Updated: October 15, 2016

Dog Backpack Reviews:

For many people, a dog is not a pet but an extension of the family. They run errands with us or just run around the block with us. And for the intrepid among us, they go camping and hiking with us. Carrying our own gear can start to wear us down, and carrying the dog's supplies on top of that can be difficult. The ideal solution is to invest in a great dog backpack; these offer a convenient carrying method for dog gear, extra water, or other necessities. But the most important consideration is not really your convenience, it's your dog's health and comfort. You need to make sure that the backpack you choose doesn't cause your dog discomfort, or worse, injury or back strain. We'll help you select the right pack for your pooch to help ensure everyone is ready for the next adventure. Many of these products can be found at stores like Petco, REI, or Petsmart or online at Amazon.com.

What is a Dog Backpack and Do You Need One?

A dog backpack is a very simple accessory, but it can add a great deal of versatility and ease to camping or hiking trips. The backpack fits on your dog like a regular harness so it provides support. A pouch is affixed to each side of the harness to provide both storage and even weight distribution. Is this safe for your dog, and will it cause any back or hip problems? It is safe for medium and large dogs to carry as much as 25 percent of their body weight. Puppies and older dogs can handle up to 15 percent. You don't want to cram the backpack full of heavy equipment, but it is more than safe to carry leashes, collapsible water and food dishes, and other lighter weight items. You will see dog backpacks most often on working dogs, such as shepherds, as well as Rottweilers, Newfoundlands, Portuguese Water Dogs, Labrador Retrievers, and Siberian Huskies. While they are perfectly safe for many breeds, you will want to make sure you can find the right fit and the right weight for your particular pooch. If you hike or camp a great deal, a dog backpack can be a great buy. They are also wonderful if you enjoy walking and want to carry some supplies or necessities like keys or money.

Dog Backpack Benefits

Another benefit to using dog backpacks is that they can change the way your dog behaves on hikes or walks. According to dog trainers, when dogs have a backpack on, they become more focused on their task, which is to carry the weight. They go into "work mode," and so walk better and get more strenuous exercise. If you have a high-energy dog, like a Husky or Portuguese Water Dog, this can be the perfect way for them to burn off that energy and focus on their job. It is literally harnessing their energy. Here are some suggestions to help you do that. Dog Backpack Features to Look For - Some common names you'll see when looking for dog backpacks are Little Packrats, Canine Harwear, Ruff Wear, Wolf Packs, and Altrec. Big names in the backpacking field, such as Kelty, REI, and Mountainsmith, have also branched out into dog packs. You will find a wide range of prices, from under $50 to as much as $200. No matter what brand you choose or in what price range you are shopping, there are some features to look out for. You will want a pack that is waterproof, slip-resistant, lightweight, and adjustable. The comfort of your dog is important, so make sure you get packs that are lined with mesh or fleece and have coated nylon. You will also want to look for padded buckles and straps to prevent irritation to your dog. The pouches should also contour to your dog's body to facilitate carrying. Quick release harnesses and bags that can be removed separately without taking off the entire harness are also quite handy. Finally, make sure that the pack you choose is ready for the great outdoors and for rugged wear: reinforced stitching, straps, bottom panels, and nonmetal zippers and fasteners are also helpful in extending your pack's durability. Just one more tip, we promise. When you go to buy a pack, make sure you know your dog's weight. They are sized by weight. You can browse the best selling dog backpacks online here.

Best Dog Backpacks:

Kelty is one of the biggest names in outdoor gear and makes an array of human backpacking equipment. You can see their nod to the dog world in the Kelty Chuckwagon. Trails.com picked the Chuckwagon as the best backpack under $50. This pack offers a classic saddlebag style, removable bear bell, lightweight at less than 1 pound, sports padded buckles, reflective tape, nylon ripstop material, grab handle, and easily accessible saddlebags. An Amazon customer uses it for her "very active German Shepherd dog" who needs extensive exercise every day. The pack fits perfectly for this 80-pound bundle of energy. A review on BackpackGearTest.com noted the strong construction, comfort, and storage space in the saddle bags. One issue that you may find is that it may need more reflective tape. If this is an issue for you, you can add reflective tape or reflectors. Overall, it is a great value for the price. You can find the Kelty Chuckwagon in small, medium, large, and extra-large for between $45 and $60. In the same price range is the REI Adventure Dog Pack. This was a top pick of Doglirious, a site that is "crazy about dogs." The Adventure Dog Pack contours to your dog's body, fits with minimal shifting, and offers stability even on uneven terrain. The pack also features sculpted, breathable mesh harness, 3-point design to adapt to different dog shapes, grab handle, short integrated leash, adjustment hardware, water-resistant, rip-resistant 630 denier nylon pack cloth, zippered outside pocket, drain holes on each saddlebag, and rugged D-ring for full length leash. Doglirious noted that it was very easy to put on and remove, and had great lightweight construction, and good extras, like the sturdy D-ring. They also noted one feature that may be a problem if you have a hairy dog: their hair may get caught up in the snaps if you're not careful. You can find the REI Adventure for about $50 at REI.

If you want to move into the high-end, a great pack to check out is the Ruff Wear Palisades Pack II, which was recommended by Trails.com for its great durability. The Palisades II is built for longer hiking and camping trips with its extra pouch capacity. A nice extra feature is the on-board water bladders, which are positioned for optimal weight distribution and also keep your dog cool and cushioned from the gear. The pack also has an internal compression strap system, improved center of gravity design, spider web chassis harness, grab handle, elliptically shaped saddlebags, 1680 denier ballistic nylon, 2-sided release buckles for easy separating, and strategically placed pockets. This deluxe bag has a deluxe price of about $100 to $120 on sites like eBay, Cabela's, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Modell's. These are just a few suggestions; take a look at the selection of dog backpacks you can find here . Remember to keep safety and comfort for your dog at the top of your priority list so your next adventure will be fun for all.