This Thing Rules

I finally found a dog backpack that’s actually worth the price

At $95, the K9 Sport Sack is not exactly a cheap dog backpack. But it makes carrying a dog on your back easier than I ever thought possible.

K9 Sport Sack review dog backpack that's actually worth the price
Matt Wille / Input
Originally Published: 

My tendency toward frugality is great for my wallet but it also has one major downside: I end up waiting until the last minute to buy stuff that could’ve improved my life long before. This makes good writing fodder but is otherwise a pretty annoying habit, if I do say so myself.

My latest purchase that falls into this category is the K9 Sport Sack. It’s exactly what it sounds like, which is to say it’s a backpack for your canine. Not the kind of backpack your dog can carry on its own back — I mean it’s a human backpack into which you can place your pup. Sorry for the confusion.

I thought I had some really good reasons for not buying a dog carrier. Many of them are ugly and clunky; lugging my 20-pound dog in what basically amounts to a duffle bag doesn’t exactly entice; nicer carriers are expensive, and many companies’ return policies are nonexistent.

Now I live in a city where the subway and busses are more of a daily requirement than an option, and technically dogs aren’t allowed on if they’re not in a bag. So I gave in and bought a Sport Sack. I’m glad I did.

My main concern with the Sport Sack was that my dog wouldn’t enjoy being in it. I mean, the dogs in the company’s photos look happy enough, but where do their legs go? How do they scrunch up like that? Anyway, I found a retailer with a significantly flexible return policy (thanks, and figured I’d give it a shot.

It turns out getting a dog into a narrow backpack is actually relatively easy, when the backpack is built specifically with that process in mind. The K9 Sport Sack might look very much like your run-of-the-mill backpack from a distance, but there are a number of features that make it much easier to coerce your dog into. For one, there’s a zipper down the middle that, when unzipped, leaves the interior completely open. Two holes at the top keep your dog’s legs securely in place.

She’s having fun, I swear.Matt Wille / Input

The Sport Sack is very much designed with the understanding that it’s not the easiest task in the world to put a dog in a bag. With the assistance of a few treats, scooping my dog into the Sport Sack has been surprisingly effortless.

But getting your dog into a bag is only the very beginning of the battle because then you have to actually walk around with a heavy, squirming animal on your shoulders. The Sport Sack makes doing so just about as easy as it possibly can be, which is to say still a little painful but in a manageable way. The shoulder straps are super plush and durable; there is a multitude of crisscrossed straps across the back to keep your dog feeling stable and stop the worst of the wriggling. The Sport Sack Plus 2 — the one I settled on — can hold up to 40 pounds, so you know the bottom is very sturdy, too.

Even great for browsing Sephora’s stock.Matt Wille / Input

That reminds me of my other favorite part about K9 Sport Sack, which is that the company has a really wide, diverse lineup of bags, each geared toward a slightly different audience. The Plus 2 I have falls somewhere in the middle of the lineup in terms of price and carrying capacity. The Trainer and Air 2 are both more entry-level options for smaller dogs, and, as such, they’re a little less expensive; the Plus 2, Knavigate, and Rover 2 are more spacious and better suited to long-term activities. There’s even one (the Urban 2) for those who want their dog backpack to have more of “a trend-setting look.”

It took me a while to settle on the Plus 2, after reading through this blog post on the company’s site more than a few times. Middle-of-the-road ended up being perfect for me — comfortable enough to wear around the city but heavy-duty enough to keep my dog feeling safe, too. I think this, in the end, is what really sold me on the K9 Sport Sack in particular: that, rather than creating a one-size-fits-all product, the company had taken the time to come up with solutions that fit various scenarios. That attention to detail paid off big time.

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