Top Backpack for Hiking With Your Dog – The Ultimate Guide to the 12 Best Dog Carriers

I’m lucky to live near the Adirondack mountains and there is nothing I love more than going for long hikes in the backcountry. But I’m not alone in my outdoor passion. Most dogs love the fresh air, wildlife, and scenery as well. Hiking and dogs seem to go hand in hand but sometimes (especially for the smaller breeds) a long walk up and down hills, across tree-trunk bridges, and over uneven terrain is just too much to handle. The solution? You could carry your pup with you but to do that you’re going to need a backpack that’s up to the challenge. In this article we’ll go over the best dog carrier backpack for hiking with your dog and traveling you can get so that your adventure in the wild is still fun and exciting rather than a pain in the back.  

Best Backpack for Hiking With Your Dog

What is the Best Backpack for Hiking With Your Dog

Kurgo G-Train Dog Carrier Backpack for Small Pets – Cat & Dog Backpack for Hiking, Camping or Travel

Keep your pup cozy and safe with the Kurgo G-Train dog carrier! With this durable, tactical-inspired, and ergonomic carrier, you can bring your dog with you wherever you go. This carrier will make sure they’re always safe, comfortable, and able to enjoy the scenery. With interior fiberglass rods providing added structure, it’s made from waterproof and dirt-proof materials. Perfect for walking and running your pup in a variety of conditions, this carrier includes padded compartments and zipper pockets. Convert it to a hand carrier for shorter walks by stowing away the shoulder pads.


  • Can be used as a backpack or carrier
  • Lifetime warranty (in US and Canada)
  • Water-resistant

What Pet Owners Love About It

  • Easily adjusts to back comfortably
  • Really well made, my dog enjoys our walks
  • Lots of room for my dog and some of my personal items as well

What Pet Owners Didn’t Like About It – Some Customers Say:

  • Lifetime warranty applies only to US and Canadian customers


K9 Sport Sack Urban 2 Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack

Here’s a Great Add-On to Any of the K9 Sport Sacks to Give Your Pup A Better Fit

This may very well become your new favorite travel companion. The K9 Sport Sack Urban 2 Dog is the world’s first and only dog backpack explicitly designed for both urban living and rural hiking, with a safety collar and harness to keep your best friend close. Technology and fashion merge to make this bag sturdy, reliable, and stylish. It’s made of durable fabric that’s lightweight and breathable. K9 Sport Sack Urban 2 takes the original design of the Urban and adds a fashion-forward upgrade to the straps for comfort and style. With large side pockets and a spacious interior, you’ll be more organized than ever! It really is the ultimate off-the-beaten-path companion.


  • Accommodates a wide range of breeds and sizes of dogs
  • Reinforced bottom for durability
  • Stylish look

What Pet Owners Love About It

  • Feels secure
  • Love that dog can see everything and everyone
  • Dog looks comfortable

What Pet Owners Didn’t Like About It – Some Customers Say:

  • Could use a bit more back support

Small Dog Hiking Backpack

MidWest Day Tripper Dog & Cat Backpack, Blue

The MidWest Day Tripper is a dog carrier that has everything you need for an easy and comfortable journey into the backcountry or a day trip in the city. This is one of the best carrier backpack for small dogs and cats and one of the more interesting backpack for hiking with your dog I’ve seen in a while. It’s compliant with most airline regulations, so you should have no problem bringing your pup on the flight (check with individual airlines before bringing your pup on board). It’s fully lined for protection, it has a strong mesh ventilation system and a water bottle holder to keep your dog comfortable and hydrated. Best of all, it collapses flat for easy storage and comes with padded, adjustable shoulder straps. With a heavy-duty steel zipper and mesh ventilation, it has all the features needed for safe and comfortable hiking trips. 


  • Durable construction
  • Built-in poop-bag dispenser
  • Hip strap

What Pet Owners Love About It

  • Great quality, feels sturdy and strong
  • Had it for over a year and still going strong
  • The liner can be easily washed

What Pet Owners Didn’t Like About It – Some Customers Say:

  • Likely maxes out around 10lb so likely built for smaller animals


Pet Fit For Life Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack

This is one of the more comfortable, secure, and durable pet carriers on the market. Pet Fit For Life’s carrier is made of high-quality materials that will help keep your dog safe and comfortable as you hike. The polyester and plexiglass construction is easily cleaned with a damp cloth, and the large viewing window gives your pup an amazing view as you travel. 


