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The Best Dog Saddlebags for Hiking

🕚 Updated June 2023

Hiking, camping, and day trips with your dog can be lots of fun for you both, but it does mean more stuff you have to carry---unless you have a set of dog saddlebags for your pet so they can carry their own food, water, and other gear. If you hike a lot with your pup and want to invest in some saddlebags, check out these recommendations.

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  Top Choice Brightest Option Best for Big Dogs Cutest Design Also Great
Dog Pack Saddle Bags for Medium & Large Dogs
Approach Dog Hiking and Camping Pack with Saddlebags
Himal Outdoors
Dog Backpack for Large Dog
Frog Shape Dog Backpack
Dog Pack for Hiking
Our SummarySturdy, secure, practical, and easy to use, it's hard to go wrong with these saddlebags for most dogs.A bright orange set of dog saddlebags that'll help ensure your pup is visible and easy to spot in the great outdoors.If you've got a larger dog at home, these saddlebags are specifically designed to fit him or her.If you want something smaller and/or cuter for your pup's personal backpack, this adorable frog-shaped backpack will be right up your alley.It's hard to go wrong with these large dog saddlebags and their spacious side pockets.
Pros✓ Two D-ring leash attachments
✓ Spacious pockets
✓ Adjustable straps
✓ Durable materials
✓ Nice price
✓ Vibrant colors for high visibility
✓ Large side pockets
✓ Sloping design for even weight distribution
✓ Multiple sizes available
✓ Reflective strip
✓ Extra fabric straps to attach extra gear
✓ Specifically sized for big dogs
✓ Ample storage space
✓ Adjustable straps and secure clips
✓ Lightweight
✓ Helps prevent pulling
✓ Gentle mesh padding
✓ Adorable design
✓ Available in three colors
✓ Adjustable straps for a customized fit
✓ High-quality materials
✓ Built-in leash attachment
✓ Great for daily use
✓ Spacious side pockets
✓ Bungee cords for extra flexibility and attachment options
✓ Even weight distribution
✓ Sturdy construction
✓ Versatile ring for leash attachments
Cons✗ Possible weight distribution issues
✗ Lack of clear instructions
✗ No size for smaller dogs
✗ Less sturdy side material
✗ May require minor adjusting
✗ Expensive
✗ Sizing may be restrictive for dogs with larger necks or broader chests
✗ Additional extenders may be needed
✗ Noisy Velcro closures
✗ May have issues with staying in place or sliding
✗ Limited storage space
✗ Straps may come loose and require readjustment
✗ Front chest strap may unravel over time
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11 Models Evaluated

5 Hours Researched

27 Reviews Analyzed

The Best Dog Saddlebags for Hiking

German Shepherd dog wearing red backpack standing on top of mountain with sun ray in the background, Snoqualmie Pass, Washington.

Buying Guide for Dog Saddlebags

Red Heeler Cattle Dog with blue backpack, wading a mountain stream crossing.
Terrance Emerson/Shutterstock.com

Why buy dog saddlebags?

Dog saddlebags or packs for hiking are specialized accessories designed to allow dogs to carry their own gear during outdoor adventures, namely water bottles, food, collapsible bowls, and waste bags. This not only lightens your load and takes strain off your back and shoulders but gives your pup a sense of purpose and responsibility, which many dogs—especially working and herding breeds—find enjoyable. It also stimulates their cognitive abilities, as they learn to navigate the terrain while wearing the backpack or even follow commands related to carrying the pack. As a bonus, dog saddlebags can also contribute to your pup’s safety while hiking: models with reflective strips or patches along the sides enhance visibility in low-light conditions and make your dog more noticeable to other hikers or vehicles.

What should you look for in dog saddlebags and packs?

  • Size and Fit: It’s crucial to select saddlebags appropriately sized for your dog. They should be adjustable to fit snugly and comfortably on your dog’s body without restricting their movement or causing discomfort. Measure your dog’s girth and weight to ensure the saddlebags provide a secure and balanced fit. And be sure to check the sizing chart provided by the individual manufacturers.
  • Durability: Look for saddlebags made from durable materials that can withstand various outdoor conditions. They should be tear-resistant, waterproof (or at least water-resistant), and capable of enduring the wear and tear associated with hiking. Also be sure to take into consideration the weight capacity of the saddlebags to ensure they can comfortably carry the necessary supplies without overburdening your dog.
  • Balance and Attachment: A well-designed dog saddlebag should have a balanced weight distribution to prevent the pack from shifting or sliding to one side while your pup is walking. Look for packs with multiple attachment points, such as chest and belly straps, to ensure a secure and stable fit on your dog. Adjustable straps and buckles should be durable and easy to use, allowing for a customized fit plus quicker removal. A good set of dog saddlebags will have chest and belly straps for more even weight distribution.

