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The 8 Best Dog Backpack Carriers for Hands-Free Hiking (Tested!)

Going hiking in tough terrain can be tiring and difficult for your dog. Having a backpack to carry them through the tough parts will keep you from worrying about your dog and allow you to have both hands free.

Finding the right backpack can be hard so we decided to search through the most highly rated dog backpack carriers and test the best ones to help you pick the right one for you. We tested 15 of the best backpacks we could find.

After we tested the backpacks we decided there were 8 backpacks that we and our dogs preferred on the trail. We’ll tell you all about them along with 4 honorable mentions!

Our Top Picks

  Product Details    
01-Kurgo-Dog-Carrier-Backpack Best Overall: Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack The Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack is one of the highest-rated dog backpacks out there, and it can comfortably carry up to 25 pounds with extra pockets for other needs. Check Price
02-K9-Sport-Pack Best For Heavy Dogs: K9 Sport Pack The K9 Sport Pack has one of the highest weight limits. Able to comfortably carry up to 30 pounds this is great for a heavier dog or those who need more gear on the trail. Check Price
03-Pecute-Pet-Carrier Most Breathable Dog Backpack: Pecute Pet Carrier This dog backpack will allow your dog the most air while being carried. Great for a smaller dog, it can hold up to 18 pounds and won’t hurt your back. Check Price
04-Casual-Canine-Ultimate-Backpack Most Casual Looking Dog Backpack: Casual Canine Ultimate Backpack The name says it all with this dog backpack. It is one of the most casual-looking ones that still allows for your dog to fit comfortably inside. It can carry up to 22 pounds. Check Price
05-Mogoko-Dog-Carrier-Backpack Most Secure For Small Dogs: Mogoko Dog Carrier Backpack If you want your small dog to be as secure as possible, the Mogoko Dog Carrier would be perfect for you. Holding up to 7 pounds, it will keep your small dog secure and ready for any adventure. Check Price
06-PetAmi-Dog-Backpack Roomiest Dog Backpack: PetAmi Dog Backpack The PetAmi Dog Backpack has the absolute most room for your dog. Able to hold 18 pounds, this dog backpack will ensure your best friend has plenty of space to get comfy. Check Price

How We Chose the Best Dog Backpack Carriers

Dog in a backpack carrier
A dog backpack carrier keeps your dog safe while out on hikes.

For this test, we focused on a few key elements that make a dog backpack great, including size, weight limit, design and material, and ventilation. Consider these factors, and you’ll secure a suitable backpack carrier without too much time or trouble.

We first looked into the size of the backpack. Knowing the overall dimensions will make it easier to choose a backpack that’ll fit your dog. It’s equally important to pick a bag that can carry your dog without feeling too big and bulky on your shoulders.

Weight is the next most important aspect we considered. Try to make sure your dog weighs a few pounds less than the quoted upper maximum weight limit. You should also ensure that you can comfortably carry your dog.

Appearance always matters. How the bag looks may influence your decision more than most other factors. We chose backpacks that look great and use durable materials. 

You most likely don’t want your dog to overheat or feel too confined. Ventilation and viewing windows will keep your pup cool and in touch with their surroundings.

We chose the most highly-rated backpacks to test, and 8 of them were worthy of being called our top picks.

Our Top Picks: Best Dog Backpack Carriers Reviewed 

1. Best Overall: Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack

Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack

Product Ratings

Affordability3/5
Comfort5/5
Weight Limit5/5
Appearance5/5
Quality5/5

Sizes: 13 x 21 x 10 inches | Brand: Kurgo | Features: Waterproof | Dogs: Teacup to Small Breeds | Weight Limit: 25 lbs | Material: Plastic 

What We Liked

  • Looks like a normal hiking backpack
  • Holds a lot of weight
  • Has extra storage pockets for gear
  • TSA airline-approved backpack

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not many color options
  • Is quite expensive compared to some others we tested
  • Clip-on strap may be fragile

We like that this carrier has a simple design and can carry a large amount of weight. The polyester construction is waterproof with the bottom of the carrier fully protecting your pup. This backpack is intended for dogs weighing up to 25 pounds.

This backpack will guarantee your pup has a cushioned ride while you won’t be inconvenienced or fatigued while carrying them. Kurgo makes all sorts of dog products and has a great brand reputation. We love that this pack has a lifetime warranty.

