Is there a better companion on hikes than a dog? The taste for adventure, the appreciation of wildlife, and the "go-getting" attitude are all things that dogs bring to the hike.
Unfortunately, not all canines are capable of keeping up with their owners! We all like to think of dogs as these untouchable creatures with a constant well of energy. But the truth is that dogs can experience injuries and get tired all the same.
Even if you're an adrenaline-junkie who's always on the move, you don't have to leave your pooch behind!
The best dog carrier backpacks let you take your dog with you no matter where you go! They look like standard storage packs at first glance. But, these accessories are specially-made to house your dog comfortably.
Take your pooch on those rough treks without worrying about their safety or energy levels. With the right dog carrier backpack for hiking, they can enjoy the view and the experience!
There are many carriers on the market, but backpack-style units are unique. They're far more complex, so it's important to take some time to choose the right one.
Here are some of the best dog carrier backpacks for hiking on the market to make your search a bit easier.
10 of the Best Dog Carrier Backpacks for Hiking In 2023
1. Kurgo G-Train Airline-Approved Dog Carrier Backpack
Here's another airline-approved carrier. This one from Kurgo can carry dogs up to 25 pounds. It's a back-carry unit with a closed-leg design. Ultra-durable Armorsole panels add plenty of structural integrity. The material is both waterproof and dirt-proof. The backpack also has fiberglass rods inside for more structural rigidity.
There's padding throughout to keep you and your dog comfortable. The padding works nicely alongside the ventilated panels to keep your pooch calm throughout your travels. On your end, you have padded shoulder straps and a couple of horizontal straps for additional support as you hike.
2. Kurgo K9 Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack, Heather Gray
Check out this stylish little bag! Also from Kurgo, it's a fashion-forward alternative to the previous model. Rather than the rough-and-tumble design scheme, this one looks like it would effortlessly blend in with the average commuter.
You have an exterior shell of canvas ad faux leather. But inside, the backpack is sporting all the great features Kurgo is known for! That includes the Armorsole bottom for easy cleaning, comfort panels, and ventilation. There are many reinforcement points throughout, so you can rest easy knowing that your pooch is safe.
3. Gen7Pets Geometric Roller with Smart-Level Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack
Supporting up to 20 pounds, this carrier from Gen7Pets is a fantastic choice for smaller dogs. It's a roller-style carrier that you can use in many different ways. In more stable environments, use the wheels and the telescoping handle. If you're in a hurry, strap it on your back and get going! The carrier meets most airline regulations and features seatbelt straps for peace of mind, too.
To keep your dog calm, the backpack has large mesh windows. The inside is heavily padded as well. Finally, there's an interior tether system to ensure that your dog stays put.
4. K9 Sport Sack Urban 2 Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack
The K9 Sport Sack is available in multiple sizes and colors. It can carry up to 30 pounds. Not only that, but it gives you a few different ways to make your pup comfortable. There's a large zipper on the back for easy access. Don't worry: It's slip-proof for safety! The front of the pet pocket also has holes so that your dog's arms can move freely.
The backpack itself is pretty versatile, too. It has a handful of pockets for the essentials. Collar and harness hookups and a customizable patch area round off its unique features.
5. Petsfit Comfort Dog Carrier Backpack
With its simple and streamlined design, this carrier from Petsfit can serve you well in many situations. When you're hiking, you can use it as a cozy carrier. The padded straps and two horizontal stripes provide plenty of support. Meanwhile, the numerous mesh windows provide ventilation. Internal padding and collar clips add another layer of security.
When you're not hiking, this carrier does double-duty as a makeshift kennel! Set it on its side to create a cozy sleeping spot for your dog.
6. Snoozer Pet Products Roll Around 4-in-1 Travel Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack
Available in two sizes, the Snoozer Pet Products carrier is a versatile choice for small and medium-sized dogs. It resembles airplane carrier luggage. In fact, it's in a size that most airplanes will readily accept for carry-on travel.
The unit features large mesh windows for ventilation and sightseeing. A couple of sizable pockets on the side offer plenty of space for the essentials. The unique thing about this carrier is that you can use it in many ways. The integrated wheels and telescoping handle let you wheel your pooch along. Meanwhile, the shoulder straps are great for backpack carry.
7. JesPet Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack, 17-in
This unit from JesPet has a unique design. Like the previous model, it can be used as a traditional backpack carrier or as a kennel when placed on its side. The carrier is surprisingly durable. It's made of tough polyester and has several reinforced points.
Internal and external padding provide comfort throughout. On the inside, there's a removable fleece pad that adds another layer of coziness for your pooch. Side pockets make way for the essentials, while mesh windows provide plenty of cooling ventilation.
8. K9 Sport Sack Air Plus 2 Forward Facing Dog Carrier Backpack
Here's the next iteration of the iconic Sport Sack! The K9 Sport Sack Air Plus 2 takes all of the great features of the original and makes them better. The largest model can support up to 40 pounds. Not only that, but it has several safety features.
