Hikes are always better with a dog. And, some pups are even willing to carry their own load, whether it is water and snacks for a day hike or food and bedding for a multi-day adventure. While not every pup is up for hauling a stash on a hike, fortunately, there are plenty of dogs who are up for the challenge – and for outdoorsy hounds, there are a variety of backpacks that offer a blend of durability and comfort.
Ruffwear has a history of designing gear for working dogs, including guide dogs and avalanche rescue dogs, and, their canine packs reflect the company’s focus on comfort and function. For pups tagging along on extended expeditions, there’s Ruffwear’s Palisades Pack. Available in three different size options, the pack features a form-fitting harness with five different points of adjustment, along with detachable saddlebags. The pack also comes with easy-to-stash hydration bladders, and, for quick access to trail necessities on the go, the saddlebags feature external zip pockets and gear loops perfect for hanging food or water bowls.
Kurgo got its start designing products to keep antsy pups safe in moving vehicles, and has continued to expand, producing a wide range of gear for active dogs on the go. And, for trail hounds, there’s Kurgo’s Baxter Dog Backpack. Offered in two sizes, the pack features two zippered paneers, both outfitted with exterior stash pockets and reflective trim for added visibility. And, eight different adjustment points help ensure a comfortable fit. As an added bonus, there’s even a bottle opener attached to the pack’s padded chest plate.
Mountainsmith has been crafting packs for outdoorsy pups for more than 40 years — and their K-9 Dog Pack features plenty of touches inspired by four decades of experience. To cater to pups large and small, the pack comes in three sizes and features both a padded chest harness with four points of adjustment, along with a back harness. For days the weather doesn’t cooperate, the rip-stop nylon pack is also water-resistant, to help keep gear dry.
EzyDog offers a wide array of gear for high-0ctane dogs, including shock-absorbing leashes, life-jackets, and harnesses for active pups, so naturally, their Summit Dog Backpack includes plenty of features for athletic mutts on the move. Offered in three sizes, the pack includes two saddlebags with wide-mouthed tops for quick-and-easy access to gear, along with waterproof zippers, and reflective trim for hikes in low-light conditions. Plus, for pups with a tendency to pull, there are sturdy, D-ring leash attachments both in the front and on the back of the pack. For a little flourish, Velcro strips on either side of the pack also make it easy to add personalized patches or labels, like name tags.
Specializing in creating performance-improving products for self-propelled endurance athletes, including hydration packs and handheld water carriers, Ultimate Direction brings the same approach to crafting gear for adventurous pups. And, for mutts on the move, Ultimate Direction’s Dog Vest is a streamlined system for carrying trail essentials. Made from rip-stop nylon, the pack features two expandable pockets (with a 10.3-liter capacity in the largest size), each is also outfitted with external zippered compartments for smaller items. Two rings offer the option to attach a leash on the front or back, while the multi-point harness helps ensure a comfortable fit. And, the vest even comes with an easy-to-stash collapsible dog bowl.
For shorter adventures, Rough Wear’s Front Range Day Pack features a streamlined design with plenty of space to store gear on extended day hikes or trail runs. For comfort and stability, the slender, form-fitting saddlebags attach to a harness with five different points of adjustment. For quick access to gear, the pack features internal pockets to keep essentials safely stashed. And, to help keep frisky pups in check on the trail, the harness features leash attachment points both on the chest and back.
Read more: The Best Dog Breeds for Runners
- Take the high route when hiking: The best high-elevation hikes around the world
- Hiking poles 101: All the different kinds — and our top picks
- These are the best tactical pants for all of your outdoor adventures
- How well does your home state rank for adventure? Study reveals the best and worst states
- Pack your multiday backpack for comfort with our guide