Size & Weight Limit

The size of this backpack is just right. It fits just as a normal backpack does, and has multiple pockets for other stuff while not feeling bulky.

The backpack itself is lightweight and has padding so your dog is comfortable.

The weight limit for this backpack is pretty impressive, considering its size. The robust materials and construction make it able to comfortably carry a 25-pound dog along with other gear.

Material & Features

Appearing as more of a normal hiking-style backpack, this is one of the few that won’t look like it was made as a dog carrier when the little hatch on top is zipped closed.   

The only opening this backpack has for your dog is the head area. Otherwise, it is completely closed off. The colors offered for this backpack are red and black. 

Making sure your furry friend has proper ventilation is important to keep them comfortable and healthy. The back panel of the backpack offers extra ventilation, and our dogs were comfy inside.

Ease of Use

This backpack is very easy to use. Just unzip the large compartment, put your dog in, then zip it back up. Unzip the head area, so they have room to breathe and see during walks or hikes with your dog.

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2. Best for Heavy Dogs: K9 Sport Pack

K9 Sport Pack

Product Ratings

Affordability3/5
Comfort3/5
Weight Limit5/5
Appearance5/5
Quality4/5

Sizes: 23 x 12 x 2 inches | Brand: K9 Sports Sack | Features: Adjustable | Dogs: Teacup to Medium Breeds | Weight Limit: 30 lbs | Material: Canvas 

What We Liked

  • Offers different sized packs for different breeds
  • Multiple colors to choose from
  • Can fit any dog shape or size
  • Has openings for front legs to go though
  • Offers an attachable pack for extra storage

What We Didn’t Like

  • May be a little more uncomfortable
  • Can take longer to get dog strapped into carrier
  • No extra pockets

What we noticed about this backpack carrier is that dogs feel rather warm inside this bag because there is less ventilation than the others we tested. This bag is durable and high-performing, and we love that it fits our slightly larger dogs.

The K9 Sports Sack is a brand that is US-based. They offer outstanding customer care if anything goes wrong with the bag. 

Size & Weight Limit

We love that these bags come sized for extra small to large dogs. The bags are very lightweight and use thin canvas material. The small carrier can carry the most weight out of any of the others, safely holding up to 30 pounds, while they offer a model that can hold up to 80 pounds. 

Material & Features

The K9 Sports Sack looks very clean and comes in a variety of colors including light blue, gray, black, brown, and green. The sides of the backpack are mesh but otherwise, the rest is a plain canvas. 

There is not much ventilation in these backpacks aside from the mesh sides. It is designed for a dog large enough to sit with its head sticking out for fresh air, while the mesh netting on the side helps to keep them cooler.

Ease of Use

This backpack is slightly harder to use because you have to strap your dog into the backpack then get their front legs through the holes provided. This one may take a few tries before you get your dog in with ease.

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3. Most Breathable Dog Backpack: Pecute Pet Carrier

Pecute Pet Carrier

Product Ratings

Affordability4/5
Comfort4/5
Weight Limit4/5
Appearance3/5
Quality5/5

Sizes: 5 x 13.8 x 11 inches | Brand: Pecute | Features: Expandable | Dogs: Teacup to Small Breeds | Weight Limit: 18 lbs | Material: Oxford cloth 

What We Liked

  • Ventilation on all sides
  • Backpack carrier can expand into a normal carrier
  • Designed to be comfortable for your back
  • Multiple entrances

What We Didn’t Like

  • Looks like a carrier, not a backpack
  • Only can hold up to 18 pounds
  • Only a few color options
  • No other pockets

Right away we noticed how much ventilation his backpack had to offer along with the innovative foldable and expandable design. This gives you all the advantages of a supportive carrier without needing too much space for storage.

Size & Weight Limit

The size of this carrier can be smaller or larger depending on if you extend it or not. As a backpack, it seems to be a comfortable size. The weight limit is for teacup to small dogs. Allowing dogs up to 18 pounds to be carried in the backpack comfortably.

We love that the backpack can be used with a panel extended to allow the dog to nap or stretch out while getting maximum fresh air and interaction with the outdoors.

Material & Features

Most of the backpack is made of mesh netting to maximize ventilation and viewing area. The rest is made of robust oxford cloth. These backpacks come in four basic colors including blue, gray, black, and light khaki. 