What are some other features to look for in dog saddlebags?

Opt for saddlebags with reflective strips or accents. These reflective elements help increase visibility during low-light conditions, making your dog more visible to other hikers, cyclists, or vehicles. This is especially important if you plan to hike during dawn, dusk, or in areas with reduced visibility. A brightly colored saddlebag or pack can also further contribute to your pup’s visibility.

Saddlebags with multiple pockets or compartments can be a boon to you as well. Different-sized compartments can accommodate different-sized items and make the saddlebag or backpack more organized, so you don’t have to waste time digging around for one specific item. Having designated spaces for each item also ensures easier access to your dog’s gear and helps distribute weight more evenly within the saddlebags.

It’s also worth paying attention to the materials and design of the saddlebags in terms of your dog’s comfort and breathability. Look for padded panels that rest against your dog’s body, reducing friction and enhancing comfort. Breathable mesh panels or ventilation openings are essential for promoting airflow and preventing your dog from overheating during the hike.

Our Picks for the Best Dog Saddlebags

Top Choice

OneTigris Dog Pack Saddle Bags for Medium & Large Dogs

Sturdy, secure, practical, and easy to use, it's hard to go wrong with these saddlebags for most dogs.

Pros: This well-made and sturdy pack is designed to give your dog a sense of purpose and mental stimulation during walks and hikes. With two D-ring leash attachments, you can easily attach your leash for added control and direction. The pockets are spacious, allowing you to carry essentials like water bottles, treats, and even small toys. The adjustable straps ensure a secure and comfortable fit for your dog’s size and shape. Made with durable materials, this pack is built to withstand rugged outdoor activities. Their price is nice and low, too. Give your dog the opportunity to carry their own gear and burn off extra energy while you enjoy your outdoor adventures together.

Cons: Some customers experienced issues with the weight distribution of this pack; it’s key that the weight is even on both sides to prevent the pack from sliding to one side; otherwise, it can be uncomfortable for your dog and affect their balance. It may require some trial and error to find the right fit for your dog. And there isn’t a size available for smaller dogs.

Bottom Line: With careful adjustment and monitoring, this backpack can be a valuable tool for enhancing your outdoor adventures with your furry companion.


Brightest Option

Ruffwear Approach Dog Hiking and Camping Pack with Saddlebags

A bright orange set of dog saddlebags that'll help ensure your pup is visible and easy to spot in the great outdoors.

Pros: We all want our furry friends to be as safe as possible no matter what they’re up to, and this option is specially designed to help with this goal during outdoor activities. Whether you’re going on a backpacking trip or crossing rivers, this harness stays securely in place, thanks to its reliable waterproof construction. With its vibrant bright orange, green, or blue color, you can have peace of mind knowing that your dog is highly visible and won’t blend into the scenery, so you’re much less likely to lose sight of them during hikes. That’s not the only factor these saddlebags have going for them, either. The large side pockets offer ample storage space for all your dog’s essentials, allowing them to carry everything you need conveniently. The sloping design distributes weight around your dog’s shoulders, providing optimal balance and reducing strain on their back. There are four sizes available, ensuring a better fit and comfort for your dog, whether they’re large or small. The sturdy handle and metal D-ring for leash attachment provide good control, while the reflective strip enhances visibility during nighttime adventures. There are even extra fabric straps for attaching some of your own gear.

Cons: While this harness has numerous benefits, the side material isn’t quite as rugged as the bottom material, which can lead to abrasions and potential holes over time. Additionally, the balance of the pack is a bit prone to sliding, requiring some adjustments to maintain stability. It’s also not a budget-friendly option, as it’s the most expensive item on this list.

Bottom Line: If you’re seeking a reliable harness for your furry companion, the Ruffwear Harness is an excellent choice that won’t disappoint. It not only offers comfort, safety, and convenience for both you and your dog during outdoor excursions, but its standout feature—the vibrant colors— coupled with the reflective trim ensures visibility and promotes safety for your pup, day or night.


