The Best Dog Backpack Harnesses (June 2024 Reviews)

Dog with Backpack

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From short walks around the neighborhood to longer hikes through the woods, dog backpack harnesses come in handy when you either need to bring something with you or your dog needs some extra exercise. Typically constructed to hold anywhere from a few small items, such as your keys, wallet, cell phone, or sunglasses, to slightly larger items, such as a water bottle or two, small bowl, blanket, or tablet, a dog backpack harness fits your dog like a regular harness but features pockets to hold your items. Some dog backpack harnesses are outfitted especially for adding weights, similar to a human weight vest worn during exercise.

Consider why you want a dog harness with a backpack and understand how it works to help minimize any harm to your dog. We consulted with our veterinarian advisor, Dr. Diana Hasler, to find us the best dog backpack harnesses that are available. We then broke down the categories to cover small dogs, active dogs, and just-in-case scenarios.

Dr. Hasler chose the OneTigris Dog Backpack as the top pick for dog backpack harnesses. Featuring durable 1000D nylon material, this backpack dog harness is breathable and made for inclement weather.

Our Vet’s Top Pick

OneTigris Dog Backpack

The OneTigris dog backpack harness is designed with tough material and offers a large amount of storage space.

While this was Dr. Hasler’s top choice, she also offers a series of her top tips for what to look for in choosing the best harness backpack, a section on who should avoid purchasing them altogether, and she personally selected the best dog backpack harness for a variety of specific use cases.

The 5 Best Dog Backpack Harnesses

Dog Backpack Harnesses Compared

Below are the top picks from Dr. Hasler. Compare the ratings and key features of the five top dog backpack harnesses to find the one that’s best for your dog.

Vet’s Picks Model Rating Saddlebag or Back Pouch Front Leash Attachment Storage Capacity
Best Overall OneTigris Dog Backpack 4.7 saddlebag 2.2L to 6L
Best Budget IDOMIK Dog Backpack No-Pull Pet Harness Vest with Saddle Bag 4.4 back pouch small
Best for Small Dogs OneTigris EUREKA K9 Backpack with Litter Bag 4.4 back pouch .8L to 2.1L
Best for Hiking Kurgo Dog Saddlebag Backpack 4.4 saddlebag 3.75L to 7.5L
Best for Emergency K9 Sport Sack Walk-On Dog Carrier Dog Backpack 3.8 back pouch 10L to 22L

*Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and based on reviews, feedback, and opinions of actual customers

Who Should Buy a Dog Backpack Harness

  • Hikers and walking enthusiasts. A dog harness with backpack is often a good idea for those who walk or hike with their dogs regularly. If your dog is in good shape and already used to the exercise, a backpack harness for your dog is a convenient way to carry quickly accessible small items. Whether or not you pack your own backpack for the hike or walk, a backpack harness for your dog allows you to access essential items faster.
  • Anyone who is unable to carry small items. If, for whatever reason, you’re unable to carry small items while walking, a harness backpack for your dog lets you have a more enjoyable walking experience knowing your needed items are close by.
  • Those who want to have emergency items on hand. A dog harness with backpack is a great way to carry around important or emergency items – for whatever type of emergency you think you might encounter. From bandages to medicine to food to bug spray, most dog harness backpacks are equipped to hold these items.
  • Your dog needs extra exercise. Consult with your veterinarian before deciding to outfit your dog with a weighted backpack harness. Some dogs, typically working or sporting breeds, require intense daily exercise. A dog backpack harness with additional weight may be a good choice for your active dog’s regular exercise routine.

Who Should Not Buy a Dog Backpack Harness

  • Your dog has mobility issues. Do not use a dog harness with backpack if your dog is injured, weak, or otherwise physically unable to carry extra weight. Don’t use if the backpack hinders your dog’s movements in any way.
  • Your dog needs a different style of harness. While a backpack harness is not suitable for all dogs, some dogs may do well with other types of harnesses, such as lift harnesses, no-pull harnesses, and custom-fit harnesses. Be sure to choose the correct dog harness for your dog’s particular needs.

