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The Best Dog Bike Trailer for us, the Burley Tail Wagon

The Best Dog Bike Trailers for Cycling Adventures [2021]

Undoubtedly, one of the most common questions we get from readers is our opinion on the best dog bike trailer on the market. There are several to choose from to suit different needs with varying price ranges and qualities.

However…

There are just a few brands that make quality dog bike trailers that will last for years and that can handle a beating, which is why this list may seem short. I don’t just look at the top sellers on Amazon. I do the research and only recommend what I would use myself.

You can trust my pick because I biked across Europe and South America with my dog for two years. We put our trailers to.the.test.

This guide highlights my picks for the best dog bike trailer and will help you choose the ideal one for your adventures.

Best Dog Bike Trailer Comparison Chart

TrailerImageMulti-sportStroller includedPrice
Burley Tail WagonNONO$399
Thule CadenceNOYES$329.95
Burley D'LiteYESYES$699.99 - $899.99
Thule Chariot 2 Lite MultisportYESYES$979.95
Solvit HoundaboutNON/A$199.95 - $209.95
Schwinn RascalNON/A$129.99 - $169.99

Questions to Ask Before Buying a Dog Bike Trailer:

  • How often will you use the trailer?
  • How long do you plan to use the trailer?
  • What size is your dog? Is it a large dog?
  • What is your budget?
  • Is durability important to you?
  • What type of roads or terrain will you be riding?
  • Will you use it as a dog carrier too?

Considering bringing your dog along on bike tour, or even just a day ride? See How to Bike with a Dog for our best tips and helpful information on getting started.

Our pick for best overall dog bike trailer is the Burley Design Tail Wagon, designed specifically for dogs.

How to Choose a Dog Bike Trailer

Sit down and really consider what kind of riding you will be doing. Think about the terrain and the climate. Consider your dog’s comfort level.

This section outlines what we believe are the most important features for a dog bike trailer. Above all, you want a high-quality, durable item that will handle the sort of adventures you have in mind.

Handling

Biking with a pet bike trailer significantly alters the way you ride your bike. It takes a few spins to get used to the feeling. 

A few things to keep in mind:

  • You have to take wide corners
  • Acceleration takes a bit of effort
  • Cruising downhill is like towing a parachute
  • Pedaling uphill feels like, well, like you’re towing a trailer

The weight of your dog, bike, and trailer will all affect the handling, so depending on how you plan to use the trailer, choose accordingly.

Materials

Some dog bike trailers are made of mesh panels for breathability, while others are made from a more solid fabric. Mesh can be more prone to tearing if your dog tends to scratch, but allows fresh air to flow through the trailer. 

Also consider the material of the frame as well. Aluminum frames are lighter, yet less durable than steel frames.

Steel weighs more than aluminum, but can be easily welded back together if it breaks. Additionally, steel can handle more weight, which is important if you have a large dog. 

We recommend avoiding plastic frames as they’re inexpensive and easily break. 

Durability

As with most gear, you get what you pay for. A high quality dog bike trailer can last thousands of miles, whereas a less expensive one may fail easily. 

Things to look out for include:

  • Materials – aluminum and steel vs plastic
  • Wheels – are the spokes made from plastic or aluminum? Plastic wheels are done if they break, but spokes can be replaced.
  • Skewers – Are they easy to remove?
  • Tires – What is the likelihood of getting a flat on the factory tires? (We always replace our tires with Marathon Schwalbe (20” X 1.75”) (we had just 3 flats over the whole trip).

Take a look at bike trailer reviews online to get an idea of the durability of the various options.

Suspension

Some dog bicycle trailers come with suspension, which we found infinitely useful cycling over gravel roads in South America.

If you stick to roads and paved bike paths, then you can forgo the suspension. Many bike trailers can handle some bumpy terrain even without suspension.

Suspension softens the impact of riding on rough or bumpy terrain. The trade off is heavier trailer, but your pup will feel considerably more comfortable on rocky roads.

Warranty

We highly recommend considering buying a trailer with a warranty. If you’re unsure how your dog will handle the trailer, or if it ends up collecting dust in the garage, it’s not a bad idea to have some added protection.

We love REI’s generous return policy which allows returns for up to one year after purchase.  

Size / Weight

The size of the trailer you need depends on the size of your dog, of course. If you’ve got a large dog, you’ll want a large dog bike trailer.

Measure their length, width, and height and compare the interior dimensions to make sure they will be comfortable in their rig. 

REI carries many of the trailers listed in this guide. We suggest stopping by to test the fit before committing to a purchase. 

For a small dog, you’ll want to maximize the interior space for your pup while keeping weight at a minimum.

Versatility

Some pet bike trailers come with separately-sold attachments that enable use for other sports.

Many include a wheel and handle to use as a stroller or jogger, which comes in very handy if your dog has surgery or an injury or if you just want to continue the adventures with your senior dog.

Others come with ski attachments, so if you would like to pull your dog for a change, then you can! 

