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The 7 Best Dog Backpacks of 2023

Walking Dog - a woman walking a dog down a sidewalk

When it comes to selecting the perfect dog hiking backpack, I’ll cut right to the chase: it’s about finding a balance between comfort, durability, and stylebecause let’s be honest, we want our furry friends to strut their stuff with pride. As someone who has spent countless hours on the trails with my own canine companion, I’ve seen firsthand the difference a high-quality backpack can make. It’s not just about carrying extra treats or water; it’s about enhancing our shared outdoor experiences.

What You Will Learn About Dog Hiking Backpacks

  • Our top picks for the best dog backpacks in 2023.
  • What to consider when choosing a dog backpack.
  • How the best dog backpacks were selected.

Our Top Picks

Throughout my adventures with my four-legged partner in crime, I’ve scrutinized countless dog backpacks. From scaling rocky terrains to navigating urban jungles, we’ve tested the limits of what these canine carryalls can handle. The result? A curated list of the top dog backpacks on the market for 2023, each offering a unique blend of features that cater to the diverse needs of dog owners.

Insider Tip: Always measure your dog’s girth before purchasing a backpack. A snug, but not tight, fit is crucial for their comfort and mobility.

What to Look for in a Dog Backpack

When you’re shopping for a dog hiking backpack, your checklist should include more than just aesthetics. Sure, you want your pup to look good, but the core features should revolve around safety, comfort, and environmental impact. Seek out backpacks made from eco-friendly materials that don’t sacrifice durability. Pay attention to design elements that ensure your dog’s mobility isn’t compromised, and always prioritize their well-being over additional storage space.

The 7 Best Dog Backpacks of 2023

How We Selected the Best Dog Backpacks

Our selection process was rigorous, combining personal field tests with feedback from a community of enthusiastic dog owners. We looked for backpacks that stood up to the wear and tear of active lifestyles, considering factors like material quality, weight distribution, and the ability to keep our dogs visible and safe in different environments.

The 7 Best Dog Backpacks of 2023

For an in-depth guide on choosing outdoor gear that can withstand the elements, check out our article on durable dog accessories.

The 7 Best Dog Backpacks of 2023

Best Overall: Ruffwear Approach Pack

Personal Experience: Finding the Perfect Backpack for My Adventure-loving Dog

I always loved going on outdoor adventures with my dog, Max. However, I struggled to find the right backpack for him to carry his essentials. After researching and trying out a few options, I found the Ruffwear Palisades Pack to be the perfect fit for our hiking trips. Its durability and storage capacity made our adventures much more enjoyable, as Max could comfortably carry his water, snacks, and even some of my small items. This backpack truly enhanced our outdoor experiences and made me appreciate the value of a well-designed dog backpack.

The Ruffwear Approach Pack is the epitome of what a dog hiking backpack should be. Its ergonomic design ensures an even weight distribution, which is vital for preventing strain during long hikes. The pack’s durable material and reflective trim offer both longevity and safety, while its ample storage compartments make it practical for both day trips and overnight adventures.

Insider Tip: Use the Approach Pack’s pockets to balance the load. Your dog should carry no more than 25% of their body weight.

Best Budget: Outward Hound DayPak Dog Backpack

For the budget-conscious dog owner, the Outward Hound DayPak is a revelation. It doesn’t skimp on essential features, offering reflective accents for visibility and breathable mesh fabric for comfort. This backpack is proof that you don’t need to break the bank for quality gear that keeps your pup’s welfare front and center.

The 7 Best Dog Backpacks of 2023

Best for Small Dogs: Kurgo Baxter Dog Backpack

Small dogs have unique needs, and the Kurgo Baxter Dog Backpack caters to them perfectly. Its adjustable straps and ergonomic spine support make it a standout for petite pooches. The Baxter’s streamlined design ensures your small dog won’t get caught up in underbrush or cramped urban spaces.

For additional diminutive dog gear, our heavy-duty dog harness collection is worth exploring.

Best for Large Dogs: OneTigris Blaze Tracker Dog Pack

The OneTigris Blaze Tracker is built with large breeds in mind. Its robust construction can handle the extra weight and activity that come with bigger dogs. The pack features roomy compartments and a snug fit that stays put, no matter the terrain or the pace.

The 7 Best Dog Backpacks of 2023

Best for Hiking: Ruffwear Palisades Pack

The Ruffwear Palisades Pack is a hiker’s dream. It’s designed for the long haul with detachable saddlebags, a hydration system, and load compression straps to keep everything secure. It’s the ultimate companion for those multi-day treks where reliability can’t be compromised.

Best for Running: Kurgo Stash N Stow Running Pack

When the pace picks up, the Kurgo Stash N Stow Running Pack keeps up. It’s lightweight, non-restrictive, and features an innovative storage system that allows quick access to essentials like water and waste bags. For the active owner and dog duo, this pack is a game-changer.

For tips on preparing your dog for high-energy activities, dive into our piece on training your dog for outdoor adventures.

Best for Service Dogs: OneTigris Tactical Service Dog Vest Harness

Service dogs require gear that’s as dependable as they are. The OneTigris Tactical Service Dog Vest Harness is engineered with their needs in mind, offering a custom fit and modular attachments for a variety of service-related tasks. It’s a testament to the brand’s commitment to supporting these hardworking canines.

The 7 Best Dog Backpacks of 2023

Final Verdict

In the quest for the best dog hiking backpack, it’s clear that no one size fits all. As dog owners, our responsibility is to choose gear that respects our dogs’ comfort and health, while also aligning with our lifestyle and values. The seven backpacks listed above represent the pinnacle of what’s available in 2023, combining quality, functionality, and eco-friendliness in a market flooded with options.

As we head into another year of adventures with our furry sidekicks, let’s commit to making choices that enhance their lives as much as they do ours. And remember, the best gear is only as good as the love and care we show our pets every day.

To ensure safe travels with your dog, I highly recommend reading our guide on safe dog travel tips for owners.

Let’s gear up and embrace the trails ahead, knowing we’ve equipped our loyal companions with nothing but the best. Happy hiking!

Answers To Common Questions

Question: Who can use a dog hiking backpack?

Answer: Any dog owner who enjoys hiking with their pet.

Question: What is a dog hiking backpack?

Answer: It’s a specially designed backpack for carrying your dog on hikes.

Question: How do I choose the right size backpack?

Answer: Measure your dog’s length, girth, and weight for a proper fit.

Question: Why should I use a dog hiking backpack?

Answer: It allows you to bring your dog on outdoor adventures safely.

Question: How do I introduce my dog to the backpack?

Answer: Start by letting your dog get comfortable with the backpack indoors.

Question: Isn’t it better for dogs to walk on their own?

Answer: The backpack provides a safe option for tired or injured dogs.


With a passion for outdoor adventures and a love for dogs, Emily Sullivan is a certified professional dog trainer and experienced hiker. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Behavior, Emily Sullivan has spent over a decade working with various dog breeds, specializing in behavior modification and obedience training. Their expertise in canine gear and equipment comes from years of testing and reviewing products for both personal and professional use.

As a contributor to several reputable pet and outdoor publications, Emily Sullivan has shared valuable insights on dog care, training, and outdoor activities. Having conducted independent research on the benefits of dog backpacks, Emily Sullivan incorporates evidence-based practices and references studies from reputable sources to provide trustworthy recommendations. Their dedication to promoting safe and enjoyable experiences for dogs and their owners makes Emily Sullivan a reliable source for all things related to dog backpacks and outdoor adventures.

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