Buying Guide: Research Tips From a Veterinarian

It’s important a harness fits well and is comfortable for your dog before using it for extended periods of time. Ill-fitting harnesses increase the chance of your dog escaping, which can have terrible consequences in dogs with inadequate recall. There are several beneficial features that should also be considered when choosing a backpack harness for your dog, so be sure to do adequate research and don’t be afraid to ask friends, family, or your veterinarian for recommendations. Here are some more tips and best practices to consider when selecting a dog backpack harness.

  1. Choose a dog backpack harness with durable materials – Select a backpack harness for your dog that’s made with strong materials and that won’t fall apart when you’re out for a walk or hike. Also look for water-resistant materials in case of rain.
  2. Safety comes first – A dog harness backpack has to be safe and secure on your dog. For starters, the straps should be secure and distributed in a way that prevents your dog from slipping out of the harness. Straps that are too thin may dig into your dog’s skin and cause skin irritation, especially in pups who pull on the leash. Additionally, dog backpack harnesses with little reinforcement in the straps – such as straps with Velcro instead of buckles, may also increase the risk of escape.
  3. Select a dog harness with backpack that’s comfortable – Choose a backpack harness with a soft, mesh lining to keep your dog comfortable. If a harness has limited air flow, it may retain moisture and rub against your dog’s skin, causing irritation and, in some cases, even infection. Pay attention to where the leash clips are located, as some dogs may behave better when their leash is clipped at the front (the key feature to no-pull harnesses.)
  4. Consider the style and color – A dog harness backpack comes in a variety of styles and colors. If you will be hiking with your dog, especially if you let them off the lead, choose a harness that is bright, with reflective trim for better visibility. Consider how much storage area you need – and how much your dog can reasonably carry – before selecting a dog backpack harness.

Worried about your dog getting out of his harness? Consider our choices for escape-proof dog harnesses (read our review of escape-proof dog harness)to see if those fit your scenario better. Don’t forget to check the life of your current leash and collar to ensure the safety of your dog on walks and hikes. What good is the harness if the leash breaks?

How Much Do They Cost?

Around $35

Dog backpack harnesses cost roughly $35, on average. However, the price ranges from $25 up to $200 depending on the design details of the particular dog harness backpack you’re looking for. From simple and aesthetically pleasing to functional and bulky, dog backpack harnesses all have one thing in common – the main pocket or pouch to stash your items. Beyond that, they vary in style, color, and what they have to offer, which is reflected in the price. Cheaper backpack harnesses have one pocket, neck and chest straps, and leash attachment. Dog harness backpacks on the higher price end often have more than one pocket or pouch, are constructed from stronger material, offer multiple leash attachments, and are outfitted with double-securing straps.

Our Methodology: Why Trust Pet News Daily

When choosing the best dog backpack harnesses, I drew from my own experience as a veterinarian. I have seen numerous dogs with ill-fitting harnesses escape in and out of the clinic, so one of my main criteria was to select harnesses that will fit well to minimize risk of accidents. I also prioritized comfort in terms of the harness’ construction and breathability to prevent skin irritation and uneven pressure on the joints. – Dr. Diana Hasler

The Best Dog Backpack Harness Reviews

1. Best Overall – OneTigris Dog Backpack

Our Vet’s Top Pick

OneTigris Dog Backpack

The OneTigris dog backpack harness is designed with tough material and offers a large amount of storage space.

Our vet advisor chose the OneTigris Dog Backpack as the best dog backpack harness due to its sturdy construction, breathability, and storage capacity. Made from strong 1000D nylon, the OneTigris backpack harness features two large pouches with outside pockets – one on each side of the harness, and cross-bungee cords to secure additional items to the outside of the pack. Each pouch is zippered, but the zippers are hidden beneath the harness material, so your dog isn’t accidentally harmed by them.