  • Full-size viewing window
  • Expandable interior space
  • Handle or backpack options for carrying

What Pet Owners Love About It

  • Excellent for smaller dogs
  • Love that dog can see everything

What Pet Owners Didn’t Like About It – Some Customers Say:

  • Might be a little too small for the majority of dogs

Large Dog Backpack for Hiking

K9 Sport Sack Air Plus 2 Forward Facing Dog Carrier Backpack

This is one of the roomiest backpacks for your dog or cat. The K9 Sport Sack Air Plus 2 is a great option for avid hikers who want maximum flexibility. The main pack has an adjustable, padded back, extra wide and thick shoulder straps, and two adjustable mesh side pockets. The bag is ideal for walks, intermediate hikes, and bike rides. The best part is it comes with a detachable storage bag that you can have your dog carry for you or it can attach to your dog carrying backpack. 


  • Detachable storage bag
  • Internal carabiner to hook dog to (prevent jumping out)
  • Comfort-collar helps keep dog comfortable and secure

What Pet Owners Love About It

  • It’s sturdy and comfortable enough for approx 40 lb dog
  • Great for dogs with disabilities
  • Great for longer hikes

What Pet Owners Didn’t Like About It – Some Customers Say:

  • Could use more back support straps

Backpack For Dog To Wear

It can be a real advantage to you if your dog is a larger breed and able to carry some of his or her own supplies. Here are a couple of options that come with a dog backpack as well.

EXCELLENT ELITE SPANKER Dog Pack Hound Dog Saddle Bag Backpack for Travel Camping Hiking Medium & Large Dog with 2 Capacious Side Pockets(COB)

Have a high-energy pup? Keep up with him with the Dog Saddle Bag! This bag has a spacious design to carry lots of doggy-loving stuff and his water bottles too. The saddlebag is adjustable for extra comfort, with quick-release buckles. This bag has everything you need for an amazing outdoor adventure. It’s padded to protect your pup from bumps and scrapes, has pockets for all the supplies you could ever need, and has a great look to it as a bonus!


  • Padded lining to protect dog
  • Aluminum leash ring
  • Top handle

What Pet Owners Love About It

  • Quality design
  • Really great fit for most dogs
  • Doubles nicely as a harness

What Pet Owners Didn’t Like About It – Some Customers Say:

  • Weight is evenly distributed making carrying easier

OneTigris Dog Pack Hound Travel Camping Hiking Backpack Saddle Bag Rucksack for Medium & Large Dog

The OneTigris Dog Saddle Bag is your stylish and practical companion for any adventure. The saddle bag can fit in all the dog essentials, plus your personal items and still have room to spare! It’s also water-resistant, so you can keep your valuables safe during any occasion. Your best friend deserves the highest quality hiking backpack. This dog pack not only carries all your gear, but is super-stylish and comfortable for your pup. Made with a vintage print, this pack will make you and your fur baby feel unique and special on every outing.


  • Has a vintage style look to it
  • Adjustable straps
  • No-slide with snug-fit

What Pet Owners Love About It

  • Great value, high quality
  • Fully adjustable to fit most dogs
  • Pups love it

What Pet Owners Didn’t Like About It – Some Customers Say:

  • May be a bit hot for summer use depending where you live

Best Dog Gear Backpack

Mobile Dog Gear Weekender Backpack Pet Travel Bag

Make sure you have everything you need for the trip with this spacious backpack. It comes with two lined carriers for food or treats, two collapsible silicone, dishwasher-safe bowls for food, and 2 treat carriers.

This backpack is perfect for taking your dog on both short and long trips. The quilted look is very stylish and there is plenty of storage space. The mesh and zippered pockets are perfect for storing your dog’s food, water, and waste bags. The collapsible silicone bowls are a great feature and the non-slip feeding mat is a must-have.


  • 2 Silicone bowls
  • 2 treat carriers
  • Poop bag dispenser

What Pet Owners Love About It

  • Includes everything you would need for a day out or hike
  • Very spacious, lots of room for both dog and human items
  • Get lots of great compliments

What Pet Owners Didn’t Like About It – Some Customers Say:

  • Wish the food containers were a bit larger 

Mobile Dog Gear Travel Bag

The Mobile Dog Gear Travel Bag is loaded with all sorts of compartments and pockets, which is really helpful for organizing everything you need on those longer hikes. The separate food carriers are a great feature, especially if you’re traveling with multiple dogs. The bag is very sturdy and well-made so quality is not a concern. The backstraps are super comfortable which is great if you have a lot of gear, and the waste bag pocket is a lifesaver. 


