You are your dog's favorite human!
And your dog's second love is being active – with you!
Hiking is a great way to spend quality time with your dog. And stimulate their need to exercise.
So if you're on the lookout for the best hiking harness for dogs, you're in the right place today.
I've researched the best hiking harnesses to bring you everything you need to know in one place.
Now you don't have to spend 5 days researching because I've done it all for you! I'll share the pros and cons of each harness. And you'll find out which one is my top choice and least favorite too.
I've created a handy comparison table for you too. And with the useful buyers guide you'll learn exactly what to look for and what to avoid on your quest to find the best hiking harness for dogs.
So no more yak, yak! Let's check out the best hiking harness for dogs…
Or use the links below and be magically transported to any section you're interested in.
Quick Navigation Menu
- Best Hiking Harness for Dogs – Comparison Table
- Best Hiking Harness for Dogs Reviews
- Buyer’s Guide to Choosing the Best Hiking Harness for Dogs
- Why You Should Invest in a Hiking Harness for Your Dog
Best Hiking Harness for Dogs – Comparison Table
Quick Overview: Our Top Picks for Toys for German Shepherd Puppies
|Our Top Pick
Ruffwear DoubleBack Harness
|View on Amazon|
Ruffwear WebMaster Harness
|View on Amazon|
Kurgo Dog Journey Harness
|View on Amazon|
Expawlorer Front Range Harness
|View on Amazon|
Best Hiking Harness for Dogs Reviews
Kurgo Dog Journey Harness
Great quality harness for active dogs who love the outdoors.
The creative designers at Kurgo have really put a lot of thought into their Dog Journey Harness.
And this attention to detail has produced a fantastic harness which has other pooch parents raving.
The padded chest plate gives great extra comfort. But the feature that's wowing dog lovers are the chest and back D-ring attachments.
This allows you to choose which kind of control you want, depending on the terrain and the kind of walk.
The helper handle is also a fantastic extra feature. It's perfect for an emergency grab to pull your dog away from a cliff, poisonous mushrooms or other dogs.
I love that Kurgo has thrown a 10-inch lead into the package. You can use it for training or to use as a seat belt loop. Neat extra detail!
In fact, when you think about extras, it’s good to know it doubles-up as a car safety harness. So you don't need to lug an extra harness around. I think that's great value for money.
Check out this cool video by Kurgo!
Kurgo is well known for taking its lead from the rock climbing world. They use the same stuff that keeps rock climbers safe to design their harnesses.
And the main fabric is breathable ripstop material with first class quality stitching.
As you can imagine, these materials they use are incredibly strong and well made.
There are two attractive color combinations. Charcoal with chilli red or charcoal and coastal blue.
You'll like this especially if you have two dogs ready to head out and you need to get the right harness fitted and fast.
Kurgo have really put their money where their mouth is when it comes to backing this product. They offer a no quibble lifetime warranty should it not stand up to robust use.
I think this alone proves how durable the Kurgo Dog Journey Harness is.
Other dog owners have backed up it's durability. With their dogs swimming, rolling in mud and hiking through underbrush the Kurgo has taken the punch.
Although, there have been occasional reports of fraying. But from my research, this hasn't affected the safety of the harness. Which is just great news!
The Kurgo Dog Journey Harness comes in 4 sizes – S, M, L, XL. Any dog from 2kg to 50kg can find a snug fit.
And the 4 adjustment points help to get an almost custom fit. Some dog owners are frustrated that their pooch falls between two sizes. Making it difficult to fit. But most breeds seem to manage well.
The 2 D-rings I mentioned earlier have another handy use. The chest D-ring makes the Kurgo into no-pull harness.
Many owners with the most determined pullers said that this gives them the best control they have ever had.
A no-pull harness also means there's no choking. Keeping your dog comfortable and free from damaging their throats permanently.
The back D-ring means a full range of movement. This is fabulous for safe terrain where the dog can bound around happily. And useful if you want to combine a jog whilst taking your dog out.
The Kurgo Journey is super easy to clean. Just pop it in your washing machine to keep it fresh. And it hang out on the line to dry.
