What’s The Best Backpacking Dog Carrier – Our 10 Top Picks

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What is the best backpacking dog carrier for you and your pet? And how exactly do you decide which will suit your individual needs? Read on…


Why Invest in a Dog Backpack Carrier?

You absolutely love hiking, but your small dog simply can’t keep up. Maybe the little one is tired and just wants to lie down! Unfortunately, you’re a mile away from camp. What will you do? Many toy breeds are brachycephalic and become easily winded.

Or imagine you’re at a busy, hectic airport. You simply can’t fly without your emotional support dog! Unfortunately, he is a small breed, and the airport is crowded. How will you ensure your little one arrives at your gate safely by your side?


What Breeds are Best Suited for A Backpacking Dog Carrier?

You’re looking at your toy breeds. And you wouldn’t want to try and carry your German Shepherd around like this anyway.

Only small dogs will generally fit in these packs, so you ideally don’t want to carry a dog over 15 pounds (or less) in them. Between 4-10 lbs would normally be adequate.

Note: Always check the size capacity before purchasing your pet carrier! 


What breeds are best able to carry saddlebags?


A few of our items here double as harnesses and saddlebags your pet would wear when hiking. This offers your little one the ability to carry extra supplies on your journeys!

Really, any hiking dog breed, from a Beagle on up, will happily carry packs as long as the weight is appropriate for the dog’s size. If you want to get the absolute most out of those dog saddlebags, breeds actually bred to carry/pull loads will give you the most.

You would be looking at larger working dog breeds, like Alaskan Malamutes, Samoyeds, Siberian Huskies, etc. These breeds were originally bred in part to help pull loads of equipment and supplies, so wearing a pack wouldn’t be a problem. 


What Makes the Best Backpacking Dog Carrier?


You want to focus on finding an item specifically designed to suit your individual needs, whether it be travel, hiking, simple carrying, or something else. Thankfully, we have something for just about every purpose below!


Durability

The very last thing you want is for your dog carrier to fall apart, dumping your beloved pet onto the ground! This could be disastrous, especially for a small breed. When it comes to pet carriers, durability is one of your most important assets.

How popular is your product? How many have sold, and what are the customer reviews like? Beware of anything that hasn’t lasted for other customers in the past.

You should also check for any warnings or disclaimers. 


Comfort/Padding

How comfortable is your pet carrier backpack? You’ll be carrying another living animal on your back, sometimes for an extended period. If you skimp out here, both your back/shoulders and your pet could soon regret it.

  • Is the back padded? 
  • Is there padding around the pet leg openings if there are any?
  • Are the shoulder straps padded?
  • Is your pet held securely, so he/she isn’t bouncing up and down?


Functionality

The best dog backpack carrier for you will need to serve your functions and work for you. What are you looking for? What qualities do you want? What purpose will your dog carrier serve exactly?

  • Are you looking for a luggage/pet carrier for travel?
  • Is it a hiking backpack carrier you want?
  • Are you looking for a dog harness that doubles as packs your dog will wear?
  • Are you looking for support for your ageing pet?
  • How big is your dog?

We really do list something for almost any desire here! Whether it be airline travel, hiking, added support, or even a harness/pack for your pup to wear, we’ve got it.


Cost

You don’t always get what you pay for, but the old adage is usually true! You certainly don’t want to skimp out for something less costly when your little one’s safety is in question. Something created from cheaper materials could end up falling apart on you.

Falling apart in the wash is one thing, but you absolutely don’t want your pet carrier falling apart in the middle of the wilderness! 

So, carefully evaluate what you get for your money. Are you paying for a fancy item, or are you paying for a brand name? Sometimes, the brand name really does say more about the product’s durability than looks alone.


NICREW Legs Out Front Dog Carrier


The NICREW pet carrier is one of the simpler products on our list, but that doesn’t make it any less useful. Comfortable, durable cotton and polyester fiber will keep your little one resting safely while you navigate treacherous terrain ahead!

dog backpacking carriers

The easy-access side zips open and closed, allowing your furry pal to fit snugly within. An elastic neck design companies’ adjustable straps for easy fitting, and extra padding makes for comfortable wear!

