Products

Best Dog Carrier Backpacks Of 2022

Written by: Elise Remp

August 30, 2022

We scoured every nook and cranny of the Internet, reading both good and bad reviews, to find a dog carrier backpack to meet just about any need! This list has dog carrier backpacks for: tight budgets, no budgets, small dogs, large dogs, hiking trips, car trips, trips on planes, bags with loads of features, bags with simple features, and even bags made here in the USA.

Health And Safety Tips For Using A Dog Carrier Backpack

It’s important to consider your dog’s health and safety before running out (or more likely, jumping online) to buy your furry travel-buddy a dog carrier backpack. Here’s a few things to keep in mind:

french bulldog in a backpack

Do’s:

  • Do choose a backpack designed specifically for dogs. Dog carrier backpacks have been designed with safety features specifically for dogs—like extra ventilation and safety tethers. Regular backpacks or baby backpacks may not be able to properly support your dog’s weight, may not have proper ventilation, and may not have the right features to keep them comfortable and secure during a trip.
  • Do consider where you plan to travel. If you’re planning on flying with your pup, you’ll want a backpack that’s TSA-approved as a carry-on and has a fully-enclosed interior. If you’re planning on hiking or walking with your dog, you’ll want to make sure the backpack is comfortable enough for both you and your dog, has enough pockets for gear, and is made with high-quality materials that can withstand the journey.
  • Do measure and weigh your dog to ensure a good fit before purchasing. Although your dog may be within the weight limits of a backpack you plan on purchasing, make sure to measure your dog from head to toe and around their sternum to make sure they’ll fit comfortably within the interior of the bag. Don’t be fooled by thinking your dog will fit in a “large” size when many dog backpacks are made for small breed dogs.
  • Do consider a bag with extra safety features. You want to make sure your dog is safe and secure for your trip. Look for features like safety tethers, reflective material (if you plan to hike in the dark), and quality materials so you can trust the zippers and seams will be secure enough to hold your dog’s weight.
  • Do a short test-run when you first get your backpack. Take a short walk around the house or neighborhood. Make sure that your dog has enough room, and that they’re not being pinched or squished. Check to see that their toes and tail have enough room. Double check that they are attached to the tether and can’t jump out. Look at their body language to see if they’re nervous, uncomfortable, or scared. This test-run will help you decide if you or your pup need a different backpack.

Dont’s

  • Don’t use vertical (dog in begging position) backpacks with Dachshunds or dogs who have back problems. This constant upward position can put too much pressure on their already fragile spine. Weenie dogs and dogs with back problems are better off in backpacks that have enough room to sit with all four legs on the bottom.
  • Don’t use your backpack as a car seat or flight carry-on unless the manufacturer specifically states that it is made to do so. Dog carrier backpacks need to go through extra safety testing to be approved as a car seat or carry-on. Never use backpacks other than how they’re intended. Otherwise, the straps or material may not be able to hold up in case of a car accident, or may cause a big headache at the TSA checkpoint when you’re trying to get to your flight.
  • Don’t buy a backpack with poor ventilation. Always look for backpacks with multiple points of ventilation. If enclosed backpacks only have one point of ventilation, and that gets blocked by your dog’s bum, body, or fur, this can be dangerous and cause suffocation or overheating.

1. Pet Gear I-GO2 Series Dog Backpack & Rolling Carrier

1. Pet Gear I-GO2 Series Dog Backpack & Rolling Carrier
Photo via chewy.com

BUY HERE: $39.98-$110.98 from Pet Gear
BUY HERE: $48.69 from Chewy
BUY HERE: $53.29-$110.98 from Amazon

There’s so much room for activities! The Pet Gear I-GO2 Dog Backpack has expanding mesh sides that allow you to add up to 3 inches of interior space, which makes this bag great for long trips. The versatility of this 3-in-1 backpack/rolling carrier/car seat make this bag perfect for any type of travel—whether you’re going by car, plane, or walking. There are, however, some setbacks with all these added features: a few reviews complain that the bag is too heavy, bulky, and uncomfortable when worn for a long time. This bag gives you tons of versatility for travel, but it’s probably not going to be the best choice for long hikes.

