Best suited for: Backpack
Also works for: In-cabin airplane carrier
Overall rating: ★★★★★
I’ll just say up front that I like this product a lot. Outward Hound’s backpack is the same size as a school backpack, but it’s been optimized for your small dog’s comfort and for your convenience.
The sides and top flap consist nearly entirely of mesh panels, so your dog has plenty of ventilation. The side seams have been reinforced, so the bag will not collapse onto your pet if the bag is laid on its back, and since the bottom is stiffened, the product retains its shape pretty well when a dog of the appropriate size (see below) is on board. Nice details include a lanyard inside to clip to your dog’s harness, and a clip that allows you to roll back and secure the top flap, in case you want your dog to poke her head out the top. There are three generous pockets, one of which includes a key clip. The shoulder straps are padded, and there are chest and waist belts to distribute your dog’s weight.
The only downside, from my point of view, is that the carrier is too small for Chloe. I believe it would also be an awkward configuration for a long dog like a Dachshund. If you own a fairly petite dog — say 10 lbs. or under — this is a carrier that might fit nicely into your life. It’s lightweight, which is both its curse (a heavier-weight bag might keep its shape under a heavier load) and its blessing (why add more weight to your back?).
Though it’s not mentioned on the packaging, this would work as an in-cabin airplane carrier for a small dog. The back, which would be on the ground when the bag was placed under a seat, is sufficiently padded and the padding appears to be water-resistant. The mesh panels give you a good view of your dog, and the double zipper around the top panel allows you to unzip it a bit to reach in with treats, ice cubes, etc. And the backpack straps would be a big help during layovers, as you dash outside to reach a pet relief area. Here too the carrier’s lightness is a positive, since it reduces strain on your back and gives you a better chance of meeting an airline’s maximum weight requirements (see Pet Carrier Review’s Guides for details about U.S. and international airlines’ in-cabin pet policies).
Kyle Hansen of the Kyjen Company sent me three different Outward Hound carriers to try out and review. Kyjen has not paid for these reviews, and when I warned Kyle that they might not be love-fests, he said, essentially, “let ‘er rip.” Pet Carrier Review’s policy requires me to give away freebies valued at over $50, and Kyjen has agreed that the products will be given away to Pet Carrier Review readers.
Kyjen Outward Hound Backpack Pet Carrier Black Small