10 Best Dog Backpacks for Hiking & Tactical Use

Best dog backpack for walking and outdoor camping, hiking and tactical work
Outward Hound Backpack

Have you ever considered going camping with your dog? Like humans, dogs like a lot of outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, and even normal walks. Whether you have a tactical dog or one that you just keep at home as a pet, buying some outdoor accessories is a must for the best experience.

I like camping and hiking, so myself and Trix always carry our backpacks when we go out for some adrenaline. I am going to show you the very best dog backpacks for outdoor activities like these ones. Other than that I will teach you exactly the most important things to look for when choosing a good backpack for you a dog. First, our top 10 list:

Top 10 Backpacks for Dogs (Hiking)

After testing a lot of products and as well as collecting reviews from other dog owners on our facebook fan page, we came up with a list of the 10 best backpacks and saddlebags we can now recommend you choose from when buying accessories for hiking and camping with Fido.

Let’s dive right in and check out why each product made this list.

1. OneTigris Camping, Hiking Dog Backpack

4.9 / 5 See More Images
Overall Rating5

Store listing name: OneTigris Dog Pack Hound Travel Camping Hiking Backpack Saddle

So if you’re going out there to buy a backpack your furry friend will be proud of, the first product should look for is one tigress. There is definitely a lot it has to offer in terms of material design and usability.

This backpack is definitely very well-made. The manufacturer pays attention to fine details that will make your furry friend appear fashionable. Who doesn’t want that? The first thing you notice is the leather engraving at the lower part of the bag. It has very big saddle bags or pockets if you like. You’ll also notice that this accessory has a handle that makes it easy for you to lift it off your dog’s back.

There are three spots where you can clip it, which is definitely awesome for stability. The straps are also adjustable, which I can tell you are the best thing for proper fitting since dogs can be of different sizes.

What we liked

  • The backpack is sturdy and steady.
  • Your dog can still play comfortably while carrying the OneTigris backpack.
  • The outside pouches are an additional plus because you can place up to 4 water bottles in them.
  • The material is also great: tough and durable, so I think the piece will last long.
  • Oh, and it doesn’t get dirty easily.

What we didn’t like

  • We couldn’t find smaller sizes for medium-sized lean dogs, or even smaller ones.

 

Are you an active camper or hiker? This dog backpack is exactly something I would recommend especially if you have a medium to a large-sized canine.

Are you an active camper or hiker? This dog backpack is exactly something I would recommend especially if you have a medium to a large-sized canine.

2. DayPack Outward Hound Dog Backpack

When you have this gear, summer hiking is no problem for your dog. Even in the heat, the breathable mesh does an impressive job to keep your dog cool. You may think twice on the cooling vest you were thinking of buying.

Other than the cooling ability, the other thing I really liked on this hiking gear is the adjustable strap. Our Editor’s Choice had straps and the runner-up accessory also carries these to make your fitting job much easier.

4.8 / 5 See More Images
Overall Rating4.5

The good stuff

  • Cooling mesh, a big plus for camping and hiking.
  • Adjustable straps
  • It has expandable pockets
  • Different sizes available for small, medium and large dogs.
  • The colors are reflective for high visibility, especially at night.
  • Tough and sturdy pack.

The bad

  • The packs are not removable
  • Does not do so well in tangling and bushy environments.
  • It will easily chaff.
  • You may need to pad the straps to protect your dog on long walks and hikes.

So, for lightweight use, we really recommend this dog backpack for your dog. Do not pack too much. Do not go on intense hikes with this one. Most of us just want to give our dog’s some lightweight duties and this backpack, especially at its price on Amazon, is perfect for the job.

One of its biggest plus points is the ability to expand the pockets when you unzip. This gives you a lot of room to work with. I tested this on a 70lb German shepherd in our training camp and it was great.

3. Kurgo Big Baxter Dog Backpack for Hiking, Walking or Camping

4.7 / 5 See More Images
Overall Rating4.5

If you’ve got a big dog and are looking for something big enough for camping, hiking or just walking exercises, the pouch from Kurgo is something I would really recommend. The size of the saddlebags is amazing you can pack quite a lot of stuff in the pockets. Dogs weighing 30 lbs all the way to 80 lbs can use this accessory comfortably because there are different sizes to choose from.

If you’ve ever gone hiking in serious mountains and rocks, then you know that dogs can sometimes struggle especially when they are carrying some sort of weight. But with Kurgo Big Baxter backpack for Fido, the large handle will provide additional support when you want to help your dog move over rock scrambles.

The good

  • Very sturdy backpack.
  • Built for rugged camping and hiking experiences.
  • It is a comfortable accessory.
  • 8 different adjustment points make fitting easy.
  • Has an integrated harness.
  • Made of breathable material to help Fido cool efficiently.

The bad

  • May not be suitable for dogs with long fur.
  • It is mostly perfect for dogs with broad chests.
  • Adjusting it for comfort may be a bit of a job on its own.

