An Ultimate Guide to Dog Backpack Carriers 2023

Dog backpack carriers have grown in popularity among pet owners who enjoy going on outdoor activities with their canine friends. Dog backpack carriers provide a handy and pleasant way to transport dogs during activities such as hiking, camping, and travelling. They have various advantages for both dogs and their owners. In this ultimate guide, we will look at the benefits of using dog backpack carriers, examine the various types and features, and provide helpful hints for introducing and training your dog to use a backpack carrier.

Benefits of Dog Backpack Carriers

Dog backpack carriers provide a number of advantages that make outdoor activities more enjoyable for both dogs and their owners. Consider the following benefits:

Dog backpack carriers provide a number of advantages that make outdoor activities more enjoyable for both dogs and their owners. Consider the following benefits:

Improved mobility and convenience

  • Keep your dog close by during outside activities to provide security and company.
  • Maintain improved balance and freedom of movement while using both hands; • Navigate difficult terrains or busy regions more readily.

Dog Bonding and Comfort

  • Strengthen your friendship with your dog by keeping them close during adventures.
  • Create a safe and secure environment that provides comfort and reassurance in unexpected circumstances.
  • Reducing stress and anxiety in dogs who may become overwhelmed in crowded outdoor areas.

Hands-Free Experience for Owners

  • Take photos, use trekking poles, or navigate trails without holding a leash.
  • Enjoy a more comfortable and convenient experience while carrying important goods for yourself and your dog.

Types of Dog Backpack Carriers

There are multiple varieties of dog backpack carriers on the market, each with its unique set of characteristics and adaptability for certain settings. Consider the following alternatives:

Dog Backpack Carriers with Soft Sides

dog backpack carrier

  • Lightweight and comfortable for both dogs and owners.
  • Made of durable fabrics with breathable mesh panels for appropriate ventilation;
  • Offers plenty of storage pockets for carrying necessities like water bottles, treats, and toys.
  • Increased durability and safety for little or toy dog breeds

Collapsible dog backpack carriers

small dog backpack carrier

  • Designed with collapsibility in mind, these carriers can be effortlessly folded into a compact size when not in use, making them ideal for travel or storage.
  • They come in various sizes and designs, you can find the perfect fit for any breed.

Expandible Backpack Carriers

  • Provide versatility by changing into regular carriers or car seats;
  • Are ideal for travel situations involving many modes of transportation.
  • Allow for flexibility in different settings and adjust to your dog’s individual demands.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Dog Backpack Carrier

A number of factors should be considered when choosing a dog backpack carrier. Take a look at the following:

Height and weight capacity

Choosing the appropriate size and weight capacity for a dog backpack carrier is critical to ensuring your dog’s comfort and safety on outdoor outings. To accurately measure your dog, follow these steps:

Measure the Length

  • Stand your dog up straight in a natural position
  • Measure from the base of the neck (where the collar rests) to the base of the tail.
  • This measurement will help you establish the proper length of the backpack carrier.

Measure the Height

Measure from the floor to the highest point of your dog’s shoulder to estimate the height of the backpack carrier.

Measure the Chest or Girth

  • Wrap a measuring tape around the widest part of your dog’s chest or girth.
  • Make sure the tape is snug but not too tight.
  • Take note of this measurement as it will help you choose a properly fitting backpack carrier.

Consider Weight Capacity

  • Check the weight capacity specifications provided by the manufacturer for each backpack carrier.
  • Ensure that the weight capacity is suitable for your dog’s weight.
  • It’s important to choose a backpack carrier that can safely support your dog’s weight during outdoor activities.

Remember that if your dog is in between sizes, it’s always advisable to go up a size for more comfort and range of mobility. Consider your dog’s breed and body type, as some breeds may demand special considerations when it comes to sizing.

By precisely measuring your dog, you can confidently choose a backpack carrier that provides a comfortable and secure fit for your canine companion, allowing you both to enjoy outdoor trips together.

Dog Size and Corresponding Backpack Carrier Size (Example)

Please keep in mind that these size recommendations are only guidelines and may differ depending on the manufacturer and their sizing requirements. To ensure the greatest fit for your dog, refer to the manufacturer’s sizing guide and precise dimensions provided for each dog backpack carrier.

