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Topic: Dog hiking backpack - tutorial with pics  (Read 99681 times)
Tags for this thread: featured_project , dog_backpack , tutorial , holiday_gifts_for_pets , craftster_best_of_2009  Add new tag
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« on: June 19, 2009 09:51:53 PM »

I've learned that I'm way more likely to exercise if I have some company while I do it, so to that end I've started taking my dog Jeff with me when I run intervals in the park by my house.  Some things I learned from our first run: 1) Jeff gets tired and could use a drink after about 20 minutes, 2) there are no spigots, water fountains or trash cans for miles, apparently, and 3) it is no fun to run while holding a bag of poop (or two).

Hence the doggie backpack.  This is meant for light use, carrying some bags/water/full poop bags until they can be disposed of, and for no more than an hour at a time (because honestly, I can't last that long either).  It has a handle for easy placement upon the dog's back, and a padded chest strap.  I added a pad to the girth strap after I took these pictures.

Size: Jeff is medium-sized, about 55 lbs.  He measured about 28" around at the chest, behind the forelegs, and about 18" across the front of the chest to the point above his elbows.

About 1/2 yard or so of fabric (I used camo duck cloth, but if you want something more durable, I would try a ripstop nylon)
1" nylon webbing, about a yard and change
Two 9" zippers (I used 7" because that's what I had)
Two plastic buckles for 1" webbing
Scrap batting (I used fleece, again out of convenience)
A lighter or match, to melt the cut ends of the nylon webbing

All seam allowances are 1/2" unless otherwise noted.

Cut two rectangles 21" x 9.5" and curve the corners.  Pin right sides together.

Sew around the outside, leaving a small opening.  Turn inside out and fold the edges under in the opening.  Press.

Sew the opening shut close to the edge (if you're extra special, hand sew the opening shut to hide the stitches).  Top stitch 1/4" in from the edge.

(Instructions are for one pocket, repeat for the second pocket.)
Cut one rectangle 8.5" W x 10.5" H (A), and one 10.5" W x 7.5" H (B).

Fold (B) in half width-wise and mark 1.5" from fold on top and bottom, both sides.  Lay flat.

Fold between the marks and press.  Fold each pressed line in towards center about 1/2" to create a box pleat.  (B) should now be the same width as (A).  Pin in place.

Baste the pleats in place.

Pin the zipper face down along the edge of (A).  Sew.

Flip the zipper back and place so zipper and (A) are face down on (B).

Pin and stitch in place.

Open the layers and press the seam allowance away from the zipper.

Top stitch.

Open the zipper halfway and fold the pocket in half, right sides in, so free edges are aligned.  Pin in place.  Stitch around the sides and bottom.

Pull the layers apart so that two folds run at 45 degrees from the corner.  Stitch across these layers, perpendicular to the bottom seam.  Clip the corner (not pictured).

Repeat for the opposite side.

Turn inside out and press.  Repeat for second pocket.

Align the bottom edges of the pockets with the bottom of the saddle base.  Pin in place by the top edge.  Stitch across the top edge.  (I did a double line of stitching for extra strength.)

Cut a length of nylon webbing slightly longer than the width of the saddle base.  Melt the ends with the lighter.  Pin in place along the midline.

Stitch the ends in place using an "X in the box" stitching line (Do this every time you tack down the end of a strap).

Cut a rectangle 14" L x 3.5" W, two from fabric, one from batting/padding/fleece. Curve the corners to create an oblong shape.  Cut a rectangle 12.5" x 3.5" from fabric.

Flip edges under on the rectangle, press and stitch. 

Pin in place centered on one of the oblongs, both right sides up.

Baste across the long edges (not pictured).  Place a length of the 1" nylon webbing lengthwise along the center of the oblong.  This will be used as a guide for stitching the strap channel.

Stitch down the length of the webbing creating a channel.  Stitch as close to the webbing as you can manage without stitching over it.

Stitch on both sides of the webbing.  Your channel should look like this.

Lay the three pieces in the following order: batting, plain oblong right side up, channel oblong right side down.

Pin in place.

Stitch around the outside, leaving a small opening (not too small, otherwise it's a pain in the rear to turn inside out).


...press, and stitch the opening closed.  Topstitch 1/4" in from the edge.

