Looking for the best dog harness for hiking? If you haven’t got time to read the full article, our top pick is the Julius-K9, 162PM, K9-Powerharness.
Easy to put on and take off and extremely durable it’s one of the best hiking harnesses for dogs available online right now along with the rabbitgoo option and the ruffwear front range.
In this article, we will be reviewing;
We will also be covering.
- How to choose hiking harnesses for dogs
- What’s the best material for a harness for hiking
- Why fit is so important
- Tips on hiking with your hound
- What breeds make fantastic hiking partners
The Best Dog Harnesses for Hiking
The perfect hiking harness is going to be breathable, durable, and one that offers you plenty of control. You’re also going to need a couple of adjustment points to ensure a snug fit that’s going to protect your dog’s chest and neck, as well as offer general safety and if your pooch doesn’t have polite leash skills, using with a double-ended training leash might be a good idea.
We’ve hunted down some of the best dog hiking harnesses available online right now – from well-loved brands and those harness features with top review scores from genuine dog owners.
Buyer’s Guide and Reviews
First off, we have the Julius-K9 harness, which is a popular choice among owners of working dogs. This active dog harness is super strong, effortless to put on, lightweight, and is one of the best dog harnesses with a handle for extra control.
There is one leash ring on the back and a single strap that runs under the chest. The sizes currently run from 3XS to 2XL and come in a wide variety of colours.
- No front leash ring
Top Choice for Rough Terrain – rabbitgoo Grey Tactical Dog Harness Vest Harness with Handle No-Pull Working Dog Vest with Metal Buckles Loop Panels No-Pull Harness with Leash Clips for Walking Hiking Hunting, Large
The next harness on this list is ideal for medium-sized to bigger dogs. It comes in four muted colours and ranges from sizes M to XL. The harness is easy to put on your dog as it opens both around the front of the chest and underneath. As a dog harness for pulling, it comes with two leash rings. On the back, you will also find a strong handle for optimal control.
- Not suitable for small dogs
Top Pick for Small Dogs – RUFFWEAR Web Master Multi-Use Dog Harness, Rugged Environments, Working Dogs, Small Breeds, Adjustable Fit, Size: Small (56-69 cm/22-27 in), Twilight Grey
This Ruffwear web master harness is one of the best dog harnesses for little wrigglers that need that little bit of extra control! It comes with two straps that run underneath your dog’s belly and chest and one front strap.
Like the ruffwear front range, There are two lead attachment points, but a strong handle runs vertically along the back of the harness, making it one of the best dog harnesses for hiking.
- May be a bit expensive for some.
Best Value for Money – Musonic No Pull Dog Harness, Breathable Adjustable Comfort, Free Leash Included, for Small Medium Large Dog, Best for Training Walking (S, RedNew)
The Musonic no-pull option is the best dog harness for dog owners and hikers on a budget. It comes in sizes XS to XL and in a broad range of colours. Another great thing about this harness is that it opens both at the front of the chest and on the strap that runs underneath. This is perfect for nervous dogs who do not like having harnesses placed over their heads.
- No front leash ring
One of the best Harnesses for Medium Dogs – PET ARTIST Tactical k9 Dog Harness for Medium Large Dogs Hiking Training, No Pull Front Leading Molle Vest Harness for Dogs Walking, Black, L(Chest:62-80cm)
The Pet Artist harness is a robust, full covering harness ideal for big dogs that need reasonable control on hikes. It comes with three leash rings and three separate handles that run along the middle, back, and front of the top half of the harness. One of the best hiking harnesses can be opened at the front and with the two straps underneath the dog, making it easier to put on.
- Not ideal for intense exercise, as the material covers most of the dog
Fida Dog Harness No Pull with Handle, Heavy Duty Dog Pack Hound Dog Saddle Bag Backpack for Travel Camping Hiking X-Large Dog with 2 Hidden Side Pockets (XL, Black)
This Fida Store doggy harness comes with two leash rings, a sturdy back handle, and two openings situated on the front chest strap and on the belt that runs underneath your dog. It also comes with a side pocket and a poop bag dispenser. This harness is also lined with reflective material and is made of scratch-resistant Oxford material.
- Only two styles – if that’s a problem!
Best lightweight option – Mountain Paws Unisex’s, Red, Hiking Dog Harness, Small
This next harness on the list is ideal for smaller dogs that like to hike. The harness must be placed over the dog’s head, which not all dogs like, then attached at the side with the adjustable chest and belly buckles. There is a long handle that runs vertically across the back, right behind the metal leash ring.
This particular harness model only comes in one size and one colour.
- It doesn’t have 2 attachment points for the lead.
Top Pick for Larger Breeds – Kurgo Dog Harness for Small, Medium, Large Dogs, Reflective Harness for Running, Walking and Hiking, Journey Air Style
This Kurgo journey dog harness is a popular choice for owners looking for the best hiking harness for active dogs who need a little extra comfort for their journeys.
This harness features padded straps to protect your dog’s rib cage as you walk while still providing a snug fit, thanks to the multiple adjustment points. It also comes with reinforced leash attachment points, one on the front of the dog’s chest and one on the back.
- Not much reflective material
OneTigris Dog Harness Vest for Walking Hiking Hunting Tactical Military Waterproof MOLLE Training Harness for Service Dog 1000D Nylon (M, Ranger Green)
This excellent hiking harness is ideal for active dog owners. It opens with a front attachment point and another under the chest. The multiple adjustment points make it easy to find a dog secure fit, and thanks to the webbing on the back, there is plenty of room for added packs and pockets. This harness currently only comes in one colour and is not suitable for smaller dogs.
