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The Best Dog Carrier Backpacks

🕚 Updated June 2023

Many people want to bring their dogs along when they travel, camp, or hike. If you want to be able to sling your pup across your back for a bike ride, hike, flight, or even just a stroll around the block, here are a few carriers worth considering.

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  Top Choice Best Front-Facing Best Sling Best Visibility Also Great
Dog Carrier Backpack
Adjustable Front Pet Carrier
Dog and Cat Reversible Sling Carrier
Traveler Bubble Backpack for Cats and Dogs
Dog Carrier Backpack
Our SummaryStrap your small pup to your chest or back with this versatile dog backpack and its adjustable drawstring opening.If you prefer a front-facing carrier for your pooch, you'll love this adjustable model.This attractive, colorful sling keeps your dog snug and comfy against your body without their legs dangling.Ensure that your pup can see out of their backpack, even when they're lying down.Available in multiple colors and several sizes, this dog backpack has reflective strips for extra safety.
Pros✓ Versatile and convenient
✓ Customizable drawstring closure
✓ Firm, flat, supportive bottom
✓ Adjustable straps
✓ Handy side pockets
✓ Can be worn strapped to front or back
✓ Front-facing design
✓ Extra closeness and visibility for dogs
✓ Reliable craftsmanship
✓ Adjustable straps and secure closure system
✓ Four sizes
✓ Versatile and more stylish design
✓ Soft and comfortable for dogs
✓ Secure and snug space
✓ Detachable tether
✓ Convenient phone pocket
✓ Also suitable for small cats
✓ Breathable, see-through make
✓ Room for dogs to lay down
✓ Leash attachment
✓ High-quality materials
✓ Convenient side pockets
✓ Also suitable for cats
✓ Built- in reflective safety strips
✓ Spacious interior
✓ Adjustable straps and drawstring closure
✓ Durable, good quality materials and construction
✓ Available in various colors and three sizes
Cons✗ Straps too long for some
✗ Challenging to put on and take off
✗ Material is not insulated or well padded
✗ Challenging to put on and secure
✗ Requires patience and practice to ensure a proper fit
✗ Sizing may vary
✗ Pets may have difficulty adjusting
✗ Larger pets may cause shoulder discomfort in wearer
✗ Non-adjustable strap less comfy for taller individuals
✗ Less comfortable bottom
✗ Ventilation may not be sufficient in extreme heat
✗ Tricky sizing
✗ On the heavier side
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The Best Dog Carrier Backpacks

Backpack with a transparent window for with a long-haired chihuahua inside.

While traditional dog carriers or crates offer a way to do so, a dog carrier backpack is a hands-free alternative, allowing dog owners a more convenient way to take their furry companions on adventures while ensuring their safety and comfort.

Buying Guide for Dog Carrier Backpacks

A woman walks with a dog in a backpack. A close-up portrait of a Continental Papillon Spaniel in a sling.

Why buy a dog carrier backpack?

Dog carrier backpacks offer numerous advantages that enhance the overall experience for both dogs and their owners. Owners can take their furry companions on various adventures without worrying about causing strain or fatigue to their pets. Whether you’re hiking on rugged trails, strolling through crowded areas, or traveling in busy airports, backpacks offer a convenient way to bring dogs along. These backpacks are typically designed with soft padding, adjustable straps, and mesh windows or openings that allow proper ventilation and visibility. The enclosed space offers a sense of security for dogs, reducing anxiety and making them feel protected, while the adjustable straps and ergonomic design distribute their weight evenly, minimizing the burden on the owner’s back and shoulders.

Perhaps the most significant advantage of dog carrier backpacks is that they free up the owner’s hands, providing enhanced mobility and convenience in a way that travel crates and regular carriers can’t match. This hands-free solution allows owners to engage in other activities such as biking, taking photos, or carrying other essential items while still keeping their dogs close. Furthermore, these backpacks ensure the well-being of dogs during outings. They provide a safe and controlled space, protecting dogs from potential hazards or aggressive interactions with other animals or strangers. The backpacks often feature sturdy construction, secure closures, and interior safety tethers to prevent dogs from escaping or accidentally falling out.

Dog carrier backpacks also facilitate socialization opportunities for dogs. By being close to their owners while in a backpack, dogs can gradually become accustomed to new environments, sounds, and experiences while still maintaining constant contact with their owner for reassurance and personal comfort.

What should you look for in a dog carrier backpack?

  • Size and Comfort: First and foremost, it’s crucial to select a backpack that is appropriately sized for your dog; the backpack won’t do you much good if your pup can’t fit inside of it. Consider your dog’s weight, measurements, and breed to ensure a proper fit. The backpack should provide enough room for your dog to sit, stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Look for adjustable straps, padded interiors, drawstring closures, and ventilation panels to ensure your dog’s comfort during extended periods of wear.
  • Durability and Safety Features: The backpack should provide ample support and stability to keep your dog secure while on the move. A high-quality dog carrier backpack should be made from strong, preferably waterproof (or at least water-resistant) materials that can withstand regular use and outdoor activities. Check for sturdy construction, reinforced stitching, and reliable closures or zippers. It’s also essential to consider safety features, such as interior safety tethers or straps, to secure your dog and prevent accidental escapes.
  • Ventilation and Visibility: Adequate ventilation is important to keep your dog cool and comfortable inside the backpack. Look for backpacks with mesh windows or panels that allow for superior airflow. This helps prevent your dog from overheating while allowing them to observe their surroundings. Clear windows or openings also allow you to maintain eye contact with your pet and provide reassurance during outings.