Ease of Use

This backpack is extremely easy to use. It offers multiple ways for your dog to enter the backpack. All you have to do is unzip it, lead them in, and then zip it back up.

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4. Most Casual Looking Dog Backpack: Casual Canine Ultimate Backpack

Casual Canine Ultimate Backpack

Product Ratings

Affordability3/5
Comfort5/5
Weight Limit4/5
Appearance3/5
Quality4/5

Sizes: 17 x 11.5 x 18 inches | Brand: Casual Canine | Features: Expandable | Dogs: Teacup to Small Breeds | Weight Limit: 22 lbs | Material: Polyester

What We Liked

  • A lot of ventilation
  • Weatherproof and stain-resistant
  • Can expand for dog to have more room
  • Offers a few extra pockets for storage

What We Didn’t Like

  • The lime green color
  • The appearance is not the most pleasing
  • More expensive than other options we tried

Casual Canine serves up an easy-care backpack capable of providing your pet with a soft and cushioned ride while allowing you to keep both your hands-free for hiking, walking, or seeing the town.

Size & Weight Limit

This backpack is slightly larger than some other ones we tested and has a good amount of space for your pup to stretch out and see the sights.

Able to hold a dog up to 22 pounds, the backpack is great for dogs that are slightly bigger, and roomy enough to keep them comfortable.

Material & Features

Made from 100% polyester, you get a weatherproof and stain-resistant backpack that’s a cinch to keep clean. You can easily spot-clean this bag and then allow it to air dry.

The side storage pockets let you stash all the treats you need along with your dog leash and any other accessories for when you’re on the road. It offers ventilation on the sides of the backpack as well as in the back when extended.

A few customers have complained about this bag losing its structure somewhat, but this is about the only gripe we could find in a sea of positive user reviews.

Our only real complaint is the lime green color which clashes with all of our clothing except black. However, it does get a lot of attention from other people who love to stop and see our pup.

Ease of Use

This backpack is very easy to use. Just unzip and set your dog inside, then zip it back up. They are ready to go on just about any adventure.

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5. Most Secure for Small Dogs: Mogoko Dog Carrier Backpack

Mogoko Dog Carrier Backpack

Product Ratings

Affordability5/5
Comfort4/5
Weight Limit2/5
Appearance4/5
Quality4/5

Sizes: 6 x 13 x 6.3 inches | Brand: Mogoko | Features: Padded | Dogs: Teacup | Weight Limit: 7 lbs | Material: Polyester

What We Liked

  • Great backpack for teacup and toy breeds
  • Offers multiple colors to choose from
  • Simple design
  • Great price

What We Didn’t Like

  • Only can hold 7 pounds
  • Not much ventilation aside from the head hole

The first thing we noticed about the Mogoko model is that the design is very lowkey. It’s available in a great palette of colors and priced fantastically considering the fit and finish.

Size & Weight Limit

The size of this backpack is smaller than the others because it is designed only for smaller dogs. Able to hold dogs up to 7 pounds, this carrier will work for people who want to walk and hike with small dogs.

Material & Features

Your dog will get a very cushioned experience with the backpack. You also won’t find the straps digging into your back or shoulders. The peephole lets your pup poke his whole face out while remaining safe and secure inside the carrier.

The only notable drawback here concerns a lack of robustness underneath this carrier. We would advise against setting it down harshly because it may lose its supportive shape over time.

We also wish it had more room and ventilation for our dog to lay down in the bottom and take a nap without having to worry about airflow and heat. 

Ease of Use

This backpack is easy to use. Unzip, place your dog inside, and then zip back up. They will immediately be able to stick their head through the peephole, but they are held securely in the cradle of the backpack and can’t easily jump out.

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6. Roomiest Dog Backpack: PetAmi Dog Backpack

PetAmi Dog Backpack

Product Ratings

Affordability5/5
Comfort4/5
Weight Limit4/5
Appearance3/5
Quality5/5

Sizes: 5 x 10.2 x 16.3 inches | Brand: PetAmi | Features: Ventilation | Dogs: Teacup to small | Weight Limit: 18 lbs | Material: Polyester

What We Liked

  • Great ventilation
  • Name tag holder on back
  • Wide variety of colors to choose from
  • Has a secure front strap 
  • 12 colors to choose from

What We Didn’t Like

  • Zippers are poorly constructed
  • Looks more like a carrier than a backpack

The PetAmi backpack is great for small or medium-breed dogs. Along with hikes, this carrier should give you the easy ability to take them out safely in the city or strolling around your neighborhood. 