The OneTigris dog backpack harness wraps around the neck and chest with wide buckle straps that are adjustable to ensure a snug, but not-too-tight fit. The harness straps are outfitted with both Velcro and buckles for additional safety, while the top of the harness features a large grab handle for those times you just need to hold your dog close. Fasten your dog’s leash securely to the UTX-Duraflex D-ring on the back of the grab handle.

  • 1000D nylon material
  • Mesh lining
  • Large storage capacity
  • Double-securing straps
  • Grab handle with leash clip
  • Not suitable or sized for all dogs
  • Pack is bulky

2. Best Budget – IDOMIK Dog Backpack No-Pull Pet Harness Vest with Saddle Bag

Best Budget

IDOMIK Dog Backpack No-Pull Pet Harness Vest with Saddle Bag

Easy on the eyes and gentle on the pocket, the IDOMIK backpack for dogs comes as either a frog or pig outfitted with a small, zippered pouch.

IDOMIK Dog Backpack No-Pull Pet Harness Vest with Saddle Bag is not just good for the budget, it’s also a cute dog backpack harness. Featuring either a wide-eyed, bright green frog or a pretty pink pig, this doggy backpack is made from durable 900D nylon and padded mesh for your dog’s comfort. Available in three sizes, though mostly meant for small to medium size dogs, this dog backpack harness straps on in the front of the chest and under the belly.

The IDOMIK frog backpack for dogs provides a zippered pouch on the top, in the shape of a frog or pig. Metal D rings are situated both on the back and in the front, making the backpack harness versatile for regular walking or no-pull walking. Customize the harness to better fit your dog with the adjustable and easy-to-use buckles and straps.

  • Double-layer mesh
  • Metal D-rings for leash attachment
  • Cute, fun designs
  • Not suitable for large dogs
  • Pouch placement is directly on the back

3. Best for Small Dogs – OneTigris EUREKA K9 Backpack with Litter Bag

Best Small Dog Backpack Harness

OneTigris EUREKA K9 Backpack with Litter Bag

Featuring a breathable mesh, the OneTigris backpack is designed with an X-shaped chest piece.

According to our vet, the best small dog backpack harness is the OneTigris EUREKA K9 Backpack with Litter Bag. Designed specifically for smaller dogs, available in XXS, XS, and S, this backpack harness can fit most dogs as small as those with an 8-inch neck girth and a 12-inch chest girth. Made from 1000D nylon and featuring a breathable, padded mesh underside, the OneTigris backpack for dogs has one main compartment with an internal mesh pocket.

The OneTigris small dog backpack harness features a pouch capacity from 0.8L to 2.1L. The main pack is strapped to your dog with an X-shaped chest piece for a snugger fit. Use the buckles to adjust the size to your dog. Attach your dog’s leash to the stainless-steel D-ring located on the front of the harness for no-pull walking.

  • X-shaped chest piece
  • Front leash attachment
  • Padded mesh material
  • Not suitable or sized for all dogs
  • Weight is located on the back

4. Best for Hiking – Kurgo Dog Saddlebag Backpack

Best Dog Backpack Harness for Hiking

Kurgo Dog Saddlebag Backpack

The Kurgo dog backpack features large side pouches for storing items like collapsible bowls, treats, water, and first-aid kit.

Per Dr. Hasler, the best dog backpack harness for hiking is the Kurgo Dog Saddlebag Backpack. Available in bright colors with reflective trim, this dog harness backpack keeps your dog visible while hiking. The Kurgo dog backpack features pouches on either side of the harness for holding multiple items, with zippered outside pockets. The back of the harness features a large grab handle for helping your dog.

The Kurgo dog backpack harness for hiking is outfitted with neck and chest straps with adjustable buckles. This dog backpack harness is suitable only for larger dogs but has eight points of adjustment for a better fit. The small front chest piece is a breathable mesh that features the front leash attachment, which doubles as a can opener.