  • Available in 2 colors and fours sizes – Small to XL
  • Padded backing for comfort
  • Padded back straps
  • Breathable mesh


YUDODO Pet Dog Sling Carrier


Do you prefer the sling-style pet carrier over a backpack? Maybe you want to be able to look down at your little one any time, or you enjoy the feel of your pet resting snugly against you. This model is Amazon’s top selling backpacking dog carrier.

dog backpacking carrier sling

This dog carrier is great for toy breeds, offering a soft and breathable leather mesh. The shoulder strap itself is super wide and simple to adjust. A hands-free design ensures you’ll always have the freedom you want.

  • Best for small-toy breeds/ small cats
  • Extra-wide shoulder strap
  • Reflective stripe on carrier
  • Plug hook for safety
  • Zipper available

Practical and comfortable front sling design!


Pecute Pet Carrier Backpack


With the Petcute backpacking dog carrier, you’ll give your dog his own den on your back! This is one of the few items here that offers an expandable compartment, so the backpack works like a small dog crate (den) you carry around with you. 

best dog backpacking carrier

The expandable design is great for airline or train travel that requires your little one to be kept in a carrier! You can either open the top of the carrier or keep it closed, giving your pup the option of sticking his head out.

Circulation certainly isn’t a problem with this carrier! Plenty of mesh openings provide perfect breathability. This pet carrier is designed with high quality waterproof Oxford cloth and even offers a retractable safety hook.

  • Expandable compartment
  • Several mesh filters for breathability
  • Retractable safety hook
  • Adjustable shoulder pad
  • PVC composite fabric
  • Holds pets up to 18 pounds



PetAmi Pet Carrier Backpack


This stylish backpacking dog carrier is available in 7 colors! Designed for small dogs and cats with plenty of ventilation for great airflow, this pack gives you a zip-up mesh window and thick, sherpa-lined bedding for maximum comfort.

backpacking dog carrier by petami

If you’re worried about safety, worry no longer! Your backpack’s structure is firmly reinforced and offers both a safety strap & buckle to help secure your pet. 

Carrying your pup around on your back can be a pain on the shoulders. Don’t worry! The PetAmi pet carrier gives you extra thick back and shoulder padding for added support. 

  • Made with durable 600D high-grade polyester
  • Available in 7 colors
  • Extra thick back and shoulder padding
  • Zip up mesh windows


Kurgo Dog Saddlebag Backpack



Are you a hiking enthusiast? The Kurgo is one of two saddleback designs we have on our list! These are absolutely wonderful for hiking dogs, allowing your pup to carry extra supplies on your trips.

dog backpacking carrier saddlebags

Your pup is able to carry all of his extra essentials, including things like food, doggie bags, first aid supplies, and travel bowls. This is the kind of item every single dog-hiker should have.

What makes this backpacking dog carrier even better? It doubles as a harness! On top of that, it offers reflective strips- something every single dog harness should have. You’ll even get a large handle attachment to help your dogs over obstacles.

  • Doubles as harness
  • Available in two sizes for dogs 30 to 110 pounds
  • Plenty of room for storing lightweight items
  • Available in three colors


RUFFWEAR Approach Dog Pack


Instead of a dog carrier backpack like all the others here, this is a backpack your dog can wear and is designed perfectly for those hikes and camping trips! Your dog can help you carry more gear during your travels with their Ruffwear backpack, like:

ruffwear dog backpacking carrier
  • Portable water bowls
  • Toys
  • Treats/Training rewards
  • A doggy raincoat
  • & more!

The backpack itself is a bright orange, offering a reflective trim/stripe so other hikers or travellers can see you clearly from a distance. It offers a ‘saddlebag’ design on both sides, so you can balance any weight for your pet.

If that wasn’t enough, the entire backpack is a dog harness! You’ll get all that functionality in one. Harnesses are always recommended over leash- collars for hiking dogs anyway, so you’ll probably already be using one.

  • Dog harness and pack in one
  • Bright orange for safety and visibility when hiking
  • Two packs – one on each side

Though it’s available in three sizes, this hiking backpack is recommended for medium to larger breeds. 