  • 2 collapsable bowls
  • 2 lined food carriers
  • Poop bag dispenser

What Pet Owners Love About It

  • Love the velcro removable separators, gives you the option to organize the interior the way you like
  • Keeps your dog’s belongings safe and organized
  • Allows you to bring all your dog’s gear in one bag

What Pet Owners Didn’t Like About It – Some Customers Say:

  • Zipper can get stuck from time to time

Best Dog Harness Backpack for Hiking

The OneTigris Mammoth Dog Pack is really impressive! The construction is top-notch, and it’s so well-thought-out. The jumbo 3L pouches on either side are great for holding water or snacks, and the mesh lining makes it really breathable. The reinforced grab handle is really handy for when you need to control your dog while off-leash and the leash clip is a nice touch. The adjustable buckle straps make it super easy to adjust to fit any dog. If you go on lots of long walks, then this pack is perfect for carrying everything you need!


  • X-cross bungee cords for umbrella
  • Adjustable buckles / hook-and-loop belly strap
  • Generous storage space

What Pet Owners Love About It

  • High-quality product
  • Sturdy and holds up well
  • Comfortable and carries a decent amount of gear

Other Backpacks for Hiking with Your Dog That We Like

This is a great backpack carrier for small dogs. The backpack is roomy which is great for keeping your dog happy and comfortable. The straps are adjustable and padded, so it’s comfortable to wear for longer periods. The fabric is high quality and seems very durable. The mesh sides are great for ventilation, and the carrier is easy to see out of which helps keep your pup occupied as you walk. 


  • Collapsable / Expandable
  • Versatile
  • Built-in safety leash

What Pet Owners Love About It

  • Well made, seems sturdy
  • Very spacious
  • Definitely recommend for the price

What Pet Owners Didn’t Like About It – Some Customers Say:

  • Could be better if the straps were adjustable

Dog Lemi Dog Carrier Backpack

The Dog Lemi Dog Carrier Backpack is the perfect carrier for taking small dogs on walks, bike rides, and hikes. The breathable mesh material and sturdy canvas construction make it very comfortable and durable. Dog Lemi uses a soft lining fabric that’s very gentle on your dog’s skin. The carrier is also super cute and well made.


  • Breathable mesh material
  • Comfortable material
  • Durable and washable

What Pet Owners Love About It

  • Cute and well made
  • Great for long walks
  • Keeps puppy calm and happy

What Pet Owners Didn’t Like About It – Some Customers Say:

  • May be a bit difficult to get dog into the backpack 

Backpacks for Hiking With Your Dog

Buyers Guide: What to Look for in the Best Dog Backpack Carrier for Hiking with Your Dog

Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Dog Carrier Bag for You and Your Dog When Hiking

Picking the perfect dog carrier backpack for hiking with your dog can be a difficult task. There are many factors to consider before making a purchase. Some of the most important factors are:

The Size of the Bag

If you will be carrying other items with you on your hike you may want to look for a slightly larger-sized bag. You don’t want something so large it becomes awkward but you also don’t want to have a bag that’s so small you end up needing an extra bag for your supplies. 

What Will You Be Using It For

The best quality backpack for small and medium dogs has a lot to do with the size. The size of the bag I would take on a day hike is much smaller than an overnight bag. If you mostly do short hikes (maybe 2-3 hours), a smaller bag that fits your dog, a water bottle and a few snacks may be perfect. If you are into camping, consider a larger carrier that can accommodate your dog, your camping gear and some extra supplies like food and water.  

Long Term Comfort

This is possibly the most important point to consider. Pay close attention to the shoulder straps before making your decision on which dog carrier to choose. You may be lugging this backpack all over the place with you for hours or even days at a time. A comfortable, properly fitting dog carrier backpack is essential. 

Another part of keeping your dog comfortable while you hike is to ensure he or she has the proper clothing. A dog raincoat can help keep your pup dry and warm as you explore the backcountry.

Back or Front Carrier?

Consider the size and weight of your dog and how much you can carry. Most people are more comfortable carrying heavier weights on their back rather than on their front

Freebies, Extras or Bonuses 

Some carriers come with portable dog feeders, dog water holders and dispensers as well as other small extras that can really add to the value of your dog carrier. 

Your Budget

Obviously, you don’t want to break the bank and that means something different to everyone. My recommendation for all new buyers is to decide ahead of time (before you even start looking) what the maximum amount you can spend is without stretching yourself too thin. Remember, you want something that is good quality. Once you have that number in mind start shopping and see what the average price is for a good dog carrier backpack for hiking with your dog then find something as high up on the average price point as possible while staying below your pre-set limit. 

