Best Dog Carrier Hiking Backpacks : Choose the right one!

Best Dog Carrier Hiking Backpacks

Getting out in nature with your dog can be a very rewarding experience.  You both get some fresh air and exercise, plus your dog isn’t left cooped up inside the house or boarded at a kennel while you spend the weekend backpacking.  But what do you do if you have a small dog who tires easily and can’t keep up with an all-out hiking adventure?

Recently I found myself asking that very question and the answer was: get a dog carrier hiking backpack and take your dog with you!

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Before making a purchase like this, which I knew would affect not only my enjoyment and safety but also that of my dog, I wanted to make sure I was well informed.

As it turns out, the dog carrier hiking backpack market is actually rather large and filled with all sorts of products from rolling/backpack combos that let your dog play astronaut (more on that later) to multi-purpose carriers that come with a bunch of different straps and methods of carrying.

To simplify things, I skimmed the various “best dog carrier hiking backpack” lists and narrowed them down to the 10 carriers which appeared the most often.

Before comparing them, I wanted to make sure I knew the key things to look for when selecting a carrier.

  1. SIZE

Carriers are sized by both your dog’s weight and their length (nose to butt when sitting in a “begging” position.  It is important to have the necessary measurements so you know which carrier will properly fit your pet.

  1. CARRYING POSITION

Decide whether your dog will be most comfortable lying down, sitting down, or with legs out through holes in the carrier.  Understand that legs out carriers are designed for short term carrying, not long term.

  1. STRAP PADDING & CONFIGURATION

If you plan on doing hikes of any length while carrying your dog, you will be thanking yourself for taking the time to find a pack with padded straps.  Bonus for packs that have a waist strap as well as shoulder straps.  A chest buckle can also really help to keep the shoulder straps from sliding down.

  1. VENTILATION

On a hot day, you will want to make sure your dog is getting enough air flow inside the pack.  Look for lots of breathable mesh.

  1. VERSATILITY

Depending on your purpose, it can be nice to have carrier which can not only be used for a hiking backpack, but also as a rolling/car/airplane/hand held/over the shoulder carrier.

 To save you some time, here (in the order I discovered them) are my top 10 Dog Carrier Hiking Backpacks with their sizing and pricing information as well as the pros/cons I found and my overall opinion of each.  At the end, once you have made your own choice, I will share which carrier I decided to go with and why.

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Top 10 Dog Carrier Hiking Backpacks

1) BINGPET Dog Carrier for Small Pets

Weight Limit & Dimensions:

  • Weight Limit: 12 lbs.
  • Dimensions:5″L x 14.5″W x 14.5″H (base is circular)

Amazon Price & Rating:

  • $34.99
  • 7 Stars

Pros:

+ Versatile: Top half zips off allowing the base to be used as a bed.

+ Safety: Collar clip inside keeps dog from jumping out when carrier is opened.

+ Dual carrying options: Shoulder strap and padded handle

Cons:

– Ergonomics: Round base causes carrier to want to tip when carrying using shoulder strap.

– Human Comfort: No backpack style straps to evenly distribute weight and keep pet from moving around.  (An older version of the product had backpack straps, however that version was discontinued and is no longer available.)

Overall Impression:

While good for a trip to the vet or a ride to a friend’s house, this carrier doesn’t seem like anything I would take for a walk, let alone a hike.  I am going to keep looking for something that is a bit more versatile.

2) Outward Hound Kyjen PoochPouch

Weight Limit & Dimensions:

  • Weight Limit: Small (10 lbs.), Medium (20 lbs.)
  • Dimensions: Small (6.5” L x 10” W x 8” H), Medium (8″ L x 11″ W x 10″ H)

Amazon Price & Rating:

  • Small ($14.45), Medium ($21.25)
  • 9 Stars

 Pros:

+ Temperature Comfort: Nylon fabric repels sweat & breathable mesh sides promote air flow.

+ Safety: Interior safety harness keeps dog from jumping out when pack is opened.

+ Extra support strap: Waist strap in addition to backpack straps for added support.

Cons:

– Sizing: Product tends to run small with the medium size fitting only a 9 lb. dog rather than the advertised 20 lb.

– Human Comfort: Although the backpack and waist straps are supposed to distribute the dog’s weight well, many reviewers complained of the straps chafing and sliding out of place.

Overall Impression:

The sizing issues are a bit concerning.  I don’t want to order a pack only to have to return it because it is the wrong size.  Comfort is also crucial and this pack doesn’t seem to have it.  Since correct sizing and long term wear-ability are important to me, I am going to pass on the Kyjen pack.