Following table shows the average height, weight, and corresponding backpack carrier size for a small dog breed (Chihuahua) and a large dog breed (Labrador Retriever):

Small Dog Breed – Chihuahua (small dog backpack carriers)

Large Dog Breed – Labrador Retriever (large dog backpack carriers)

Please keep in mind that these size recommendations are only guidelines and may differ depending on the manufacturer and their sizing requirements. To ensure the greatest fit for your dog, refer to the manufacturer’s sizing guide and precise dimensions provided for each dog backpack carrier.

Material and Durability – Both are Important

Choose a dog backpack carrier made of pet-friendly materials that is both robust and long-lasting.

There are several options to consider when selecting a durable and pet-friendly material for a dog backpack carrier. These fabrics should be able to resist the wear and tear of outdoor adventures while still providing comfort and safety for your dog. The following are some common materials found in backpack carriers:


Because of its durability, lightweight nature, and water resistance, nylon is a popular material for dog backpack carriers. It is a durable material that can withstand harsh outdoor circumstances, and it is frequently treated with water-resistant coatings to keep your dog dry in the event of rain or splashes. Furthermore, nylon is simple to clean, making it an excellent choice for outdoor activities.


Another long-lasting and popular material for dog backpack carriers is polyester. It is well-known for its durability, wrinkle resistance, and ease of care. Polyester textiles are frequently treated to be water-resistant or waterproof, allowing them to be used in a variety of weather conditions. Furthermore, polyester is stain resistant and easy to clean, enhancing the backpack carrier’s longevity. You can buy one that fits your requirement on amazon. My most favourite made with polyester is shown below:


While not the major material of the backpack carrier, mesh panels are frequently used for ventilation. Mesh provides for optimum air circulation within the carrier, keeping your dog cool and comfortable while out and about. Look for high-quality mesh that is strong enough to withstand your dog’s clawing or pawing.

When evaluating the durability and pet-friendliness of materials, it’s important to consider factors such as:

Strength and Tear Resistance

The material should be strong enough to withstand your dog’s movements and potential scratching without tearing or fraying.

Waterproof or Water-Resistant Properties

Outdoor adventures may expose the backpack carrier to rain or moisture, so having a material that repels water or has a protective coating is beneficial.

Easy to Clean

Dogs can be messy, especially during outdoor activities. Choosing a material that is easy to clean, either by wiping or machine washing, will ensure that your backpack carrier stays fresh and hygienic.

Safety Considerations

Ensure that the materials used are non-toxic and free from any potential hazards or sharp edges that could harm your dog.

By selecting a dog backpack carrier made from durable and pet-friendly materials like nylon, polyester, and high-quality mesh, you can ensure the longevity of the carrier while providing a comfortable and safe experience for your dog during outdoor adventures.


Design Features

Adjustable Straps

Look for a backpack carrier with adjustable straps that allow you to customize the fit according to your body shape and size. Adjustable straps ensure a proper and comfortable fit while distributing the weight evenly across your shoulders and back. This feature helps reduce strain and fatigue during long hikes or outings.

Padded Interiors

Opt for dog backpack carriers with padded interiors to provide extra comfort for your dog. The padding not only enhances your dog’s comfort but also helps cushion their body during bumpy rides or jolts. This feature becomes especially important during longer hikes or outings when your dog may need to spend extended periods in the carrier.

Secure Closures

Ensure that the backpack carrier has secure closures, such as sturdy zippers or reliable buckles. These closures should be designed to prevent accidental openings and keep your dog safely contained inside the carrier. Look for quality closures that are durable and easy to operate, providing peace of mind during your outdoor adventures.

Ventilation and Visibility

Consider a backpack carrier that offers proper ventilation to keep your dog cool and prevent overheating during outdoor activities. Look for carriers with mesh panels or windows that allow for air circulation while maintaining visibility. This feature allows your dog to enjoy fresh air and see their surroundings, enhancing their overall experience.

Storage Pockets

Some backpack carriers come with additional storage pockets or compartments. These can be useful for carrying essential items like treats, waste bags, water bottles, or small personal belongings. Having convenient storage within the carrier eliminates the need for an extra backpack or bag during your outdoor adventures.

Foldable and Portable

If you plan to travel or store the backpack carrier when not in use, consider a design that is foldable and portable. Foldable carriers are easier to pack and store, allowing for convenient transportation and saving space at home.

By considering these design features, you can choose a dog backpack carrier that provides a secure, comfortable, and enjoyable experience for both you and your dog during outdoor adventures.