Pros and Cons
It’s kind of hard to find too much wrong with this well designed and versatile harness. It has two leash attachment options. Offers great control of your pet and has amazing effects on rascal dogs who love to pull.
It doubles as a car safety harness and comes with an extra 10 inch leash.
If you have a deep-chested dog like a German Shepherd or a Rottweiler you'll be happy to know the Kurgo is super comfy for them.
And it's kind to doggy fur, with almost no reports of chafing.
Some pooch parents have reported their dog's doing Houdini acts and wriggling free.
But in my opinion, this is likely due to buying the wrong size or not fitting the harness properly using all 4 the adjustment points.
I like the Kurgo Journey Dog Harness. It's well designed and practical. And I would definitely recommend it as a contender for the best hiking harness for dogs.
Ruffwear DoubleBack Harness
This really is the ultimate in dog harnesses. It's designed for extreme outdoor adventures.
The Ruffwear DoubleBack is designed for hard core adventure lovers and their pooches.
Whether it is climbing, mountaineering or canyoneering. Or just running wild over rough, rocky terrain. This harness will give you total control and total peace of mind.
Its strength rated to 2000 lbs so is perfect for giving your dog a helpful lift up and down steep slopes.
There’s padding around the belly for comfort. And an adjustable frame and for extra security.
I also love the the back leg loops feature which provide even more stability when lifting your dog. And you can neatly tuck away the leg loops when you don’t need them.
The harness has strong and comfortable webbing and it's sports 4 strength-rated. And the anodized aluminum lace-back buckles provide added strength and durability.
The adjustable martingale, tie-in points and the support straps extend the length of the dog’s body. And you have multiple choices of where to attach carabiners.
All this means there's excellent balance and stability during lifting.
True to Ruffwear, the quality of the materials used in this harness are high caliber. And every component has been tested. From the solid stitch work to the anodized aluminum buckles.
I like the addition of the reflective trim too. It's great for nighttime activities and a thoughtful piece of added security.
There’s currently just the one color option available, Graphite Grey.
Without exception dog owners are blown away by the durability of this harness. Because it's designed for more than just hiking it's robust and built to take some serious punches.
I mean climbing, mountaineering or canyoneering can be dangerous! So you need something that can handle the pace.
The Ruffwear DoubleBack comes in 4 sizes and will fit most dogs.:
XS – 17″ – 22″ / 43cm – 56cm
S – 22″ – 27″ / 56cm – 69cm
M – 27″ – 32″ / 69cm – 81cm
L / XL – 32″ – 42″ / 81cm – 107cm
The seven points of adjustment are great. It's fully customizable to securely fit your dog.
Pooch parents of all breeds have found a fit which works for their dog even for irregularly shaped breeds such as whippets.
You may need to check the size guides carefully though. Some dog shapes fall into the top end of one size and the smaller end of the next.
But having these multiple customizing points, you should be able to get a snug and safe fit for your dog.
This harness is robust so it's perfect for dogs and owners who like extreme activities. As such the main focus has been the quality and strength of the materials used.
The design and harness structure will give you total peace of mind. I mean, you just can’t suspend your beloved pooch above an unforgiving mountain pass without having complete and absolute faith that your dog will be safe.
That said, the designers have also paid great attention to the comfort of the dog wearing the harness.
After all you want your dog to enjoy the activity and feel comfortable. A comfy dog is a happy dog!
Because the harness extends along the length of your dog, their weight is carefully balanced and dispersed.
And there are no nasty pinch points to worry about. The multiple straps and attachment points are also a real bonus.
It means you have loads of flexibility to adapt to your pooch and the specific activity you are undertaking.
See how easy it is to fit the Ruffwear DoubleBack Harness in this short video…
No doubt your harness will get dirty when you are out in the wilds. But you can keep it spruced up by hand washing in cold water using a mild soap and then dry away from direct sunlight.
I don't recommend using your washing machine for keeping the Ruffwear Double back clean.
Pros and Cons
This is a truly versatile harness. It has many fans in extreme sports, mountain rescue teams and the military.
