If you and your four-legged friend like to spend free time exploring the great outdoors, then you probably love going hiking with your dog among other activities.
When heading out to the trails, a good hiking harness is an essential piece of gear to ensure the safety of you and your dog. With so many options to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with deciding on one that will work best to keep them happy and safe.
Below we highlight the 5 best dog hiking harnesses available in 2019, and things to look for when picking your favorite, to get you and your pup enjoying your next trek as soon as possible.
IN A HURRY?
Gunnar's Favorite Harness is the Ruffwear Front Range
Ruffwear Front Range
Ruffwear Web Master
Best for Extreme Hiking
Best for Small to Medium Dogs
EzyDog Convert Trail-Ready
Best for Comfort and Control
Pettom Dog Saddle Backpack & Vest Harness
Best 2-in-1 Option
If going out on a short trail walk, then a simple leash and collar – or even a regular training/walking harness will suffice.
But, there are a few differences when it comes to hiking harnesses that make them more stable, durable and flexible to allow your dog to move more easily and with greater safety.
Some also include a padded handle for lifting your pup up over rough terrain along with these other sought out benefits...
Perfect Fit for Size: Sizing plays a big part of keeping your dog secure and comfortable in the harness of your choosing.
Too small can restrict breathing and/or create chaffing sores where the material rubs and digs into their skin. On the other hand, if a harness is too big, your pup will be in danger of slipping out of it and running off, or getting caught on trail debris and injured.
For the best fit, measure your dog’s girth, which is the widest part of his rib cage.
Use a soft tape measure to get the size exactly right. And then match it to the manufacturer size chart, as sizes can defer among different brands.
Make sure to watch Ruffwear's instructional video below to learn how to determine the proper harness size for your pup!
Function and Mobility: Select a harness for the type of outdoor adventure you have planned. If you know you’ll be on a trip with multiple hikes, select a harness known for long-term comfort.
If you also know you’re planning on tackling the roughest terrain, look for one with an agility handle to help your pup over the tricky obstacles.
For all types of hiking, the harness should be as lightweight as possible to allow your dog to move with ease.
And, if you have added storage pockets, make sure the weight will be dispersed properly to keep from dragging your dog down.
Material and Durability: Whatever the conditions it may be outdoors, the dog harness must be capable of enduring – whether that means it cold or hot, dry or muddy.
Look for material that is easy to clean, brightly colored with reflective trim for easy visibility in light or dark, and waterproof for rainy days or wet areas.
Additional Features: Will you need a backpack for your dog? Some harnesses come with backpacks already attached, some hiking harnesses allow bags to be attached, and some like the Pettom mentioned above come with a 2-in-1 flexibility of both.
Keep in mind the size of your dog, his temperament (is he a working dog or not so much), and how long you’ll be hiking (which will determine how much supplies you’ll need to bring).
Some harnesses/packs also include ID windows and compartments for easy identification.
The Ruffwear front range harness offers all-day adventure fun with its lightweight, soft, durable material.
A convenient design makes it easy to get on and off, and it’s offered in bright, easily visible fabric with reflective trim to help your dog stand out in both day and night.
The two leash attachment points offers comfort and control for easy walks and hikes and helps a pup in training learn not to pull.
No handle to easily lift your pup up over obstacles.
Watch how to fit and adjust your Front Range Harness below...
This secure, multipurpose harness is perfect for adventurers and designated working dogs and is built for helping your dog up and over any obstacle or rough terrain.
Durable construction with a lightweight feel makes it the perfect choice for year-round use.
It also features load-balance dispersion and an extra belly strap, so you can be sure your dog feels safe and secure on the trails – and doesn’t have a chance of escaping the harness.
If kept too loose, it has a tendency to twist slightly to the side attached to the leash. Make sure to measure your dog around the widest part of her rib cage to ensure the best fit.
Watch how to adjust your Web Master Harness below...
The Expawlorer is a front-range no-pull harness that offers a comfortable and ergonomic design ensuring it’s easy to fit and put on/take off.
Its durable quality and soft material allow secure control, with a widened leash ring to make a firm connection at the two attachment points.
No leg loops like some models include.
Made with a breathable, sturdy material, this harness is perfect for trails, biking or city walks.
It’s fully adjustable and removable with one click – combining comfort, functionality and style.
All you and your dog need to focus on is having fun in the great outdoors – this harness will take care of the rest.
Watch how to fit your EzyDog Convert Harness below...
This two-way harness is ideal for multi-day back-country adventures with features like a load compression system and night reflecting protection.
It works well with any leash attachment and is easy to adjust and securely fit any dog.
Its waterproof material makes it perfect for hiking during the wet season, and the high-capacity removable bag is ideal for overnight camping.
Bulky; sizing can be confusing
When taking your dog on a hike, a hiking harness adds comfort and safety for every adventure. You can’t go wrong with the Ruffwear Front Range or Webmaster, and the other three brands mentioned are all top-notch as well.
These harnesses are not only durable, but comfortable, safe and highly useful.
Plus, as long as the harness fits your dog well, and your dog is trained to hike with it, then there’s no end to the amount of enjoyment you’ll exploring the great outdoors.
As you can see, Gunnar makes Drew do all the work but heading outdoors with your best friend is never really work! Drew buys the products and Gunnar does the testing so you can rest assured you are reading the most up to date information to make the best decision for your dog's health and well-being!