I have three dogs, all of whom are working class breeds… that’s a lot of energy. Between the four of us, we’ve put all that energy and hundreds of hours and miles into testing out more than a dozen harnesses. If you’re not a gluten for punishment like I am, and just want to know which dog harness is the best, this article is for you. Here’s my super handy guide, featuring the top 8 best dog harnesses for hiking in 2023.
RUFFWEAR FRONT RANGE
- Easy on, Easy off
- Fully Adjustable
- Crazy Durable
Best for Rugged Hiking
- Lift Handle
- Fully Adjustable
- Supportive Structure
Best for Long Distance
- Lots of Pack Space
- Padded for Comfort
- Adjustable Fit
You’ll notice there is a heavy presence of Ruffwear Harnesses on this list. That’s because Ruffwear has been making the best dog harnesses available, hands and paws down.
My McNabb Jango Fett has been wearing the same Front Range harness since we picked it up at Ruffwear in Bend Oregon, over 7 years ago.
Although it’s covered in dirt from all over the country, it’s shown little sign of wear. That’s why it’s my #1 recommendation for the best dog harness for hiking.
Ruffwear Front Range
The Ruffwear Front Range Dog Harness is another top choice for hikers who want a durable and versatile option for their canine companion. This harness features a comfortable, padded design with two leash attachments – one on the back for everyday walks, and on in front for added control when needed.
With four points of adjustment, the Front Range harness ensures a secure and customized fit for dogs of various sizes and shapes.
The harness also includes a reflective trim for increased visibility during low-light conditions, as well as an ID pocket to store your dog’s tags securely. Its easy-on, easy-off design makes it convenient for quick trips or extended hikes. The Ruffwear Front Range Dog Harness is a great option for those seeking a comfortable, adjustable, and reliable harness for their hiking adventures.
The comfortable and padded design ensures a pleasant experience for your dog during hikes.
Two leash attachment points provide versatility for various walking situations.
Four points of adjustment allow for a secure and customized fit for dogs of different sizes and shapes.
Reflective trim enhances visibility during low-light conditions, ensuring safety on the trails.
ID pocket allows for secure storage of your dog’s tags.
- The easy-on, easy-off design ensures convenience for both quick outings and longer hikes.
May not be as lightweight as some other harnesses on the market.
The front attachment point might not be as effective for strong pullers as some other no-pull harness designs.
The Ruffwear Flagline Dog Harness is an excellent lightweight and durable option for dogs of all sizes. With multiple leash attachment points and adjustable straps, this hiking harness offers a secure and comfortable fit. The Flagline Dog Harness also features a padded handle for assisting your dog over obstacles, and reflective trim for increased visibility in low-light conditions.
Lightweight and comfortable: The Ruffwear Flagline Dog Harness is made with lightweight and durable materials, ensuring your dog’s comfort during hikes.
Six points of adjustment: This harness features six adjustment points, allowing for a customized and secure fit for dogs of various shapes and sizes.
Supportive design: The Flagline harness has a balanced lifting handle and supportive chest and belly panel, making it easier to assist your dog over obstacles or during challenging terrain.
Two leash attachment points: This harness offers both a front and back leash attachments , giving you options for better control and training during walks.
Reflective trim: The reflective trim on the harness enhances visibility, helping to keep your dog safe during low-light conditions.
Easy on and off: The design of the harness allows for quick and easy attachment, saving you time and hassle.
Price: The Ruffwear Flagline Dog Harness can be more expensive compared to other harnesses on the market.
Sizing: Some dog owners may find it challenging to get the perfect fit, even with the multiple adjustment points. It’s essential to measure your dog carefully and consult the sizing chart before purchasing.
Limited color options: This harness has limited color choices compared to other brands, which may be a downside for those who prefer a wider variety.
Not specifically designed for pullers: While the front leash attachment can help discourage pulling, this harness may not be the best option for dogs with severe pulling issues. A dedicated no-pull harness might be more suitable in those cases.
The EzyDog Quick Fit Harness is a simple yet effective option for dog owners seeking a reliable hiking harness. The one-click buckle system makes it easy to put on and take off, while the adjustable straps ensure a snug fit. The leash attachment point is strong and durable, and the reflective stitching enhances visibility.
The EzyDog Quick Fit Harness boasts a simple, one-click design for quick and easy fitting, saving time and hassle.
It features comfortable neoprene padding, providing extra cushioning for your dog during long hikes.
The harness is made from high-quality materials, ensuring durability and longevity for extended outdoor adventures.
