The 10 Best Dog Backpacks

Updated June 08, 2017 by Jeff Newburgh

10 Best Dog Backpacks
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If you're going to take your pet trekking through the great outdoors, it seems only fair that it should carry its own gear. Regardless of whether you plan to explore uncharted wilderness or go hiking on a local trail, these dog packs afford your furry friend the comfort and security of multiple adjustment points, leash attachments and enough storage for treats and water bottles. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best dog backpack on Amazon.

10. Cesar Millan CM000MD

Unlike some of its competition, the Cesar Millan CM000MD has been engineered to keep weight near the front of your pet's shoulders, allowing large dogs to safely maximize their use of power in virtually any situation. However, it's a bit on the pricey side.
  • snug fit promotes a calming effect
  • fabric is water-resistant
  • adjusting the straps is a pain
Brand Cesar Millan
Model CM000MD-BLUw
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Frontpet Explorer

Maintain your dog's agility, confidence, and ease of movement without sacrificing his speed or the fun of exercise when outfitting him with the Frontpet Explorer. Its reinforced padding and lightweight ripstop nylon construction allow him to overcome almost any obstacle.
  • material is double-stitched
  • looped zipper tabs with rubber grips
  • limited storage capacity
Brand FrontPet
Model pending
Weight 12.8 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Ruff Armour Rucksack

The Ruff Armour Rucksack enables your pet to take the comforts of home on the trail, thanks to its portable food and water bowl set that easily folds down and zips away. Its sleek grey and blue color combination will ensure you never lose track of your pet's location.
  • bright stylish and attractive
  • balancing the weight load is tricky
  • the belly strap is a bit narrow
Brand Ruff Armour
Model pending
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. Doggles Extreme BPEXLG-09

The Doggles Extreme BPEXLG-09 has been constructed with strong Duraflex buckles, waterproof nylon, and a smooth interior mesh, making it an excellent choice for those high-activity pooches who enjoy playing in the water or even rolling around on the ground.
  • doesn't restrict movement
  • relatively easy to clean
  • the side bags are rather bulky
Brand Doggles
Model BPEXLG-09
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Kurgo Baxter

If your plan is to conquer the outdoors with your canine, arm him with the Kurgo Baxter for the trip. Its 8 adjustment points and padded spine support allow it to naturally contour to the shape of your dog's back, ensuring he maintains his energy level as long as you do.
  • won't loosen as your dog moves
  • accommodates dog food and a leash
  • long fur can get caught in the clips
Brand Kurgo
Model 01584
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Mountainsmith K-9

Designed in close collaboration with a sled dog veterinarian, the Mountainsmith K-9 features an ergonomically-tapered torso for accommodating most large dogs between 75 and 120 pounds. Its strong metal D-ring makes attaching a leash a breeze when extra control is needed.
  • tear and rip-resistant
  • nylon material is breathable
  • straps need tightening fairly often
Brand Mountainsmith
Model 15-80050-02
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. OneTigris Saddle Bag

Rugged elegance and sophistication describe the OneTigris Saddle Bag. Made from high-density cotton canvas and with 2 zippered side pockets, it delivers the additional weight and storage needed for successful hikes on the trail without sacrificing practicality.
  • ideal for large dogs
  • very durable construction
  • the price is reasonable
Brand OneTigris
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Ruffwear Singletrak

Thanks to its foam-padded chest and belly straps, low-profile design, and 2 collapsible water bottles, the Ruffwear Singletrak is ready for adventure whenever you and your pooch are. Its light grey color helps to reflect sunlight, keeping Fido cool at all times.
  • 5 adjustment points for an easy fit
  • reflective trim for night visibility
  • available in 3 sizes
Brand Ruffwear
Model 50301-045LL1
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Canine Equipment Ultimate Trail

Modeled after packs used by working dogs, the Canine Equipment Ultimate Trail leverages 3 separate straps for providing the most secure fit possible to your dog. Its reflective piping and light-chargeable zipper also ensure your pup's safety when traveling in the dark.
  • air mesh lined padding for comfort
  • integrated waste bag dispenser
  • convenient handle for easy lifting
Brand Canine Equipment
Model PE-67303002
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Ruffwear Palisades

Prepare your furry friend for those extended jaunts through the backcountry with the Ruffwear Palisades. Its newly-improved harness is equipped with 4 dedicated attachment points for ensuring even load distribution and superior stability on almost any outdoor terrain.
  • saddlebags are removable
  • anodized aluminum v-ring
  • 2 collapsible hydration bottles
Brand Ruffwear
Model 50202-615LL1
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Companions With A Purpose

Dogs have been considered companion animals for centuries. One possible theory for the evolution of this relationship suggests that wild wolves wandered into human encampments thousands of years ago. By doing this and remaining bold, yet friendly, an emotional connection was forged between humans and wolves, leading to the eventual domestication of the animal that would spur the species on to branch off into many of the common breeds we recognize today. This connection between dog and human shows no signs of changing anytime soon. As dogs are pack animals, they appreciate having a job to do. This can involve herding, chasing a toy, acting as a service animal, or simply tagging along on a camping trip. For that reason, it makes sense that a dog should be equipped with his own backpack to carry his own gear (and yours) when following you on the trail or going for a walk.