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3) Natuvalle 6-in-1 Pet Carrier Backpack

Weight Limit & Dimensions:

  • Weight Limit: X-Small (12 lbs.), Small (16 lbs.), Medium (20 lbs.), Large (24 lbs.)
  • Dimensions (in sideways position): X-Small (14” L x 7.8” W x 7.8” H), Small (16” L x 11.4” W x 8.8” H), Medium (18” L x 11.8” W x 9.7” H), Large (20.5” L x 14.3” W x 10.5” H)

Amazon Price & Rating:

  • X-Small ($69.90), Small ($74.90), Medium ($79.90), Large ($84.90)
  • 5 Stars

 Pros:

+ Versatile Carrying Options: Backpack, Front pack, Shoulder bag, Handbag, Upright position & Side position.

+ Safety: Zippers have a security buckle to prevent your dog from wiggling the zipper open.

+ Multipurpose: XS, S, M are airline approved to fit under seats.  Seat belt loops allow dog to be buckled in during car trips.

 Cons:

– Quality: Multiple reviewers state that the zippers separated or broke quickly, the straps frayed, the seams ripped out, and the Velcro used to secure the bottom padding to the carrier was not sufficient to keep it from shifting.

– Customer Service: In case of the need for a return, customer service seems to be difficult to contact and slow to respond.

Overall Impression:

I really want to like this carrier because of all the versatility and functionality it offers.  That said, if a product falls apart quickly and cannot easily be replaced, it will be useless regardless of how great the design is.  The quality control issue may be a deal breaker for me.  I will keep looking for a similar product at a higher quality.

4) Petsfit Comfort Dog Carrier & Ventilated Backpack

Weight Limit & Dimensions:

  • Weight Limit: 15 lbs.
  • Measures 13” L x 13” W x 16” H

Amazon Price & Rating:

  • $52.99
  • 6 Stars

 Pros:

+ Sturdy Mesh: Mesh is rubberized rather than simple fabric, so it is stronger and resists tearing.

+ Window: Your dog can get a better view of your hike through the pop up plastic window on the top of the bag.

+ Human Comfort: The padded straps evenly distribute weight while the chest buckle keeps the straps from sliding off your shoulders in the middle of a hike.

Cons:

– Sizing: This carrier only comes in one size.

– Breathability: One negative review commented that the carrier quickly got hot inside.

Overall Impression:

This product looks amazing and has only one negative review out of forty seven!  I am very impressed with the comments about quality and comfort.  Mesh that won’t rip, zippers that won’t separate, and the perfect combo of functionality for both my dog and myself?  Yes please!

At $52.99, the pricing is just between the entry level and high end carriers.  I will check out the remaining six options, but this looks like it may very well be the winner for me!

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5) K9 Sport Sack AIR Dog Backpack

Weight Limit & Dimensions:

  • Weight Limit: X-Small (5-8 lbs.), Small (8-14 lbs.), Medium (13-20 lbs.), Large (20-35 lbs.)
  • Dimensions: X-Small (fits dogs 10-13” long), Small (fits dogs 14-17” long), Medium (fits dogs 17-20” long), Large (fits dogs 20-23” long)

Amazon Price & Rating:

  • X-Small ($69.94), Small ($66.95), Medium ($69.94), Large ($147.03)
  • 2 stars

 Pros:

+ Sizes: With four sizes to choose from, dogs all the way from 5 lbs. to 35 lbs. and 10” to 23” will fit in the K9 Sport Sack.

+ Color Choices: While many carriers only come in a couple colors, the K9 features Jet Black, Charcoal Grey, Summer Mint, Cobalt Blue, and Red colors options.

+ Adjustable Height: An extra “block” is available to place in the bottom of the K9 sack in case your dog is shorter with a bit heavier build.  This allows you to size up for a comfy width without making the sack too tall for your dog to see out of.

Cons:

– Human & Dog Comfort: The shoulder straps apparently don’t distribute the dog’s weight well, so it pulls on the human’s shoulders.  From the standpoint of dog comfort, reviewers noted that the holes for the dog’s front paws to come through were pretty small causing the fabric to dig into the dog’s legs.

– Breathability: Owners commented that the carrier got warm for both them and their dogs.

Overall Impression:

This carrier sounds relatively mediocre to me.  While the color and size choices are great, they simply don’t negate the comfort concerns.  The whole point of taking my dog with me is that we can both enjoy the shared experience, not suffer through it.