Reflective stitching enhances visibility, keeping your dog safe during low-light walks or hikes.
The harness offers a single leash attachment point at the back for easy handling and control.
The EzyDog Quick Fit Harness may not be suitable for dogs who require more support or control, as it lacks a front leash attachment point.
With fewer adjustment points compared to other harness models, achieving a perfect fit for some dogs might be more challenging.
The Quick Fit’s design may not be as robust as other harnesses in providing support and control for dogs that pull excessively.
Some users may find the sizing to be inconsistent, necessitating extra caution when selecting the appropriate size for their dog.
Outward Hound Daypak Dog Backpack
For hiking enthusiasts who love exploring with their dogs, the Outward Hound Daypak Backpack Harness is an excellent choice. This two-in-one harness and backpack allows your dog to carry their essentials while remaining comfortable and secure. The adjustable straps and breathable mesh fabric provide a snug fit and comfort, while the reinforced leash attachment ensures durability.
Combines the functionality of a harness with the added storage capacity of a backpack.
Adjustable straps ensure a secure and comfortable fit for dogs of various sizes and shapes.
The backpack compartments offer ample space for carrying essentials like water, treats, and waste bags during hikes.
Reflective accents enhance visibility in low-light conditions for increased safety.
Breathable mesh fabric helps keep your dog cool during long hikes and in warmer weather.
D-ring attachment point for leash ensures control during walks.
The added weight of the backpack may not be suitable for dogs with joint or mobility issues.
May not be as durable as some other harnesses on the market.
Some users may find the backpack compartments challenging to access while the dog is wearing the harness.
The Embark Adventure Dog Harness is a no-pull dog harness designed for hiking and outdoor activities. With two leash attachment points and four adjustment points, this harness provides a secure fit and control for dogs of all sizes. The durable material and reflective trim ensure your dog’s safety during your hikes.
Made from durable, high-quality materials that are built to withstand rugged outdoor adventures.
Features a no-pull front leash attachment to help discourage pulling behavior.
The rear leash attachment point offers an additional option for leash attachment during hikes.
Adjustable straps allow for a customizable fit, ensuring comfort for dogs of different sizes and shapes.
Reflective trim improves visibility in low-light conditions, enhancing safety during early morning or evening hikes.
Padded chest and belly areas provide added comfort and support for your dog during extended activities.
Some users may find the harness challenging to adjust for the perfect fit.
May not be as lightweight as other harness options, which could be a concern for smaller dogs or those with joint issues.
The front leash attachment may not be as effective for dogs that are heavy pullers or have not been trained on a no-pull harness before.
Julius-K9 IDC Powerharness
The Julius-K9 IDC Powerharness is a popular choice for many dog owners due to its robust construction and ergonomic design. With adjustable straps and a secure leash attachments , this hiking harness provides a comfortable and secure fit for your dog. The reflective strips and interchangeable patches add visibility and customization options.
The Julius-K9 IDC Powerharness features a heavy-duty design, built to withstand tough conditions and provide excellent support during hikes.
Its ergonomic shape ensures even weight distribution, minimizing strain on your dog’s spine and allowing for comfortable movement.
The harness is equipped with a sturdy handle on the back, allowing you to easily lift or assist your dog over obstacles.
Highly customizable, the IDC Powerharness offers a range of sizes and a variety of available accessories, such as saddlebags or safety lights.
Reflective elements, including the logo and stitching, enhance visibility and safety during low-light conditions.
The Julius-K9 IDC Powerharness may be more expensive than other harness options, making it a potential concern for budget-conscious pet owners.
Some users may find the harness challenging to adjust for a perfect fit, especially for dogs with unique body shapes or sizes.
The IDC Powerharness lacks a front leash attachment point, limiting control options for dogs that pull or require additional guidance.
The harness’s robust design may be too bulky or heavy for smaller dogs or those with limited mobility, potentially causing discomfort during extended hikes.
Ruffwear Web Master
The Ruffwear Web Master Dog Harness is designed for dogs who require extra support and control during hikes. The foam padded strips across the chest and belly provide comfort, while the five adjustment points ensure a secure fit. With a strong leash attachment point and reflective trim, this harness is perfect for dogs who love exploring rough terrain.
Designed with a secure and supportive structure that provides excellent stability and control for dogs on challenging terrain.
Features a comfortable, padded handle for easy lifting and assistance during difficult hikes or obstacles.
Five adjustment points ensure a snug and customized fit for a variety of dog breeds and sizes.