When the professionals give a product the thumbs up, you know you are onto a winner.
It's not surprising that parents of dogs with reduced mobility love this harness too.
Older, less mobile dogs, those with sight or neurological problems can really benefit from this harness. It provides sturdy, reassuring support and easily lift and guide your dog if they need a little hand.
Your dog will wear this harness for long periods of time. Hiking to a climb site, waiting for ropes to be set up. Or hiking back to the car at the end of a long day. All of this takes time.
For the vast majority of dogs, these long spells in the harness are not a problem. But there has been the odd complaint of chafing, so just be vigilant and check the fur and skin especially around the strap areas.
Although this harness is geared up for outdoor life, it's perfect in an urban setting too.
And it also doubles-up as a car safety harness.
So, while there is an investment to consider you are getting quality and a product with multiple uses.
I'd like to see the harness come out in a few more vibrant colors. I think what's on offer is a little on the boring side. And brighter is better when it comes to outdoor activities.
The Ruffwear DoubleBack Harness is no doubt up there as the best hiking harness for dogs available today.
You can enjoy exploring the outdoors knowing your pooch is safe. And although there is a price tag to consider, you get what you pay for.
The Ruffwear DoubleBack Harness is by far my favorite and the one I highly recommend.
Ruffwear WebMaster Harness
A solid and much loved harness from the innovative team at Ruffwear.
There’s great anatomical design behind this model from Ruffwear where security and control are top of the list. Which is great news for your dog's muscles, joints and bone structure.
This is a fantastic harness choice for use in varied terrain. From pounding the sidewalks of the ‘burbs to a lively walk in the park.
It’s great for maneuvering dogs and helping them up and around obstacles.
There are 2 leash attachment points. The first is a V-ring made of anodized aluminum. And the second is the useful helper handle.
This handle is a great feature! You have total control when lifting your dog. And it works as an emergency grab handle too.
The big problem with a lot of harnesses is dogs often figure out that they can back out of it. The Ruffwear Web-Master is designed with 2 straps that will prevent your dog from backing out.
It slips over the head and then clips once on top and once underneath. Many owners who have experimented with other harnesses say that this feature is one of the very best things about this Ruffwear.
The design of this harness means that it is incredibly popular with dogs who are perhaps older or who have reduced mobility.
There are countless reports of owners who have dogs who are post-surgery or amputees. And even dogs with chronic conditions have benefited from using this harness.
The fact that the owner can give such great assistance to their dog when it is struggling is just such a bonus!
And there are many tales of life-enhancing moments facilitated by the use of this harness.
Take the example of the dog close to the end of her life. She was carried down to the shoreline and supported by the harness in the surf for one last time.
You can’t put a price on that.
As this harness is wonderful for older dogs or those with reduced mobility, comfort is one of the key aims of this harness.
The chest area is foam padded and the straps are fully adjustable to minimize any rubbing.
It’s a shame though that the belly straps aren’t a little more padded as I think this would add a great extra level of comfort.
The designers have included a neat reflective trim, handy for those late-night walks and winter time outings.
I like that you can choose from 3 different colors – Red Currant; Twilight Gray or Blue Dusk.
From my research, dog owners are really happy with the shelf life of their Ruffwear Webmaster.
Some pooch parents have handed it down to another dog when their own dog grows or passes on. This proves how durable this harness is.
There are a limited number of reports of the material fraying. And of the metal breaking. Which is not great news.
This is clearly a good quality product built to last. But I guess that every dog is different and the amount of use varies too which could be a contributing factor to these faults.
So you can choose from 5 sizes. From XXS for dogs as small as 13 inches, through XS, S, M and L/XL which can comfortably fit dogs up to 42 inches.
Measure around the girth to get the right sizing. And I agree with Ruffwear's recommendation to go down a size if your dog is in between 2 sizes.
A few owners have complained that the lack of length measurements can mean it’s hard to get the correct size. So there there may be some trial and error here before you hit the one just right for your dog.
I like the 5 points of adjustment. The more adjustment points the more custom the fit.
Some owners state that this can take some patience. But, you're only going to do it once, so invest the time, it's worth it.