  • Large storage capacity
  • Bright colors and reflective trim
  • Double leash attachment
  • Large grab handle
  • Not made for dogs under 30 pounds

5. Best Emergency – K9 Sport Sack Walk-On Dog Carrier Dog Backpack

Best Emergency Dog Carrying Harness Backpack

K9 Sport Sack Walk-On Dog Carrier Dog Backpack

A 2-in-1 backpack, the K9 Sport Sack features a small pack for your pooch and large carry bag for you.

The best emergency dog carrying harness backpack is the K9 Sport Sack Walk-On Dog Carrier Dog Backpack due to its versatility in carrying options. Made for both you and your dog, this double backpack harness features a backpack for your dog and one for you. Your dog’s backpack attaches to the back of your backpack for when your pooch isn’t wearing it. And if your dog needs to stop walking, your pack allows you to carry your dog on your back.

The dog backpack harness features a main pouch for storage, which is situated on the back. The chest and neck straps are a wide, padded mesh for comfort and are adjustable for sizing the harness to your dog. There are three D-ring connection points for multiple leash attachment options. The back of the pack gives you the option to decorate your pack with custom patches via Velcro.

Your dog carrier backpack features a dog collar enclosure, angled cinched straps, and leg openings to keep your dog safe while in use. The pack also has wide, padded shoulders straps, as well as a sternum strap, to help support your back while carrying your dog. The sides of the dog carrier are mesh for air flow and venting.

  • 2-in-1 dog backpack harness
  • Customizable pack for Velcro patches
  • Three leash connection points
  • Breathable material
  • Not suitable for all dogs
  • Dog pack pouch is located on the back

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a dog backpack good for dogs?

Yes, a dog backpack can be good for dogs. Though a dog backpack may not be appropriate for all dogs, many actually like wearing them. Consider your pup’s temperament, size, and health before deciding to get one. Active, sporting, and working breeds often do the best with a backpack, but some dogs don’t like anything on their back and may never like wearing a backpack.1

How much weight can a dog carry in a dog backpack?

Most dogs can carry roughly 25 percent of their body weight so long as they are in good shape and health. Some dogs, like those who are athletic and in tip-top shape, can carry upward of another 10 percent. Some dogs, such as seniors and puppies, need to carry less, about 10 percent to 15 percent of their body weight.

For example, a 40-pound young adult dog should be able to carry roughly 10 pounds, as long as their health is good. A 40-pound senior may be able to carry about 4 pounds to 6 pounds of weight. The key is to train, go slow, be patient, and maintain a well-balanced pack. And remember not all dogs will take to wearing a backpack.2

Why should a dog wear a backpack?

There are a number of reasons why a dog should wear a backpack. From working dogs to sporting dogs to those who like to go for long hikes with their owner, a dog backpack is often a welcome accessory for your dog. Many dogs like to feel they are performing a task and the weight of a backpack can contribute to a working nature.

Are dog backpacks uncomfortable?

An ill-fitting dog backpack would indeed be uncomfortable, but one that fits your dog well and features padded straps and breathable material is typically comfortable for your dog. Make sure the weight in a dog backpack harness is evenly balanced so it doesn’t put undue stress on their body, and don’t rely on your dog’s weight for sizing the harness; use a chest measurement as well. Lastly, weigh the harness to factor that weight in along with the contents you want to place in the pack.3

What age can a dog wear a backpack?

Consult with your veterinarian for determining the right age for your dog to wear a backpack. A dog must be physically fit and fully grown before adding extra weight to their body to carry around. Keep in mind that putting unnecessary pressure on growing joints may cause injury.4

Article Sources

Pet News Daily uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Should Your Dog Wear a Backpack? Published January 10, 2019. Accessed September 6, 2022
  2. Justin. How Much Weight Can My Dog Carry in a Backpack? Published June 2, 2020. Accessed September 6, 2022
  3. Dog Backpack Do’s and Don’ts. Published June 18, 2015. Accessed September 6, 2022
  4. Should Your Dog Wear a Backpack? Published January 10, 2019. Accessed September 6, 2022
Pet News Daily Staff
Pet News Daily writers are experts in pet care, health and behavior. We are members of Society for Professional Journalists and practice ethical journalism.