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Hiking is an enjoyable activity that can be great exercise for you and your dog. But, just like you, your dog needs the right gear to be safe while exploring the outdoors.
Not all harnesses are created equal; some are unreliable and others are just plain uncomfortable.
We want our dogs to be safe and comfortable, and that’s why we’ve reviewed and written a buying guide on the best dog harnesses for hiking.
Our Top Picks
The last thing we want is for our dog’s harness to break or fall apart after a few uses. We’ve weeded through the options and have found the best of the best.
Below we’ll go over our choices and explain why we love them and what could be improved – nothing is perfect, after all.
Based on our own testing, market research, sales and rankings, here are our picks for the best dog harnesses for hiking currently on the market:
- RUFFWEAR Front Range Harness
- Rabbitgoo Adjustable Dog Harness
- OneTigris Tactical Dog Harness
- Eagloo No-Pull Dog Harness
- Voyager Step-In Air Dog Harness
- WINSEE No-Pull Dog Harness
1. RUFFWEAR Front Range Harness
The RUFFWEAR Front Range Harness is no-pull, has a front clip, and is perfect for hiking, trail walking, running, and everyday wear.
It’s a high-quality harness that has very high buyer ratings.
It has reflective trim and comes in six different colours: blue dusk, meadow green, orange poppy, tillandsia purple, twilight grey, and wild berry. It is available in sizes XX-Small to X-Large.
Here are some more features:
- this harness is made for extended wear and is easy to put on and take off.
- there are 2 leash attachment points, with an aluminum V-ring on the back.
- foam padded strips provide comfort and an even load distribution.
- there are 4 adjustment points for full range of motion.
- there is an ID pocket for storing your dog’s tags.
- no rubbing, and great at stopping pulling.
- easy to take off – just two clicks.
- high-quality construction and great durability.
- the waist straps can slip sometimes.
- on the stiff and heavy side, which can be too much for some dogs.
- there is a plastic piece around the metal leash hook which acts as a barrier for any abrasions.
- the ID pocket has a velcro cover that holds together very firmly, ensuring that the tags won’t fall out.
- as with other harnesses, we advise getting the larger size for your dog.
- the harness is designed so that it’s not cut too high around the front legs of the dog, thus eliminating chafing and rubbing on a long hike.
- if your dog continues to pull with this harness on, consider training it.
2. Rabbitgoo Adjustable Dog Harness
The Rabbitgoo Adjustable No-Pull Pet Harness is a great harness for hiking for just about any breed of dog. It is available in sizes from small to XL and comes in 5 reflective colors (black, blue, orange, green and red).
It features 4 points of adjustment, which allows it to be custom fitted to your dog. That means no more rubbed skin or slack in the straps.
This harness is made from a durable water-resistant and breathable nylon mesh and is padded, so your dog will be ready for any terrain and any mud puddles too.
The chest and back leash attachments make it easy to control your dog, whether you’re hitting an open trail or maneuvering a rocky slope.
- durable and lightweight
- won’t overheat your dog
- holds up to the elements
- four adjustment points for a custom fit
- not ideal for dogs who pull excessively
- material strength degrades without proper care
- we have found that the no-pull front leash attachment is very effective for stopping pulling. Once your dog experiences it a few times, it generally won’t want to do it again.
- once you have the right fit, the harness stays very secure, even on demanding hikes.
- the reflections on the harness are very bright, which makes it easy to keep track of your dog if it gets away.
- excellent value for money.
- make sure you adjust the harness for your dog using the straps.
3. OneTigris Tactical Dog Harness
This dog harness from OneTigris is one of the highest rated, durable harnesses we’ve seen. It’s water-resistant, comfortable, and ideal for hiking and the outdoors.
It’s an upgraded version that comes in four colours: black, coyote brown, grey, and ranger green. It’s available in medium, large, and XL sizes.
It has 4 quick-release buckles that make it easy to put on and take off, along with a handle on the top. There is one V-ring on the front for leash attachment.
