How to find the Best Hiking Backpack for your Dog (UPDATED)

Whats the Best Hiking Backpack for your Dog?



When planning to go out on a hiking expedition, it always nice to have a companion you can interact with on the trail. But if none of your buddies are in the mood to hit the outdoors, who better to act as a substitute than your furry friend?

Dogs like exploring open spaces and any opportunity to exercise their excess energy will be very much appreciated. Whether you are thinking of a day hike in the park or a multi-day camping trip in the woods, a hiking backpack for your dog is a great addition that you should contemplate.

But given the many options available in the market, where should one start? Remember that not all backpacks are made for the same purpose, so finding the best fit for your dog may require making some considerations.

The following are features to look for when searching for the right backpack for your precious pup. Hopefully this article can help you in your search to find the best hiking backpack for your dog.

Potential Function

Before you purchase a backpack for your dog, you should have an idea of what purpose you are going to use it for. Usually, most dog bags are categorised into day packs, hydration packs, or expedition packs. Day packs constitute the majority of dog backpacks available; they have a simple design with minimal features to reduce the cost. They are best suited for short trips around town or to the dog park.

Hydration packs are designed to enable your furry friend to carry water bladders with little extra space for anything else. These packs are normally very low profile and the smallest of all available backpacks since you intend to keep the water close to the dog’s body to avoid injury.

Finally, expedition packs come with the greatest capacity and allow for extra items to be strapped outside. The have different features to reduce the weight and these are appropriate for multiple night excursions. They have the highest cost because of all the features they pack.


If you and your furry friend are embarking friend are emBARKing on a lengthy and treacherous excursion, you might have to lift him up once in a while over obstacles. Perhaps you just need a handle to grab onto to keep your excited pup from straying too far from the trail.

Handles tend to very essential features if you have a hyperactive dog. Some bags are designed with handles that feature padding and others have more simple handles. This will eliminate the need to carry a separate leash, so be sure to choose a handle that is sturdy and comfortable for you on your dog’s backpack.

Configuration of the Harness.

The harness area for most backpacks is always unique. While some come with remove saddle bags, others have complicated adjustable straps and others have a relatively simple style. You want find a harness design that won’t rub against your dog as he moves to prevent chaffing sensitive parts on your precious pooch’s body.

Ensure also that the harness doesn’t shift around and the saddle bag rests correctly on your dog. If you have plans of lifting your dog, be sure to confirm that there’s ample chest padding to keep the straps from digging in. I suggest the Y-shaped bags, which help to maintain the place compared to other styles.

Weight of the Backpack


Generally, the hiking backpack for your dog should always be lightweight, and more so if you are planning a long expedition. You don’t want to burden your cute canine with a heavy load and end up turning the trip in a nightmare for him from the very get go.

You want to find something minimalist to ease the load on your pup.

And even if you have to carry several supplies for the long trip, look for something with well-positioned compartments that help to distribute the overall weight equally along his body. This way, your dog won’t get exhausted easily even when you’re trekking for multiple days.

Take care not to overload your pooch. For a grown dog that has been appropriately conditioned, I suggest packing around 15% of their total body weight into the bag. However, for senior dogs or growing puppies, it would be best to consult your veterinary before packing weight on your dog’s back.

Reflective/Color Properties


This may sound like a non-issue but choosing the ideal color for your canine’s backpack in actually an essential consideration. This is because it will help you to maintain sight of your dog when out in the open. For instance, if you are hiking in grassy fields, a green backpack will definitely not be the best choice for your dog.

Opting for an alternative bright color will make sure your dog remains visible even when gets distracted and run off to the open field. Adding reflective piping will also come in handy when the you are hiking in low light circumstances. Nobody wants to lose their furry friends in the middle of nowhere!

Construction of the Bag


If you have a big and active dog who will likely push his gear to the limit, you might want to consider the build of the backpack. Is the construction material sturdy enough to take the beating that your dog subjects it to? Ensure also that the stitching is strong and reinforced to avoid tears and rips.

A material such as rip stop nylon can be a viable option. It won’t also hurt to choose a bag that comes with a warranty to cover any resulting manufacturer’s defects. This is a hugely important factor when considering the best backpacks for dogs.



Capacity is very important, especially for longer trips that will require more supplies to be carried. Make sure the bag has got enough capacity to comfortably hold every item that your pup will need for the trip. However, you also want a backpack that is evenly weighted on either side to balance the load properly.

You can even test the packed bag on your dog’s back beforehand to be sure that he is comfortable. This will guarantee that there are no unforeseen deterrents during the adventure.



If you’ll be hiking in a hot region, then it is imperative that you get a breathable backpack for your dog.

This will assist to keep your dog cool and comfortable when the sun is blazing hot.

You want to search for bags with mesh designs to facilitate airflow to your pooch’s chest and back.

Correct Fit


When shopping for a hiking backpack for your dog, be sure to measure his physical dimensions before beginning the process. This will be helpful in finding a choice that best fits his body size. If your pooch falls in-between sizes or is oddly shaped, there are still custom-made bags that are available.

The best hiking backpack for your dog should fit comfortably; not too loosely that it shifts around his body or too tightly that it interferes with his walking or breathing. Saddle bags ought to sit above the elbow and towards the shoulders as these are the strongest areas on your dog’s body.

Does your Dog have Limitations?


Always consider any physical limitations that your dog may have before choosing a backpack for him. If your dog is recovering from an injury, you don’t want a bag that will end up aggravating the healing wound over the course of the journey.

Be sure to prioritize the comfort of your pup. Look for something with enough padding to ease the pressure the bag is exerting against your dog’s body across all contact points.


Last but not least, your choice of a backpack must always be determined by the amount you’ve set aside for this purpose. Dog backpacks come in different shapes and sizes that can range anywhere from a $30 daypack to a $200 tailor-made expedition pack. Balancing between the features you are looking and the budget you have will prove crucial.


We hope this list assisted you in the search for the best hiking backpack for your dog. A hiking trip for your dog should make for an exciting time where you get to bond with your loyal companion. Having the right gear in place only serves to make the experience even more ratifying. The above are just some of the essential considerations to make when looking for the right hiking backpack for your dog.