Features: Water resistant, 3-in-1 backpack/rolling carrier/car seat, expandable sides add 3 inches of space, removable pad, safety tether, 2 side pockets
Sizes: Sport (medium), Escort (medium), Traveler (large), Plus Traveler (extra large)
Colors: Black, sage, ocean blue, pink, copper
Material: Polyester, Mesh
TSA Carry-on: Airline approved but restrictions apply (XL size: 16″L x 13.5″W x 22″H)
Weight Limit: 25lbs. (Plus Traveler, XL size)
Manufactured: China

Pros:Cons:
✅ Budget-friendly
✅ 3-in-1 backpack/rolling carrier/car seat
✅ Expandable sides add 3 inches of space
✅ Safety tether
✅ 2 side pockets
✅ Water-resistant
✅ TSA-approved (with restrictions)
❌ Heavy and bulky
❌ Wheels cannot be removed
❌ Uncomfortable for long walks in backpack mode

2. K9 Sport Sack Kolossus Big Dog Backpack 

2. K9 Sport Sack Kolossus Big Dog Backpack 
Photos via k9sportsack.com

BUY HERE: $263.99-$255.99 from Amazon
BUY HERE: $264.95 from K9 Sport Sack

Big dogs deserve backpacks too! Ok, yea, most large dogs prefer walking over being carried—plus they’re heckin’ heavy—but the K9 Sport Sack Kolossus Big Dog Backpack is perfect for larger dogs who may be past their peak running-and-hiking days. It’s also great for injured dogs who still love to hike/travel but need a little extra help along the way. The K9 Kolussus does have a heftier price tag, but the quality is worth it. This bag holds up! (As long as you can hold up the weight of your big pup!)

Features: Fits large dogs, 60 liters of interior space for backpacking with or without your dog, removable storage, padding for dog’s comfort, side cooling vents, detachable sun/rain cover, padded back and shoulder straps, extra tail room, developed under veterinary supervision
Sizes: Large, XL, XXL
Colors: Black, myrtle green
Material: 300D Ripstop Oxford Polyester Material
TSA Carry-on: No. Not approved as carry-on
Weight Limit: 80lbs. (XXL size)
Manufactured: No information available

Pros:Cons:
✅ One of the few backpack made for large dogs
✅ High-quality materials (Ripstop material)
✅ Extra removable storage
✅ Padded back and straps
✅ Developed under veterinary care
✅ Detachable sun/rain cover
❌ Hefty price-tag
❌ Need to be strong enough to carry large dog on your back
❌ Not waterproof
❌ May be too narrow for chonky pups

3. K9 Sport Sack Air 2 Forward Facing Dog Carrier Backpack

3. K9 Sport Sack Air 2 Forward Facing Dog Carrier Backpack
Photos via chewy.com

BUY HERE: $74.95 from Chewy
BUY HERE: $74.95 from K9 Sport Sack

From the same quality brand who brought you the “Kolossus” model above, the K9 Sport Sack Air 2 is a simplified, lightweight version for smaller pups. This bag has all the basic features you need for trips around town or a small hike with your pup in tow. But if you’re looking to bring your dog on a hiking or camping trip, this bag falls short in the extra pockets and storage departments.

Features: Extra room for hind legs and tail, mesh ventilation, 2 side-pockets, veterinarian-approved design, safety clip, whistle clip, holes for front legs, (rain jacket and water-repelling treatment can be purchased separately)
Sizes: XS, small, medium, large
Colors: Jet black, light grey, summer mint, tropical
Material: Cordura® fabric (nylon, mesh)
TSA Carry-on: No. Not approved for carry-on
Weight Limit: 30lbs. (large size)
Manufactured: No information available

Pros:Cons:
✅ Veterinarian-approved design
✅ Extra room for hind legs and tail
✅ Mesh ventilation on sides
✅ Safety leash
✅ 30lb. weight limit (large size)
✅Rain jacket and water-repelling treatment can be purchased separately
❌ Not TSA-approved for carry-on
❌ No space for larger accessories
❌ Runs small
❌ Complaints of chest straps riding up toward neck
❌ Vertical position may not be comfortable for older dogs or dogs with joint/back problems

4. Pawaboo Pet Carrier Backpack

4. Pawaboo Pet Carrier Backpack
Photos via amazon.com

BUY HERE: $26.99 from Amazon

The Pawaboo Pet Carrier Backpack is an extremely budget-friendly option if you’re looking for a dog carrier backpack for light trips around town. Although this bag has over 20,000 reviews—mostly above 4 stars—the occasional negative reviews make it clear that this is more of a low-budget, no-frills option rather than a quality purchase. It’s going to be best for lighter small-breed dogs (below the stated weight limit), and for casual day trips.

