Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities. It gives you an opportunity to exercise while giving you a purpose and getting you out into nature. And who doesn’t love reaching the top of a mountain to see the breathtaking view? To make it even better, your dog enjoys hiking as much as you do! Dogs are made for exercise, and they love walking and exploring the great outdoors. But for small breed dogs, your lengthy 3-mile hikes might be a little too strenuous for their little legs. That doesn’t have to mean that you leave them behind.
Best Dog Carrier Hiking Backpacks
What to Consider Before Purchasing any Dog Carrier Backpack
- Be sure to think about the kinds of activities you will be using the backpack for. If you are only using it for hiking, there are plenty of options that will work great, but if you are also using it for overnight backpacking trips or traveling via airplane, you will need to consider those options before purchasing. Some styles will work better for cycling or other activities than others.
- Measure and weigh your dog. Your dog’s weight may limit which carriers work for you. Depending on the design of the backpack, you may need to know your dog’s chest, legs, height from neck to tailbone, shoulder height and other measurements. The right size of the backpack is crucial to the comfort of both you and your dog. Backpack carriers are not safe for medium to large breed dogs.
- Think about how you want to carry your dog. You can get a forward-facing backpack, a rear-facing backpack, or one that can be used both ways. Some backpacks also include wheels for the times when it is easier to pull your dog instead of carrying it. You will stop using the backpack carrier if it becomes uncomfortable, so look for carriers with padded and adjustable straps.
- Your dog’s safety is of the utmost importance. This is why regular backpacks and purses are not safe for your dog. Be certain that the carrier backpack you choose will have plenty of ventilation and padding for your pup. Make sure that it fits well enough that you will not drop it and your dog will not be able to jump out of it.
1 Petsfit Comfort Dog Carrier Best Overall Value for Hiking and Other Exercise
The Petsfit Comfort Dog Carrier is the best overall value. It has plenty of ventilation and visibility to keep your dog calm and comfortable. It has padded straps that will make it more comfortable for you and extra security straps that strap around your chest and waist. It is full of small details, like a removable lining that can be easily cleaned, that is often overlooked by other products, but that make a big difference for regular use.
The MUST Know, True Facts about Petsfit Comfort Dog Carrier
– It is designed to be worn on your back, not your front.
– It is safe for dogs who weigh less than 15 pounds but might last longer with dogs that are ten pounds or less.
– It has two openings, one on the top and the other on the side. There is also a clip inside the top opening so that you can clip your dog’s collar into the backpack as an added security measure.
– Some owners complained that the straps or zippers broke quickly, especially with heavier dogs. You should check the backpack for signs of wear on a regular basis. Look for frayed stitching or weak areas.
– The backpack is fairly large, so it might not work well for activities like cycling.
- – Make sure that your dog is clipped into the attachment inside the backpack, especially if you are leaving the top open so your dog can peek out.
- – Consider your dog’s personality before purchasing. If your dog has a tendency to be stubborn or if he doesn’t want to ride in the carrier, he might push against or bite the mesh windows. These are the weakest part of the carrier so they might break quickly.
- – It is particularly wide as far as backpacks go. Be aware of your surroundings so that you don’t accidentally bump into something.
- Removeable liner and padding that is easy to clean
- A hook inside the backpack holds your dog in place
- Folds flat for convenient storage
- – Front and top opening
- – Padded and adjustable straps
- – Plenty of ventilation and plenty of room for your pup
- – Security straps that wrap around your chest and waist
- – Multiple colors and sizes available
- – There are no other pockets besides the one that holds your dog
- – There is no handle to carry it besides the backpack straps
- – There is not very much padding on the back of the backpack which might cause discomfort
- – Straps and zippers might break down after extended use
Overall, the Petsfits Comfort Carrier is a good value. It is moderately priced and made of durable, high-quality materials. It includes some features that make regular use easier, but it is disappointing that it doesn’t have any extra pockets.
2 Natuville 6-in-1 Pet Carrier Backpack Best Multi-purpose Carrier for Hiking, Driving, and Traveling
The Natuville 6-in-1 Carrier Backpack is every carrier you could ever need all in one! It can be carried on your back or front as a backpack, can be used as a car seat, a shoulder bag or even as a handbag. And it is approved by most airlines as an under-seat carrier. With all of those options, it is the most versatile carrier backpack available. It is certainly recommended for active dog owners who take their dog with them everywhere they go!