Size & Weight Limit

The backpack size is pretty standard for a backpack designed more like a carrier. It will take up your whole back area and feels a little large because of the square bottom. The weight limit for this bag is quite generous, maxing out at 18 pounds.

Material & Features

There is a sherpa-lined pad inside so that your dog will be as comfortable as possible. Airflow is optimized through super-efficient ventilation so your pup will stay cool and airy even if it’s hot and humid outside

The front strap adds some extra stability and helps with weight distribution so you can carry your dog longer without tired shoulders and aching back. We love that the pack is super-secure and allows the dog to curl up and go to sleep while still receiving fresh air.

Ease of Use

This backpack is extremely easy to use. Unzip one of the sides to get your dog inside then zip it back up. Once you put the backpack on there are front straps to help the carrier remain stable.

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7. Most Headspace: Petsfit Backpack

Petsfit Backpack

Product Ratings

Affordability4/5
Comfort3/5
Weight Limit4/5
Appearance2/5
Quality4/5

Sizes: 13 x 11 x 17 inches | Brand: Petsfit | Features: Spacious | Dogs: Teacup to small | Weight Limit: 22 lbs | Material: Canvas

What We Liked

  • Windows on all sides
  • Bright color options so can be seen at night
  • Waist and chest buckles to avoid shoulder and back fatigue
  • Very roomy for your dog

What We Didn’t Like

  • Appearance isn’t the best
  • Build quality could be improved

Petsfit serves as a wonderful transportation solution. This backpack isn’t the cheapest option at your disposal, it’s still well-priced. Carrying your pet around safely is not something you want to compromise for the sake of a few bucks.

Size & Weight Limit

The size of this backpack is larger than others because of the rectangular design which provides a ton of headspace for your dog. This is our favorite pack for taking along our taller breed dogs with longer legs.

The weight limit is quite high for this backpack, ranging around 22 pounds. We suggest that, if you use this backpack, make sure your dog is under that weight limit.

Material & Features

This backpack features buckles that fasten around your chest and waist. You’ll feel nice and stable even if you have a medium-sized dog who moves around a lot.

Windows on all sides provide your pup with a 360-degree view and provide the ventilation needed to keep them feeling fresh when it’s hot and sticky outside. 

The black backpack is better for hiding dirt and stains, while the neon green version is good if you plan to head out at night and you want to be visible in low light.

Ease of Use

The carrier is very easy to use. Simply unzip the top and place your dog inside. After that, zip them in and put them on the backpack. Use the front straps for extra stability.

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8. Best for Taller Dogs: Pawaboo Pet Carrier Backpack

Pawaboo Pet Carrier Backpack

Product Ratings

Affordability5/5
Comfort5/5
Weight Limit3/5
Appearance3/5
Quality3/5

Sizes: 16 x 4.5 x 8 inches | Brand: Pawaboo | Features: Leg openings | Dogs: Teacup to small | Weight Limit: 18 lbs | Material: Polyester and mesh

What We Liked

  • Leg and tail openings for dogs
  • Variety of colors to choose from
  • Very comfortable for the wearer
  • Can wear on back or front

What We Didn’t Like

  • Sizing seems off
  • May not be the best for larger dogs
  • Not the most stable backpack that we tried

Pawaboo produces some thoughtfully-designed and hardwearing pet gear. This dog carrier backpack is more wallet-friendly than others, and we appreciate what you get for the money.

Size & Weight Limit

This backpack is quite compact. It is not bulky like other carriers because of the design. The weight limit for this backpack is 18 pounds but we recommend that your dog be less than that.

Material & Features

The comfort factor on this carrier is commendable. The spongy padding in the straps gives you the latitude to stay out for hours without feeling burdened by your dog.

Your dog’s legs and tail can poke out of the holes in place so they don’t feel restricted. However, your dog is strapped in place and cannot move while in this pack, so we feel it’s important to stop frequently and let the dog stretch and run around.

The inside of the backpack is soft, smooth, and remarkably easy to keep clean. Made from polyester and mesh, you should get plenty of faithful service from this bag. Wear this backpack on your back or front to suit. If you’re looking for the best cheap dog backpack carrier that will keep your dog still and secure, this is it. 

