Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Dogs > 8 Best Dog Backpack Carriers for Hiking in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

8 Best Dog Backpack Carriers for Hiking in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

woman carrying small dog in backpack on a hiking trip

We know how important it is to find the right hiking backpack. And if you’re carrying a dog? You’ll need something with extra support, storage, and comfort. That’s where this post comes in handy.

We’ve reviewed eight dog backpack carriers that deserve an A+ in several categories, like hiking distance and your dog’s body type. Based on your needs, we’re confident you’ll find a backpack worthy of your pup.

If you’re unsure what to look for in a dog backpack carrier, we cover that too. Let’s get started.

divider-paw

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
K9 Sport Sack PLUS 2 Dog Carrier K9 Sport Sack PLUS 2 Dog Carrier
  • Full mesh side ventilation
  • Plenty of room for hiking supplies
  • Affordable
  • Best Value
    Second place
    PetAmi Backpack Dog Carrier PetAmi Backpack Dog Carrier
  • Multi-pet use
  • Excellent ventilation
  • Back padding
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    K9 Sport Sack Kolossus Dog Carrier K9 Sport Sack Kolossus Dog Carrier
  • Internal frame and padding for extra support
  • Plenty of storage
  • Great for long, strenuous hikes
  • Best for Puppies
    K9 Sport Sack Trainer Dog Carrier K9 Sport Sack Trainer Dog Carrier
  • Entry-level backpack carrier
  • Affordable
  • Great for puppies and teacup breeds
  • PetAmi Premium Backpack Dog Carrier PetAmi Premium Backpack Dog Carrier
  • Collapsible bowl for food and water
  • Lightweight
  • Shoulder padding
  • The 8 Best Dog Backpack Carriers

    1. K9 Sport Sack PLUS 2 Dog Carrier – Best Overall

    K9 Sport Sack PLUS 2 Dog Carrier

    Item Weight: 1.5 pounds
    Max Carrying Weight: 40 pounds
    Materials: Synthetic materials
    Features: Detachable storage bag, ventilated sides, wide base, wide shoulder straps, side pockets
    Best for: Moderate walks, short- and long-distance day trips

    Our best overall option is the K9 Sport Sack PLUS 2 dog carrier. This backpack fits most small to medium-sized dogs, has full mesh side ventilation to avoid overheating, and has extra storage for long hikes. You can hold water bottles, food, medications, and anything you need in this backpack—or at least most of it.

    Of all the small backpacks, we found this one best for longer trips and small dogs if your dog can independently walk part of the trail.

    The biggest downfall of this backpack carrier is how much it shifts. If your dog moves off to the side, the backpack moves too. Overall, the carrier could have better support. Given the versatility and longevity of the bag, we feel it’s earned its spot as number one.

    Pros
    • Full mesh side ventilation
    • Plenty of room for hiking supplies
    • Affordable
    • Fits most small and medium-sized dogs
    Cons
    • Bag shifts
    • Not great for large or stocky breeds

    2. PetAmi Backpack Dog Carrier

    PetAmi Backpack Dog Carrier

    Item Weight: 3.9 pounds
    Max Carrying Weight: 18 pounds
    Materials: Polyester, synthetic fabric
    Features: Chest and waist straps, back padding, four-sided access
    Best for: Short-distance hikes, day trips with easy terrain

    The PetAmi is our best value option. This is a nice backpack for short-distance hikes and day trips with easy terrain. It’s a bit heavier than other backpacks, but there’s just enough storage for a day’s worth of supplies, and you can use it for multiple pets if needed.

    We also love the multiple access points—two on the side, one on the top, and one on the front. It makes feeding and grabbing your dog a cinch.

    Some say the bottom insert digs into their spine, which is a bummer. You can fix this by adding some padding to the area. Ultimately, you can’t beat the price compared to other backpacks.

    Pros
    • Multi-pet use
    • Excellent ventilation
    • Back padding
    • Multiple access points
    • Various colors
    Cons
    • Heavier than other backpacks
    • Bottom insert can dig into spine

    3. K9 Sport Sack Kolossus Dog Carrier – Premium Choice

    K9 Sport Sack Kolossus Dog Carrier

    Item Weight: 4.5 pounds
    Max Carrying Weight: 80 pounds
    Materials: Faux leather, polyester
    Features: Backpacking conversion, removable sun/rain hood, removable waste bag dispenser, side cooling venting zippers, internal frame with inner padding
    Best for: Long-distance, strenuous hikes

    The K9 Sport Sack Kolossus Dog Carrier is our favorite premium option for a few reasons. If you have a slender dog or go on backpacking trips, this bag is for you.