That said, at 4 stars, it sounds like this carrier may be worth a try if you have time to order, test the item, and return it if it doesn’t work out.

 6) Pet Gear I-GO2 Plus Traveler Rolling Backpack Carrier

Weight Limit & Dimensions:

  • Weight Limit: 25 lbs.
  • Measures: Large (16″L x 12″W x 15″H), Extra Large Plus (16”L x 13.5”W x 22”H)

Amazon Price & Rating:

  • Large ($35.99), Extra Large Plus ($89.78)
  • 0 stars

 Pros:

+ Versatility: This pack can be used as carrier, backpack, tote, car seat, or roller bag.

+ Telescoping Handle & Wheels: Instead of having to carry your dog the entire trip, you can roll the carrier like a suitcase on smooth level surfaces like parking lots and sidewalks.

+ Human Comfort (for shorter humans): Reviewers who are shorter (< 5’6”) said that the backpack straps were very comfortable and the pack rode well on their backs.

Cons:

– Human Comfort (for taller humans): Reviewers who are taller (5’9”+) stated that the rolling wheels dug into their lower backs when they wore the carrier as a backpack.

– Dog Comfort: The bottom pad is thin and virtually non-existent.  Nearly all reviewers (even those who liked the carrier overall) mentioned adding their own supplemental padding.

Overall Impression:

The versatility of this carrier is very appealing to me.  Unlike the Nautuvalle carrier which has similar features but poor quality, the overall quality of this carrier appears to be acceptable.  Adding more padding isn’t preferable, but it also isn’t a deal breaker in my case.  At 5’4”, it sounds like the carrier would be reasonably comfortable on me.  So far, I am going to rank this as my second choice behind the Petsfit.

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 7) OxGord Paws & Pals Rolling Backpack Carrier

Weight Limit & Dimensions:

  • Weight Limit: 20 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 14”L x 11”W x 19”H

Amazon Price & Rating:

  • $21.95
  • 9 stars

Pros:

+ Easy Clean Up: The outer polyester material is removable from the carrier frame for ease of cleaning.

+ Telescoping Handle & Wheels: As with the PetGear carrier, you have the option to roll your dog along behind you rather than carry her over flat, smooth surfaces.

+ Pet Comfort: With extra-large mesh screens, this carrier allows plenty of viewing range for dogs who want to see all the sights along the trail.

Cons:

– Quality & Durability:  Multiple reviewers mentioned that the mesh tore, zippers broke, and the metal supporting rods poked through the outer fabric with normal use.

– Dog Comfort: The downside of all the mesh is that it is less supportive.  Some owners said their dogs seemed uncomfortable and that they kept falling into the mesh.

Overall Impression:

This seems like a middle of the road quality at bargain price style of carrier.  If I were only going to use it a couple of times a year to go to the vet, it may be worth it.  Since I anticipate using my new carrier frequently, and am willing to invest a bit more money for quality, this doesn’t seem like the right fit for me.

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8) Pettom Travel & Hiking Bubble Backpack for Dogs

Weight Limit & Dimensions:

  • Weight Limit: 22 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 12.6″L x 9.4″W x 36.6″H

Amazon Price & Rating:

  • $82.99 for roller/backpack combo, $67.99 for backpack only
  • 6 stars

Pros:

+ Versatility: The entire frame and wheels can be removed when wearing the carrier as a backpack.  No more wheels digging into your back as with other wheeled/backpack combo carriers!

+ Color Choices: Every carrier on the market seems to come in black and grey.  This one features a baby pink, cheerful yellow, or classic brown faux leather look.

+ Style: The unique bubble view port lets your dog play astronaut and is sure to turn heads when you are out in public.  It can also be swapped out with a plastic grate if you prefer.

 Cons:

– Assembly:  Some assembly is required and unfortunately, the provided instructions are less than helpful.  The writer of said instructions was not a native English speaker and it shows.  Be prepared for a good laugh and a bit of frustration as you attempt to decipher the manual.

– Durability: Some reviewers had the plastic rivets holding the carrier together snap.  Others experienced breaking of the ring around the astronaut bubble.

Overall Impression:

My wannabe astronaut self is jumping up and down with excitement at how adorable the bubble viewport on this carrier is!  The fact that it comes in a pretty baby pink is a definite bonus for me as well.

Since other roller/backpack combos had comfort issues, the idea of the wheels completely detaching from the backpack portion of the carrier is very appealing.