This is a really comfortable harness which is designed to make dogs feel relaxed and happy when they are wearing it.
Owners have reported that their pets have happily worn the harness for extended periods with no discomfort.
The design is strong and robust yet it is still pretty light so is perfect for more delicate dogs. And dog's with double coats will stay cool during hot summer months.
See how easy it is to fit and adjust the Ruffwear WebMaster Harness in this video by Ruffwear…
You can prolong the freshness of this harness by regular hand washing. Use mild detergent and leave out to air dry away from direct sunlight.
Tip: Secure the fasteners prior to washing to avoid tangling.
Pros and Cons
Overall this is a really solid harness. It offers good control and even the most determined of wrigglers have been unable to break free from it. Even those who have slipped other brands.
I'd like to see some more padding on the harness. Especially around the belly area.
And I can’t ignore the sprinkling of complaints about fraying and metal breakages. Although these are a small number who are vastly outweighed by those who find this to be a fabulous harness.
I think it's the perfect harness for aging, infirm or injured pets. And the fact that it has the seal of approval of several avalanche rescue teams in the USA who use the Webmaster as their harness of choice, is a major plus for me.
The variety of sizes is also a real plus point and dogs of all kinds of shapes and sizes can find their fit.
I'd also like to see a front leash attachment ring. This will be great for those determined pullers. But it's by no means a deal breaker.
Although despite the missing front leash attachment, several dog owners have noted that their dogs are calmer and pull less. Some have even reported their dogs having better leash manners.
In my opinion, this is because of the extra security the harness offers compared to just a regular harness. And it's great news.
A car attachment to double the Webmaster up as a car safety harness would be a great addition too.
This is a great all round harness for everyday use. It is carefully designed and works particularly works well for dogs with reduced mobility.
The very many happy owners far outweigh the small number of complaints so I would say that overall this would make a great purchase.
There are those limited number of reports of the material fraying and of the metal breaking. Which is not great news.
But like I mentioned earlier, if avalanche rescue teams are using the Ruffwear Webmaster it's got to be considered a top pick for the best hiking harness for dogs.
So I'm comfortable giving it my seal of approval too.
Expawlorer Front Range Harness
A basic harness, particularly suited for smaller dogs.
This is a lightweight harness designed for everyday usage. The design is straightforward with very few bells and whistles. Of all the hiking harnesses I've reviewed here, this one is the most basic.
You’ll find 2 convenient leash attachment points one on the top of the harness and one on the chest area. This gives added flexibility when you head out of doors.
The back portion of the harness is adjustable but the part around the neck is not and this has caused considerable annoyance for many owners. If the harness is too tight or too loose there's no way of correcting it. In my opinion, this is a definite deal breaker.
That being said, many owners haven’t had a problem with this at all. But it is worth noting, if your dog is very large or very small and likely to need particular adjustments, this hiking harness is not for you.
The outside layer of this harness is made from a scratch resistant Oxford material with a mesh lining.
This allows for the skin to breath and provides ventilation on warmer days, great news for those summertime hikes.
There’s soft padding around the chest and belly for added comfort and the 3M reflective parts are great for added visibility in poor light.
I love the fact that you have so many color choices with this Expawlorer. In fact there are 7 vibrant colors to pick from – classic black, classic blue, classic green, classic gray, great orange, hot pink and pretty red.
The buckles are made from a sturdy plastic which have a large loading capacity. This is the second deal breaker for me. Plastic buckles! Not a good thing!
It’s a shame to see that there have been quite a few reports of the plastic not coping with extended use and ending up breaking. Smaller dogs who pull less seem to get on better with this system.
There really are mixed reports regarding the ongoing durability and staying power of this harness.
Many users seem to have had their harness for a long time and it's worked great for them without any hiccups.
But sadly I can’t ignore the fairly large number of complaints about fraying and breaking from frustrated dog owner’s who regret buying this harness.
So there’s a good range of sizing options with this harness with 5 to choose from. From XS through S,M,L and XL the range provides a fit for any dog from girth size 13 to 42 inches.