Flip the pockets up.  Place the chest buckle about 3.5" above the bottom edge, and in far enough so the whole buckle lays on the saddle base.  Mark with a pin.  Cut a 3" length of webbing, fuse ends, and tack down female end of the buckle, aligning the edge of the buckle with your pin.

Slip the chest pad onto the webbing.  Mark the corresponding spot on the opposite side of the saddle base.  At this point, check the fit on your dog!  Trim the webbing and tack down the end.  It's always better to leave a little extra and trim the excess later.

Align the girth buckle perpendicular to the chest buckle, about 3" in from the posterior edge.  Tack down in the same manner as the chest strap.  Find the corresponding point on the opposite side of the saddle base.  Tack down the edge of the girth strap.

Check the fit, trim the end of the girth strap, and buckle.  Tada!

« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2009 09:58:44 PM »

not only is this an amazing idea but you have to have THE most adorable dog on the planet. I really just wanna hug him he's so darn cute  Cheesy

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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2009 10:14:10 PM »

That looks like an amazing backpack, great job!
And Jeff is adorable.
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« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2009 10:31:46 PM »

You so completely rock, it brings new meaning to the word "rock".  I have two huskies and a sheltie, and the huskies definitely need a more productive walk, if you know what I mean.  I can't believe you made this! It looks so totally professional, I'm completely impressed. And not only that, but you made a tutorial! You're my new hero. Seriously.

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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2009 10:41:45 PM »

Very cool, my nanna could use one of these but her dog is so tiny!!

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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2009 11:48:00 PM »

That is brilliant! You're making your dog carry his own poop! It's very well made, great tutorial, and it looks very comfy on your (adorable) dog.

« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2009 02:09:43 AM »

That is brilliant! You're making your dog carry his own poop! It's very well made, great tutorial, and it looks very comfy on your (adorable) dog.

I was totally gonna say this!!  I saw a cartoon or something somewhere once that said, "If you came down from another planet and you saw two creatures walking together, and one made a poop and the other picked it up and carried it for him, who would yousay was in charge!?!"

Also, this is really neat.  Its not an original idea, of course, but your design is very well executed.  Very simple yet so functional, and looks comfy too (when not weighed down with poops!).  I would like to say I will be using your awesome tute to make some, but one of my dogs would fit in a pocket, and while the other is a little bigger, but she wouldn't be able to carry the weight of the backpack,  much less with anything in it!
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2009 05:57:16 AM »

Cool! Thanks for the tutorial! (Someday when I get to have a dog, I'm gonna want one of these for sure!)

btw, I want your dog, lol. I love his attitude, he looks so relaxed- I bet he's fun to play with Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2009 07:00:23 PM »

Really nice work! And THANKS for the tute, I will need one of these when I get my doggie!

It IS great to have a pal to exercise with, and remember, when the dog rehydrates, you should too!   Cheesy

Jeff is a happy cute dog, and I must say he is in GREAT shape!

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« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2009 03:52:29 PM »

What a great idea!  Thanks for the tutorial. 

It's like "well, buddy, if you're gonna poop... YOU carry it!"

« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2009 05:22:50 PM »

this is such a great idea!  now, make something that helps cat clean their litterboxes?   Cheesy
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« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2009 05:38:36 PM »

Jeff is made of Awesome! And so is your backpack, and tutorial. Smiley

« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2009 05:45:02 PM »

your dog is great for carrying his own weight on walks Smiley
the backpack and the construction of it look so professional! I'd rather have one made by you than most of the ones I see in the pet stores, they all look so cheap, but the price tag does not agree

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« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2009 09:05:20 PM »

I don't even have a dog and I think this is an excellent idea! How genius!

« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2009 03:02:12 AM »

wow that turned out so nice!
looks like something you just can buy in the store!

owh and i love the proud look on your dog in the first pic!!

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« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2009 08:08:10 PM »

This is awesome. I'm going to make one for my dog, but it will not get a ton of use because my dog is a Pug. And as any Pug owner will tell you, they are dogs of luxury. Preferring comfy chairs, snorting, chewing on leather toys, and yelling at the TV to adventuring Roll Eyes

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« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2009 11:02:35 AM »

Yes please.

