Accommodating Needs With the K9 Sport Sack Dog Carrier

Table of contents
  1. Key Points
  2. Dog Carrier Adjustable Backpack
    $86.10 ($86.10 / Count)

    by K9 Sport Sack

    Buy Now
    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
    02/19/2024 02:01 am GMT
    No Dog Left Behind
  3. Six Safety Features
  4. Airflow
  5. Easy In-and-Out, With a Caveat
  6. Easiest From a Raised Surface
  7. Top Heavy While Cycling
  8. Booster Seat
  9. Customization
  10. Net Outcome
  11. Happy Together

Key Points

  • Physical activity and time spent in nature are ideal activities to increase health and wellness.

  • Dogs love accompanying their owners during outdoor adventures.

  • Here is a personal review of the K9 Sport Sack Plus 2 backpack dog carrier.

Like many people, I love being outdoors, cycling, and hiking as a fun way to stay fit. Dr. Denise Mitten et al. agree, saying, "The synergistic effect of physical activity and time spent in nature make hiking an ideal activity to increase overall health and wellness."

I almost always have my best buddy, Gunner the border collie, alongside me for adventures. However, when Gunner was diagnosed with heart disease a few years ago, our veterinary cardiologist told us Gunner should not be running long distances.

This generated a quest to find the best option to accommodate Gunner's special needs as he continues joining me during outdoor experiences. Thankfully, Gunner is otherwise still healthy and very active.

Like so many dogs, he wants to go along with his human on romps.

Dog Carrier Adjustable Backpack
$86.10 ($86.10 / Count)

by K9 Sport Sack

Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/19/2024 02:01 am GMT
No Dog Left Behind

The author with her border collie in the K9 Sport Sack

Carrie Chaffin for BarkSpot

The forward-facing K9 Sport Sack is a backpack-style dog carrier that allows dogs to join their owners on adventures. K9 Sport Sack offers a wide range of sizes and adjustability options that are best chosen based on the exact height and length measurements of each dog.

My border collie is 30 lbs. and 18" tall at the top of the withers. I selected the K9 Sport Sack Plus 2 version in mint color size large. For comfort and weight-bearing during more strenuous activities, I like that it has thicker shoulder straps and a padded back panel.

The "Plus" in the K9 Sport Sack Plus is a storage bag for gear like treats and waste bags. This smaller pack adheres to the back of the carrier via hook-and-loop and is fully detachable.

The fully vented sides for Gunner's comfort and cooling draw me to this carrier. The mesh dual side pockets increase ventilation so fresh air reaches him.

The dog sits right against my back facing forward in a "begging" position with his front paws touching my shoulders. The newer (2) carriers have extra features compared with the original models.

The wide base accommodates the dog's body and tail. There are adjustable cinch straps at the side and back to ensure the best fit. The zipper's fur flap prevents zipping the dog's fur in the bag. The collar enclosure is fully adjustable.

Six Safety Features

For my border collie in the Texas heat, the breathable side panels are the first safety option I need. I choose this carrier specifically because of the mesh construction for airflow.

Securing the collar enclosure around Gunner's neck keeps the carrier in position during use. Tightening the collar enclosure ensures Gunner doesn't force himself up and out of the bag.

The angled side cinch straps keep Gunner close to my shoulders and prevent him from leaning too far back. The side straps keep Gunner snug inside the carrier.

The main zipper has a no-slip mechanism. It locks in place so no weight or pressure forces it back open.

I thread the collar enclosure buckle through the zipper loop once the carrier is closed. This zipper loop is a safety mechanism that ensures the zipper stays zipped while Gunner is in the carrier.

The carabiner collar clip attaches to the dog's collar, securing the pet inside and preventing them from climbing out of the bag. I don't use this particular feature because Gunner's ID collar snaps open with pressure because it's a safety breakaway design.


Maximum airflow of the side mesh material is one of the top reasons I like this bag over other types, such as papoose-style carriers. The ventilated side panels are very important in maintaining a comfortable temperature for Gunner.