Safety Features

Leash Attachments

Look for a dog backpack carrier that includes leash attachments inside the carrier. These attachments are designed to secure your dog’s leash or harness, keeping them safely contained and preventing any possibility of escape. It provides an extra layer of security, especially when you need to open the carrier for any reason, such as adjusting their position or providing treats.

Reflective Strips

Many dog backpack carriers feature reflective strips or accents strategically placed on the exterior. These reflective elements enhance visibility, especially during low-light conditions such as dusk or nighttime walks. They reflect light from various sources, such as car headlights or street lamps, making you and your dog more visible to others, reducing the risk of accidents or collisions.

Proper Ventilation

Adequate ventilation is a crucial safety feature in a dog backpack carrier. Look for carriers with mesh panels, windows, or breathable fabric sections that allow for proper airflow. Ventilation prevents overheating, especially during active outdoor activities, and ensures that your dog remains cool, comfortable, and able to breathe easily.

Proper ventilation helps regulate your dog’s body temperature and prevents the buildup of heat and humidity inside the carrier. This is particularly important during warmer weather or strenuous activities when dogs are prone to overheating.

By considering these safety features in a dog backpack carrier, you can provide a secure and comfortable environment for your dog during outdoor adventures. The leash attachments prevent escape, reflective strips enhance visibility in low-light conditions, and proper ventilation ensures your dog stays cool and comfortable throughout your activities. These features contribute to a safer and more enjoyable experience for both you and your furry companion.

Here’s my another comprehensive guide on dog backpack safety adressing all your questions.

Introducing and Training Your Dog to Use a Backpack Carrier

Introducing your dog to a backpack carrier requires patience and positive reinforcement. Follow these tips for a successful introduction and training process:

Familiarization and Positive Associations

Introduce the dog backpack carrier in a calm and comfortable environment

Choose a quiet and familiar space in your home to introduce the backpack carrier to your dog. Avoid introducing it in a stressful or chaotic environment, as this may create a negative association. Allow your dog to approach the carrier at their own pace without any pressure.

Place treats, toys, or familiar bedding inside the carrier to create positive associations

To help your dog associate the backpack carrier with positive experiences, place treats, favorite toys, or a familiar bedding inside. These familiar and comforting items will help create a positive and inviting environment within the carrier. This will also make the carrier smell familiar and appealing to your dog.

Allow your dog to explore and enter the carrier voluntarily

Encourage your dog to explore the carrier by leaving it open and accessible. Let your dog approach the carrier at their own pace and sniff around. Avoid forcing or pushing your dog into the carrier, as this can create anxiety or fear. Instead, provide gentle encouragement and praise when your dog shows interest or voluntarily enters the carrier. This process allows your dog to develop a sense of comfort and familiarity with the carrier.

Gradually increase the time spent inside the carrier

Once your dog starts entering the carrier willingly, gradually increase the time they spend inside. Initially, allow them to come in and out freely without closing the carrier. Provide treats or praise to reward them for staying inside voluntarily. Gradually increase the duration and close the carrier for short periods while remaining nearby. This gradual approach helps your dog build positive associations and confidence with the carrier.

Associate the carrier with positive experiences

Use the dog backpack carriers for enjoyable activities such as short walks, treats, or feeding your dog’s meals inside the carrier. By associating the carrier with positive experiences, your dog will begin to view it as a safe and pleasant space. This will further reinforce the positive association with the carrier.

Remember, every dog is unique, and the time it takes for them to feel comfortable with the backpack carrier may vary. Patience, positive reinforcement, and a gradual approach are key to helping your dog familiarize themselves with the carrier and create positive associations.

Gradual Introduction and Acclimation

Start with short periods of wearing the dog backpack carriers indoors

Begin by allowing your dog to wear the backpack carrier for short periods of time indoors. Start with just a few minutes and gradually increase the duration over several sessions. This gradual approach helps your dog adjust to the sensation of wearing the carrier and prevents overwhelming or stressful experiences.

Create a positive association with treats, praise, and affection

Before putting the backpack carrier on your dog, offer treats, praise, and affection to create a positive association. This helps your dog associate the carrier with positive experiences and reinforces the idea that wearing it leads to rewards and positive attention. This positive reinforcement encourages your dog to view the carrier as something enjoyable rather than a source of stress.