Other Important Features

Safety Flag: A tall safety flag is not necessary, but nice to have for riding in urban settings or on busy roads.

Brake System: some trailers have a hand break, which can come in handy when you are stopped on a hill and want to take some of the pressure off the load.

Rain Covers: It will rain at some point if you plan to bike tour with your dog. Make sure to get a trailer that includes rain protection.

Pockets: Interior pockets keep dog gear organized and prevent your dog from swimming in a sea of water bowls, treats, and other gear in the trailer. 

Entrance: Consider whether the trailer is designed for kids or specifically for dogs. The entrance will differ.

The entry point for pets is located in the back or above so there is more space for your pet to enter compared to kids trailers where the entrance faces the back of the bike.

Visibility: Bright colors are easier to see on the road, alerting drivers that you’re carrying special cargo. Also, choose a trailer that includes a spot to snap on a red blinky light if night falls mid-ride.

The Burley Design D'Lite is our top dog bike trailer pick for durability, value, and for use for off-road adventures and multi-sports.

Best Dog Bike Trailers for Paved Roads

If you plan to stick mostly to roads and paved bike paths, then these will do the job.

The Burley Tail Wagon is the best dog bike trailer on the market. Hands down.

Top Pick: Burley Tail Wagon Pet Bike Trailer

MSRP: $399
Best for: Road cycling, bicycle touring, paved paths, city riding
Maximum weight: 75 lbs
Conversion kit: Stroller, jogger
Full Review: Burley Tail Wagon

The Burley Tail Wagon was the first dog bike trailer we used for around town adventures and long distance touring.

Designed specifically for dogs, the Tail Wagon keeps your pup in mind with every aspect of this trailer, making it a top pick in bike trailers for dogs.

We love the stroller attachment and keep it on full time for when we need to disconnect the trailer and haul our dog (or our gear in the airport).

There is ample storage on the backside of the trailer giving you plenty of space to store leashes, water bottles, and other pet supplies.

The $400 price tag makes this trailer affordable for most aspiring riders and won’t break your bank.

Pros:

  • Highly breathable mesh fabric keeps the dog cool with fresh airflow while riding
  • Rear facing front door make entry and exit easy for your dog
  • Quick closure straps
  • Lightweight (23.8 lbs)
  • High visibility yellow color
  • Price is low for entry level riders
  • Designed by a company whose sole focus is bike trailers
  • Aluminum wheels with spokes
  • Rain covers over front and back mesh
  • Lots of pockets
  • Folds down easily

Cons:

  • No rain covers to protect water from entering through the side mesh
  • Tires will spray some water on the side of the trailer in the rain.
  • No sun protection. We put a white pillow case with magnets to block Sora from direct sun in hot weather.

Learn more and see the latest prices and reviews at REI | Burley | Backcountry.com | Amazon

These are the primo edition, highest quality, most rugged dog bike trailers. Both are actually designed for children, but can be amended for dogs.

If you’re planning a long tour, ride regularly on gravel roads and other bumpy terrain, or want to use the trailer for other sports, these are your best bets.

The Thule Cadence is a great option for paved bike travel with your dog.

Thule Cadence Bike Trailer

MSRP: $349.95
Best for: Road cycling, bicycle touring, paved paths, city riding
Maximum weight: 100 lbs
Conversion kit: Stroller (included)

Though designed for children, you can modify the trailer to remove the kid seats and provide more space for your dog. 

The weight capacity is high, making the Cadence ideal for larger dogs who need a bit of extra space to move around.

Pros:

  • Easy folding for storage and transporting
  • Aluminum wheels
  • Includes flag and has roll down rain cover
  • Well-known brand with strong reputation
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Great price

Cons:

  • Padding is limited on the floor. Consider putting a dog travel bed to line the bottom. 
  • No sun protection
  • Velcro is used for closing the door
  • Limited interior space or leash hooks

Learn more and see the latest prices and reviews at REI | Backcountry.com | Amazon

Best Dog Bike Trailers for Off-Road Adventures

While the above trailers can certainly handle some gentle off-road terrain, if you plan to stick to gravel or more gnarly roads, these are the top picks for more rugged adventures.

If you plan to ride with your dog over dirt roads, the Burley D'lite is our pick for the best dog bike trailer.

Top Pick: Burley D’Lite Bike Trailer

MSRP: Single: $699.99 | Double:  $849.99 | X: $899.99
Best for: Off-road, gravel grinding, sand, dirt roads
Maximum weight: 75lb | 100 lbs
Conversion kit: Stroller (included), jogger, ski, sand and gravel
Full Review: Burley D’Lite

We used the Burley D’Lite in South America and were over the moon impressed with the durability and suspension.

This trailer was put to the test with the bumpiest of gravel roads, crappy asphalt, and cobblestone. It never failed us. 

At $850, it’s pricey, but for those who can afford the high price tag and plan to put their trailer to good use, this is unequivocally one of the best bike trailers on the market for rugged terrain.

