In a rush and just want my recommendation? I think the RUFFWEAR-Front Range Dog Harness is a great choice
If you and your hound like to get out into the wilderness, or just go for a quick hike on your day off, a dog harness can be a great alternative to a collar and leash. Dogs love to go sniffing and exploring, only to snag their collar on something! There are many times I’ve had to hack a pathway through bramble bushes and undergrowth to free my dog. Getting the best dog harness for hiking helps to keep them safe and controlled.
In this article, I’m reviewing the following dog harnesses for hiking.
- Voyager Step-In Air Dog Harness
- Rabbitgoo Dog Harness
- Ruffwear-Front Range Dog Harness
- Eagloo Dog Harness
- Kurgo Dog Harness
Advantages Of A Dog Harness
If your dog is the one taking you for a walk, or there is constant pulling and lunging behavior on the leash, a harness may be a good way for you to regain control.
Harnesses give you safer control of an excitable hound, because you are not pulling on the dog’s neck. The braking force is being distributed over a bigger, less vulnerable area on their body.
Less Chance Of Injuries
Dogs can be unpredictable, especially when there are lots of other dogs around. They can suddenly jump or lunge at something, causing enormous backward force on a collar and leash. Neck and trachea (windpipe) injuries do occur. A harness takes the strain off your dog’s neck. A no-pull harness goes one step further by making it hard for your dog to pull.
For safety, use a stronger harness that is well designed. Specifically, one that is vest-style (not just plain straps), which distributes pressure on the chest and shoulders.
A well-fitted harness stops pulling by redirecting the dog’s forward momentum, to one of sideways, twisting movement. This is due to the placement of a front leash attachment, which makes it difficult for the dog to move forward ahead of you.
There must be room for two fingers to fit between your dog’s neck, and the collar. This means that some dog’s can learn to reverse out of the collar if they are determined to go off on their own. This is really easy for dogs with thicker necks and smaller heads, or if the collar is too loose. A well-fitted dog harness will help with this problem.
Extensions can be clipped between a harness and the car seat-belt, so in the event of sudden braking, your dog will not be injured by being forcefully thrown forward off the seat.
Types Of Dog Harnesses
Harnesses come in a variety of types. Some are designed for pulling and are used with sled dogs. Others are what are referred to as walking harnesses, and are not designed to be used for pulling activities.
There are also harnesses that are used with service dogs and guide dogs. Some harnesses have bags on either side, like saddle bags, so the dog can carry a balanced load.
The walking or hiking harnesses, may have a ring for leash attachment at the back and/or one for attachment of the leash at the dog’s chest. If there is a chest attachment, these are referred to as no-pull harnesses.
Walking Or Hiking Harness?
Design and durability are the major differences between an everyday walking, or a hiking harness. Hiking harnesses need to be stronger, to cope with the rough and tumble of the great outdoors.
The clips and leash attachment rings should be heavy-duty and rust-resistant, with efficient moving parts to keep your dog from getting caught or snagged up when they’re out and about.
Hiking and walking harnesses may have handles for helping dog’s climb over walls or go up steps. There may be reflective strips, or trim, which adds visibility in low-light situations.
What To Look For In A Hiking Harness For Dogs
This is crucial in keeping your dog secure in the harness of your choosing. Too small can restrict their breathing, especially during rigorous outdoor activity. A harness that is too big will be a tangling hazard, as well as allowing your hound to break out of it.
Preferably there will be multiple points of adjustment for custom-fitting to your dog’s size and form.
By far the most common negative feedback by users of dog harnesses is to do with poor fit. In my experience, this is often due to misunderstanding of how to fit it properly, rather than a badly designed harness.
The harness should be comfy, with no rubbing or chafing on the dog. Go for shorter walks first, just to check that there are no issues. A bit like when you wear a new pair of shoes in.
If you plan to go over rough terrain, purchase a harness with a padded handle so you can help your dog navigate hard areas.
The fabric needs to be matched to the climate you are hiking in. Hot weather requires lightweight construction, while colder climates may require you to add extra layers under the harness. It’s important to be able to adjust your dog harness fitting if this is necessary.
How Do I Measure My Dog For A Harness?
The neck should be measured at the base of the dog’s neck. Make sure the harness’ neck opening is large enough to fit your dog’s head through it. To size your dog for the harness, measure the girth around your dog’s chest, just behind the front legs, around the widest part of your dog’s chest. Check this image if unsure.
How Do I Fit A Dog Harness
There are some subtle differences between styles of harness, but watch this clip to get you started.
Do harnesses stop dogs pulling?
Harnesses marketed as no-pull actually just restrict your dog’s movement rather than teach them not to pull on leash.