    The entire bag is designed to carry your dog’s long body, but it has a backpacking conversion pack to bring whatever supplies you need for a long-distance hike. Plus, the storage pack on the back detaches for versatility and to help distribute weight.

    Obviously, longer hikes and heavier dogs require solid back support, and this bag delivers. Inside the pack is an internal frame for better lumbar support, plus back and shoulder padding for extra comfort.

    Trust us, this bag is worth the money if you’re a serious hiker or have a long and slender pup.

    Pros
    • Internal frame and padding for extra support
    • Plenty of storage
    • Great for long, strenuous hikes
    • Removable pack to better distribute weight
    • Good for long and slender dogs
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Not good for small breeds
    • Heavier than other backpacks

    4. K9 Sport Sack Trainer Dog Carrier – Best for Puppies

    K9 Sport Sack Trainer Dog Carrier

    Item Weight: 1.01 pounds
    Max Carrying Weight: 30 pounds
    Materials: Nylon
    Features: Padded shoulder straps, water bottle pocket, lower lumbar strap, carabiner safety clip, leg openings
    Best for: Moderate walks, short-distance hikes

    For beginner hikers with toy breeds and puppies, you’ll want to check out the K9 Sport Sack Trainer dog carrier. This entry-level backpack is small, lightweight, has minimal storage, and is highly affordable. It holds up well and can be an extra pack if your puppy outgrows it.

    Unfortunately, the lumbar support isn’t the best with this pack carrier. It tends to shift with your dog, so it’s unsuitable for long-distance hikes. But if you’re new to hiking, have a small dog, and don’t want to spend much money, this pack is worth looking into.

    Pros
    • Entry-level backpack carrier
    • Affordable
    • Great for puppies and teacup breeds
    • Variety of beautiful colors
    Cons
    • Lumbar support strap not included in the XS size
    • Not good for long-distance hikes

    5. PetAmi Premium Backpack Dog Carrier

    PetAmi Premium Backpack Dog Carrier

    Item Weight: 1.9 pounds
    Max Carrying Weight: 12 pounds
    Materials: Polyester, synthetic fabric
    Features: Chest and waist straps, back padding, four-sided access, collapsible bowl
    Best for: Short-distance hikes, day trips with easy terrain

    The PetAmi backpack is similar to the other PetAmi backpack mentioned earlier, but with fewer bells and whistles.

    Basically, you won’t get as much storage or pet weight support with this backpack. In addition, the bag likes to cave in which could be uncomfortable for your dog. The plus side is that it weighs less and comes with a collapsible bowl for food and water. You can also find this back in several beautiful colors.

    If you’re getting started with hiking and have a small dog, this could be a good fit.

    Pros
    • Collapsible bowl for food and water
    • Lightweight
    • Shoulder padding
    • Multiple access points
    • Various colors
    Cons
    • Lacks storage
    • Limited pet weight
    • Tends to cave in

    6. Midwest Day Tripper Dog Backpack

    Midwest Day Tripper Dog Backpack

    Item Weight: 3.3 pounds
    Max Carrying Weight: 10 pounds
    Materials: Cotton, polyester, natural fabric, synthetic fabric
    Features: Interior safety leash, collapsible frame, two access points, built-in poop bag dispenser, water bottle holder
    Best for: Short-distance hikes, day trips with easy terrain

    Number six is the Midwest Day Tripper dog backpack. With this backpack, you get all the safety and security needed in a dog backpack, plus a little extra. There’s a built-in poop bag dispenser and a water bottle holder for easy access. There’s a back handle in case you want to carry the bag (but it makes it fall over often).

    The bottom liner is removable and machine washable in case of any accidents. You could fit two teacup dogs in the bag if you wanted.

    This backpack is designed for teacups only. You could buy it for your puppy, but it’s pricey for a dog that will probably outgrow it. Keep in mind, this pack carries a maximum weight of 10 pounds, so you can’t use it for strenuous hikes or medium-sized dogs.

    Pros
    • Multi-pet use
    • Great for teacup breeds
    • Built-in poop bag dispenser
    • Water bottle holder
    • Bottom liner is machine washable
    Cons
    • Pricey
    • Not good for pets over 10 pounds
    • Back handle makes the backpack unsteady

    7. Coppthinktu Front-Facing Dog Carrier

    Coppthinktu Front-Facing Dog Carrier

    Item Weight: 0.9 pounds
    Max Carrying Weight: 22 pounds
    Materials: Foam, Synthetic material
    Features: Water bottle holder, padded shoulder straps, collar safety strap, padded bottom
    Best for: Short-distance hikes, day trips with easy terrain

    Looking for something frontward? Try the Coppthinktu Front-Facing Carrier. This straightforward carrier is lightweight and padded everywhere for added comfort. There’s even a cushion roll near the neck so your dog can rest its head and a tail hole with a padded bottom.