Made from durable materials that can withstand harsh environments and wear over time.
Reflective trim enhances visibility, increasing safety during low-light hikes or walks.
Two leash attachment points (front and back) offer versatility in handling and control.
Some users may find the harness more challenging to put on and adjust compared to other models.
It may be more expensive than other harness options, which could be a factor for budget-conscious dog owners.
The Web Master’s design may be bulkier than other harnesses, potentially causing discomfort or overheating for some dogs during extended hikes.
Ruffwear Doubleback Full Body
The Ruffwear Doubleback Full Body Dog Harness stands out as the top-of-the-line option for hiking enthusiasts who desire the utmost in safety and support for their canine companion. This robust and durable harness boasts six points of adjustment, guaranteeing a secure and customized fit for your dog.
The leash attachment points at the back and chest offer exceptional control, while the reinforced webbing ensures long-lasting durability. Added reflective trim enhances visibility during early morning or late evening hikes. While this high-quality harness is perfect for those seeking the best in performance and security, it may be overkill for casual hikers or those with less demanding needs.
Top-of-the-line harness offering exceptional safety and support for dogs during challenging hikes and activities.
Six points of adjustment provide a secure and customized fit for dogs of various sizes and shapes.
Reinforced webbing ensures long-lasting durability, making it a great investment for avid hikers.
Leash attachment points at the back and chest offers excellent control, catering to various walking and hiking situations.
Reflective trim enhances visibility, increasing safety during low-light hikes or walks.
The Ruffwear Doubleback Full Body Dog Harness may be overkill for casual hikers or those with less demanding needs.
The harness’s premium features and quality come with a higher price tag, which may be a factor for budget-conscious dog owners.
Some users may find the full-body design more difficult to put on and adjust compared to simpler harness models.
Bonus: Ruffwear Swamp Cooler
The Ruffwear Swamp Cooler is a top-notch choice for hikers looking for a cooling and versatile harness for their four-legged friend. Designed to keep your dog comfortable in hot conditions, this harness features a three-layer construction that wicks away heat and provides shade from the sun.
Simply wet the Swamp Cooler, wring it out, and put it on your dog for instant cooling relief. The harness also includes two leash attachments, adjustable straps, reflective strips, and an ID pocket.
Features and Benefits of Dog Harnesses
Now that we’ve introduced the top 10 best dog harnesses for hiking in 2023, let’s delve deeper into the features and benefits of these harnesses, as well as important factors to consider when choosing the best hiking harness for your dog.
Leash Attachment Points
One of the essential features of a good hiking harness is the availability of multiple leash attachment points. A front leash attachment helps reduce pulling, while a back leash attachment is suitable for off-leash adventures or when your dog has mastered basic leash skills. Some harnesses even offer two leash attachment points on the back, providing extra control and security in challenging situations.
A well-fitting harness is crucial for your dog’s comfort and safety. Adjustable straps allow you to customize the fit to your dog’s unique body shape, ensuring a secure and comfortable experience during your hikes. Look for harnesses with multiple adjustment points for the best fit.
Comfort and Material
When selecting a dog hiking harness, it’s essential to consider the comfort and materials used. Opt for harnesses made from lightweight and durable materials that can withstand the elements and resist wear and tear. Breathable mesh fabric and padded areas can enhance your dog’s comfort during extended hikes.
Hiking often involves traversing trails in low-light conditions or during extreme weather. Reflective elements, such as trim or strips, can significantly increase your dog’s visibility and safety during your outdoor adventures. Some harnesses also offer interchangeable patches or bright colors for added visibility.
Harnesses for Small and Large Dogs
When selecting the best dog harness for hiking, it’s essential to consider your dog’s size. Some harnesses are designed specifically for small dogs or large dogs, offering features tailored to their unique needs. Ensure the harness you choose is appropriate for your dog’s size, weight, and body shape.
For multi-day hikes or dogs who love to carry their supplies, consider a backpack harness. These harnesses combine the functionality of a hiking harness with the convenience of a dog backpack, allowing your furry friend to help carry essential items. Make sure the backpack is well-balanced and does not cause discomfort or restrict your dog’s movement.
Proper Fit and Adjustment
A properly fitting harness is crucial for your dog’s comfort and safety during hikes. An ill-fitting harness can cause discomfort, chafing, or even injury. Be sure to measure your dog’s neck, chest, and body length before purchasing a harness, and consult the sizing chart provided by the manufacturer. Adjust the straps according to your dog’s body shape, ensuring a snug but comfortable fit.
