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Top Paw All-Day Pet Carrier Backpack

Learn about this comfortable, durable pet carrier travel backpack. River’s and my go-to travel backpack.


This is a well-made pet travel backpack with ample mesh ventilation panels, two zippered side entrances and a large top opening. The zippers are large and so far are durable, and the seams appear to be well made. It is comfortable for both myself and River. The only slight drawback is that there is not a crossbar to support the front panel from caving in a bit when the pet is being carried, so I added one (see details below). Overall, this is our go-to travel backpack for dogpacking trips.

Product Specs

Weight limit

Pros and Cons

  • Durable
  • Two side entrances and a top opening
  • Well ventilated
  • Comfortable for a small dog
  • Comfortable to carry as a backpack
  • Folds flat when not in use
  • Front panel folds in a bit while pet being carried; I remedied this by taping a rod to the inside of the zippered pocket on the front

Testing conditions

River and I have been using this backpack for the past ten-months, including nine in-cabin airplane flights and dozens of trips walking around in stores to help get her accustomed to busy environments (a practice which has proved to be very helpful when we are in airport terminals).

Our impressions

River was quick to take to this backpack, eagerly getting in whenever I open one of the side panels. To facilitate this early adoption, I always leave her travel bag open at home in the living room and reward her with verbal praise or a treat whenever she gets in it on her own.

River and I both were comfortable while she was carried on my back. I always engage the hip belt since that reduces the load on the shoulder straps and hopefully they will last longer that way. It also reduces the load on my own shoulders.

What I like most about the backpack is how well it seems to be made. The zippers are large and appear to be reliable. And there are two large side entrances and a large opening on top. This is handy in case a zipper were to fail – we have two other options for continuing to use the backpack. The backpack has padded straps, a padded back panel and a removable (attached via Velcro) plush bed covering the floor panel.

Additionally, when not in use, by unzipping both side panels it allows the backpack to fold flat for storage. This is also useful for a point-to-point trip where the travel carrier needs to be brought along on the trip to use for the flight home.

We made two modifications to the backpack: (1) I found the spacious front zippered lower pocket to not be useful since it adds to the height of the backpack when lying down – this could make it tricky to fit the backpack under an airplane seat (even if the pocket is empty). For that reason I cut the pocket off. (2) The second modification was to tape (using black duct tape) a carbon fibre rod transversely to the inside of the flat zippered pouch on the front of the backpack, located just below the top mesh opening. This needed to be reinforced because when the backpack is in use, the weight of the pet causes the soft front panel to fold in a bit. This rod did the trick of providing stiffness, much like a cross beam (above photo). A 10-inch long 1/4 inch-diameter wooden dowel would likely work just as well.

This pet carrier backpack has so far been comfortable, sturdy and reliable for in-cabin air travel and for bringing River into stores that otherwise do not allow dogs. If you are in the market for a pet carrier, I suggest looking for one with more than one point of entry, and verifying the dimension allowances for in-cabin pet carriers from the airline(s) you plan to travel with.

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