The MUST Know, True Facts about Natuville 6-in-1 Pet Carrier Backpack
– 6 functions include: backpack, car seat, shoulder bag, handbag, front-facing backpack, airline approved carrier.
– It can be used as a carrier or as a portable kennel thanks to its side ventilation and bed inside.
– It may be difficult to contact the company if you need customer service assistance. They only communicate via email. You might be better off contacting Amazon or your retailer first.
– There are plastic inserts that are used to keep the bag up when in use. These plastic inserts can be removed to fold the bag for storage, but be sure that you take care of those plastic inserts. Without them, the bag will collapse on your pup.
– There are multiple attachments for all of the various strap options. Some of the attachments are difficult to use. If they are not used correctly, they could easily fall off.
- – The interior bed is easily removed for cleaning. However, it is only held in place by a strip of Velcro. Do not remove the bed unless you need to clean. It may be necessary to add a little of your own Velcro if you are using this consistently.
- – If you are traveling on an airplane, you may need to adjust the carrier to make it fit. If the airplane has an entertainment system, it will have less room under the seat so you may need to try using it sideways.
- Security locks on the zippers
- Includes adjustable and transferable straps including reflective straps for nighttime use and seatbelt loops for using in the car
- Multiple colors and sizes available
- Airline approved, but it is always a good idea to double check with the airline before you travel because airline regulations change often
- – All of the optional uses make it perfect for several activities
- – Wooden base to keep your pet secure
- – Includes an interior bed to keep your pup comfortable
- – Side and top openings
- – The one thing that would make this all-in-one complete is a rolling feature. No wheels on this one mean that your only options are to carry your dog.
- – There are a couple of extra pockets, but they are not very big.
- – Some customers have complained that the zippers fall off easily.
The Natuville 6-in-1 Backpack Carrier is versatile and easy to use. It comes with everything you need for all of its functions including reflective straps and an interior bed. It is highly recommended for anyone who travels extensively with their dog.
3 Outward Hound Kyjen Pooch Pouch Dog Carrier The Best Value Backpack Carrier
The Outward Hound Pooch Pouch might seem similar to the other carriers, we’ve reviewed, but it has a couple of features that make it stand out. First of all, the backpack is made from durable and water-resistant nylon. This quality material will help the carrier to the last longer, even if you get stuck in the rain or have to wade through a river on your hikes. It also has extra padding in the back, straps and the bottom of the pouch so both you and your pet will be comfortable.
The MUST Know, True Facts about Outward Hound Kyjen Pooch Pouch Dog Carrier
– The Pooch Pouch has exterior straps for your comfort as you carry your pup, and it has interior straps to keep your dog from sliding around inside the carrier.
– It is made with mesh siding for good ventilation and to let your dog enjoy the views.
– It is designed to be a front-facing carrier, but it can also be worn on your back
– Water-resistant nylon fabric repels water, your dog’s drool, sweat, rain and any other water that you might come across. It’s not completely waterproof, but the quality material will last as long as you don’t completely submerge it.
– Some customers complain that it doesn’t evenly distribute the weight of the dog, so it isn’t comfortable for the owner to wear. If that is the case, we recommend adjusting the straps and trying different carrying positions. However, it just might not work for particular body types.
- – The most common customer complaint with this item is that it runs small. The manufacturer advertises that it can hold dogs up to 20 pounds, but the measurements will be too small for a dog of that size. Do not just focus on weight when you are purchasing. You need to measure the dog and check the dimensions of the carrier before you buy and when in doubt, buy a bigger size than you think you need.
- Extra pockets on the side and front of the backpack will allow you to carry your small personal items and anything you might need to take care of your dog on the hike.
- Water-resistant nylon material that is durable and strong
- Interior harness for extra safety.
- Cross-over strap design distributes the weight to support your back.
- – Strong construction means that the Pooch Pouch will last, even under your dog’s weight.
- – It is designed for dog’s up to twenty pounds, depending on the size that you purchase.
- – Comfortable design allows your dog to sit flat on the bottom of the pack.
- – Extra padding makes it comfortable for you and your dog.
- – The Pooch Pouch tends to run small, so even though it is strong enough to hold larger animals, it might not fit them comfortably.
- – The straps are small, especially when you criss-cross them as recommended. Larger pet owners will not find this carrier comfortable.
- – The sides of the backpack sometimes cave in which can make your dog uncomfortable.
- – Some customers complain that it is unstable and feels like your dog is going to fall out.