These things are stupidly expensive and usually are very boring or the pockets are too small.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2009 05:44:16 AM by aericina » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2009 06:53:45 PM »

oh man this would have been the perfect gift for my best friend''s dog.  he loves to hike and camp, but his birthday has already passed.

guess i'll make it anyway, thanks for the tutorial!

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« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2009 05:34:07 AM »

Congrats on being a Featured Project!  http://www.craftster.org/blog/?p=2226

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« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2009 12:47:17 PM »

Oh my gosh! Ah, ha ha! That's adorable!  Grin
« Reply #20 on: June 28, 2009 09:01:00 AM »

i think you have the happiest looking dog i've ever seen. and your tutorial gives me lots of construction ideas!!!
« Reply #21 on: June 28, 2009 03:35:28 PM »

This is VERY innovative.  I love it!  I am considering making one for my parents' doggie=)  Awesome work! And thanks for the tute. =) 
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« Reply #22 on: June 30, 2009 02:22:24 AM »

Thank you for this wonderful post! Great job!  This is a great idea and thank you for the very understandable tute.  Jeff is an awesome dog.  He looks so happy and proud of his pack.  Being a huge dog lover, I automatically look at any post with dogs.  I am so happy I looked at yours.  Usually clothes and the like are for the tiny dogs, cute, but not useful for me.  I have 2 black labs.  We walk 2 miles together 4 to 5 times a week.  I carry a very cumbersome waterbottle/dog dish on a belt.  It is a pain! To be honest, if it rains, I don't carry it, knowing there will be puddles they prefer much better.  I like your idea so much better! My male dog will be ecstatic to have a job to do.  My female is kind of froufrou, she will probably wear one only if it is decked out in bows and lace.

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« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2009 08:47:12 AM »

Jeff is very cute, and this is a cool back pack.

I am up for a personal swap!
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« Reply #24 on: July 04, 2009 07:43:25 PM »

That is a great idea! Unfortunately, my dog would look at me like I was crazy if I tried to make her carry stuff. Of course, she is only 8 pounds.

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« Reply #25 on: July 05, 2009 04:09:13 AM »

That is fantastic, great tutorial too. Definately gonna try this, thanks!

« Reply #26 on: July 05, 2009 10:10:10 AM »

Aww I love this. Hmm I wonder how my ferrets would go wearing this kind of thing.
« Reply #27 on: July 06, 2009 10:24:08 AM »

I want to make one for my cats so they can go downstairs and get me sandwiches.  Cheesy

So cute! If I had a dog, he/she'd definitely be getting one.

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« Reply #28 on: July 07, 2009 06:38:42 AM »

Thanks everyone for the kind words!  I know the design isn't original, I looked at a lot of dog backpacks for ideas.  However, there have been many times that I've seen something I wanted to make, but couldn't quite wrap my head around it and a picture would have helped a lot. 

I look forward to seeing all the dog/cat/ferret backpacks you guys make!  Cats carrying sandwiches!  Min pins carrying kleenex!  It's madness!!!

p.s. Jeff now knows that when I get his backpack out, it's time for a walk.  The trouble is getting him to hold still long enough for me to put it on.

p.p.s. If I were to make one modification to the design, it would be to add reflective strips or make it out of neon yellow material or clip a red blinking light to it.  A couple times when we were out at dusk it would have made me feel much safer if dingus Jeff were a little more visible to cars.
« Reply #29 on: July 07, 2009 09:18:40 AM »

This is soo cool I wish I had a dog so I could make this
« Reply #30 on: August 03, 2009 09:50:03 AM »

Ohhh I love this!!  I might have to try it!
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« Reply #31 on: August 05, 2009 07:12:24 PM »

fabulous! I jsut bookmarked this to make for my 60lb yellow lab. Great tut! Thanks so much!
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« Reply #32 on: August 20, 2009 02:37:11 PM »

How fantastic!  Grin

I've seen these in petshops, but I'd better yours would be better value. I might just have to make one of these for when I go running with my dog!
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« Reply #33 on: January 12, 2010 10:41:56 PM »


Do more of what makes you happy.
« Reply #34 on: May 03, 2010 06:24:18 PM »

I love that you named your dog Jeff, & that he can carry his own poop.  Awesome all around.  :]
« Reply #35 on: May 13, 2010 07:36:55 PM »

What a great idea, and what a very cute dog =)
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« Reply #36 on: June 10, 2010 08:57:49 AM »

This is awesome! Thank you for the tutorial!