Other features include:
- made with high-quality 1000D nylon
- well-padded in all pressure areas for maximum comfort.
- two MOLLE straps on each side, as well as a strips panel, so you can easily attach ID panels or MOLLE pouches.
- a loop panel (3.5″ long and 2″ wide) on the neck strap.
- looks and feels very well-made.
- very sturdy.
- easily adjustable.
- nothing to safely store loose straps after adjustment.
- the handle isn’t terribly strong.
- the buckles and straps are a bit thin.
- to get the best fit, measure the neck girth, back length, and chest girth of your dog and compare it to the measurement chart. Consider going one size up to be safe.
- in our tests, this harness has shown little to no wear and tear after extended use.
- keep in mind that this harness may not be best for all breeds, body styles and sizes.
- there is plenty of room for patches.
- we suggest lengthening it to make it wide enough for 4-5 MOLLE slots on each side, allowing you to use more configurations of pouches and accessories.
4. Eagloo No-Pull Dog Harness
The Eagloo No-Pull is a good hiking harness for your dog. It brings the best of safety and style to your dog’s hiking experience.
This Eagloo harness is available in sizes from small to XL and comes in 6 colors: black, blue, orange, green, pink and rose red. It holds up to the outdoors and looks good great to boot.
It features a light sponge-style padding and is made of water resistant mesh. It won’t interfere with your dog’s mobility and it may even forget it’s wearing it.
The chest and back leash attachments make it easy to walk your dog the way you prefer. The harness also features a handle, located on the back of the harness, so you can keep a tight hold on your dog if need be.
- light padding for comfort
- sturdy handle for secure hold in the car
- suitable for large breeds
- difficult to adjust
- not meant to withstand excessive strain
- sturdy harness that is made of quality materials.
- the colours are bright and very visible.
- the padded chest piece means that there’s no strap across the front of the chest.
- we find that dogs secured in this harness are very easy to control on hikes, even for older people.
- easy to put on.
5. Voyager Step-In Air Dog Harness
The Voyager Step-In Air Dog Harness is a great choice for small to medium sized breeds going hiking.
It is made entirely of a lightweight mesh, which means no straps and no potential rubbing. The last thing we want our furry friend to endure is chafed skin.
The mesh is waterproof, ideal for swimming and all weather conditions.
The simple step-in clip and go design is great for dog owners who don’t want to mess with strap adjustments and buckles.
The Voyager comes in 16 color options (wow) and fits up to a 23″ chest.
- simple one-piece design
- comfortable, no rubbing or chafing
- durable and waterproof
- not adjustable
- not designed for large breeds
- this harness is as effective as other similar harnesses that cost 3 times as much.
- if set up properly, there should be no chafing or rashes even after a couple miles of hiking.
- this harness can also be used for cats, but note that it can be quite bulky for them.
- make sure you measure your dog beforehand so you know what the right size is.
6. WINSEE No-Pull Dog Harness
The WINSEE No-Pull Dog Harness comes in a collar and harness combo. It comes in sizes from medium to XL and will accommodate even giant breeds.
This harness is only available in black and orange colours, but what it sacrifices in style options, it makes up for in functionality.
This harness is designed to be rugged and tough, holding up to even the most extreme outdoor adventures and hiking trips while still being comfortable for your dog.
It is made from lightly-padded, high-density nylon, and features reinforced chest and back clips for versatile walking styles. The light padding ensures comfort and minimal pressure points without being bulky or hindering your dog’s range of movement.
It is water resistant and great for hot or cold weather and will even hold up to swimming sessions.
The sturdy handle located on the back of the harness allows you the ability to easily keep a firm grip on your dog when you need to.
- made tough for even the largest of dogs
- suitable for all weather conditions
- reinforced metal D-rings to withstand pulling
- limited color options
- limited adjustability
- a well-made, sturdy harness.
- the plastic clasp is larger and stronger than most other clasps.
- once clipped in, you can put another piece across and snap it into place to provide more security and ensure that the clasp doesn’t come out.