The best feedback seems to come from small and medium sized dog owners. It’s worth noting that the sizes tend to run small so it's worth bearing in mind when measuring your dog to choose a good fit.
To strap your dog in before you head off to explore, unbuckle all of the clips and then slip the front of the harness over your dog’s head. Make any sizing adjustments and then click the clips together and you are good to go.
Other dog owners have reported their dogs seem comfortable in this harness. And there are positive comments on the comfort of the harness against the skin and fur when it comes to chafing.
I couldn't find any specific care instructions for this exact product. But in general dog harnesses are kept clean and fresh by regularly removing fur and loose mud.
Hand washing in a mild soap should be safe. And leaving out in warm air to dry away from bright sunlight should avoid shrinkage.
Pros and Cons
I'm in 2 minds about the Expawlorer, but it does have some redeeming qualities though.
It is lightweight and breathable. The color combinations are great especially if you have more than one dog to walk and need to get the right harness on the right dog and pronto.
But there are some reports that the materials seem to be of a poor quality, that the straps are slippery and the stitching has failed.
Although this could be because of a bad batch because these comments are not shared by everyone. And there are many dog owners who are very happy with their purchase.
I’d say that for a smaller dog this is a harness worthy of your consideration. For really lively dogs, large dogs or dogs with disabilities this harness is not a good choice. It definitely doesn’t tick enough boxes to be rated as one of the best hiking harness for dogs.
Although the Expawlorer harness has many loyal and happy owners, it has to rate as my least favorite.
It just has too many complaints against it for me to totally trust it as a consistently performing harness.
Buyer’s Guide to Choosing the Best Hiking Harness for Dogs
So with the tons of products to choose from it can be a bit of a minefield in making your choice of the best hiking harness for dogs.
There are lots of factors which you need to consider before making your choice, some will be more important than others. The intensity of your planned activities, your needs and your dog's capabilities will all influence your decision.
I’ve pulled together a buyer’s guide here to help steer you through the market. It will help you to make an informed choice so that you can shop with confidence.
And ultimately make a choice that you and your dog will love until the cows come home!
Great things to look for in terms of design are the quantities of adjustable straps and attachment points. Generally the more you can adapt a harness to get a great, almost bespoke fit for your dog, the better.
Also think carefully about your dog's individual personality and physical needs. when looking at design.
Do you have a youthful and energetic young pup who needs to learn leash behavior and loves to bound around the park?
Are you a serious mountaineer who needs to entrust your dog's life and safety to a harness? If you're lifting your dog in high, precarious and tricky places this is essential to consider.
Or perhaps you have an older dog who is quite happy with a gentle amble around the block and needs the harness more for support than control.
There are harnesses out there for all of these kinds of dogs. Just think what is key for your particular dog and for the activities you want to do with them.
Breathable material is definitely a box that must be ticked. Your pooch is going to wear this harness often so make sure they will not be too hot. This is especially true for double-coated dogs.
You also want something quick dry. It's going to get wet and muddy on hiking trips. And there's nothing worse than hiking with a heavy, wet harness.
Consider the highest quality materials you can afford. Things like stitching and buckles are also super important. If there's lots of rought and tumble freying can be an issue but not in all cases.
But, if a buckle breaks the harness is useless. Generally speaking metal buckles prove to be stronger than plastic.
You’ll be spending your hard earned green backs on a harness. Especially if you have more than one dog. Or a pup that's still growing – here you want a harness with lots of adjustment options.
So make sure what you're investing in is worth it. It's important that the harness you choose can handle hard punches and stand the test of time.
You can make these decisions by looking for harnesses that are well reviewed by other reviewers. And of course reading the full reviews here on German Shepherd Corner.
The more size options the better when it comes to selecting the right harness for your dog.
And even better is when there are also lots of straps which can be adjusted to get the fit perfect. Remember, the more adjustment options the more customizable the fit.
Manufacturers all have different ways to size pets for their products. But as a general rule there are 3 measurements you must take into consideration:
- Neck – Measure all of the way around your dog's neck where their collar usually sits.
