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If you are looking for the best dog backpack for your favorite pet, there are several points to keep in mind. Is this pack suitable for my dog’s breed? Will it be comfortable for them? Can they handle the weight?
We have rounded up what we consider to be the best five dog backpacks available today. Not only that, but we have included an in-depth buyers guide towards the end of the article, to aid you in making your decision.
This pack is perfect for dog owners with medium to large breeds, but unfortunately lacks an option for smaller dogs. Exceptionally well crafted, the bag is constructed of a 1000D Nylon material and has a mesh lining for breathability.
Two main compartments provide a large amount of storage space with 3L of space within each. Bungee cord strapping on the outside of each compartment is suitable for smaller items and toys.
Compartments are closed with sturdy hidden zippers, avoiding unwanted catching of your dog’s fur, and the buckles seem solid. The harness can also be adjusted for your dog’s girth, so you always get a good comfortable fit.
Carry handle, and leash anchor point on the top side of the harness is a big plus in our opinion.
Easily saturated with water
The Wellver dog backpack is one of the more budget options featured on this list. Coming in sizes suitable for small, medium, and large breeds the Wellver features one zippered pocket on either side.
At its core, the Wellver is a light saddlebag type option, more suited to urban day trips than hiking in the wild. Construction isn’t quite as sturdy as other options, but that is to be expected from a basic budget-priced option.
The topside handle is a nice touch, although it does lack an anchoring point for your leash. Reflective panels on each side work as intended, keeping your dog visible even in low light environments.
Not very durable
This is the second budget-friendly option to feature on our list and probably my favorite over the Wellver Dog Backpack. Outward Hound provides the Daypak in 3 sizes, for small, medium and large breeds with the saddlebag design sitting well on all.
A harness made primarily of mesh material provides plenty of breathability to keep your pet cool during warmer seasons. Again, the Outward Hound is more suited to urban environments and light trails than full-blown wild hiking and camping.
It has four expandable pockets that are evenly spaced to provide the most comfort to your dog. Between the shoulder blades on the topside is a handle, with a leash anchor behind it, always a bonus.
One downside is a slight lack of padding on the front of the harness, around the chest area. Although the pack is highly visible for use in low light areas.
More padding would be nice
The Baxter is a mid-priced option and offers fantastic capacity and versatility. I would consider this model an in-between point for urban environments and wild trails.
Plenty of size options are available, with most users finding a comfortable fit for their pet. It is worth noting, however, that some users have expressed difficulty in adjusting the backpack.
Sturdy, durable material is used for the pockets and harness, but the zips and points that the straps attach to the harness have been noted as weak points. However, the pack itself is lightweight, weighing an average of 13oz between sizes.
Overall capacity ranges from 3.5L to 7.5L depending on the size of pack you need for your dog. Kurgo has created a tremendously versatile backpack for those who live in urban environments, but like to escape with their dog into nature when the weekend rolls around.
Leash anchor point
Comfortable fit for your dog
Some users have noted the straps could be more durable
Probably the priciest pack on this list, but with good reason, the Ruffwear Approach delivers. Available in five different sizes and several colors, quality remains the same over the range of options.
All options are high visibility and feature reflective piping over each side. Pockets are spacious, and the zips are hidden to avoid unwanted opening.
Ruffwear has created one of the most adjustable dog backpacks on the market, with five different points of adjustment, you can easily customize the fit for your dog. Not only that, but there is a generous amount of padding on both the harness and straps.
Material is lightweight and leans slightly forward on the arch of the back, providing comfort for your dog. While empty, the pack weighs approximately 12oz depending on the size you have.
Two leash anchor points
Can attach additional accessories
Not a budget option
Now that you have seen our pick of what we consider the best dog backpacks on the market, you should have an idea of what it is you want from a dog backpack. We have composed this short buyer guide below to pinpoint the key things you should consider before purchasing a new backpack for your dog.
The suitability of a backpack will depend largely on your dog, are they in good health and age? Do they have the temperament for having a backpack attached? Are they a suitable breed?
Larger, more muscular dogs, like Huskies or Alsatians that can be worked, have an excellent temperament for backpacks. Not only do they have the personality but the physicality to carry a respectable amount of weight over distances.
When compared to, say, a Daschund, it is immediately apparent why suitability of a backpack depends on the individual dog. At Heel Boy Heel we would advise checking with your local vet whether or not your pup is suitable for the rigors of wearing a backpack.
Before purchasing any backpack designed to be worn by your dog, you will need to take their measurements to ensure a snug, but comfortable fit. Manufacturers information will typically be available online and let you know the measurements of their product.
Generally, a simple measurement around the largest area of the ribcage, and the thickest portion of the neck is enough. If the backpack is too loose, it could cause bruising to your pet, and if it is too tight, it may chafe and pull on their fur.
A backpack that has padding on the harness and/or straps is an advantage, as this will increase your dog’s comfort and avoid injury.
If you live or hike in warmer climates, you should aim for a backpack where the harness has a mesh lining. A mesh lining will help your dog stay cool in hot weather.
Depending on the breed, dogs can carry a maximum of 25% of their body weight in a backpack. At Heel Boy Heel, we believe that dog owners should stay conservative and go no higher than 15% of body weight, to avoid any unnecessary harm to the animal.
With this in mind, the weight of the backpack must be taken into account as well. If you fail to consider this, your dog may suffer as a result.
A small pack should suffice in urban settings, as your dog won’t need to carry any more than maybe their water bowl and some treats. If hiking or camping, you might need them to carry more, so a larger pack will be required.
You must always keep in mind however, that you shouldn’t expect your dog to carry too much weight, regardless of how big the pack is.
A pack with symmetrical pockets and compartments is advantageous, as that means load can be spread evenly across the harness. For small dogs, a pack with a handle in between their shoulders is a bonus, meaning you can easily hoist them over obstacles if required.
A lead attachment point will also serve you well in those moments when you encounter wildlife, dogs, or other people.
As dogs like to brush up against surfaces, such as rocks or trees, you want to make sure the material used in construction will withstand the punishment. Each pocket or compartment should fasten sturdily without coming open during normal activities.
The last thing you want is your belongings spilling out over the hiking trail.
Visibility requirements will depend on what activities you will be performing. For hiking, a brightly colored pack is an advantage, along with reflective strips or piping if you plan on heading out at night.
This will make it harder for your dog to leave your line of sight if they decide to wander off.
If you have your dog accompany you hunting, to retrieve or flush out game, an olive or camouflage backpack will probably be better. Depending on the environment, black will also be a good choice, but any reflective properties will do you a disservice.
With all things considered my favorite pack has to be the Kurgo Baxter, this is a versatile pack suited for urban and wild environments that comes at a great price. With the size options available and adjustment on the pack, you will be able to find a comfortable fit for your dog.
Do you agree with our picks for the best dog backpack? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to let us know if there is anything you would like to see featured on Heel Boy Heel in the future.