COODEO Dog Carry Sling


Do you care for a senior dog? Does he suffer from joint injuries or arthritis? Does your dog have trouble getting around? Has your dog suffered a leg injury, limiting his mobility? Does he suffer from Hip dysplasia or something similar?

Unfortunately, almost all dogs will begin to suffer from osteoarthritis if they reach a certain age, as a simple fact of life. 

This dog sling carrier is wonderfully designed for dogs that may have trouble getting around! Use it to help your dog up inclines, up and downstairs, or even as a convenient assistant while a friend clips your pet’s nails.

backpacking dog carrier sling for senior dogs

You’ll get full-body, padded support with this dog carrier. The carrier sling itself is padded and offers two extra straps for your dog’s rear end and chest.

  • Padded design
  • Side sling design
  • Extra front and back straps for support
  • Available in 4 sizes
  • Largest able to support dogs up to 130 lbs.
  • Side handles for assistance when carrying dog
  • Shoulder strap padding


K9 Sport Sack Knavigate


This backpacking dog carrier fully encompasses your pet, except for his head – which will pop out of the top. It’s sort of like a potato sack race! Though three sizes are available, recommended breeds range from a Chihuahua, Maltese, Teacup Yorkie, and Pomeranian to Papillon.

dog backpacking carrier k9

Your sport sack offers extra-wide shoulder straps along with a waist strap for stability. This pack would stabilize a dog in place, rather than offer roam to roam around, which is actually a good thing! You don’t want your pup bouncing around as you walk. The extra stability would add to your pup’s comfort.

  • 60-Day Quality Guarantee
  • Wide shoulder straps
  • Extra waist strap
  • Side pockets for water bottles or other items


ibiyaya 5-in-1 Pet Carrier with Backpack


Best Dog Backpack Carrier for Travel

All hail the King of backpacking dog carriers! The ibiyaya carrier was designed with travel, hectic airports, and busy train stations in mind. There literally probably isn’t anything better for small breed travel. The functionality and versatility of use here is amazing!

backpacking dog carrier and stroller for travel

With sturdy wheels, a one-hand folding mechanism and simplistic maneuvering, you’ll breeze through those crowds! Your stroller was built to surpass human baby stroller standards and offers sturdy mesh windows for your little one.

Your 5 in 1 pet carrier is even simple to assemble! You can literally switch between the categories below within minutes. Be sure to check out dimensions on our Amazon sales page!

  • Shoulder carrier
  • Dog backpack carrier
  • Pet car seat
  • Dog stroller
  • Pet carrier with wheels



Outward Hound PoochPouch Dog Front Carrier


Best Toy Breed Front Pouch Carrier

This new backpacking dog carrier is more of a ‘front pack’, designed specifically to remain stable while strapped very securely to your belly. Your pup will remain safely secure during those long, hectic walks, or when you’re busy around town.


chewy backpacking dog carrier


What about comfort? Padded straps and a pouch bottom ensure comfort for you and your little one! Mesh sides also offer plenty of ventilation. 

Are you worried about rain or washing? The fabric here is made from water-resistant nylon, ensuring your pup pack remains dry and stable even after a soaking!  

  • Available in 2 sizes
  • Padded straps
  • Water-resistant nylon fabric
  • Convenient side pockets for storing extras


In summary – the best backpacking dog carrier


All up – the best backpacking dog carrier will depend on your personal needs, and your breed of dog. If you’re looking for the ultimate in versatility, the ibiyaya 5-in-1 will cover all your bases from being a backpack to a stroller to a car booster seat.

For around town, we love the Outward Hound carrier (and the name is great too!).

When you’re looking at buying a carrier, check the size capacity to ensure there’s enough room for your dog, and that the bag is able to easily hold their weight. And make sure the bag is comfortable for you too! Padding and comfortable straps are essential to carry your pup comfortably over long distances.


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rachael barkzine

About the author

Rachael is the co-founder and head writer at Barkzine. Owner of one elderly pug, she’s dedicated to helping other dog owners create healthy, happy, lives with their furry best friends.

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About BarkZine

BarkZine is a small team of devoted dog owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your pup! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.

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BarkZine is a small team of devoted dog owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your pup! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.