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« Reply #37 on: August 16, 2010 10:25:26 AM »

Oh wow this is a great tutorial! Thanks!

« Reply #38 on: January 02, 2011 06:57:43 PM »

I just wanted to thank you for this great tutorial.  It was just what I needed.  Today I made a pack for my yellow lab using your ideas.  Unfortunately, I didn't have zippers on hand so I made pockets without zippers.  I used one of my husbands corduroy shirts.  I will probably live to regret that as labs are notorious shedders.   Next time, I will make a trip to the fabric store for the ripstop nylon you suggested. It took me about 2.5 hours but I needed to adjust the directions for my dog's size and the fabric I was using.  All in all, I'm very pleased with the result and so is Wrigley!  We so very much appreciate your time and effort in putting this tutorial out there.

Here's a picture of my happy dog wearing his new, custom-made gear:

Thanks so much!


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« Reply #39 on: January 14, 2011 11:49:12 AM »

Thanks for this Smiley
I've been looking for a pack for my dog Maulie for awhile, and they were either cheap looking or out of my price-range...

Here he is in his new gear...

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« Reply #40 on: June 16, 2011 02:08:08 AM »

Too cute. I'm going to have to make one of these in tiny form for a chihuahua. It will just be too cute!

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« Reply #41 on: August 19, 2011 11:21:50 PM »

Thankyou for the tute!

I have been drooling over similarly styled commercial dog backpacks, but can't afford the cost and shipping of them!
« Reply #42 on: October 03, 2011 10:31:05 AM »

Just wanted to thank you for the awesome tutorial! I followed it to a T and it came out great! My picture isn't the best (iPhone in not great lighting), and I shortened the back strap after (it was ridiculously big, lol). I added touches of orange because here in NH, it is hunting season and we need to be careful Smiley Despite his serious look here in the picture, my dog Django didn't mind wearing it at all. Going hiking next weekend to test it out!

(sorry, this is my first post so I can only link to pictures)
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« Reply #43 on: October 04, 2011 11:53:29 AM »

I love Jeff! He is a very good model too! I'm gonna make one of these for my Barking Poop Machine.

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« Reply #44 on: June 19, 2012 09:33:19 AM »

This is Tigger wearing his new backpack and carrying his own pac-a-mac:



I reduced the size of the saddle cloth to 19 x 7.5 and re-sized the pockets accordingly as Tiggers chest is only 25 1/2.

 I will also have to make sure that there is something in both pockets as although his pac-a-mac is very light the back pack was twisting to that side with nothing on the other side.
« Reply #45 on: January 08, 2013 10:28:33 PM »

Jeff likes his pack! Great job! 

Our Siberian Husky wears her pack on daily walks to carry water for her and us (though it never occurred to me to put the bags o' poo in there, in a separate compartment, lol). We used to only put the pack on her when we went on hiking trips, but she needs a job (even at 14 years old)  and always trotted so proudly in her pack on hikes, we started using it on a regular basis. Her doggie pack is store bought, and it never occurred to me to make one because they seemed so complicated. But after reading your tutorial, I think I can tackle this, and the fact you get to personalize it through fabric choice is a bonus. We walk alot in the evening, so I think I will add something reflective. Thank you so much!
« Reply #46 on: August 04, 2013 10:39:05 PM »

I made this pack tonight- came together beautifully. Tutorial is fantastic!! Only ran into one problem- it's way too small for my one-year old 70lb Rottweiler!! I'll just have to beef it up a bit for him, and to allow for growing room. So our friend's Dalmation is getting a present Smiley
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« Reply #47 on: October 02, 2013 05:09:41 AM »

Awesome idea! And your pup is so beautiful Smiley
« Reply #48 on: June 16, 2014 11:03:34 AM »

These instructions were awesome.  Made one for Minerva... but I offset the bags and added some clips and rings for accessories.  She's now got a bag holder, a water bottle holder, and a collapsible water bowl.  I'm taking her on a cross country road trip this summer, and now she'll be taking pit stops in style!
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