Are there different types of dog carrier backpacks?

There are several different kinds of dog carrier backpacks on the market:

  • Traditional Backpacks: These are standard backpack-style carriers designed to be worn on the back. They usually feature adjustable shoulder straps, a padded back panel, and a secure enclosure for the dog. These types of dog backpacks also often have mesh windows for ventilation and visibility, or they may even be fully see-through.
  • Front-Facing Backpacks: Front-facing backpacks allow you to carry your dog in the front, providing a closer and more intimate bonding experience. These backpacks often have a chest strap or harness to distribute the weight evenly and maintain stability. They tend to function similar to baby carriers, keeping your pet close to your chest, with their limbs sticking out through four holes and your pup either facing you or facing outward.
  • Slings: Sling-like backpacks are worn over one shoulder and hang diagonally across the body. They provide a secure pouch or hammock-like space for your dog to rest comfortably. Sling-like backpacks are suitable for shorter trips or for dogs who prefer to be carried closer to their owners.
  • Airline-Approved Backpacks: These backpacks are specifically designed to meet airline regulations and guidelines for in-cabin pet travel. They often have features such as compliant dimensions, ventilation panels, and secure closures to ensure a safe and comfortable journey for your dog during air travel. And they’ll be able to fit underneath your seat with your pup still inside.

The type of dog backpack that’s best for you, your dog, and your needs will depend on how you plan to use it, so be sure to pick your model accordingly.

Our Picks for the Best Dog Carrier Backpacks

Top Choice

WOYYHO Dog Carrier Backpack

Strap your small pup to your chest or back with this versatile dog backpack and its adjustable drawstring opening.

Pros: Whether you’re walking, hiking, or traveling, this dog backpack offers a versatile, convenient way to keep your furry friend close and safe. The drawstring closure provides a secure yet comfortable space for your pet to enjoy your adventures together since you can customize the opening to be small enough to keep your dog from escaping without it being too snug or tight for their comfort. Its firm flat bottom provides excellent support, and the adjustable straps further ensure a comfortable fit for both you and your pet alike. The side pockets offer storage for essentials like leashes, dog water bottles, and your own belongings, so you can keep both hands free as you walk. You also have the option to wear it strapped to your front or back as desired. This backpack is not only comfy and practical but is also made with quality materials to ensure long-lasting durability.

Cons: Some customers experienced issues with the straps being too long to fit their bodies properly, even when tightened as much as possible. This means the backpack may be less secure and comfortable for some, namely for smaller individuals. The abundance of straps may also make it more challenging to get the backpack on and off. And while this pack is well made, the material isn’t insulated or as padded as some other similar carriers.

Bottom Line: This dog backpack carrier offers versatility and convenience, allowing you to bring your pet along comfortably and securely. While there may be some issues with strap length and material thickness, the overall design and quality of construction make it a practical choice for adventures with your pup.


Best Front-Facing

Pawaboo Adjustable Front Pet Carrier

If you prefer a front-facing carrier for your pooch, you'll love this adjustable model.

Pros: If you prefer a front-facing dog carrier rather than the typical backpack style, this model is designed to provide comfort and convenience during your adventures with your furry friend. You’ll be able to keep your pet close and secure while still engaging with them face-to-face. More anxious pups will appreciate the extra closeness and being able to see your face at all times. This carrier is made with excellent craftsmanship, ensuring durability and reliability. Its adjustable straps and sizing options ensure a proper fit for your dog’s size and shape, allowing them to enjoy a more comfortable ride. It also features a secure closure system to keep your dog in place and prevent any accidental slips or falls (or purposeful jump attempts). This carrier also happens to come in a good variety of colors and four sizes, ranging from small to extra large, allowing you to carry a pup as large as up to 18 pounds.

Cons: Some customers have expressed the wish for an additional strap that clips into the back of the carrier to enhance its stability. There have also been reports of dogs feeling uncomfortable or anxious when sitting in a car with the carrier on. Other users have found the carrier challenging to put on their dogs, particularly securing the top part or adjusting the fit. It may take you some patience and practice to ensure a proper and secure fit. It’s also worth noting that the sizing may vary, so carefully measure your dog and refer to the provided sizing chart to ensure the right fit.

Bottom Line: This front-facing dog carrier offers a unique way to carry your pet and maintain face-to-face interaction if you so choose. With proper practice, adjustment, and consideration of your dog’s comfort, this carrier can be a valuable tool for your adventures together.


Best Sling

Cuby Dog and Cat Reversible Sling Carrier

This attractive, colorful sling keeps your dog snug and comfy against your body without their legs dangling.