The 3.6 star average review is disconcerting, however since the majority of the complaints appear to be related to the assembly frustrations, I am willing to overlook it.  If I choose this carrier, I will plan extra assembly time and be prepared with a bottle of wine to make the process more enjoyable.

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9) Cosmos Colorful Pet Carrier Bag

Weight Limit & Dimensions:

  • Weight Limit: Small (5 lbs.), Medium (8 lbs.), Large (15 lbs.)
  • Measures: Small (9.5″ pocket length), Medium (11” pocket length), Large (12” pocket length)

Amazon Price & Rating:

  • Small ($11.97), Medium ($12.97), Large ($13.97)
  • 2 stars

Pros:

+ Price: At less than $15 each, this is the type of carrier that you don’t have to worry about losing.

+ Portability: Since the carrier is all fabric, it simply folds up for travel and storage; no need to worry about where to store it.

+ Style: No bland colors here; the Cosmos carrier is all about looking like you are on your way to a fiesta at a sandy beach!

Cons:

– Human Comfort:  At this price point, the straps are simply not padded well, and this puts more pressure on your shoulders.

– Pet Comfort: With all 4 paws and their tail poked through holes in the carrier, your dog’s appendages are liable to fall asleep if you carry them around in it for too long.

 Overall Impression:

When I first saw this particular carrier pop up on the top 10 list, I was a bit confused because it is much more simplistic than all the others.  It doesn’t pretend to be versatile; it doesn’t have a bunch of extra features and pockets.  It is simply a basic fabric carrier for short little walks.  The only thing pretentious about it is its bright colors!

At the sub-$15 price point, it may not be a bad idea to have one of these little carriers on standby.  It won’t, however, work for my primary carrier as I need a more long term carrying solution for hikes.

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10) Pettom Front Cat Dog Backpack Travel Bag Carrier

Weight Limit & Dimensions:

  • Weight Limit: Small (up to 15 lbs.), Large (up to 22 lbs.)
  • Measures: Small (11″ x 11″ x 16.9”), Large (13″ x 12″ x 17”)

Amazon Price & Rating:

  • Small ($59.99), Large ($54.99)
  • 2 stars

 Pros:

+ Clean Up: Removable bottom pad makes for easy clean up.

+ Color Choices: With options like cyan, pink, brown, green, orange, and purple, there is a signature color for everyone no matter what your taste.

+ Stability: Dual waist and chest buckles keep the carrier from sliding around while on a hike.

 Cons:

– Human Comfort:  Multiple reviewers said that the bottom of the pack dug into their back when wearing it as a backpack.

– Lack of Side Pockets: While most other carriers feature extra pockets to hold leashes, treats, toys, car keys, and phones, this carrier does not.

Overall Impression:

The streamlined, non-bulky look of this carrier is very appealing to me, as are the fantastic color choices.  The price is mid-range for this type of carrier.  I am worried about the potential comfort issue with the pack digging into my lower back.  Still, with 4.2 stars, it may be worth giving it a test run to see how it works for me.

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My Final Choice: Petsfit Comfort Dog Carrier & Ventilated Backpack.

There were a bunch of different options, and several of the carriers on the top 10 list seemed like they had the potential to work for me.  At the end of the day, I decided to go with the Petsfit Comfort Dog Carrier & Ventilated Backpack for multiple reasons.

  1. SIZE

While this carrier does only come in one size, it is a size that will accommodate my dog’s weight and length perfectly.

  1. CARRYING POSITION

My dog will be free to either sit or lie down as she pleases.  The carrier will work well for longer hikes because her paws aren’t hanging out.

  1. STRAP PADDING & CONFIGURATION

This pack has the padded shoulder straps, waist strap, and chest buckle that I was looking for.  It should be plenty comfortable for long weekend hikes.

  1. VENTILATION

With mesh on both sides as well as the top of the pack, my dog will get plenty of airflow and even a cross breeze depending which way the wind is blowing.  The mesh is rubberized, making it much more durable than regular mesh.

  1. VERSATILITY

This pack doesn’t have any extra functions.  It is simply a great quality dog carrier hiking backpack.  While I would have appreciated some extra versatility, ultimately I decided it wasn’t worth sacrificing comfort for.  This pack will excel in its function as a dog carrier hiking backpack, and that is what I was truly looking for from the start!  I can always pick up that fun astronaut rolling pack for weekends in the city.

Best of luck as you choose the right backpack for you and your dog.  We will see you out on the trails soon!