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Product review: Timbuk2’s Muttmover backpack dog carrier

My friend Jennie, a loyal reader, made my day when she wrote a post on Dog Jaunt’s Facebook wall asking me to take a look at the new backpack carrier from Timbuk2. We must own three or four different Timbuk2 messenger bags, and we’ve given a couple of others away as gifts — the company does good work, and I looked forward to seeing what they’d done with their first dog carrier. I paid for my own Muttmover, by the way. I will always tell you when something I’m reviewing has been paid for by someone else.

The Muttmover is made of what looks like a pair of fused materials — a heavy, ballistic nylon fabric on the outside and a waterproof tarp on the inside. It’s about 17″ tall, 12.5″ wide, and 6″ deep. Chloe fit in it, but couldn’t turn around. She weighs 13 lbs. and is about 12″ tall at the shoulders. She wasn’t uncomfortable, but I think she’s at the upper end of what will fit in this carrier.

Someday Chloe's patience with being shoved into new carriers will come to an end...

Your dog travels sideways in the main compartment, and you have the option of letting her poke her head out of one side or the other, since the top section of each side panel can be unzipped (each has a Velcro tab, and you pat it flat against the back wall of the carrier). I was momentarily perplexed by a couple of grey straps that connect the top edges of the back and front walls, but finally realized that they’re there to keep the bag structurally sound when the side panels are zipped open.

Like all of the Timbuk2 products I’ve seen, this carrier is beautifully constructed. The clips, zippers, and mesh panels are very sturdy. Timbuk2 uses really enormous Velcro panels to supplement their bags’ clips, and this bag is no exception. Between the clips, the Velcro panels, and the most impressive sewn-in tether I’ve ever seen, I felt that Chloe was well-secured. I was happy to find a generous pocket, big enough to hold a wallet as well as your dog’s leash, poop bags, etc. It’s located outside the dog’s compartment, but the carrier’s outer flap covers it when the carrier is closed.

The Muttmover is much more comfortable than the backpack carrier we own (the Creature Leisure Carry Den XT). The Carry Den is boxy, and gives Chloe plenty of room to move around and curl up, but one of its long edges cuts across the middle of my back. I can stand it for about an hour or so, but a hike would be very hard, and biking with it would be out of the question. The Timbuk2 backpack does not have the structural beams the Carry Den has. On the negative side, that means that although its bottom does not sag, it does tend to tilt (looking at the picture I posted of the Carry Den, however, I notice that it tilts a bit too!). On the positive side, the Muttmover is soft across your back. The straps are big and well-padded, and the left strap has one of the company’s “Beer Candy” anodized aluminum bottle openers built in. I love that.

I bought the Muttmover because I plan to give it to my brother, who’s been looking for a backpack carrier for bike trips with his family’s new dog, a Chihuahua mix named Quogue. I think this carrier might work well as a bike backpack (I’ll ask him to report, once he’s given it a try), and I recommend it as a walking/hiking carrier. Keep in mind that the carrier is black, and although there are huge mesh panels on each side, your dog may heat up in the sun. Be sure to keep her hydrated!