Best For Big Dogs

Himal Outdoors Dog Backpack for Large Dog

If you've got a larger dog at home, these saddlebags are specifically designed to fit him or her.

Pros: If you have a larger dog breed like a mastiff or Saint Bernard, these dog saddlebags are specifically sized and designed for your furry companion. They’re adjustable, able to provide a comfy, secure fit for dogs weighing up to 98 pounds. They also offer ample storage space, allowing you to pack even larger items like a water bottle, collapsible water bowl, poop bags, and more. The adjustable straps and secure clips ensure a more personalized fit, while the lightweight design adds minimal extra weight for your dog to carry. The harness design also helps to prevent your dog from pulling, and the mesh padding on the inside is gentle on your pup’s fur, skin, and belly, preventing discomfort and irritation.

Cons: Even though these saddlebags are designed for bigger dogs, you may find that the sizing can be a bit restrictive, particularly for dogs with larger necks or broader chests. If your dog has either of these qualities or falls into the upper end of the weight range, investing in some additional extenders may be required for a proper fit. The Velcro closures are also a bit noisy, which may bother more noise-sensitive dogs.

Bottom Line: If you have a bigger dog who loves to join you for hikes, this will be the set of saddlebags for you (and him or her). Its adjustable fit, spacious storage, and comfortable design make it an excellent choice for your active companion. Gear up and make your outdoor adventures together even more enjoyable.


Cutest Design

IDOMIK Frog Shape Dog Backpack

If you want something smaller and/or cuter for your pup's personal backpack, this adorable frog-shaped backpack will be right up your alley.

Pros: The perfect blend of adorable and functional, this dog backpack is designed to add a touch of fun and whimsy to your walks, hikes, and other outdoor adventures with your furry friend. Available in three colors, its cute design is sure to turn heads and elicit compliments wherever you go. Your dog will look absolutely adorable in this backpack. But the benefits of this backpack go beyond its charming appearance. The adjustable straps allow for a more customized fit, accommodating your dog’s size (and growth in younger dogs). It’s made from high-quality materials for better durability and longevity, and the spacious storage pocket is perfect for holding treats, waste bags, or other small essentials. It’s a practical and convenient way to have your dog carry their own belongings while on the go, be it for daily walks or a day-long excursion. And since there’s a built-in leash attachment, this backpack also doubles as a harness.

Cons: You may have some issues with the backpack not staying in place or sliding to the side, especially on smaller dogs. The sizing may also be a bit off, with some finding the small size too big for their dogs, despite adjustments. Be sure to carefully measure your dog and consider their proportions before selecting a size. And keep in mind that it doesn’t have as much storage space as some other dog backpacks or saddlebags; it’ll be too small to hold a water bottle, for instance.

Bottom Line: This dog backpack combines cuteness and functionality, making it a delightful addition to your dog’s belongings. It offers both style and convenience for your daily walks and other outings. While there may be some sizing and positioning challenges, the overall benefits of this wearable dog backpack still make it a worthwhile purchase.


Also Great


It's hard to go wrong with these large dog saddlebags and their spacious side pockets.

Pros: These dog saddlebags are perfect for hikes, camping trips, and other outdoor activities where your dog can carry their own essentials. They feature two very spacious side pockets that can hold water bottles, snacks, and other items, allowing your dog to contribute to the adventure. The bungee cords crisscrossing along the pockets not only give said pockets a little more stretchiness but provide you with a spot to attach some extra gear via carabiner or tuck foldable items (such as a small blanket or tarp) between the cords if you so desire. These saddlebags are also designed to distribute weight evenly, and the sturdy construction ensures durability. And there’s a handy ring for leash attachments, so you don’t have to put these saddlebags on over a dog harness.

Cons: There’s a chance of straps coming loose during hikes, requiring frequent and often inconvenient readjustments. And while these saddlebags are overall durable, the front chest strap may unravel over time, potentially affecting the fit and comfort of the backpack.

Bottom Line: These dog saddlebags offer functionality and convenience for outdoor enthusiasts and furry friends alike. Enjoy the added convenience of having your pup carry their own supplies during your outdoor excursions with this sturdy, spacious pack.

Final Thoughts

Dog saddlebags and packs offer a range of benefits for both dogs and their owners, from providing physical and mental stimulation to added convenience during hikes. By equipping their furry companions with these packs, owners can enhance their own hiking experience and foster a deeper bond with their dogs while enjoying the great outdoors together.

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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