Introduction: $10 Dog Backpack

About: I get restless, so I make things.
Dog packs are insanely overpriced. A dog pack is basically two fanny packs attached to a dog harness. Why not make your own? You can reuse existing material instead of making something new. This pack is greener, cheaper and totally awesome.


Step 1: Closet Check

Check your closet for any old laptop cases, purses, backpacks, camera cases, etc.

Some things to look for:
  • Velcro
  • Zippers
  • Buckles
  • Snaps
  • Nylon Strap
If you don't have enough nylon strap to complete the pack, check your local army surplus store. They will also have buckles and other fasteners. 

Check thrift stores for purses and pouches that can be used as saddle bags. See the Step 3 for qualities to look for during bag selection.

You will also need:
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • A dog willing to wear a pack
  • Very basic sewing skills

Step 2: Harness the Beast

I won't give exact measurements, this is a custom pack for your dog.

To make the harness that will hold the pack:
  • Cut three nylon straps with the following lengths:
    1. Measure the circumference below your dog's neck, add 6".
    2. Measure the circumference of your dog's waist, add 6".
    3. Measure the length between the dog's waist and shoulders, add 12".
  • Using the lighter, melt the ends of the straps so that they don't fray.
  • Sew the pieces together to create a harness (see photo). Use a buckle for the chest strap and Velcro or another buckle for the waist strap.
  • The straps don't need to be tight, weight in each side of the pack will hold it on the dog.
  • If in doubt, make the straps longer, they can always be shortened later.

Step 3: How Dorky Is Your Dog?

I didn't have anything suitable to use for the saddle bags at home so I started checking thrift stores. My dog is clownish, so I selected two multi-colored purses with pictures of cats and makeup on them. The two purses cost me $7.

You will need two bags of similar size. Good qualities to look for while you search:
  • Waterproof Rating (dogs are not careful about crossing creeks)
  • Pockets
  • Zippers
  • Length (should be similar to the distance between the neck strap and waist strap)
  • Height (use common sense)
Don't expect to use what you find as-is. Modify the bags as necessary.

Attach the saddle bags to the harness, sewing to the chest strap and the waist strap on each side of the center strap.

Step 4: Test Drive

Kona's has already traveled 40 miles with her pack on! I wouldn't change a thing about it.

Please post pics if you make a custom pack for your dog!

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