Leash Laws and Off-Leash Hiking
When hiking with your dog, it’s essential to be aware of leash laws in the areas you’ll be exploring. Some trails and national parks require dogs to be on a leash at all times, while others allow well-behaved dogs to roam off-leash. Be prepared with a reliable hiking harness and a suitable leash or waist attachment, and always respect the rules and regulations in place.
In conclusion, finding the best dog harness for hiking involves considering various factors such as leash attachment points, adjustable straps, comfort, visibility, and proper fit. By selecting a high-quality hiking harness tailored to your dog’s needs, you’ll ensure a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable experience for both you and your four-legged friend. So gear up, hit the trails, and create lasting memories with your canine companion in 2023.
Additional Tips for Hiking with Your Dog
To make the most of your hiking adventures with your furry friend, consider these additional tips:
Pack Everything You Need
In addition to a harness for your furry hiking partner, we have a complete guide to all the hiking essentials you need for your next adventure.
Train Your Dog for Hiking
Before embarking on long hikes, ensure your dog is well-trained in basic obedience and polite leash skills. A well-behaved dog will make the experience more enjoyable for both you and other hikers on the trail.
Choose Dog-Friendly Trails
Not all trails are suitable for dogs. Research your chosen hiking route ahead of time to ensure it’s dog-friendly and within your dog’s physical capabilities. Be aware of any potential hazards or restrictions for dogs on the trail.
Bring Water and Snacks
Ensure you bring enough water and snacks for both you and your dog during your hike. Dogs can easily become dehydrated or hungry, especially during longer or more challenging hikes.
Check the Weather
Be prepared for any weather conditions you may encounter during your hike. Check the forecast ahead of time and bring appropriate gear for both you and your dog, such as raincoats or cooling vests.
Protect Your Dog’s Paws
Rough terrain can be tough on your dog’s paws. Consider investing in protective booties or applying a paw balm to keep your dog’s paws in good condition.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
Carry a small first aid kit for both you and your dog during hikes. Familiarize yourself with basic first aid for dogs and be prepared to handle any emergencies that may arise on the trail.
Leave No Trace
As responsible dog owners, it’s essential to practice Leave No Trace Principles while hiking. Always clean up after your dog and dispose of waste properly. Additionally, respect the environment and wildlife by keeping your dog on a leash or under control at all times.
By following these tips and choosing the best dog harness for hiking, you and your dog will enjoy many memorable outdoor adventures together. Happy trails!
OUR #1 CHOICE: RUFFWEAR FRONT RANGE
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Q: How do I find the best dog harness for hiking for my dog’s specific needs?
A: When searching for the best dog hiking harness for your furry friend, consider factors such as your dog’s size, weight, and shape, as well as the type of hiking you plan to do. Look for features such as adjustable straps, multiple leash attachment points, and durable, lightweight materials.
Q: How do I maintain polite leash skills while hiking with my dog?
A: Polite leash skills involve keeping your dog close and under control while hiking, ensuring that they do not pull or lunge. To achieve this, choose a harness with a front leash attachment that discourages pulling behavior. You can also use a waist leash to keep your hands free and maintain better control of your dog.
Q: How do I ensure a proper fit for my dog’s hiking harness?
A: To ensure a proper fit, measure your dog’s chest and neck circumference and consult the sizing chart provided by the harness manufacturer. Adjust the straps as needed to achieve a snug but comfortable fit, without restricting your dog’s movement or breathing.
Q: Can a hiking harness also be used as a pull dog harness?
A: Some hiking harnesses, like those with front leash attachment points, can also be used as a no-pull dog harness to help discourage pulling behavior during walks. However, not all hiking harnesses are designed for this purpose, so it’s essential to choose a harness that specifically addresses your dog’s pulling behavior.
Q: Do I need to use a harness designed specifically for hiking, or can a regular dog harness work for outdoor adventures?
A: While a regular dog harness may be suitable for short walks or easy hikes, a hiking-specific harness will offer additional features and durability designed to withstand the demands of outdoor adventures. Look for hiking harnesses with reinforced webbing, breathable mesh fabric, and secure attachment points to ensure your dog’s comfort and safety on the trail.
Q: What should I do if my dog encounters rough terrain or extreme weather during our hike?
A: Be prepared for a variety of conditions by equipping your dog with protective gear such as booties, raincoats, or cooling vests. Regularly check your dog’s paws for signs of injury, and monitor their overall well-being during the hike. If your dog shows signs of discomfort or distress, consider taking a break or turning back.