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7 Best Dog Hiking Backpacks for Saddle Bag Packing Their Gear

Hiking with your dog can be a rewarding experience. You get the companionship of your furry friend, and they can help encourage you on those rugged hikes. They can even make your trek a bit easier by reducing the number of supplies you have to carry by using a quality dog hiking backpack. These dog saddle bags let your pet share the supply load.

Let’s look at what a dog hiking backpack is and what to look for when purchasing one. 

What Should You Look for in a Doggy Backpack?

Not all dog hiking backpacks are worth the investment. Having a poorly constructed and designed pack could be a hassle and potentially cause discomfort for your companion. Here are a few things to consider before purchasing.

RVing with Pets - Mondays with the Mortons


Dogs can only handle so much extra weight. Additionally, you’ll want to pay attention to the empty weight of the dog saddlebags.

If a dog saddle bag weighs a lot before you even put anything in it, you will limit the supplies you can add to the bag before it becomes too overwhelming for your pup. 


Dogs have different shapes and sizes and carry their weight differently. Having a dog hiking backpack that can adjust to your dog’s profile will help keep them comfortable in the long run. An ill-fitting pack can cause chafing if not resolved. 


In addition to a proper fit, you want your dog saddlebags to have adequate padding. Appropriate support in the right places can help your dog barely notice the added pack. You want to keep them comfortable while sharing your load.  


Finally, consider the weather where you will do most of your hiking. If you hike in hot weather, you want to make sure you use a bag with breathable materials. If you hike in colder climates, a backpack can double as a warm coat, protecting your pet from the elements. 

Dog hiking with saddle bag backpack on.
Keep in mind your dog’s size and weight when picking out the perfect pup pack!

The Best Dog Backpacks for Your Pup

Now that you know what to look for in dog saddlebags, you can start your search. Here are a few of our top picks to help you get ready to hit the trail with your dog. 

1. Ruffwear Approach Dog Pack

Pros: This dog hiking backpack has lightweight materials, making it an excellent option for those doing long-distance hiking. It has five adjustment points, ensuring a great fit and keeping your dog comfortable. The spacious pockets give plenty of space for those long hikes, making even overnight hikes doable. 

Cons: Some reviews mention that the product could have more support. Others wish it had stronger fabric as their dog could easily chew through it.  

Why We Love It: The Ruffwear Approach Dog Pack can hold a lot of supplies. The pack adjusts easily and comes in several sizes, making it a great choice for any size dog. 

Ruffwear, Approach Dog Backpack, Lightweight Pack...
  • Hike, camp, and explore: Share more adventures and go further...
  • Trail-ready: Stash treats, bowls, and more in the pockets and on...
  • Balanced weight: Designed with weight-forward saddlebags that...

2. Ultimate Direction Dog Vest

Pros: The Ultimate Direction Dog Vest features expandable side pockets and smaller pockets for smaller items such as treats or waste bags. It includes a collapsible bowl for on-the-go food and water as a bonus. A D-ring on the top and front of the harness allows owners to position their leash how they please. 

Cons: Customers have suggested a more substantial loop for attaching the leash. With time the loop can lose its strength. Another downfall is the lack of adequate padding for some dogs. 

Why We Love It: The multipoint harness makes adjustments easy for a secure fit. This lightweight option works great for those who trail run. Those running long distances will appreciate the large, plentiful pockets, keeping both themselves and their running partner fueled. 

Pro Tip: Come prepared on your next adventure with these 7 Essential Dog Camping Gear Items You Can’t Forget.

Dog with backpack on by ocean
Head out on your next adventure with a dog pack.

3. Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack

Pros: The Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack has a padded sternum strap and a four-point adjustable chest harness. It comes in three sizes to ensure a perfect fit. The large side compartments can hold the essentials without overpowering your pup. 

Cons: Some owners report that while the padding is sufficient on the backpack, the rough edging can cause some discomfort if it rubs against the dog’s skin. While adjusting the fit may help, it may cause problems for certain dogs. 

Why We Love It: This pack is comfortable enough for the long haul. Happy customers repeatedly report taking their dog with them on 20-mile hikes without having an issue with the pack. We love that this dog hiking backpack can keep your pet comfortable for long distances.

Mountainsmith K9 Dog Pack, Adjustable Chest and...
  • MOUNTAINSMITH’S K9 DOG PACK: A saddle bag style backpack...
  • BUILT WITH DOG IN MIND: Metal D-ring attachment point for leash....
  • COMFORT AND STORAGE: 4-point adjustable chest harness with padded...

4. Pawaboo Adjustable Saddlebag

Pros: The Pawaboo works great for hiking, walking, shopping, and jogging. The breathable fabric helps keep your pet cool, so you don’t have to worry about hiking in the summer. It works best for medium-sized dogs.

