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Imagine this: You’re hiking up a mountain with your dog. You get halfway back down, and your dog just stops. He’s too tired to continue. What do you do?

Or, how about another situation: You live in the city and want to take the subway with your dog. Your dog is too big and too heavy to ride in an over-the-shoulder carrier, but in order to ride the subway, he must be in a bag. Again, what do you do?

This is where a backpack dog carrier comes in. If you follow any dog-centric accounts on Instagram, you’ve seen these carriers, which seem to be growing in popularity. These backpacks allow your dog to ride securely on your back, forward facing. This gives your dog the ability to travel in all sorts of situations—hiking, on the subway, shopping, and more.

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As a proud owner of a wiggly, curious, but sometimes nervous 25-pound Pembroke Welsh Corgi, these dog carrier backpacks piqued my interest.  My dog, Lily, does not particularly care for riding on the train ever since she outgrew her regular dog carrier, but she likes to accompany me everywhere and is very interested in what is going on around her when we travel. These factors in mind, I thought one of these backpack dog carriers might be worth a shot.

In doing some research, I found that the one backpack that kept coming up, again and again, was the K9 Sport Sack.

K9 Sport Sack Features

The K9 Sport Sack comes in three different models: The Air, Urban, and Air Plus. All three models were designed under the direction of veterinarians, dog trainers, and outdoor product engineers to ensure the safety of you and your dog.

The classic model is the K9 Sport Sack Air, which comes in sizes extra small through large as well as five different colors. It can carry dogs up to 30 pounds. The Air backpack is designed for maximum comfort. First, it holds your dog in a comfortable upright sitting position with his front paws through holes in the bag. It’s equipped with cooling side panels, adjustable pockets on both sides, and moisture-wicking, ventilated shoulder straps. It also has a handy whistle clip to hook your dog in safely and securely. With all these great features it is almost hard to believe that is this least expensive bag of all three models: $69.95.

The other two models, as previously mentioned are the Urban and the Air Plus. The Urban is the “more stylish” version of the original K9 Sport Sack and has faux leather accents and straps. This model also runs in sizes extra small through large for dogs up to 30 pounds. The Urban sells at $79.95. The Air Plus, on the other hand, has additional storage, padding, and ventilation in comparison to the original Air. This model can also accommodate dogs up to 40 pounds and comes in sizes small, medium, and large. This backpack prices at $89.95.

My Experience with the K9 Sport Sack

After seeing the overwhelmingly positive reviews of the K9 Sport Sack online, my fiancé and I decided to give the bag a try with Lily.

We bought the K9 Sport Sack Air in size large and color black. One of the first things we noticed in buying this dog carrier backpack was the amount of helpful information available on their website.  K9 Sport Sack has measuring instructions, sizing charts, and even instructional videos to help you choose the right backpack and size for your dog. For a breed like a Corgi, where sizing can often be difficult, these materials were extremely helpful.

When we received the bag, we had no trouble fitting Lily in it. It took a little practice, as Lily is cautious about new things by nature, but we discovered it was fairly easy to get her inside the bag. Once she’s inside, we can easily carry her around, and as she’s riding around forward facing, she is able to see everything that’s going on, which is perfect for her curious personality.

K9 Sport Sack Pros

In our experience with the backpack, we really like that the bag is lightweight, yet sturdy. It’s perfect for a dog like Lily, who is too heavy and too big to carry in a typical dog carrier. We also liked that it unzips all the way to let her get inside. This made it easier to train her to get into it, and generally easier for us to zip her up.

Furthermore, we liked the security and safety features. At no time carrying her in the backpack have we ever felt like she could get out, even when she’s moving around. Another fun feature is the customizable patches that velcro to the outside of the bag. We loved having the ability to personalize our bag to Lily herself.

The K9 Sport Sack is also great for a curious, alert dog like Lily who likes to see what’s going on and pays great attention to what’s around her. Since she is forward facing, she can move back and forth and look at everything. Another great feature is that even when she moves, it doesn’t feel like you’re carrying all her weight on one side. The backpack distributes her weight evenly, but still gives her the freedom to move.

K9 Sport Sack Cons

On the other hand, as much as the zipper lends itself to getting Lily in the bag, we felt that it was still difficult with a dog that I would describe as “wiggly,” such as mine. Since the bag has no solid form when unzipped to allow the dog in, it can take a few minutes to get Lily situated. However, we do feel like this might become easier with more and more experience with the bag.

Lastly, despite the two pockets on the side of the backpack, we did think more storage would be useful. If we’re taking Lily to the office for the day, for example, we would like the ability to carry more things with us. This said, storage may be better with the Air Plus.

The Bottomline

Ultimately, we really liked using the K9 Sport Sack. It may take some continued practice, especially with a stubborn, cautious dog like Lily, but in general, she behaved very well while using it. She was very comfortable and was able to ride around with us the whole time. The forward-facing component allowed her to watch what was going on. It is definitely a good option for anyone who wants to take their dog on the subway or train, as it’s easy to carry and maneuver. In the end, we will definitely continue to use it and think it’s a great value for the money we spent. Two Corgi paws up.

The K9 Sport Sack was designed to be everything other carriers were not; hands-free, easy to use, balanced, interactive, comfortable and most importantly — safe. Their goal of bringing humans and their pets closer together drives them to keep making the K9 Sport Sack the highest quality, most comfortable carrier on the planet. 

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