They can greatly reduce or even eliminate pulling behaviors.
How does a no pull harness for dogs work?
A no pull harness will minimize your dog’s ability to tug hard on their lead during walks. The clip is at the front, so when they pull forward the leash steers them to left or right. The harness that clips on at the back makes it easier for dogs to pull strongly on the lead, with powerful forward movement through their chest. There are arguments for and against no pull harnesses.
If having a different color for every week day is a must, you’ll be spoiled for choice with over 20 color and trim combinations. And with seven sizes to accommodate dogs from the teacup variety and up to 30lb, I think this harness will have your hound covered.
The simple and easy-to-wear vest harness is made with a soft, breathable air mesh, which makes this good for walks all year round.
The velcro fastener, sturdy buckle and double D-rings keep your dog safe and secure, and there are two reflective bands to give a little extra visibility in low light.
- Great colors
- Easy to fit
- Well made
- Soft and comfortable
- Excellent quality
- Buckle can feel stiff to smaller hands
- Small sizing, so up-size if in doubt
Whether you have a Chihuahua or a Newfoundland, there’s a Rabbitgoo harness to fit your dog. With a comprehensive five sizes and eight bold colors, there really is something for everyone in this range.
Two fast-release buckles make this durable harness super easy to put on and take off. The padding and breathable mesh material will keep your dog comfy and cool on long walks.
This harness also tackles the rough terrain problem by adding a top handle for better control and getting your dog over those obstacles.
Four adjustment straps help to get a perfect fit for your hound’s body size and shape. There are two sturdy metal rings for leash attachment, one on the back of the harness for greater freedom, plus the no-pull front attachment.
- Very bright reflective strips for great visibility
- Highly adjustable, so great for growing dogs
- Excellent build and quality
- Top handle could be padded, can be hard to grip for long periods
The higher price point really does reflect the quality of the Ruffwear harness. It’s updated design brings a more durable shell fabric, plus a reinforced webbing loop on the chest for redirecting dogs that pull. The aluminum V-ring on the back provides the second leash attachment point. This harness looks really well put-together.
I love the color choices, they just look elegant. Reflective accents all around the harness provide visibility in low light. There’s also a light loop to attach The Beacon (sold separately) if you go for night walks.
Four points of adjustment provide the perfect fit for your dog, and the foam-padded construction makes it comfortable to wear for long days of hiking.
A great addition is the ID pocket on the back, which has plenty of room to store your dog’s information tags.
- Improved fit and comfort
- Excellent quality
- ID pocket great for service dogs
- Secure leash rings
- Good customer service
- No top handle
Four sizes means the Eagloo harness is designed to accommodate dogs from 18lb to a whopping 135lb. In six bold colors with reflective straps to ensure your dog’s safety, a real bonus in low light conditions.
The soft breathable material, plus the heavy padding makes comfort a priority for your dog, and the two zinc-alloy rings on the chest and back will give you good control when hiking.
This harness is easy to adjust, with fully adjustable non-slip straps at the chest and neck to allow a custom fit. Elasticated side bands at the chest means a snug fit, which is handy for unique body forms.
A generously sized top handle for rough terrain assistance, and also to feed a seat belt through in the car keeping your hound safe and secure.
The sizing is a little on the small side, so if in doubt, order a larger fit.
- Sturdy and durable
- Easy to fit, and once fitted holds it’s adjustments well
- Easy to clean
- Very comfortable
- Good reflective material
- Handle is a bit small
This is a great harness for active pursuits such as running, hiking and walking. It’s lightweight and durable and comes with a 10-inch car restraint leash, so it’s easy to keep your hound car-safe.
With five sizes and six stylish dual color designs, this harness has a well-made look. It sports a V-neck, and has a padded chest plate for extra comfort.
The higher price point means the superior strength and durability of the Kurgo dog harness make it ideal for outdoor adventures. The back handle and steel buckle system add extra functionality and security.
- Four adjustment points for wide range of fitting options
- Made in the USA
- Comes with hassle-free Kurgo lifetime guarantee against manufacturer defects
- Well made and durable
- Awkward fit for some dog shapes
- Can seem heavy for small dogs
There are some great features with all these harnesses, but the clear winner for me was the RUFFWEAR-Front Range Dog Harness.
It’s at the higher end of the budget, but this is more than compensated for by the elegant styling and strong design details. It’s durable, sturdy and well made. It is a quality product, and the durability and safety features mean I can be confident my hound is safe and secure. I really appreciate the ID pocket too, as it means I can leave the regular collar at home.
This is a great looking harness, and good customer service with a guarantee just tops it off.