    There are a few downsides, making us list it next to last. The design doesn’t suit long-bodied dogs like Dachshunds, and there isn’t much storage, so don’t take this on a long hike. Because it’s a front-facing carrier, it tends to be top-heavy and droopy.

    Still, it’s a nice option if your dog doesn’t like the sense of bondage that comes with other backpacks. For walks and easy day hikes, this could be the pack for you.

    Pros
    • Cushion roll to rest head
    • Front- and back-facing backpack
    • No sense of bondage
    • Padded bottom for your dog
    • Lightweight
    • Tail hole for extra comfort
    Cons
    • Top heavy with little support
    • Lack of storage
    • Not good for long-bodied dogs

    8. YUDODO Reflective Dog Sling

    YUDODO Reflective Dog Sling

    Item Weight: 0.75 pounds
    Max Carrying Weight: 14 pounds
    Materials: Leather
    Features: Hands-free design, collar safety strap, phone pocket, padded shoulder straps, drawstring closure
    Best for: Walks, short-distance hikes, day trips with easy terrain

    Last on our list is the YUDODO Reflective Dog Sling. Obviously, this won’t suit every dog. It’s best for teacups and small dogs accompanying you on walks and short-distance hikes. We like that it’s a hand-free design and is affordable and lightweight. It’s basically a fanny pack built to carry a dog.

    There is a lack of storage, so don’t expect to take this on a long hike unless you have other storage means. Even if you do, there isn’t much adjustability, and it likes to bounce on your hip. Your dog would get tired of that quickly. But for small dogs and short, easy hikes? This sling could work out beautifully.

    Pros
    • Affordable
    • Lightweight
    • Hands-free design
    • Great for easy hikes or walks
    • Great for teacups and puppies
    Cons
    • Lack of storage
    • No stabilizer strap along waist
    • Little adjustability

    divider-paw

    Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Dog Backpack Carrier for Hiking

    Are Dog Backpacks Safe?

    We know what you’re thinking. Can’t dogs jump out of backpacks? What if I drop my dog? What if I fall and my dog tumbles with me?

    These are legitimate questions, but rest assured, dog backpacks are safe. In fact, several backpack carriers come with safety features should something happen, like if you fall or the bag rips.

    Features like leash attachments, padded seating, and durable mesh are all features to look for in a dog backpack carrier. But it would help if you also looked at the bigger picture.

    Rough terrain, steep peaks, and gravity all take a toll on the body. A backpack carrier can save the day if your dog isn’t equipped to handle that kind of long-distance movement. You won’t have to take as many breaks, your dog won’t feel pain, and you can enjoy your hike without worry.
    Always shop with your pet’s safety in mind and you’ll eventually find the right backpack.

    Dog BackPack Carriers: What to Look For

    Before you select a backpack, ask yourself a few questions.

    What kind of hike are you planning? Are they easy day hikes, or challenging ones that require careful planning and gear? Are you planning other activities, like camping or swimming?

    With those questions in mind, let’s look at a few characteristics of backpacks:

    Ventilation

    Good airflow is crucial to keep your dog comfortable and prevent overheating, especially for stocky and hefty breeds. As you hike through different altitudes, it will become difficult to breathe. Good ventilation will help keep your dog cool so it doesn’t waste its breath panting.

    Cute dog in a backpack
    Image Credit: MabelAmber, Pixabay

    Storage

    How much storage you need depends on what kind of hiking you intend to do with your pup. You’ll need to carry the essentials, like food, water, doggy bags, and a first aid kit. Longer hikes may require additional supplies.

    Lumbar Support

    Don’t throw your back out trying to carry your dog. Who else is going to carry the dog if you do?

    Ensure the backpack carrier rests easily on your back, has extra shoulder padding, and has excellent lumbar support. This is especially important if you have a heavier dog.

    You’ll notice that not every backpack carrier has the same back support. Some only come with upper and lower straps that wrap around your body. Others have built-in rods for extra support on longer hikes.

    Whatever you pick, check that it doesn’t hurt your back.

    Versatility 

    Some backpacks come with removable built-in storage, and others come with harnesses and packs built into one product. When you hike, finding multiple uses for one product is good! Plus, you get your money’s worth.

