6 Best Dog Backpacks for Hiking: 2024 Top Rated Backpacks

Dog backpacks for hiking are functional and extremely helpful. Not only do they double as a harness, but dog hiking backpacks give you the option to let your dog carry important hiking essentials.

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The items in your dog’s backpack are easily accessible, rather than having to dig through your own backpack for treats or waste bags. We’ve done the research for you to come up with the best dog backpacks for hiking.

Tips for Choosing the Best Backpack for a Dog Who Loves Hiking

When choosing a hiking backpack for your dog, your first priority should be their comfort and safety. Factors like knowing how much to pack in your dog’s bag and what size your dog’s hiking backpack should be are imperative. But first, let’s discuss tips for choosing the best backpack for a dog who loves hiking.

  • Consider uses of your dog’s hiking backpack. – Are you going on a 10 mile hike? A three day backpacking trip? A low-stress one mile hike? Your intentions will determine what type of backpack you need to purchase for your dog. Longer excursions may require a pack with more storage space, but it must also be comfortable as to not injure or hurt your dog. If you plan to hike a lot with your dog, you will want to spend a little more money for a high quality dog backpack that will pass the test of time and elements.
  • Purchase for comfort. – Ultimately your dog’s hiking backpack needs to be comfortable no matter what. If straps are rubbing against their skin or the pack is putting too much pressure on an area of your dog’s body, it could do some serious damage. There are specific dog backpacks available for all shapes and sizes of dogs. Be sure to measure your dog so you can buy the closest fit. You will also want to make sure the backpack is easily adjustable to securely fit your dog’s body.
  • Determine how much your dog will be carrying. – If you think your dog will only be carrying items such as waste bags and some treats, you most likely don’t need a massive dog hiking backpack with large storage pockets. Single saddlebag pockets that ride close to the body would be great for a dog who won’t be traveling with a large amount of weight. Of course you can always purchase multiple backpacks for different situations!
  • Pick a brand. – Ruffwear is best known for their camping and hiking products for dogs. They make high-quality, durable and trustworthy products. You may pay a little more for a Ruffwear product, but you get what you pay for. Ruffwear also has the widest variety of sizes and options. Other solid companies that sell camping and hiking products for dogs are Kurgo and Outward Hound.
  • Look for safety features. – Many dog hiking backpacks are outfitted with reflective lining for added safety. There are several backpacks that have a handle so you can assist in lifting your dog, and others have an attachment for a personal safety light for your dog. It also helps to purchase a bright colored dog hiking backpack for better visibility. These types of safety features are especially important for nighttime journeys and dog backpacking trips.

Overall Best Dog Backpack for Hiking

RUFFWEAR – Approach Pack, Orange Poppy (2017), Large/X-Large

What is the best dog backpack for hiking? The Ruffwear Approach Dog Backpack. It’s designed for all size dogs and offers five points of adjustment to comfortably fit your dog no matter their breed or build. The adjustment points will also help stabilize your dog’s backpack without effecting their range of motion.

The Ruffwear Approach can easily fit a substantial amount of items if necessary for your dog’s hiking adventures. It’s lightweight, allowing for extended hiking or backpacking. It also has the reflective lining that we talked about above for that extra element of safety. The Ruffwear Approach Dog Backpack comes equipped with a padded handle, built-in loop for a safety light and two leash attachment points. You can purchase this snazzy dog hiking backpack in bright colors such as orange, green and blue allowing you to easily spot your dog wherever they are exploring.

5 More Top Rated Hiking Dog Backpacks

Ruffwear Singletrak Pack V2

If you want the quality, comfort and safety features of a Ruffwear dog hiking backpack but want smaller side storage components, the Singletrack Pack V2 is the best option. It has all of the adjustment options as the Ruffwear Approach Dog Backpack, as well as the padded handle.

But the Ruffwear Singletrak Pack V2 has something that the Approach dog backpack does not – a hydration system. The backpack comes with two BPA-free hydration bladders to equip on either side of the pack. They are removable and collapsible, so you can put a water in one pocket and essentials in the other if you choose. Or you can fill both storage units with items. It’s completely up to you how you use this dog hiking backpack, but the hydration aspect is a fantastic benefit.

Kurgo Baxter Dog Backpack

The Kurgo Baxter Dog Backpack is a comfortable, lightweight hiking backpack for dogs 30-85lbs. It features two adjustable side pockets for all of your dog’s hiking essentials, and a padded handle. And here’s a need additional feature – when you’re ready to settle down for a cold beverage, the rear leash hook can be used as a bottle opener!

The Kurgo Baxter Dog Backpack fits similarly to the Ruffwear backpacks, donning a v-neck design. It is designed with reflective trim and comes with a lifetime warranty!

Ruffwear Palisades Backcountry Pack

What sets this Ruffwear dog hiking backpack apart from the rest is the fact that the storage pockets are removable. The Palisades Backcountry Pack takes the benefits of the Ruffwear Singletrack and Approach dog backpacks and combines it into one pack. This backpack even comes with two 1-liter hydration bladders. But with all of those fancy features comes a bulkier size and higher price point. With a larger design and hydration bladders, the Ruffwear Palisades Backcountry Pack would be a great choice for bigger dogs, like Labrador Retrievers and Rottweilers, and extensive journeys.

Outward Hound Dog Hiking Backpack

If you’re a pet parent on a budget, the Outward Hound Daypak Dog Backpack is a quality option. It’s made of breathable, cooling mesh for warmer hikes and backpacking trips. All of the straps are adjustable, and the pockets can hold a plethora of dog hiking items. This Outward Hound dog hiking backpack also has a handle for assisting your dog as well as reflective piping for safety.

Pettom Dog Saddlebag Backpack

The Pettom Dog Saddlebag hiking backpack has several features that make it an excellent choice for hiking and backpacking with your dog. Firstly, it’s made of waterproof oxford material, making it great for rainy conditions or if your dog decides they want to get wet! The storage compartments are removable so the backpack can be converted into a simple harness.

The Pettom Dog Saddlebag Backpack features a load compression system so your dog is carrying evenly distributed weight. It has nighttime reflection components for better visibility, as well as a handle for obstacle assistance.

Dog Hiking Backpacks FAQ

How much weight can my dog safely carry? – Your dog should carry no more than 25% of their body weight in their hiking backpack. If you have a senior dog or a dog with ailments, you’ll want to decrease the load in order to avoid harm or injury. Use your pet parent discretion to decide how much your dog can carry in their backpack, just be sure it doesn’t exceed 25% of their body weight.

What kind of items can a dog carry in their backpack? – Your dog can really carry whatever you want them to in their hiking backpack, as long as it’s safe, of course. Common items that dogs carry in their backpacks are:

  • Food and treats
  • Water
  • Collapsible bowls
  • Waste bags (and used waste bags, if you know what I mean…)
  • First aid items
  • Flashlight
  • Rain poncho or jacket
  • Paw balm
  • Toys
  • Dog booties
  • Cooling bandana

If your dog is new to wearing a dog hiking backpack, practice with them in your home and on daily walks. Use positive reinforcement like treats and praise to help your dog get used to carrying something on their back. Leave the pack empty first, then slowly add weight. You don’t want to overwhelm your dog.

Remember to consult your veterinarian before heading out on an excursion with your dog. A dog’s safety and health is every pet parent’s priority. Safe travels!

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