The majority of backpacks geared for pooches are designed for almost any size or type of dog and easily fit over their bodies in the same way a saddle is placed over a horse. Aside from the obvious need to store extra gear on an adventure with Fido, backpacks made specifically for him serve several unique purposes. First, let's begin with the idea of training. If you've ever owned a dog, you've probably noticed that through repetition of certain behaviors, or using particular objects over time in your dog's presence, this will condition him to associate those objects with specific emotions or follow-up actions like a reward. I know, for example, that when I take out a ball (or even say the word ball) around my dog, he goes crazy and gets very excited. Why? Because he knows that playtime is coming. The same can be said for the backpack. Not only will it put the dog into working mode, but he'll learn to associate it with an upcoming adventure or the desire to go for a walk. For that reason, it can be a valuable training tool. On the same note, using the backpack as a tool will improve your pet's ability to focus by giving them a job to do. This level of focus carries over into leash training should a dog have a tendency to become aggressive or pull when on leash, further establishing the backpack as a means to calm the animal.

Secondly, adding a backpack into your pup's exercise routine provides a release of excess energy. Loading the pockets with things like soup cans, books, or even his own toys and food will add some healthy weight and intensity to his workout. The amount of weight inside the backpack should be equivalent to a fraction of the dog's total weight, so that he's not burdened with too heavy a load.

Thirdly, a backpack makes your pet mobile. By mobile, I mean that because the dog can carry both your things as well as his own, it's easier for him to go on trips in the same way a hiker can trek through the wilderness during a camping trip with a sleeping bag and other objects in tow.

Finally, the backpack will call the right kind of attention to your dog, making him easy to spot and preventing him from getting lost on the trail. Many packs are equipped with reflective strips, which come in handy when walking on dark streets at night.

It's All About The Dog And Your Circumstances

Before you decide to invest in a backpack for your furry friend, be aware that comfort, safety, durability, and ample storage space should all be among your main considerations. Remember that your pet is just as vulnerable to the outdoors as you are, so consider a backpack with extra padding to minimize impacts and with breathable mesh to keep him cool when exercising. Some of the best backpacks are made from sturdy cotton and nylon materials to prevent rips or tears.

When going camping or hiking together, additional features to keep in mind include built-in hydration systems and deep side storage pockets that allow Fido to carry his own food and water. When feeding and watering him on the trail, this can free up additional space, while simultaneously lightening the load he's forced to carry. One must decide how many dividers the pack will need to store and keep food, water, and other objects separated.

If you plan to travel in the rain, snow, or darkness, ensuring that your choice is brightly-colored, waterproof, and equipped with some type of reflective striping is beneficial for keeping your dog from getting wet or lost.

Discuss weight issues with your vet before fitting your dog with a backpack. Depending on their size and bone structure, some breeds can carry up to 25% of their own weight, while others have more difficulty. Long-legged breeds tend to have an easier time carrying larger loads and absorbing impacts than those with short legs. Always measure the deepest part of your dog's chest to ensure a proper fit from a backpack's straps and fastening buckles. After all, his comfort and ease of mobility should remain two of your top concerns.

If you want to maintain reliable control over your pooch, definitely look for an option with an available leash attachment and a built-in top handle, which allows you to hold onto your pet if you're crossing shallow rivers and need to grab hold of the dog quickly.

A Brief History Of The Dog Backpack

The history of the modern backpack itself is a difficult one to pinpoint, mainly because so many different types and styles have popped up at different times within a variety of cultures. For centuries, man has employed sacks, baskets, or bags carried on his back, with the earliest reference dating back to 3,300 B.C. and belonging to Ozti The Iceman. Unfortunately, Otzi's backpack was not very well preserved.

By contrast, the first well-preserved backpack, called Sekk Med Meis, came from Norway in the 1880s and translates to bag with a frame. It was a wooden frame to which a rudimentary sack was tied and used to store personal goods for travel. It wasn't exactly the same style as today's modern backpacks, with multiple zippers and reflective striping, but this object marked the evolution of the modern applications for the backpack.

The militarization and mechanization of World War I at the turn of the twentieth century afforded the backpack the more common functions for which it is still known and used today.

In 1922, Lloyd F. Nelson patented the Trapper Nelson backpack, which was based on early Native American pack designs and built for hunting purposes.

By 1952, a husband and wife duo named Dick and Nena Kelty began to manufacture backpacks out of their California home. Their design was characterized by an external aluminum frame that ran the entire length of the backpack with an integrated hip belt for improved weight distribution.

The dog backpack became more prominent by the turn of the twenty-first century with the same basic idea of using heavy cottons, breathable mesh materials, and sturdy side pockets to allow one's furry friend to carry some of the load while accompanying his owner on any number of adventures.

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Last updated on June 08, 2017 by Jeff Newburgh

A dedicated writer and communications professional spending his days lost in the intricacies of both proposal and freelance writing. When not sharing the knowledge of both fully and self-insured medical benefits to employer groups of all industries within California, Jeff Newburgh can be found at home spending time with his family and 3 dogs, pondering the next chew toy to be thrown, while kicking back and relaxing with a nice glass of red wine.

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