottom Line

With both padded straps, telescoping handles, and rollers, the Pet Gear I-GO2 Roller backpack was designed for both hiking and travel. It ranges in size to support dogs up to 25 lbs and includes a tether to secure your pup by its harness or leash.

This backpack’s sides can expand up to three inches each for extra leg room and has two large storage pouches for all your pup’s necessities. It also has a nice large mesh window for viewing and optimal ventilation and fleece lining for comfort.

While this particular backpack carrier isn’t necessarily for long-distance hikes. We’ve included it on our list for those seeking out a multi-purpose carrier.

Specs

  • Price: $110.99
  • Weight: Up tp 25 lbs
  • Size: 16″ x 13.5″ x 22″
  • Material: Nylon, polyester, and mesh
Pros Cons
  • Multi-purpose carrier
  • Durable materials
  • Ranges in size and colors
  • Has telescoping handle and rollers
  • May not be suitable for long distance hikes
  • No additional back support (chest and waist straps)
  • High price point

What to Look for in a Dog Backpack Carrier

As we mentioned, not all dog backpack carriers are created equally. There are designs to fit all budgets and dogs. Some are built to last while others fall apart quickly.

Here are the criteria you need to look at before making your choice:

Size and Weight Capacity

The most important thing when choosing a backpack carrier for your pup is finding one that can support your pup’s size and weight. So, the first thing you need to do is determine your dog’s size and weight.

You’ll also want to keep in mind that being under the weight capacity doesn’t make the backpack carrier a perfect fit, nor do you want to max out the weight allowance. Ideally, you want something that your dog will fit comfortably in.

Safety Features

Safety is incredibly important, especially for the carriers that allow your pup’s head, arms, and legs to stick out. A good carrier will have the appropriate (and durable) safety leashes in place to prevent your dog from jumping out and hanging himself.

Additionally, you want to make sure you choose a backpack carrier with plenty of ventilation to keep your dog from overheating while he’s in there.

Dog Backpack Carriers: FAQs

Can’t I Just Carry My Dog in a Regular Backpack?

Dog backpack carriers are designed specifically with your dog’s needs in mind. Your old camping backpack doesn’t have the proper ventilation to keep your dog cool, nor does it have the safety features that keep your dog from jumping out and injuring itself.

Are the Legs/Arms Out Carriers Safe?

The front-facing carriers that allow your dog’s arms and legs to poke out are perfectly safe for short trips. They’re not necessarily recommended for biking or other strenuous activities due to the fact that accidents happen. The last thing you want is to fall off your bike or kayak and risk injuring your pup!

These types of carriers also aren’t for larger dogs over 20-25 pounds. (We think even 20 pounds is pushing it!). Ideally, if you want to safely use a front-facing carrier, you’ll limit its use for short trips. If you decide to use one on your hike, be sure only to use it when your dog absolutely needs to rest.

Dog backpack carriers are great for hiking adventures and for taking your dog on flights. With all the different carriers to choose from, remember, the best dog backpack carrier is the one that’s versatile and suits all of your dog’s needs.

If you’re planning a hiking/camping trip with your furry friend and another human friend, be sure to check out the best hiking backpacks and the best backpacking tents!

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