- Girth – Measure around the widest part of your dog's rib cage behind their front legs.
- Length – Measure across the length of your dog's back from the withers to the base of the tail.
All harnesses will have straps and other fixings you can adjust too. And as a guideline you should only be able to fit two fingers between the fur and the harness with some resistance to know you have a good fit.
The majority of brands have sizing ranging from XS to XL. But it’s not easy to be totally precise as every dog is different.
As a guideline you’ll be looking at these general breeds for the following sizes:
- X Small – Pomeranian, Dachshund, Maltese, Toy Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier.
- Small – Scottish Terrier, Pekingese, Cavalier King Charles, Miniature Schnauzer, Pug.
- Medium – English and French Bulldog, Border Collie, Beagle, Boston Terrier.
- Large – Boxer, German Shepherd, Dalmatian, Golden and Labrador Retriever, Weimaraner.
- X-Large – Rottweiler, Great Dane, Bernese Mountain Dog, Mastiff, Saint Bernard.
Making sure that your pet is comfortable in their harness is one of the most essential things to consider.
Look out for harnesses with plenty of padding around sensitive areas. Particularly on the belly, back and under arms.
Chafing can be an issue if your dog wears their harness for a long time so make sure you regularly check their skin for red, raw or inflamed areas.
Also invest the time to fit the harness correctly before your first outing. Adjusting straps and experimenting with the best leash attachments will pay off in the end.
If you do this, you will have a happy dog on your hands, one who knows that once the leash comes out, fun is sure to follow!
A wet, muddy harness will need to be cleaned regularly. Make it easy on yourself and go for a harness that's easy to care for.
Machine washable is great, but those are few and far between. so second best is a harness that can be hand washed and air dried.
Always take the time to clear any hair or mud from your harness. And give it a regular wash. This will keep your harness smelling sweeter, it will preserve the life of the harness and be more comfortable for your pooch.
Like I mentioned most harnesses are hand washable with mild detergent followed by a spell on the line to dry.
Some harnesses also suggest a machine wash, just be careful you don’t introduce dog hair into the family laundry!
So there you have a guide to spotting the best hiking harness for dogs. Now you can shop with confidence, knowing that the choice you make is the best for your pocket, for your dog and for you!
Why You Should Invest in a Hiking Harness for Your Dog
68 million dogs in the USA love nothing more than being active and outdoors.
Enjoying the sun, the rain and the mud couldn't be more fun for your dog. Not to mention scampering after any squirrels which come their way.
The benefits of exercising your dog are legendary…
- You get to share quality time and bond with your pooch.
- They get one-on-one attention without the distractions of home.
- It opens up a world of new training opportunities.
- The activities stimulate their need to work.
- It challenges their minds and bodies.
- It's a great way to battle weight gain and keep them fit and healthy.
- Your dog's overall well-being is improved.
And, let's be honest…
It makes you happy too!
Seeing your dog with shining eyes, a fiercely wagging tail and a lolling tongue after a vigorous walk in the great outdoors.
Keeping this in mind, hiking harnesses offer much more than regular walking harnesses do.
- They offer much more control for you and your dog.
- Hiking harnesses are safer and stronger than regular harnesses and neck collars.
- With a hiking harness there's no pressure on your dog's neck. So choking and damage to their throat is eliminated.
- A well fitted hiking harness distributes the weight of your dog evenly. This means there's no strain on your dog's body.
- Your dog is less likely to pull and jump. This is because a hiking harness offers all-round security and comfort.
- Hiking harnesses are designed to be used for long periods, so it's designed with extreme comfort in mind.
- Older dogs or dogs with disabilities will feel reassured with the extra support a hiking harness gives.
So, whether it’s a young and lively puppy learning to explore the world.
Or your dog is your climber companion on tough hiking trails.
Or maybe you have an old pooch, like my Charley.
If you want the best for you and your dog, you should consider getting the best hiking harness for dogs.
Whatever your adventure. You and your dog will enjoy the benefits for months and years to come.
Check out my top choice for the best hiking harness for dogs on Amazon…
Ruffwear DoubleBack Harness for Dogs