Use a calm and soothing tone

Maintain a calm and soothing tone while introducing the backpack carrier to your dog. This helps create a relaxed atmosphere and reduces any potential anxiety or apprehension. Speak softly and use gentle, reassuring words to let your dog know that everything is okay.

Monitor your dog’s body language and comfort level

Pay close attention to your dog’s body language and comfort level during the introduction process. Observe for signs of stress or discomfort, such as trembling, pacing, panting excessively, or attempting to remove the carrier. If you notice signs of distress, take a step back in the acclimation process and proceed at a slower pace. It’s important to prioritize your dog’s comfort and well-being throughout the process.

Gradually increase the duration as your dog becomes more comfortable

Once your dog shows signs of being comfortable wearing the backpack carrier for short periods, gradually increase the duration. Extend the time incrementally, allowing your dog to adjust and become familiar with the feeling of wearing the carrier. The gradual increase helps build your dog’s tolerance and confidence in wearing the backpack carrier.

Reward positive behavior and offer breaks if needed

Throughout the acclimation process, reward your dog for positive behavior while wearing the backpack carrier. This can include treats, verbal praise, or gentle petting. If your dog shows signs of discomfort or fatigue, offer breaks and allow them to rest outside of the carrier. It’s essential to listen to your dog’s needs and make adjustments accordingly.

Remember, every dog acclimates to wearing a backpack carrier at their own pace. Be patient, consistent, and attentive to your dog’s comfort levels. By gradually introducing the carrier, using positive reinforcement, and monitoring your dog’s well-being, you can help them feel more comfortable and confident during outdoor adventures.

Training Commands and Reinforcement

Use clear and consistent training commands.  Choose simple and clear training commands to teach your dog to enter and exit the backpack carrier. For example, you can use commands like “in” and “out” or any other words or phrases that are easy to understand and remember. Use the same commands consistently during the training process to create a clear association between the command and the desired action.

Reward your dog with treats and praise

When your dog follows the command and enters or exits the backpack carrier, immediately reward them with treats and praise. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in dog training and helps to reinforce the desired behavior. Make sure the rewards are something your dog finds highly motivating, such as their favorite treats or verbal praise in an enthusiastic tone.

Practice the commands regularly

Consistent practice is essential for reinforcing the training and building your dog’s confidence in entering and exiting the backpack carrier. Set aside dedicated training sessions where you can work on the commands in a calm and focused environment. Start with short sessions and gradually increase the duration as your dog becomes more proficient.

Use visual cues or gestures

Along with verbal commands, you can also use visual cues or gestures to help your dog understand what is expected of them. For example, you can point towards the carrier or use a hand signal to indicate that they should enter or exit. Pairing these visual cues with the verbal commands can enhance your dog’s understanding and make the training process more effective.

Be patient and consistent

It’s important to be patient and consistent during the training process. Dogs learn at their own pace, so it’s crucial to provide clear guidance and reinforce positive behavior consistently. Avoid getting frustrated or discouraged if your dog takes time to grasp the commands. Stay positive, offer encouragement, and celebrate even small progress to keep your dog motivated.

Gradually increase the difficulty level

As your dog becomes more proficient in following the commands, gradually increase the difficulty level. For example, you can introduce distractions while practicing the commands or practice in different locations to help generalize the behavior. This helps ensure that your dog can follow the commands reliably, even in real-life outdoor situations.

Remember, training should always be a positive and enjoyable experience for your dog. By using clear and consistent commands, rewarding your dog for compliance, and practicing regularly, you can effectively teach your dog to enter and exit the backpack carrier with confidence. The training process strengthens the bond between you and your dog and makes outdoor adventures safer and more enjoyable for both of you.


Dog backpack carriers are invaluable tools for pet owners who love to explore the great outdoors with their furry friends. The benefits of using a dog backpack carrier, such as enhanced mobility, bonding opportunities, and a hands-free experience, make them a worthwhile investment. By considering factors like size, weight capacity, material, design, and safety features, you can choose dog backpack carriers that suits your dogs’ needs and your outdoor adventures.

With proper introduction and training, your dog will embrace the carrier as a comfortable and secure mode of transportation, allowing you both to embark on unforgettable adventures together. So gear up, pack your essentials, and embark on exciting outdoor journeys with your dog by your side in a reliable and comfortable backpack carrier.


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