Five fail-safes are in place to ensure that your dog doesn't fall and get injured. It's also thicker for more stability. On your end, the backpack has an overall wider design to reduce fatigue on the shoulders. Plus, it comes with a detachable bag. You can carry more along with your dog!
9. Pet Gear I-GO2 Escort Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack
The I-GO2 is an adorably named carrier that does just what its moniker says. It's on the simpler side in terms of design. However, it does the basics and comfortably carries your dog without any issues.
The luggage-style carrier features a strong bottom that safely supports up to 15 pounds. One interesting thing is the expandable sides. Unzip them to get about three inches of extra internal space.
Like other luggage-style carriers, this one has wheels, an expandable handle, and seatbelt loops to give you ultimate versatility.
10. PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack for Small Dogs, Puppies
PetAmi makes this stylish carrier available in a slew of colors. Supporting up to 12 pounds, it's best for small dogs. The inside is quite expansive given the backpack's size. A door on the side provides quick access to the interior. Meanwhile, reinforced panels and a hard frame ensure that the carrier retains its shape.
Several windows on the front and sides work to keep your dog cool. A couple of pockets are present as well. The carrier even has a dedicated window pocket to keep your dog's identification front and center!
Why Use a Dog Carrier Backpack?
Backpack carriers are an unorthodox way to bring your dog along for a hike. There's no denying that. Most owners who use them get some weird stares because it's not something people see very often.
So, why use a backpack carrier?
The most obvious answer is easy containment. Typically, leashes, collars, and harnesses are the go-to. While those are great initially, what are you going to do once your dog gets tuckered out?
Dogs will tire out pretty quickly. Hikes are strenuous. You're going uphill, so your dog is working against its own body resistance. On top of that, some canines end up pulling on their leashes in excitement. This behavior only serves to tire them out faster.
What do you do in those situations? You could take frequent breaks, but doing so will slow you down significantly and put your dog's health at risk. The only option is to carry them. That's where carrier backpacks come in.
These accessories let you take your dog along for the ride even when their body is over it. They can have some time to rest while you can continue on your trek!
Sometimes, dogs are incapable of going on hikes to begin with. Senior dogs, for example, often suffer from joint problems that prevent them from walking for more than a few minutes. Meanwhile, small breeds don't have the muscle composition or endurance to handle hikes.
In those cases, carrier backpacks come in handy, too. Your dog can still enjoy the experience without all the pain and discomfort.
What Makes a Good Dog Carrier Backpack?
Quality can vary dramatically in today's dog accessory market. Your options for dog carriers are no different.
These accessories are not like collars and harnesses. They support your dog's entire weight. Inferior quality is not going to cut it. When you're shopping, it's important to pay attention to all of those little details. Here are a few factors to keep in mind as you shop.
Whether or not dogs enjoy being carried depends entirely on their preferences. However, the design of the carrier will influence how your pup reacts. Uncomfortable materials with rough edges will only create constant chafing. What dog wants that!
Look out for smooth fabrics and a comfortable lining. The backpack should be comfortable enough for your dog to sit in for hours.
There's a fine balance between comfort and durability. While the materials should be cozy inside, the exterior needs to be tough.
Look for rip-resistant materials and reinforced stitching. The backpack needs to support your dog's weight without buckling at all.
Carrier backpacks aren't a one-size-fits-all accessory. While there is some wiggle room, you need to get a general size that fits your dog. Take measurements around the widest part of the chest. Then, measure the distance from the neck to the tail. Use those figures to choose a backpack that will fit snug.
Key Considerations When Choosing a Dog Carrier Backpack
Beyond those basic quality factors we mentioned earlier, you have to consider some more preference-based qualifiers.
You should always scrutinize the weight capacity of the backpack. The last thing you want is the backpack to buckle and tear before dropping your dog on the ground. Injuries are a real possibility if you don't choose a backpack that's weighted to your dog.
It's better to get a unit that can support more than your dog weighs for good measure.
Closed vs Open Legs
Here's a consideration that will impact long-term comfort. If you're going on a short hike, a leg-out backpack may be a better choice. Generally, dogs prefer to have free reign of their legs. It's more natural-feeling and closely resembles how you hold them.
But for longer trips, the legs-out design may be counterintuitive! Closed backpacks that confine your pup's legs tend to be cozier for longer trips. The backpack nestles the legs for safety.
Front vs Back Carry
Both front and back-carry backpacks exist. Again, this is a matter of personal preference. Some dogs may like to be in the front so that they can feel your breath and heart. Meanwhile, others like to stay in the back because they have a clear view of the surroundings.
However, the way the backpack carries will also impact your own comfort! Back-carry units tend to be easier on your shoulders and spine, so keep that in mind when choosing.
Finally, does your carrier backpack offer some room for storage?
You're not going to have a ton of extra carrying room. But, many backpacks do offer space for the essentials. Pack light and prioritize your dog's must-haves for safety.
You don't have to leave your dog behind just because they're unable to keep up with your pace. Hikes are a wonderful way to spend time with your dog.
With no distractions but peaceful nature, it's a time to bond and explore with your best friend. The best dog carrier backpack lets you do just that!
Also Read: Nine Best Outdoor Dog Tie Outs