Features: Lightweight, can be worn on front or back, zipper and elastic openings, padded shoulder straps
Sizes: Small, medium, large, extra large
Colors: Black, gray, black stripes, colorful stripes, purple, pink, blue, green, red, camo, blue marble, purple marble, flowers
Material: Polyester
TSA Carry-on: No. Not approved for carry-on
Weight Limit: 18lbgs (large bag)
Manufactured: China

Pros:Cons:
✅ Budget-friendly
✅ Lots of colors to choose from
✅ Lightweight
❌ Sizes run small
❌ Low quality fabric struggles to support heavier dogs
❌ Complaints that both human and dog are uncomfortable
❌ No pockets for accessories

5. Timbuk 2 Muttmover Luxe Dog Backpack

5. Timbuk 2 Muttmover Luxe Dog Backpack
Photos via timbuk2.com

BUY HERE: $149.00 from Timbuk2
BUY HERE: $149.00 from REI

You can rest assured you’re buying a quality dog carrier backpack with the Timbuk 2 Muttmover Luxe Backpack. Don’t believe us? Then you’ll probably believe the lifetime warranty that comes with the “Muttmover”—showing that this company stands behind their design quality. This bag has just enough fun and useful features—like tear-resistant material, an attached dog water bowl, and a bottle opener for you—without going overboard. The biggest complaint we can see over this bag is that it only comes in black, which can get toasty in the sun.

Features: Lifetime warranty, iPad pocket and 3 outer pockets, folding food-grade water bowl, padded back and shoulder straps, sternum strap, bottle opener, easy-clean inside
Sizes: One Size
Colors: Black
Material: Ripstop Nylon (Polyvinyl Chloride)
TSA Carry-on: Yes. Carry-on approved with most airlines (13.4″ W x 9.84″ D x 18.7 H)
Weight Limit: 20lbs.
Manufactured: All Timbuk2 bags made in Vietnam and Indonesia

Pros:Cons:
✅ Lifetime Warranty
✅ Extra pockets for storage
✅ Drinks for all! Water bowl and bottle opener included
✅ Easy-clean
✅ Ripstop nylon is resistant to tearing

❌ Not waterproof
❌ Black color gets hot in sun
❌ Some reviews complain there’s not enough pocket space

6. Outward Hound Pooch Pouch Backpack

6. Outward Hound Pooch Pouch Backpack
Photo via outwardhound.com

BUY HERE: $54.99 from Outward Hound
BUY HERE: $29.99 from Amazon

Looking for a budget-friendly, lightweight backpack that also has plenty of pockets? The Outward Hound Poochpouch Backpack is a great choice for pet parents who want an affordable backpack that also has all the extra space to carry poop bags, water bottles, and that favorite plushie your pup can’t leave home without. However, reviews warn that this bag may be better suited for dogs under 10lbs. (below the stated maximum weight), as the material has a tough time holding up with heavier pups.

Features: Padded straps, removable bottom pad, water-resistant fabric, mesh sides and top, safety harness attachment, roomy front and side pockets
Sizes: One Size
Colors: Black/Grey
Material: Nylon, Mesh
TSA Carry-on: Company doesn’t specify. Check with airline. (8″ H x 13.5″ L x 13″ W)
Weight Limit: 20lbs.
Manufactured: China

Pros:Cons:
✅ Budget-friendly
✅ Water resistant
✅ Extra pockets for storage
✅ Lightweight
❌ Questionable quality
❌ Straps and zippers don’t hold up well with heavier dogs
❌ Complaints of interior not being large enough for dogs closer to 20lb. weight limit

7. Jespet Dog Carrier Backpack

7. Jespet Dog Carrier Backpack
Photos via chewy.com

BUY HERE: $49.99 from Chewy

This Jespet Dog Carrier Backpack has a nice, roomy interior for pups who like a little bit more space. The mesh front and side panels make sure your dog gets plenty of ventilation, and the removable fleece bottom makes for an easy clean up in case of accidents. This backpack carrier is probably best for trips to the airport or smaller day trips, as reviews mention that it can be bulky and uncomfortable to wear because if its size.