Well, there are obviously quite a few things you will need to consider before buying this saddlebag for hiking with your dog. First, ensure your dog is big enough, especially around the chest area. You want to adjust everything properly to avoid weighing him down. Second, run for something else if your dog is lean around the chest and waist area.

Overall, the guys with the big dogs – this one is for you. You will not regret it, especially the durability and comfort once you get the hang of it in terms of adjustments.

 

  1. Bag Rucksack Medium & Large Dog
  2. Outward Hound DayPak Dog Backpack Hiking Gear
  3. Kurgo Big Baxter (TM) Dog Backpack for Hiking, Walking or Camping, Barn Red
  4. Lifeunion Adjustable Service Dog Supply Backpack Saddle Bag for Camping Hiking Training
  5. Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack
  6. EzyDog Summit Dog Backpack
  7. RUFFWEAR – Approach Full-Day Hiking Pack for Dogs
  8. Petsfit Dog Travel Camping Backpack Saddle Bag Rucksack
  9. Outward Hound Kyjen Dog Backpack
  10. JASGOOD Tactical Dog Vest Military Harness Detachable Molle Pouches/Patches Outdoor
  11. smartelf Dog Detachable Backpack Hound Saddlebag for Service Dog Travel Camping…
  12. Go Fresh Pet Backpack Harness Hiking Saddlebags Dogs to Wear Adjustable Dog Vest Harness Reflective

 

How to Choose a Good Backpack for Fido

There are quite a few things you need to consider when choosing a good backpack for your pit. Dogs are not the same so I’m at big and there’s a small. Therefore they are quite a number of things you need to look at when selecting one to buy for you a bit.

Capacity

The size of the backpack should be appropriate for what you’re going to use it for. For example, if you and an outdoor person who likes camping for a few days to even a few weeks you’ll need to choose a backpack that will carry enough facilities for your furry friend.

If you’re going to come for just one day we should consider buying a lower capacity backpack because he just needs to carry a few things. Therefore a smaller lighter saddlebag is the best choice for you.

Is the bag waterproof?

Water issues are something you should consider as well. Some cheap dog backpacks are usually not waterproof. I am not saying you should choose one of these but what if there was an accident that involves water?

Some dogs like to swim and you don’t want water contaminating whatever is inside the backpack. There are also other areas with moisture issues while other places me may have problems with the rain.

Therefore, I recommend that you choose a bag that is waterproof in order to keep water out of your dog’s items. This way you will ensure that his items are safe and dry. In fact, I found out that some backpacks come with drain holes that help remove water and moisture from the bag. The only downside I noted with them is that they are generally expensive.

Does the backpack allow for attachments

Don’t forget that you will need to carry some things such as leashes water bottles and other things that you may deem important.

In fact, I always find that I carry a lot of gear for my dog when we’re going hiking. This means that when I am choosing a backpack for my dog I have to choose one that has a built-in system for attaching a leash at least and other such things. I would recommend you do the same thing.

Drinking water

Do not forget that most of us go to the outdoors cutting a lot of water for drinking. While you are very busy quenching your thirst, remember that your dog also needs water to keep hydrated.

When choosing a good backpack for your dog, check that it has water bottle holders or at least a system for holding drinking water. If you do not want or can’t afford such a bag, you can always choose a saddle bag that is large enough to can accommodate your pets drinking bowl.

Safety

When I take my dog out for a work the first thing I consider is his safety. You should never ignore this especially if you’re going for a hike.

Ensure that the saddle bag or backpack he is using has safety features such as reflective surfaces. In low light conditions, you will be able to easily find or see your dog without putting him in harm’s way, say for example, if you are driving a car.

Washability

Another question you should ask yourself is if the fabric material the bag is made of is washable. Remember that dog backpacks are meant for outdoor activities. Therefore, you should expect dirt, dust and even dirty water.

I would recommend that you choose a bag that is easily washable or at least one that has a high resistance to dirt.

Removable parts

Something you should consider is if the backpack comes with a detachable pack. Think of it this way: when you need to stop while on the hike, do you have to remove the entire backpack in order to take just a few supplies? Probably not. I prefer backpacks that have removable saddle bags. This way, it is effortless removing a few parts and attaching them back once you are ready to roll.

Compression

One of the worst things I know you can do to your furry friend on a hike is giving him a backpack that flops on the sides. He will end up with sore ribs and tired sides.

When choosing, I always advise pet parents to go for backpacks that have some sort of compression design. Such a system will keep the accessory close to Fido’s body to prevent flops and tangling if you are moving through a bushy environment.

Weight

This is the part you should REALLY pay serious attention to. Have you seen those backpacks that make the dog ‘sag’? It means those accessories have something wrong to them, and you guessed right. They do not distribute the weight evenly.

  • A good backpack for your hound should distribute weight over the shoulders.
  • It should also have a chest strap in the shape of ‘Y’ for stabilization.
  • Always double check that the pack is comfortable enough not to put any strains on the neck of your camping companion.

