Ben Durham

K9 Sport Sack Air – Full Review

Kasper the dog in a k9 backpack on cloudy day

This is Kasper – He’s a dog in a bag! He used to be left at home while we went off on long bike rides… Oh so alone 😢 Now that we have the K9 Sport Sack Air, we can take him with us and he’s super happy to be chilling right on our backs!

Right before we continue, watch the video version of this blog post here! 👇

Overview – K9 Sport Sack Air

k9 sport sack 2019 logo close up

This specific dog backpack is from a company called K9 Sport Sack which sells a variety of dog backpacks for all different shapes and sizes of doggos. This one right here is the Air 1 which we’ve had for around 2 years now, since June 2019.

How we use our dog bag

Although there are many potential uses for this bag, we exclusively use it for biking when we’re going longer distances where he can’t run alongside us, using our generic dog-running bike attachment. We usually use the two devices together on bike rides. Let me explain!

Kasper running along side Ben on his Ride1Up 500 series ebike

Most of the time, we start off with him running his little heart out next to us – which he loves – but after about five kilometres or so he starts to get tired. That makes sense! So we walk a little to cool down and then we put him in the backpack for him to rest.

Once he’s in and on one of our backs, we take off and continue biking. After around 30 minutes or so, we take him out and repeat the process – as long as he’s up for it!

Kasper in k9 sport sack backpack on ben's back on bike

How to get your dog in a bag

Here’s a quick how-to on how to do that… but watching the video might be the easiest way for you to understand it!

  • the first thing Natalia does is get him to focus on a treat for the entire time and then reward him throughout the entire process with small bits of it each step of the way.
  • Obviously, he’s incredibly focused on the treat, so that’s not a problem. So getting his entire body onto the bag is something that we try to do… but that doesn’t always happen and sometimes we have to bring the bag to him.
  • Then we plop his back end into the bag and pull the bag up around to engulf him in the bagginess.
  • For the front paws, put one paw in at a time so that they don’t lose their balance!
Kasper being strapped into the k9 sport sack backpack
  • Pull it up and then proceed to laugh at the sack of potatoes!
  • Do up the collar attachment so he can’t sneak away to that treat.
  • Have him lay back down and make sure he doesn’t sneak a bite of that treat (AGAIN haha).
  • Zip up the back, being careful of fur – even though there is a fur flap for that.
  • Finally, do up the buckles and you’re set to go!
  • And then there’s picking him up, which is pretty easy.
  • Just be gentle about it and if you have a surface that you can put them on, do that. If not, you can use your leg to hold the dog. Hopefully, they’re not too heavy! This will change depending on the size of your dog.
  • Then you just get your arm in, and then you get your other arm in and you’re good to go!

Backpack features

On to the features! There are different versions of this bag but the specific one that we have is the K9 Sport Sack Air 1 in a size Medium.

  • Their stock since has been replaced with the Air 2, which includes a few upgrades – most noticeably the better shoulder straps.
  • They mention “no more popping off chest clips” but we actually haven’t had any chest clips pop off or anything… although I do see a difference in the actual quality of the shoulder straps. That upgrade should be great because ours are starting to fall apart; especially on the left side because Kasper likes to rest both of his paws there.
  • The updated side mesh looks a little bit more malleable in the Air 2 and the Air 1 has a bit more of a “hard resin” feel to it.
hard resin feel to the mesh on the side of the k9 bag
  • There are also new side and back cinch straps but I honestly don’t really see a difference here. They look the same to me.
  • Its weight limit is 30 pounds or 13 kilograms and Kasper (Miniature Schnauzer) is just right in there at around 20 pounds, so that works out well with the size Medium!

Shared features of the K9 Sport Sack Air 1 and 2

Back over to the features that both the old and new bags share:

  • there are ventilated side panels for cooling.
vented sides on both sides of the k9 backpack
  • There are dual side pockets with cinches at the top which is super handy. We usually put treats in one and then the dog bags and his leash in the other.
  • For the person wearing the bag, there’s a sternum strap with an avalanche whistle clip. We haven’t had to use the whistle yet.
k9 backpack and its chest clip and whistle
  • There’s a wider base to accommodate your pet’s tail… Not that Kasper has one, unfortunately.
  • And this is one of the features that you kind of don’t notice until you notice it: there’s a fur flap so you don’t snag any of your dog’s fur when you’re zipping up the bag.
fur protector flap on k9 bag
  • I know one of Natalia’s favourite features is that there’s a clip for the collar. It uses a small carabiner to attach Kasper’s collar to the bag so that he can’t slip out when on-route. It gives us peace of mind, even though that situation is really unlikely. You’d probably feel him wriggling long before that ever happened!