    Sizing Your Dog’s BackPack 

    As you already know, not all backpack carriers are created equal. Each dog breed has a specific body type, so you must shop for a backpack with this in mind. Measure and weigh your dog for accuracy.

    Your dog should fall somewhere into these six sizes:

    • X-Small: 10–13 inches
    • Small: 13–17 inches
    • Medium: 17–20 inches
    • Large: 20–23 inches
    • X-Large: 23–26 inches
    • XX-Large: 26–29 inches
    Caucasian woman walking outdoors with dog jack russell terrier in a special backpack.
    Image Credit: Reshetnikov_art, Shutterstock

    Small Dogs

    Small, shorter dogs have a harder time with exercise. It can even cause damage to their little bodies if we exercise them too much. That’s why backpacks are excellent options.

    Small dogs will fall into these categories: teacups and puppies, stocky, and long-bodied.

    Teacups and puppies are roughly the same sizes initially, so finding a backpack won’t be too difficult. You’ll need to find something small so your dog isn’t sinking into the bag during your hike.

    Stocky dogs like French Bulldogs are top-heavy, not as limber, and typically need help breathing. A backpack with good ventilation is ideal for preventing overheating. Long-bodied dogs like Dachshunds have short legs, so ensure your dog’s legs are supported and comfortable.

    Medium Dogs

    Medium dogs fall into these categories: stocky, proportional, and long-bodied. Again, ensure stocky and long-bodied dogs have good ventilation and leg support.

    Proportional dogs have the upper hand because their body weight is evenly distributed, and you don’t have to worry about over-exhaustion as much as other breeds. There are also fewer physical restrictions aside from weight and length. Ultimately, you’ll have more shopping options.

    However, some dogs with proportional features struggle with their age or suffer injuries later in life, so pick a backpack that supports your dog’s length, weight, and medical ailments.

    A,Man,In,A,Red,Jacket,,With,A,Dog,In_Alexandr_Polupanov_ Shutterstock
    Image Credit: Alexandr Polupanov, Shutterstock

    Large Dogs

    Large dogs are either hefty, proportionate, or tall and slender.

    Hefty dogs need good ventilation and leg support like stocky breeds. Tall and slender dogs are a bit tricky because you need to find a backpack that fits their length.

    What to Pack in Your Dog’s Backpack

    Don’t know what to pack? No problem! Here’s a breakdown of what your dog will need:

    Day Hikes

    • Food (regular and treats)
    • Water
    • Collapsible bowls
    • First aid kit and medications
    • Leash, harness, and hags
    • Towel
    • Windbreaker jacket
    • Poop bags and Ziploc bags (for containing the poop bags)
    • Musher’s wax

    Backpacking

    • Food (regular and treats)
    • Water
    • Collapsible bowls
    • First aid kit and medications
    • Leash, harness, and tags
    • Towel
    • Windbreaker jacket
    • Poop bags and Ziploc bags (for containing the poop bags)
    • Musher’s wax
    • Dog sleeping bag
    • Outdoor booties
    • Toy
    Joyful,Cocker,Spaniel,Sits,In,A,Backpack.,Concept,Of,Hiking_Aleksey Boyko_ Shutterstock
    Image Credit: Aleksey Boyko, Shutterstock

    Leave No Trace

    Hiking is a great way to immerse yourself in nature, but other footprints are being left beside the boots in the mud. Bringing your dog only increases the waste you leave behind, so following the seven principles of Leave No Trace is essential:

    1. Plan ahead and prepare
    2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
    3. Dispose of waste properly
    4. Leave what you find
    5. Minimize campfire impacts
    6. Respect wildlife
    7. Be considerate of others

    Stick to these principles, and your hiking trip with your dog will benefit everyone!

    divider-paw

    Conclusion

    Let’s do a quick review. Our best overall option is the K9 Sack PLUS 2 dog carrier. Avid hikers could benefit from this backpack. It has extra storage, great ventilation, and fits most small and medium-sized dogs.

    Our favorite affordable option is the PetAmi Backpack Dog Carrier. It’s cheap, spacious, stable, and acts like a tent for your dog. It’s a good way to save money without sacrificing quality.

    But if you want to put your money where it counts, check out the K9 Sack Kollosus Backpack. This backpack is designed for tall slender dogs or owners who love backpacking. You can’t fit a small dog in this pack, sadly. But it’s a nice option for larger dogs.

    See also: Is It Cruel to Carry a Small Dog in a Handbag? Vet Approved Answer


    Featured Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

    Our vets

    Want to talk to a vet online?

    Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

    Our vets