Adjustability

You don’t want a bag that appears as though it is dancing on your dog’s shoulders and sides. Try to get as much of a snug fit for enhanced comfort. In fact, if you do not adjust the backpack properly, your dog will soon get wounds and scabs on the skin as soon as you finish your hiking trail.

My pro tip is that you should always choose bags that comes with adjustable straps. This will make it possible to adjust and find a nice comfortable fit and prevent sores and injuries.

Size

Other than being able to adjust your pet’s backpack to fit properly, it goes without saying that you should always find the right size. I cannot emphasize this enough. You’ll say that the purpose dictates the size of the accessory. No, I’ll say that your dog’s size dictates the size of the backpack as well.

From our compiled list of the top 10 dog backpacks above, you can see the specifications include the size and even weight of the bag. Do not overburden a small dog with a big bag. The whole point is that you want Fido to have a good time while on the outdoor activity, just like you.

Weight Distribution

I have already stressed how important it is to distribute weight over the shoulders. Now that you know that already, let me add another tip to that. Go for saddlebags with pockets that are evenly distributed. If you see something that has large pockets towards the rear and small ones at the front, do not buy it.

The reason for this is that most people will tend to pack bags without even considering weight distribution. You don’t want your furry friend limping or dragging one side of his body throughout the hiking trail. What you want to do is ensure that the pocket sizes are even unless you are some sort of a packaging ninja and can balance the gear you are packing.

Benefits of Dog Backpack

Now that we have gotten the buying guides out of the way, let me share just how much benefit you and your canine friend will enjoy as soon as you buy one of these outdoor accessories. From exercise to fun, you just haven’t scratched the surface with a new backpack. The following are the benefits Fido will get thanks to the new accessory ready for showing off.

Let your dog feel important

Buying if you do a backpack is one way of showing him that he is useful beard Some dogs are specifically bred to do a certain job. Think of it, man domesticated a dog for friendship, survival, and for help.

If you’re heading out for a hike with your dog the best thing you can do is to give him some work. Therefore I would recommend that you start with a good backpack to help carry some supplies as well as gear.

Keep his weight in check

Have you ever seen an overweight dog? Many pets have become lapdogs these days. It is very important that you include a workout routine in your furry friend’s lifestyle. This will keep him feeling happy and healthy. Dogs that sit all day long without doing anything usually run the risk of becoming overweight.

Going for a hike and carrying some weights is one good way of ensuring that your dog remains healthy and fit. Include other outdoor activities in your routine such as swimming and regular walks. Outdoor playtime is very important in ensuring that you keep your dog in a good mood.

Dogs appreciate being given a job to do

Naturally, a dog will not just prefer to sit around. They prefer being given roles such as herding, tagging along on walks and hikes, chasing after things or providing a service.

When you give him a backpack to carry, Fido will definitely feel that he has a sense of purpose and is being useful to you.

A backpack can help with training

did you know that dogs learn a lot by associating things with emotions and situations?

This mode of learning is called conditioning. It works in such a way that, for example, if you pick a ball and call your dog’s name, he may associate that with playtime. In a similar way, giving your dog a saddlebag  Will start to symbolize that it is time for adventure. You will immediately arouse his desire for outdoor activities such as walking or hiking.

In other instances especially with tactical dogs wearing a backpack means that all the senses have to be aggressive and ready for tactical jobs. With time, you’ll realize that this is a very important tool for training your dog’s instincts.

FAQs

How much would my dog carry in his backpack?

While you’re very excited about the trip you’re going to have with your dog, it is very important that you do not overburden him on the hike. In order to determine how much weight your dog should carry in his backpack, the best course of action is to talk to a veterinarian.

If your dog is healthy enough, he can comfortably carry up to 15% of his body weight. That means that if you have a dog that weighs about 50 pounds, you should only pack up to 7.5 pounds in his backpack.

I should warn you that dogs that different, therefore the size of the backpack as well as the shape or design can determine how much weight can pack for him. Talk to your vet just to be sure you are getting this right.

 

How often can my dog carry a backpack?

This is another question you should probably discuss with your veterinarian. The frequency of lifting weights or carrying a backpack can be determined by so many factors.

For example, elderly dogs should lift weights sparingly. Overburdening them can weaken their bones, leave them tired and even cause injuries.

Dr. Winnie
About Dr. Winnie 341 Articles
My name is Dr. Winnie. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Duke University, a Masters of Science in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria Veterinary School in South Africa. I have been an animal lover and owners all my life having owned a Rottweiler named Duke, a Pekingese named Athena and now a Bull Mastiff named George, also known as big G! I'm also an amateur equestrian and love working with horses. I'm a full-time Veterinarian in South Africa specializing in internal medicine for large breed dogs. I enjoy spending time with my husband, 2 kids and Big G in my free time. Author and Contribturor at SeniorTailWaggers, A Love of Rottweilers, DogsCatsPets and TheDogsBone