Pros: Experience the sheer delight of effortlessly carrying your pet with the utmost comfort and style through our remarkable pet sling. It combines versatility and style, providing a reliable way to keep your beloved furry friend close and secure. Crafted from soft and comfortable materials, it guarantees a cozy experience for your furry friend. It’s great for cats and smaller dogs and keeps them close. It’s exceptionally suitable for running errands, walking, or unwinding at home. Its adorable and fashionable design makes it not only practical but also a trendy accessory to enhance your outings. For enhanced safety, there’s a detachable tether inside, preventing your pet from jumping or falling out of the sling. Additionally, there’s a convenient phone pocket to keep your hands free and your essentials within easy reach.

Cons: There is a chance that your pet may have difficulty adjusting to the sling and will try to jump out or resist being placed inside. Additionally, the material inside the sling has been described as cheap and not as plush as desired. Some customers with larger pets have mentioned that the sling can cause shoulder discomfort, especially if your dog weighs around or over 10 pounds. The non-adjustable strap length has also been a concern for taller individuals, as it may hit the top of their leg and cause bouncing while walking.

Bottom Line: This pet sling offers convenience and comfort for carrying your pup while allowing you to keep your hands free as you walk or run errands. It features a stylish design, a detachable tether, and a phone pocket for added functionality.


Best Visibility

Texsens Traveler Bubble Backpack for Cats and Dogs

Ensure that your pup can see out of their backpack, even when they're lying down.

Pros: Designed with breathable vents throughout, this dog carrier backpack ensures that your pet can see their surrounding and get fresh air, reducing their anxiety and providing a better sense of security. The spacious interior allows your pet to stand, sit, or even lie down comfortably, making it perfect for long walks, hikes, or traveling. This backpack also features a leash attachment inside to keep your pet securely in place. It’s made with high-quality materials, providing durability and longevity for all your pet-carrying needs. You can easily store treats, toys, and other essentials for your pet in the convenient side pockets or stash your own items like phones and keys. The straps are adjustable for your comfort, and the whole pack folds down flat for easy storage when not in use. Whether you have a small cat or a tiny dog, this backpack offers a comfortable and secure way to take them along with you for the day or an entire trip.

Cons: The inside of this backpack isn’t the most comfortable, especially for longer trips, since it has a bit less padding. Additionally, a few customers have found the backpack to be a bit too small for their pets, so be sure to carefully consider the size and dimensions of the backpack based on the size, weight, and breed of your pet. Lastly, while the backpack is designed for optimal ventilation, its airflow may not be sufficient to cool down your dog in extremely hot weather conditions.

Bottom Line: With its overall breathable design, secure leash attachment, and convenient storage pockets, this see-through dog carrier is an ideal option for adventures and travel with your pup. Dogs and cats alike will appreciate the extra visibility and airflow that this carrier offers compared to most others.


Also Great

YUDODO Dog Carrier Backpack

Available in multiple colors and several sizes, this dog backpack has reflective strips for extra safety.

Pros: Perhaps most notable about this dog carrier backpack is its highly reflective strips, strategically placed to provide maximum visibility during low-light conditions, like nighttime walks. These reflective strips enhance the safety of both you and your pet, making them easily visible to drivers, cyclists, and even pedestrians. (Though keep in mind that these reflective strips, while a handy safety feature, are not and should not substitute proper attention and awareness of your surroundings.) The spacious interior provides ample room for your pet to sit, lie down, or curl up for a comfortable nap. With adjustable straps, a drawstring closure, and a secure collar attachment, your pup will be snug and secure as you walk, allowing you to enjoy hands-free activities while keeping your canine companion close and protected. The high-quality construction and durable materials ensure that this backpack will last for years to come, making it the perfect companion for all your outdoor excursions. And it’s available in several colors and three different sizes to boot.

Cons: Picking the right size backpack may be a bit tricky, so be sure to carefully measure your pet and refer to the product’s sizing chart. This backpack is also a bit on the heavy side, especially when carrying slightly larger dogs, which may impact the wearer’s comfort during long walks or hikes. You may want to test it out with a short trial run to ensure that you’re comfortable carrying the weight of your pet in the backpack before you take it on an hours-long or days-long hike or trip.

Bottom Line: With its roomy interior, customizable drawstring closure, and secure collar attachment, this dog carrier backpack offers comfort and security for small dogs up to 14 pounds. Its reflective strips make it an especially good choice for pet owners who prioritize safety and visibility during their outdoor adventures and those who prefer to hike or run errands early in the morning or in the evenings.

Final Thoughts

Dog carrier backpacks offer a range of benefits for both dogs and their owners. They provide a secure and cozy space for dogs to accompany their owners on various outings, ensuring the pup’s safety and comfort. The hands-free design, in turn, allows owners to move freely while maintaining constant contact with their pets.

Meghan Herlihy Meghan Herlihy
Meghan Herlihy is a full-time writer for LifeSavvy and How-To Geek and has written across a wide variety of topics, genres, and formats, including radio talk shows, local sports journalism, and creative original fiction. She received her bachelor's degree in communications from Ithaca College and a master's in writing from Johns Hopkins University. When she's not writing, you're most likely to find her reading a book, petting every dog within eyesight, and indulging in her love of travel. Read Full Bio »
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