- we definitely recommend getting one size up from what the guide indicates based on your dog’s measurements. This is to allow your dog some room to grow, and also, the harness can always be adjusted down to fit.
These dog harnesses made our top picks list because we found that they met dogs’ needs the best, while holding up to the strain of hard use.
When comparing the multitude of harness options available, we found these to be the best in terms of quality and functionality.
No matter which style of harness you prefer, when choosing a hiking harness for your dog, always take into account you and your dog’s needs, activity level and personality.
Dog Hiking Harness Buying Guide
Most breeds of dogs make amazing hiking companions; they just love adventure and always eager to explore new places.
The sheer enthusiasm that they show for the hike can be contagious. Of course, they are happy to go where you decide, whether you’re doing a trail, swimming in the water, or climbing mountains. There will be no long discussions over which route to take.
Letting the dog run loose is not an option as there may be livestock, like sheep, that you come across, and they can easily be spooked by an excited dog.
There are also untold dangers waiting out there and so for your safety and the dog’s safety, the dog needs to be under control. That leaves the decision as to whether a traditional collar (not a bark collar) or a harness should be used.
Why use a harness?
Are you thinking of taking your dog on a hiking trip? If so, a worthwhile investment would be a dog hiking harness.
Traditional dog collars can put a great deal of pressure on the dog’s airways, especially if your dog gets excited and it starts to pull.
On a long hike, this can be a real problem, and investing in a dog hiking harness can make the trip much more enjoyable for both you and the dog.
- Dogs with respiratory and/or neck problems will benefit as a traditional dog collar causes coughing.
- Certain dogs, like pugs, are at risk of their eyeballs popping out when a traditional collar is used.
- Harnesses provide better control over the dog.
- They help to make your dog focus better than a collar for dogs with short noses — for example, bulldogs and Pekingese.
Having decided that a harness is the way to go, it then becomes the question “what type of harness should be used?”
There are many general harnesses on sale, but an even better solution might be to consider one of the harnesses designed and sold as hiking harnesses.
There are two primary types of dog hiking harnesses available at the moment: standard harnesses and harnesses that also act as a backpack for the dog.
Here are some features that you will find in the various harnesses:
Some harnesses have been specifically designed so that the leash attachment positions are placed in such a way that they discourage pulling.
A feature on some harness designs is that you can adjust the size for the dog and then just buckle the dog into the harness.
The size setting is retained so that to put on the dog’s harness on subsequent occasions will just require a few clicks.
Reflective Harness Material/Decals
A useful safety feature is for the whole harness or strips on the harness to be reflective for when you approach traffic. Several designs of harness have this built in.
A quirky little feature that will appeal to those of you with an interest in the environment is that certain harnesses are constructed using recycled water bottles.
This has very little effect on the performance of the harness, but it helps keep the planet cleaner.
You want a harness to be made of a material that is easy to keep clean and will dry quickly. Some harnesses also have a padded layer on the harness to improve the dog’s comfort when in use.
You will notice a handle located at the top of the harness in several of the designs.
This handle allows the owner to grasp and pull the dog up over any obstacle that might be causing trouble for it. It also allows firmer control in certain situations.
Backpack & Dog Harness
Sometimes, harnesses look something like a saddle bag with pouches located on either side of the dog’s body.
Some features twin control handles on the front and rear. The materials used will also be much more durable, designed for the real outdoors.
Some of these come with much larger pouches on either side of the dog and are more like backpacks for dogs than harnesses, although they do function as both.
We hope that this dog hiking harness buying guide will help you find the right harness for your needs.
Whether you are looking for a basic harness or considering one of the more sophisticated models that also incorporate a backpack for the dog, one thing that is essential to take into account is the fact that the harness must be the correct size for the dog.
A harness that is too tight will become uncomfortable and chafe, and one that is too large will be slipping around and pulling on the dog in the incorrect places. This could possibly cause injury to your dog.
What is your experience with hiking harnesses for dogs? Have you used any of them? Leave a comment below and let us know!