The Outward Hound Kyjen Pooch Pouch comes at a great price of around $20. At such a great price, it is not going to be the best of the best, but this is made of surprising quality. The water-resistant nylon helps this carrier stand the test of time. The only downsides to this carrier are that it is small and the cross strap design might not be comfortable for some owners.
4 Cosmos Pet Dogs Legs Out Front Carrier The Best Carrier with a Sense of Style
The Cosmos Legs Out Carrier is designed similarly to an infant carrier. It is soft and comfortable for your pet and has multiple fasteners to carry your dog securely. Its lightweight design means that it won’t restrict your movement.
The MUST Know, True Facts about Cosmos Pet Dogs Legs Out Front Carrier
– The Cosmos carrier is designed for you to carry your dog securely but it can be a little complicated to get your dog in and out of. You will need to open the backpack completely before putting your dog’s tail and legs through each of the holes. Once your dog is situated, you zip up the backpack to secure your dog along the sides of his body. Then you strap his collar into the clip on the top of the pack. It can be a complicated process, but once you learn how to do, it will become easier.
– It is mostly intended for shorter journeys. Your dog will get restless after a while, and you don’t want to mess with the complicated harness every time your dog cycles through wanting to explore and getting too tired.
– Be sure to get the right size for your dog. Leg-out carriers are generally intended for very small dogs. In addition to the other measurements, you will need to measure the circumference of your dog’s legs to make sure to get a good fit.
– In some instances, even if the size of the leg holes is correct for your dog, they might be placed incorrectly. This forces your dog to reach in uncomfortable positions just to fit in the carrier. Check the measurements between the holes in addition to their size.
- – The Cosmos carrier can be used forward or back facing, but both you and your pup will be more comfortable if you wear it on the front. This allows your pet to see the same things you do and feel more secure.
- – Be careful not to zip your dog’s fur on the side zippers. For this reason, we recommend this carrier for short-haired dogs.
- Easy to clean canvas fabric
- Eye-catching design
- Good quality sturdy design for a low price
- Allows clingy pups to be near their owner while allowing the owner to get things done with both hands free
- – It is made of soft material and has an extra soft seam around the tail and legs holes.
- – The straps can be adjusted.
- – It has multiple loops and hooks for securely holding your dog.
- – Several sizes are available so you can get one that will be the best fit for your small dog.
- – It has a stylish and colorful striped design.
- – The straps are not padded so the owner will get uncomfortable after a while.
- – Complicated loading/unloading process.
- – It can get hot after you wear it for a while
If you are looking for a stylish way to carry your dog with you when you run errands or on short hikes, the Cosmos carrier is perfect for you. It has a bold, striped design that will catch everyone’s eye. The front-facing design means that both you and your pet will get adoring attention from everyone who sees how cute your dog is.
5 K9 Sport Sack Dog Carrier The Best for Heavy Dogs
This is one of the only carrier packs designed for larger dogs. The largest size is safe for dogs up to 35 pounds! They have a great variety of sizes so you can find the one that fits your dog best. It is designed for comfort for both you and your dog even on longer hikes.
The MUST Know, True Facts about K9 Sport Sack Dog Carrier
– The adjustable straps on the K9 Sport Sack mean that you will be able to find a fit that is comfortable for you to carry.
– There are two side pockets for carrying your water bottle and personal items.
– Even though it is worn on your back, it allows your dog to face the same direction you do. According to the company, they created it this way because their dogs were getting motion sickness from rear-facing backpacks.
– Even though the K9 Sport Sack is great for heavier dogs, medium breed dogs might not be able to comfortably sit in the carrier because their legs are too long. It is designed for small but chubby breeds like pugs or corgis.
– Be sure that your dog is supported by the carrier. This carrier is designed for dog’s to sit in a “begging” position, so it is upright and sitting on its haunches. If the dog’s back is not properly supported and it is in this position for extended amounts of time, it could damage your dog’s back. This is especially true for dogs that have a long back like corgis or dachshunds.
- – Even though the K9 Sport Sack has suitable side ventilation, the transfer of body heat can still affect your dog’s body temperature. It is a good idea to check your dog’s temperature or give it a break from the carrier if you are hiking for hours at a time.
- – The manufacturer offers a variety of accessories for purchase, including a storage backpack that can be clipped to the dog carrier and extra padding to adjust to the perfect size.