Cyclists with smaller dogs should consider the D’Lite Single.

Designed to house two kids, a few minor modifications make it completely suitable for dogs.

The spring-based adjustable suspension made for a smooth ride on rocky roads and is absolutely worth the extra weight when taking the back roads.

Pros:

  • Suspension for a smoother ride
  • Tons of space (47.5 liters)
  • Built in sunshade and tinted side and rear windows
  • Easy to break down
  • Lightweight (28.4 lbs)
  • High visibility yellow and green colors available
  • Built-in and adjustable handlebar so you can push the trailer as needed
  • 20” wheels with push button quick releases

Cons:

  • Rear window does not open
  • Zippers stick a little  on the front window
  • Better OEM tires
  • Pricey

Learn more and see the latest prices and reviews at REI | Burley | Backcountry.com | Amazon


The Thule Chariot 2 Lite is a great multisport dog bike trailer.

Thule Chariot 2 Lite Multisport Trailer

MSRP: $979.95
Best for: Road cycling, bicycle touring, paved paths, city riding, multi-sport
Maximum weight: 98 lbs
Conversion kit: Stroller (included), jogger, skiing, hiking sold separately

Thule is known in the car accessory industry world as being a pioneer of product design and high quality. They also happen to make quality bike trailers.

As a comparison to the D’Lite, the Thule Chariot 2 Lite Multisport is designed for four different activities: biking, jogging, strolling, and skiing. Both the jogger and the ski kit are sold separately.

Pros:

  • Lightweight, weighing in at 27 lbs. 8 oz.
  • UV protected windows
  • Full sunshade and rain cover protects from elements
  • Lightweight carrier makes for easier use
  • Compact folding design
  • Click n’ Store system allow you to convert between different activities in one outing

Cons:

  • Jogger and ski kit are pricey
  • Stroller arm only has two adjustments

Learn more and see the latest prices and reviews at REI

Best Budget Dog Bike Trailers

I have not tried out the two dog bike trailers listed below, however, I have determined that if you are on a budget, or unsure whether biking with your dog is something that you will want to do long term, these would make good entry-level options.

The SolvIt Houndabout is a decent budget dog bike trailer from PetSafe.

Solvit Houndabout Aluminum Frame Dog Bike Trailer

MSRP: Medium: $199.95 | Large: $234.95
Best for: Road cycling, bicycle touring, paved paths, city riding
Maximum weight: 50 lbs | 110 lbs
Conversion kit: None

The Solvit Houndabout trailer is designed for pets by a pet brand company (Pet Safe). It includes an adjustable safety leash to ensure your pup stays in the trailer. 

There is plenty of breathable mesh and outside storage on this trailer. The dog bike trailer frame is also available in steel or aluminium.

Pros:

  • Cushion for comfort
  • Designed with maximum airflow for your dog
  • Sunroof. Your dog can sunbathe while you do the hard work
  • Aluminum wheels
  • Foldable storage
  • Front door with waterproof layer

Cons:

  • Specific trailer hitch that can be difficult to fit to all bikes
  • No flag
  • Small interior length for larger dogs
  • Designed for bikes with 26” wheels. There is a slant used for bikes with 700cc front and rear wheels.
  • Can be difficult to assemble
  • Not compatible for bikes with a Shimano gear set

Learn more and see the latest prices and reviews at Amazon.


Schwinn Rascal Tow Behind Pet Trailer

MSRP: $244.49
Best for: Road cycling, bicycle touring, paved paths, city riding
Maximum weight: Rascal: 50 lbs | Rascal Plus: 100 lbs
Conversion kit: None

Pros:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Sun roof lets pets enjoy the scenery
  • Lined with a removable non-slip surface
  • Leash attachment to prevent dogs from leaping out
  • High weight capacity
  • Universal coupler attaches to most bikes
  • Lightweight at 23 lbs

Cons:

  • Reports that trailer can tip easily if larger dog moves around
  • Not as durable as others on this list
  • Larger dogs won’t be able to turn around easily

Learn more and see the latest prices and reviews at Amazon.

Have you used a trailer not listed here that you recommend?

What are your must have features for a dog bike trailer?

PIN FOR LATER!

Best Dog Bike Trailer Pinterest Image

Disclaimer: Burley Design provided the D’Lite and Tail Wagon dog bike trailers as part of a ambassador agreement. The opinions expressed in this post are entirely our own and we were in no way compensated for this review. We genuinely love our Burley trailers think they they are the best on the market.

This post contains affiliate links, which earn me a small commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Jen Sotolongo

Hello! I'm Jen. I'm a writer, photographer, dog mom, and outdoor enthusiast. When I'm not writing about awesome ways to get outside with your dog, I'm probably out for a long trail run. I also fancy myself a pretty decent vegan cook, and am always happy to whip up a batch of cookies for friends. I am based in the Pacific Northwest and I never leave home without my dogs.

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