Even with the ventilated mesh sides, this carrier is not designed for extended use during extremely hot weather. Correctly, the K9 Sport Sack folks advise owners to keep their dogs hydrated and limit time in direct sunlight.

Easy In-and-Out, With a Caveat

Teaching Gunner to get into the sack was easy, but I acknowledge that he is an exceptionally laid-back dog and more eager than most to be complicit with whatever I'm trying to do with him.

The K9 Sport Sack site has recommendations and videos about teaching dogs to get in the bag. For Gunner I find the easiest method is having him sit on top of the bag and I gently place him hindquarters-first into the sack. Then I zip it up, place his front legs through the holes, and secure the collar enclosure to the zipper.

As always, I use lots of praise and treats for positive reinforcement during teaching.

Easiest From a Raised Surface

Gunner the border collie

Carrie Chaffin for BarkSpot

Putting it on, standing, and taking it off is easiest from a bed or raised surface with this backpack-style carrier. Getting the bag on from the ground with Gunner inside is challenging after rest breaks while hiking.

When I'm with another person I get them to help me. I get the backpack on and off by myself while sitting on the ground with effort, but a raised surface makes the process much easier.

Top Heavy While Cycling

Gunner gets heavy when carrying him while I'm riding a bike. This is probably less of an issue for a younger, more conditioned person or with a smaller dog.

With Gunner's extra 30 lbs. on my back, balance becomes a concern. I find using our trailer for dogs is a better option while bicycling.

Booster Seat

For my smaller spaniel Rosco, I use the same size K9 Sport Sack by inserting the available K9 Booster Block into the bottom of the carrier. It boosts Rosco up three inches, making it comfortable for him even though at 20 lbs. and 14" he is a very different size.

The booster seat is made of sturdy foam and has a removable, washable cloth cover. Two blocks put together lifts an even smaller dog six inches.


There are several neat custom options available to personalize the K9 Sport Sack. Choices include a Custom K9 Patch embroidered with your dog's name — or anything else you like — made from 100 percent recycled materials.

A smaller mini-patch is available for the carrier's storage bag. There are also emotional support or service animal "do not pet," "ask to pet," and "service human" patches available. They are easily attachable and detachable via hook and loop backing or choose permanent fabric backing.

Net Outcome

I love the functionality of being hands-free while Gunner rides in the K9 Sport Sack Plus 2 backpack carrier. Gunner enjoys being up close and personal with me during hikes and outdoor adventures.

The biggest downside is Gunner up high on my back is cumbersome for me while riding a bike. This backpack-style carrier is not our best option for cycling.

I struggle to get the carrier on from the ground and stand up — it is decidedly easier from a bed or other raised surface. For a much smaller dog this is less of a concern.

When ordering it, the multi-functional storage pack that comes with the K9 Sport Sack Plus 2 seems like a great accessory. However, I never use the smaller detachable pack since I rely on a treat pouch and clothes pockets to stash my necessities. The additional pack just adds unnecessary bulk.

The abundant airflow of the mesh sides is a must-have and makes this carrier stand out among some other types, such as papoose-style transporters. The booster seat accessory enables using the same pack for very different dogs.

Frequent breaks, while Gunner stretches and sniffs and I rest, are necessary. At 30 lbs., Gunner is near the limit of what I can physically handle for this style of carrier.

Happy Together

The author and her best buddy

Carrie Chaffin for BarkSpot

Gunner and I love hiking, like many do as the St George News reported in July 2023. The K9 Sport Sack forward-facing backpack dog carrier allows us to continue exploring the great outdoors together.

The backpack involves training and takes some getting used to at first. The K9 Sport Sack Plus 2 is a good option for keeping Gunner with me while hiking.

Because life really is too short with my best buddy, I'm grateful to get outside and continue making memories to last a lifetime.

Subscribe to BarkSpot for more information on improving the bond with your dog.

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