- All of these carriers have mesh fabric to allow ventilation and temperature control for your dog, but the K9 Sport Sack stands out because it also has a cooling mesh lining on the foam-padded shoulder straps. So you will be just as cool and comfortable as your dog.
- The side straps and collar can be tightened for adding security.
- Reflective safety strap
- – Veterinarian Approved
- – Washable and easy to clean
- – Padding on the back and straps
- – Available in several sizes and colors
- – Not enough back support for the person carrying the pet
- – Higher price, especially considering that the materials are not of superior quality
- – The wrap-around straps and buckles are flimsy
This is a cleverly designed carrier that makes it easy to take heavier dogs on adventures. The manufacturer regularly redesigns the model with added features. It has a higher price tag than most of the products we reviewed, but if you have a heavy dog, it is worth the extra cost to get something that is safe for them.
6 Pet Gear I-Go Travel Plus Traveler Pet Carrier Best Carrier with Wheels
No matter what dog carrier backpack you are using, eventually your shoulders are going to need a break. That is where a carrier with wheels comes in handy! The Pet Gear I-Go Travel Plus offers the best of both worlds.
The MUST Know, True Facts about Pet Gear I-Go Travel Plus Traveler Pet Carrier
– This multi-functional carrier can be used as a backpack, carrier, tote, car seat, or roller. It offers a lot of space for your pet to move around even if it is inside the carrier for an extended time. However, the extra room for your pet can make it clumsy and awkward for you when you wear it as a backpack.
– This carrier is suitable for most weights, but its dimensions are fairly small, so it should only be used for small breed dogs. Check the measurements of the various sizes before buying.
– If you have a feisty dog who doesn’t like to be in carriers, their nervous behaviors such as running or pushing could actually tip the carrier over. Be sure to strap the carrier in if you are using it as a car seat.
- – Although the I-Go Travel Plus is not officially approved for all airplane travel, individual airlines may allow it depending on the size of their under seat storage. Call your airline to check the requirements before purchasing.
- The detachable interior pad that is easy to clean while adding comfort to your pet
- Interior harness will keep your dog safe and make sure that it does not run away when you open the front.
- – Roller option with telescopic handle
- – Approved for multiple functions
- – Exterior pockets for personal items
- – Adjustable straps
- – Not officially approved for airplane travel
- – Only has a front opening
- – No extra padding for owner comfort
- – Awkward, bulky size
The PetGear I-Go Plus Traveler is a great carrier for multiple uses like road trips. It can be used for hiking trips, but it will get uncomfortable quickly. It is bulky and awkward compared to some of the other carriers, but that is the tradeoff for adding all of the different functions.
7 Nicrew Legs-Out Front Facing Carrier Best Legs Out Carrier
This is probably the lightest weight carrier on this list, so you don’t have to worry about carrying extra weight in addition to your dog. It is designed with both the dog and the owner in mind.
The MUST Know, True Facts about Nicrew Legs-Out Front Facing Carrier
The Nicrew Legs Out Carrier is the best in its category because it is made for the comfort of both you and your dog. It has wide and padded shoulder straps that will make it comfortable for you. Your dog will appreciate the soft fabric, and all of the attention it will get from other people.
– All legs out carriers are intended for short use, not major hiking expeditions.
– Make sure that you measure the dog and know where its tail and legs are going to fit inside the carrier. It may not be comfortable for dogs with certain proportions.
– Be careful not to zip your dog’s fur inside the zipper!
- – Be sure to check that your dog’s tail is in a comfortable position.
- – There are some areas around the legs and tail holes that do not have enough padding so they can irritate your dog’s skin.
- The Nicrew carrier can be used as a front-pack or backpack.
- It is easy to strap your dog in and out of.
- It has a Velcro neck attachment that you can adjust to the size of your dog.
- – Wide and padded shoulder straps for ultimate comfort
- – Sufficient leg room for your dog
- – Can be used with larger dogs up to 22 pounds which are within the measurement guidelines
- – Might not be the most comfortable carrier for certain body types
- – The shoulder straps are not adjustable
- – Low-quality materials, like zippers, can break easily.
Legs out carriers are not designed for long hikes, but if you have a small dog that you want to take on a short hike, this is a secure way to carry it. Many owners just like using it to keep their dog company while they do chores around the house. Just be sure to get the right size based on measurement, not weight.
8 PetAmi Deluxe Carrier Backpack Best Carrier for Dogs Who Like a View
This is a high-quality product with lots of great features. It is chosen for the category of best view because it has a zip-up mesh window that allows your dog to see out of multiple sides without compromising safety.