Ease of Use

This may be one of the harder carriers to use because if your dog is not used to a carrier they may reject putting their legs through the holes of the bag. Getting them to cooperate can become a difficult task.

Also, because the dog can’t lay down to nap or reposition for comfort, you have to take the pack off and let the dog out periodically for their health and comfort. However, for those who are biking or need the dog to stay still on the trip, this pack is great.

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Comparison Chart

ProductsBest OverallBest for Heavy DogsThe Most BreathableLooking The Most CasualThe Most Secure for Small DogsThe RoomiestThe Most HeadspaceBest For Taller Dogs
Overall Rating4.6/54/54/53.8/53.8/54.2/53.4/53.8/5
Affordability3/53/54/53/55/55/54/55/5
Comfort5/53/54/55/54/54/53/55/5
Weight Limit5/55/54/54/52/54/54/53/5
Appearance5/55/53/53/54/53/52/53/5
Quality5/54/55/54/54/55/54/53/5

The Winner

In the end, we felt that the Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack was the best option out of the bunch. This backpack offers a good amount of room for your dog and features extra storage. It looks the most like a backpack and will be comfortable for you and your pup. 

READ MORE: The Best Dog Carrier Slings. These dog carrier slings are perfect for taking your little dog out for a day on the town! See what we thought of them after testing.

How to Choose the Best Dog Backpack Carriers

There are a lot of great dog backpacks available, many at a reasonable price. So, what are the factors that are the most important to consider when choosing a dog backpack carrier?

Consider Your Dog’s Needs

Before deciding on a dog backpack carrier, you should consider your pet’s likes and needs, whether they need more ventilation than others or are okay without it. It is important to note if they need more cushions or move around a lot. Knowing what will make your dog content will help you pick out the right dog carrier. 

How Much Can You Carry?

Now you should also consider your own needs. Dogs are heavy, and having this extra weight on you may slow you down or make it more difficult for you to hike. You may need more back support or room for extra gear than others. If so, then choosing a backpack that won’t slow you down would be the best. 

Heavy backpacks can lead to back pain. If you know you get back pain easily then choose a backpack that features extra chest and waist straps to keep the weight off of your shoulders and spine.

Weight and Size of Your Dog

You should know your dog’s measurements before deciding on a backpack to buy. Make sure that they will fit or are under the weight limit. If your dog is near 30 pounds then your options are limited. If your dog only weighs 7 pounds then you have a ton of backpacks to choose from.

Also, consider your dog’s leg length. A taller dog that weighs under the weight limit may be uncomfortable when confined inside a carrier, so choose one with maximum head-room for the size.

Honorable Mentions

Here’s a brief look at the 4 best dog backpack carriers that didn’t make our top picks list.

1. Outward Hound PoochPouch – Considered for Best Overall

We considered this option for best overall because of the look and price. This bag is a lot cheaper than others and looks like a normal backpack. It allows for your dog’s head to pop out and can be situated in front of you so you won’t always have to have the weight of your dog on your back.

The reason this backpack didn’t beat the Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack is that overall the Outward Hound PoochPouch just isn’t as good. It can only really carry up to 15 pounds. It doesn’t offer extra pockets and ventilation is not the best.

2. Apollo Walker Pet Backpack – Considered for Most Breathable

The Apollo Walker Pet Backpack was a close second for most breathable. It offers a ton of ventilation and is slightly cheaper. It carries up to 18 pounds and has great reviews.

We felt that the Pecute Pet Carrier was overall better even though it is slightly more expensive. There are more colors to choose from, the design is nicer, and it has an extension to keep your dog happy.

3. Texsens Pet Backpack – Considered for Most Secure

The Texsens pet backpack came in second for most secure but it was not a top pick for our dogs. It does have a good amount of room and can carry up to 15 pounds, but the material feels more confining and warm.

We decided that the Mogoko Dog Carrier Backpack was more secure and overall a better backpack. It offers more ventilation than the Texsens backpack and won’t make your dog feel super claustrophobic.

4. SlowTon Pet Carrier Backpack – Considered for Most Headspace

The SlowTon carrier offers a rectangular design that would give your dog more headspace than other backpacks. It has decent ventilation and can carry dogs up to 16 pounds.

We had to go with the Petsfit Backpack instead because although it’s slightly more expensive, the design and ventilation are better. The materials feel more secure and it can carry up to 22 pounds, giving it the win.

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