Features: Mesh front and side panels, padded shoulder straps, interior safety tether, washable fleece bottom pad, foldable, small outer pockets
Sizes: One size
Colors: Smoke grey, dark blue
Material: Polyester
TSA Carry-on: Yes. Carry-on approved for most airlines (17″ x 13″ x 12″)
Weight Limit: 16lbs.
Manufactured: China

Pros:Cons:
✅ Budget-friendly
✅ Spacious interior
✅ Foldable
✅ Front and size mesh ventilation
✅ Washable fleece bottom
✅ Carry-on approved for most airlines
❌ Not a lot of pocket space for storage
❌ Not waterproof
❌ 16 lb. weight limit
❌ Bulky and uncomfortable due to size

8. Kurgo K9 Rucksack

8. Kurgo K9 Rucksack
Image via kurgo.com

BUY HERE: $124.95 from Kurgo
BUY HERE: $124.95- $134.99 from Amazon

This is for all the dog parents out there who want a more stylish dog carrier backpack that doesn’t scream, “hey look at this weird contraption on my back!”. The Kurgo K9 Rucksack has the look of a more traditional backpack with tons of fun features—including room for your laptop—which could make this a great bag to carry around campus (if your school or professor doesn’t mind). The lifetime warranty, waterproof bottom, and water-resistant material also give you peace of mind that this bag can withstand the elements on a hike or longer trip.

Features: Waterproof bottom, laptop sleeve, water-resistant fabric, mesh vents, open-air top with cover, bottle opener, front pocket, iPad pocket, padded back, sternum strap, safety tether strap, lifetime warranty
Sizes: One size
Colors: heather grey, heather black
TSA Carry-on: Yes. Carry-on approved with most airlines 12. 5″ W x 9″ D x 18. 5″H
Weight Limit: 25lbs.
Manufactured: China

Pros:Cons:
✅ Stylish
✅ 25lbs weight limit for medium-sized dogs
✅ Waterproof bottom, water resistant fabric
✅ Laptop sleeve and pockets
✅ Lifetime warranty
✅ Loads of extra features
❌ Some reviews mention not enough room for extra gear
❌ Runs small
❌ Has trouble supporting heavier and chonkier pups

10. Tough Traveler Dog Perch Backpack

BUY HERE: $345.00-$495.00

We know that, lately, consumers are paying closer attention to where their products are being manufactured. More and more people are looking to support local brands, but it can be tricky to track down locally-manufactured niche products—like, say, a dog carrier backpack. That’s why we wanted to include this “Made in the USA” Tough Traveler Dog Perch Backpack bag on our list. All the other “Best Dog Backpack” articles we looked into feature the same exact backpacks they found at the top of a Google search. We wanted to dig deeper. The Tough Traveler brand manufactures all their bags in upstate New York and stand by their quality with a Tough Traveler warranty and product repairs.

Features: Framed support, sternum straps, detachable duffel, flat foam bottom, five-point safety harness, padded sides for dog, control straps to fine-tune load distribution, cushioned shoulder and hip belt, mesh ventilation
Sizes: XS, small, standard, medium, XL, XXL
Colors: Tan/denim, black/denim, black/royal, black/tan, denim/olive/black, black/denim/silver
TSA Carry-on: No
Weight Limit: 60lbs. (“Mustang” large size)
Manufactured: USA

Pros:Cons:
✅ Made in USA
✅ Framed dog carrier so your pup doesn’t feel squished
✅ Lots of sizes up to 60lb. weight limit (large size)
✅ Removable duffel bag
✅ Weight distribution and padded straps
✅ Sun/rain cover option available (sold separately)
✅ Tough Traveler warranty and repair
❌ Very pricey
❌ Only a few reviews
❌ May be bulky for some

9. Petote 3-In-1 Rio Dog Bag

9. Petote 3-In-1 Rio Dog Bag
Photo via petote.com

BUY HERE: $199.00-$250.00 from Petote

The Petote 3-In-1 Rio Bag gives you another “Made in the USA” dog carrier backpack option. We have to admit it’s difficult to find reviews for this specific product. So, keep in mind that it’s making our list simply for that fact that we think it has great features, and it gives you a choice to buy a locally manufactured dog carrier.

Features: Waterproof lining and removable bedding for easy cleaning, 3-in-1 roller bag/backpack/car seat, retractable two-stop handle, detachable roller wheels, extra cushioning, safety leash, front zipper storage
Sizes: One size
Colors: Quilted black, quilted ivory, camo, black croco, brown croco, khaki, navy, orange
TSA Carry-on: Yes. Meets most airline requirements (11.5”L X 13.5”W X 18.5”H)
Weight Limit: 15lbs.
Manufactured: USA

Pros:Cons:
✅ Made in USA
✅ 3-in-1 backpack/roller bag/car seat
✅ Extra ventilation
✅ Waterproof lining
✅ Removable wheels
✅ Safety leash
✅ Zipper storage
✅ Meets most airline requirements
❌ Pricey
❌ Not many reviews
❌ May be bulky due to extra features
Written by: Elise Remp

August 30, 2022

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