The MUST Know, True Facts about PetAmi Deluxe Carrier Backpack
The PetAmi Deluxe is full of features for both you and your dog. It is big enough for your dog to move around in and it has enough structure to make sure that it won’t collapse on your dog while you are hiking. It is comfortable, durable, and secure.
– Some customers have complained that their product was damaged on arrival. You should check the quality of your product as soon as you receive it so that you can return it if necessary.
- – There are multiple models of the PetAmi Deluxe. Some of them have the mesh window in the bottom of the carrier instead of the top.
- Zip up mesh window allows your dog to see out the top of the carrier without opening the top.
- Two- way entry for maximum convenience
- Comes with a free gift of a collapsible water bowl for your dog
- – Sherpa lined bedding in the interior for pet’s comfort
- – Safety strap and multiple buckle system to protect your dog’s safety
- – Padded back and shoulder straps
- – Multiple side pockets and front pockets to store your pet supplies and personal items
- – Waist and chest buckles to evenly distribute weight
- – Available in nine colors
- – Decreased durability with heavier dogs
- – Bulky design sticks out far from back
If your dog likes to see everything that is going on around, but you are worried about it falling out of the backpack carriers with open tops, the PetAmi Deluxe is the best carrier for you.
9 Kritter World Outdoor Carrier Best Soft-sided Option
The Kritter World Outdoor Carrier is made of a strong scratch resistant material, but it is also soft on the inside. Your dog will feel cozy and cool in the well-ventilated, soft-lined backpack. The soft-sided material also means that the whole backpack is washable and easy to clean!
The MUST Know, True Facts about Kritter World Outdoor Carrier
Part of what makes the Kritter World Outdoor Carrier wonderful is all of the mesh windows that provide ventilation for your pet. However, the mesh windows are all along the bottom of the backpack. Pets are naturally curious and will want to see outside of the windows, but they may crouch in weird positions to see out of it.
– Some customers complained about a strong chemical smell when you are first unpackaging it.
- – Be certain that your dog can fit inside because it has a really small interior.
- Side pockets for carrying personal items and dog treats or other supplies
- Airline approved!
- Scratch and bite resistant material
- – Soft-lined material that is easy to clean
- – Interior fleece bed for pet comfort
- – Mesh ventilation on four sides to keep dogs cool
- – Sturdy padded straps and waist buckle to evenly distribute weight
- – Only suitable for dogs who weigh less than 7 pounds
If you have a very small dog that tends to bite on everything, this is the carrier option for you!
10 PreferPets Carrier Backpack Best Combined Carrier and Backpack
The PreferPets Carrier Backpack is a great carrier because it is lightweight and easy to carry. It also transforms into a great hiking backpack and is suitable for pets who weigh up to twenty pounds.
The MUST Know, True Facts about PreferPets Carrier Backpack
The manufacturer of the PreferPets Carrier Backpack did a great job with one important feature, and that is an even distribution of weight. Whether you are using it as a carrier or a backpack, you will have to support and balance that you need to carry your pet while keeping both of you safe.
– Particularly aggressive puppies or dogs that are anxious might bite and scratch inside the case. If they scratch the mesh windows, they could easily break the windows and create an opening for them to get out. Do not leave your pet alone inside the carrier until you know that it is calm inside and not scratching to get out.
- – The removable inner liner is machine washable. However, it might shrink in the dryer which will make putting it back into the carrier difficult.
- – The shoulder straps are slightly padded, but they aren’t very comfortable. They can also be clumsy, particularly at the attachment used to change from the carrier function to the backpack function.
- Mesh windows on both sides create cross breezes to keep your pet cool.
- One side opens completely, and the other side has a half-zipper so your pet can stick his head out but not escape.
- – Dual-purpose carrier and backpack
- – Evenly distributes the weight of dogs up to twenty pounds
- – Folds for easy storage
- – Durable and sturdy design
- – Airline approved
- – No extra pockets for carrying supplies
- – The triangular shape will restrict dog’s movement inside because there is no headroom
- – Only one size available
The PreferPets Carrier Backpack is a great choice for anyone who wants to take their dog on long hikes, but also needs a simple carrier for trips to the Vet or other errands. It is airline approved so it can be great for adventurers who are flying to a hiking destination!
We hope that this review has helped you narrow down the best hiking carrier backpacks for dogs. Have fun on your next adventures with your pup!