Cons: Many dogs can’t avoid urinating on the rear strap, which is also prone to sliding to one side. Additionally, the smaller pockets make it difficult to use for anything longer than a day hike. 

Why We Love It:

We love the casual look of this dog backpack. The pockets work great for everything you’d need for a short hike or a walk around town. You can easily clean the oxford cloth, which keeps your dog comfy. 

5. Kurgo Baxter Dog Backpack

Pros: The Kurgo Dog Saddlebag backpack weighs less than 1 lb and has eight adjustment points to create an optimal fit for your dog. The rugged design can withstand outdoor conditions. The two side pockets will have a generous amount of room for toys, treats, and doggie bags.

Cons: Dogs on the upper end of the chest size may have difficulty getting a proper fit. Additionally, some customers have had issues with their dog experiencing severe rubbing from the lack of padding.

Why We Love It: We love the bright color options and the thick back handle. And it’s hard to find a better dog backpack at this price.

Kurgo Dog Saddlebag Backpack, Back Pack Dog...
  • Hiking Backpack for Dogs to Wear - Saddlebag for dogs is...
  • Dog Harness & Backpack in 1 - Backpack for dogs includes an...
  • Reflective, Includes Padded Handle - Dog hiking backpack has a...

Pro Tip: Keep your pup’s paws safe and sound with these 5 Best Dog Hiking Boots Plus When Your Dog Should Wear Them.

Man and dog hiking
Come prepared with everything you need while hiking with your furry friends.

6. OneTigris Dog Pack

Pros: The chic design has a vintage feel and a fashionable look. Whether you hike in the mountains or take a stroll in your local park, the OneTigris dog pack can carry everything your dog might need. It’s the perfect answer for medium to large size dogs.

Cons: This dog saddle bag tends to come loose or fall to one side if you have an active dog. D-rings can hold up to 330-lbs, but the stitching on the seams can break. 

Why We Love It: We love the vintage, fashionable look and the budget-friendly price of $30-$40. 

OneTigris Dog Pack Hound Travel Camping Hiking...
  • 【OneTigris HOPPY CAMPER Doggy Backpack 2.0】Size Large:...
  • 【Dog Backpacks for Dogs to Wear】Two main zipper side...
  • 【NOTE for Dog Hiking Pack】 The handle is not used for lifting...

7. Ruffwear Palisades Dog Pack

Pros: The Palisades by Ruffwear will provide a custom fit for your dog with five adjustment points. Reflective trim around the edging of the backpack can help keep you and your pup visible while hiking at night or near traffic. With two water collapsible water bladders, you’ll have plenty of water for a weekend of adventuring with your furry friend.

Cons: Several people report that the front straps of the saddle bags rub on dogs no matter how much you adjust. The only fix is to add additional padding. Plus, the $150 price tag is a tough pill to swallow.

Why We Love It:

The Ruffwear Palisades dog hiking backpack has more than enough room for your buddy to carry all of their trail supplies, including a few extra treats. 

Ruffwear, Palisades Dog Pack, Multi-Day Hiking...
  • Great for multi-day trips: Take an extended weekend with the...
  • Versatile: Attach the saddlebags with the secure aluminum...
  • Made for the trail: Includes 2 1-liter collapsible, BPA-free...
Dog with saddle bags on
Free up space in your backpack by giving your dog their own bag.

Are Dog Backpacks Bad for Their Backs?

A proper-fitting dog hiking backpack should not harm a dog’s back. To ensure your dog’s safety, don’t add more weight than they can handle.

It is equally important that you pay attention to the weight distribution within the pack for the comfort and safety of your pet. 

How Long Can a Dog Be in a Hiking Backpack?

Just as with any physical exertion, the two-legged and four-legged hikers will need to build up distance with their equipment. Start by going on short hikes while wearing the dog hiking backpack to determine their comfort level and abilities. 

A dog can remain in their hiking backpack until they get tired or uncomfortable. If you take a break, give your dog a rest too by removing the saddlebag. 


How Much Weight Can a Dog Carry in Saddle Bags?

How much a dog can carry in a saddlebag will vary significantly based on the dog’s size, health, and age. An older and tired pet can’t carry as much as a young pup. Similarly, a small toy breed can’t carry as much as a larger one. 

You should always start off giving your pup a lower weight than you think they can handle and work up from there. If your dog shows any signs of struggle, you should immediately adjust its carrying weight for comfort and safety. 

Giving your dog their own supplies can free up space in your backpack. This is especially important on those long multi-day hikes when the room is more limited.

Do you have a dog hiking backpack that you love? Did it make our list today? Drop a comment below!

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About Tom and Caitlin Morton

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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