Product Durability

You want something that will last for years and miles. Consider What type of terrain you normally hike on, such as rocky or soft ground. Every time your pack hits the ground it wears out a little and if you normally spend lots of time on branch-covered, rocky trails rather than soft, open fields you may want to ensure your dog carrier has a high-quality bottom to it. 

Things to Remember When Hiking Off Leash With Your Dog

The number one rule of hiking off-leash is to bring a leash with you, even if you don’t believe you’ll need one.

Respect the trails

Many trails have rules that may determine whether or not your dog is allowed to be off-leash during your hike. For example, if the trail is designated a “national recreation trail” and is managed by the Forest Service, your dog must remain on a leash at all times. Most national parks now require dogs to remain on leashes at all times as well, even in campgrounds. There are also some parks that allow dogs to be off-leash but only in designated areas. Keep an eye out for signs indicating where dogs are not allowed. Each park will have its own set of rules and regulations, so you will want to review these before you go.

Do not leave him unattended.

When hiking off-leash, keep a close eye on your dog and return him or her to a short leash when approaching other hikers and when approaching other dogs. Dog owners should have their pets on a 6-foot leash until they get to an off-leash area, which is clearly marked. If a trail does not allow dogs, keep your dog on a 6-foot leash until you reach a more dog-friendly part of the trail.

Dog Hiking Safety Tips

Always Carry a Leash With You

It’s best to carry both a 6ft leash and a 20ft leash with you on your hike, just in case you get too far away from your dog. You’ll have to pick which one to use according to how your dog is acting, and it’s always good to have options.

Tick Checks

Check for ticks and fleas on your dog during and after your hike. Try to stay on the trail and try to teach your dog to stay on the trail where he or she is less likely to come into contact with ticks and fleas.

Medications and Supplies

Don’t forget any medication or supplies you or your dog may need


Nature is a lot less fun if you or your pup are sneezing the whole time


If you have an allergic reaction to bees or other things


A sunburn can be very unpleasant


Don’t forget the snacks. Take along snacks for both you and your dog


Always take more water than you think you’ll need

Dog Waste Bags

Common courtesy is to clean up after your dog when on the trails. It can really take away from the magic of being out in nature if you need to spend the whole time dodging doggy-landmines. 

Hike With Friends

Your dog will always be happier and more comfortable when he has a buddy but that’s not the only benefit of hiking with friends. Safety increases exponentially when hiking with a group rather than solo. It’s also a lot more exciting to share fun nature experiences with friends. 

Plan Ahead

Train your dog ahead of time to come to you when you call and sit when told in case you need to keep him safe from predators or protect others from him.

Collars and IDs

Make sure your dog is always wearing his collar with his ID tags, even when on the trail. This way, in case of an emergency, first responders will be able to identify your dog.

Pay Attention to Your Dogs Needs

Dogs can be great hiking buddies. They love the time they get to spend outdoors with their owner. They are also very good at letting you know when they have had enough. If your dog is getting tired or slowing down, take time to have a break and enjoy the scenery or consider heading home early to give him or her the rest they need. If your pet seems to be exhibiting signs of illness or is injured from a trip or fall, get him to help immediately.

Pay Attention To The Weather

Storms and other adverse weather conditions can sneak up on you, especially in thickly wooded areas where sky visibility may be covered 

How to Choose the Best Dog Carrier Backpack for Your Needs

A dog carrier backpack is the best way to take your pup on a walk or hike. It provides a hands-free option for carrying your pet, and it’s also easy to load into a car.

The best dog carrier backpack will depend on what you plan on using it for. Here are some considerations to make before choosing one:

  • What size of dog do you have?
  • How often will you be using the carrier?
  • What type of terrain will you be walking on?
  • Are there any other carriers that might work better for your needs?

The Best Dog Carrier Backpacks For Hiking and Traveling

The best dog carrier backpacks for hiking and traveling are those that are comfortable, easy to use, and durable.

A backpack is a perfect way to carry your pup while you explore the great outdoors. It’s also a good option if you’re taking a road trip or flying on an airplane.

Some of the most popular options include Ruffwear’s Palisades Pack, Kurgo Skybox Dog Carrier Backpack, and Outward Hound Kyjen Outward Hound Kyjen Kool Collar Cooling Vest Pack.


Going on a long hike in nature with its crisp, clean air and wonderful smells, sights and sounds is an incredible way to spend the day or even weekend. It’s great for both yours and your dogs health and animals naturally love being outdoors. But being comfortable as you walk with your pup is essential so hopefully you were able to find the right backpack for hiking with your dog so you’re able to make the most of your back-country adventures!


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