Weak points – K9 Sport Sack Air

As much as we enjoy using this bag, there are some weak points. So, let’s cover those.

No waist strap (on this model)

The lack of a waist strap. We actually contacted K9’s marketing department before making this video and here’s what they had to say about our complaint about the lack of a waist strap: there are other models with waist straps.

Thanks, we know that. But we think that this model should probably come with one as well… so we got my mom to sew one on. Thanks, mom!

stitches of the DIY waist strap on the k9 sport sack backpack

I do understand that this is one of their lower-cost versions though, so they have to cost-cut somewhere.

Shoulder straps tearing after a lot of use

k9 backpack shoulder strap tearing after a few years of use

One of the other weak points. which is probably just with the Air 1 – and they probably already received feedback on this because they’ve changed it for the Air 2 – is the weak shoulder straps. Especially on our left side, where Kasper likes resting both of his paws, it’s starting to wear out and we’re probably gonna have to do a patch job here to make sure it doesn’t wear out entirely.

Shipping cost to Canada – K9 Sport Sack

Lastly, shipping to Canada was expensive! It ended up being $128 US Dollars or $160 Canadian Dollars after taxes, duties, fees, and shipping. That’s expensive as a Canadian! But the great news about that is that K9 heard feedback from their Canadian customers and they are setting up a distribution center in Toronto.

So, is this dog backpack worth it?

Natalia smiling with Kasper on her back in the k9 sport sack backpack

Yeah, for sure! I mean, there are not too many ways to bring your dog out and about especially – on a bicycle. There are a few other alternatives, but I think the K9 Sport Sack Air is the best for most people. Even when considering the cost and benefits of other options! But take a gander and decide for yourself! 👇

Dog seats for bicycles

One other option for small dogs is a bike-mounted dog seat. But then you have the problem of your dog taking all the hits from all the different bumps in the road. And those are clearly not designed for larger dogs, whereas with a backpack, your body is a giant shock absorber and you can easily put a dog up to 80 pounds on your back.

Alternative: cargo bikes

Another option if biking is already a big part of your life is getting a manual or electric-assisted cargo bike! But those are expensive and not as versatile if all you want to do is go out for a quick bike ride on a bicycle you already own.

Return on investment of this backpack

Speaking of “expensive”, let’s talk about this from a Return On Investment perspective. Depending on how much you use it and what age your doggo lives until you’d probably be using it between 150 and 2,000 times throughout your dog’s life. That’s anywhere from 6 cents to 90 cents per ride with your best friend on your back with their head indefinitely sticking out of your bicycle door window!

Now you might be a hardcore outdoorsy person who’s thinking “I’m going to use it way more than that!” Well congratulations, but I think you’d be the exception because I’m accounting for the next section, which is “when not to use this dog backpack”.

When NOT to use the K9 Sport Sack Air backpack

You should not be wearing this and bringing your doggo with you if it’s really cold out. For example, we live in Canada where the temperatures don’t always allow for the backpack to be used.

Also, don’t use this in extreme heat or in the rain. I mean I bike in the rain regularly but we want Kasper to enjoy his time with us when he’s in the backpack! Positive associations, not negative ones.

And honestly, in any extreme weather really. This is actually what K9 has to say about that on their website. Also, don’t use it if your doggo has any sort of injury you don’t want to hurt them!

Final thoughts

If you’ve made it this far into this post, check out this YouTube #Shorts video, too. Just a quick version of the main one from the top 😜 👇

And there you have it: a quick little review of the K9 Sport Sack Air 1! We love it and if you’re looking for a way to carry a doggo similar to Kasper’s weight and size, I’d say go for the Air 2. It’s about the same as this one but a little bit better! Otherwise, check out all of the other models that K9 offers.

Okay byeeee!

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Ben Durham

Professional storyteller

Just an average person on a bike who’s focused on getting more people out of their cars and on to bicycles or electric last-mile micro-mobility solutions!

That, and rooting for active transportation infrastructure upgrades in North America (we need to catch up)!

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