- For medium to larger dogs only.
Top Heavy Duty Option – ThinkPet No-Pull Breathable Sport Dog Harness – Reflective Padded Oxford Nylon Safety Adjustable Easy on and off Vest, Back/Front Clip Handle Outdoor and Training Large Dogs(XXL Purple)
This next option is the perfect walking harness for training your dog’s basic leash skills. It comes with an attachment point on the front for no-pull leash training and a strong leash attachment ring on the back, which is excellent for a hands-free leash (for running, jogging, etc.).
It comes in a wide choice of colours, has multiple attachment points and a reflective lining along every seam.
- Doesn’t open in the front
Best Reflective Harness – fiE FIT INTO EVERYWAY Range Of Front Side No Pull Dog Harness Outdoor Adventure 3M Reflective Pet Vest with Handle Adjustable Protective Nylon Walking Pet Harness Orange L
This next harness is a low-cost option with good reflective stitching that lines the entire harness, both a front and back leash ring, and adjustable straps to help keep your dog safe. It comes in sizes from XS to XL and in three different colours. It has mesh lining inside and is covered with a non-scratch material on the outside.
- Doesn’t have a front opening
Top Tactical harness – ICEFANG Tactical Dog Harness, K9 Working Dog Vest, No Pull Front Leash Clip D-ring, Unbreakable Snap-proof (M, BK-Metal Buckle)
This harness arrives with padded and secure straps all around. It also comes with a firm handle on the back as well as two reinforced leash rings. You will also be able to see multiple sticky strips along the front and back of the harness. These are there for your dog to be able to carry bags, pouches, an easy-access ID pocket, etc.
- Can be a little heavy
Are Hiking Harnesses Different from a Regular Dog Harness?
While the basic design remains the same, there are slight differences between hiking harnesses and regular harnesses. For example:
- These harnesses are made to be sturdier. On a hike, you see all different kinds of terrain and situations. With that in mind, the last thing that you would want is your harness to break open or tear during a strenuous walk! Therefore, hiking harnesses are made with this kind of vigorous activity in mind.
- Aside from being more robust, most hiking harnesses are also lighter and made with more breathable material so that your dog’s skin will not become irritated along the way. Some have pockets and pouches.
- Finally, most hiking harnesses come with handles on the back, specifically designed to hold your dog’s weight and strength if need be. This can be very useful on uncertain terrain, where your dog may need a little help or assurance.
How to Choose the Best Hiking Harness for your Dog
How Far Do You Walk?
The first thing that you should bear in mind is just how far your and your four-legged friend generally walk together. Do you go on long hikes on rough terrain, or do you stick to short trots?
You will want a strong harness made of breathable fabric for more active exercises, such as reinforced webbing. You may also want to consider buying one with a padded handle to make your use of the dog’s harness more comfortable for you, too!
Do You Walk on Tricky Terrain?
The trickier the terrain, the more you will desperately need a strong handle. Your dog’s hiking harness handle is there for you to be able to control them as well as possible when necessary, but also to help you carry and support their weight if the terrain demands it.
If you have found yourself fin a challenging area to conquer, being able to pick up and help your dog over it will be a saviour to both you and them.
Do You Hike in Areas of Low Visibility?
You may have already considered purchasing clothes and bags with reflective material for yourself, but what about for your pup? They will need to be seen as much as you and risk being hurt if they are not.
If you plan to hike in low-visibility areas, you may also want to consider purchasing a very bright hiking harness for your dog. That means reflective seams, straps and more.
Does Fido Enjoy a Dip?
Many dogs simply adore diving into whatever pool, puddle, creek, and pond they can find! With that in mind, many dog owners do seem to forget that the different materials on their hiking harnesses can easily be damaged and tarnished by the water over time.
That’s why the best dog hiking harness for water-loving pups should be made of reinforced materials, and it’s a bonus if they are machine washable!
What Time of Year Do You Walk?
Although we all walk our dogs year-round, we do not always have time or the right weather for a hike, and that should be taken into account before purchasing a walking harness. If you hike more in the summer, in hot areas, you will need a harness made of a lightweight, breathable fabric that works well with your dog’s movement and a reflective option is ideal for the winter months when visibility is low.
Why Fit is Important when Choosing the Best Harness for Hiking
Having a secure fit for the harness on your dog’s body is essential for multiple reasons:
- It will need to be big enough to not hurt your dog’s neck or chest by rubbing up too hard and close against them. This could greatly irritate their skin, impact their breathing, and damage their trachea. make sure you get one with multiple adjustment points
- The harness should also be tight enough to prevent your dog from wriggling out of it. They could escape and run from you, attack another living creature, or get stuck somewhere that you will not be able to reach them. With that in mind, having adjustable straps is always a great idea!
- What’s more, you’ll need a robust harness that’ll protect against anything breaking loose – a badly-made harness will have straps that snap out easily. Make sure to buy from a reputable, well-reviewed brand.
What Material is Best for a Dog Hiking Harness?
Whether you are taking on rough and ever-changing terrain or simply a soft and flat route, you are far better off having a lightweight harness on your dog. This will make it easier and more comfortable for them to carry, making the hike more fun and accessible.
Whether your dog is a big swimmer or not, we all get caught out in the rain at some point or another, and having a waterproof harness for your dog will help to keep them dry in certain areas – it’s also less likely to irritate them, and will last longer.
Much like needing a lightweight material for your dog’s comfort, so too will you need a harness that is made of a breathable fabric. The breathable material will ensure that their skin does not become irritated or even painful as their hot fur rubs against the harness.
Having a reflective trim on a harness is always a good idea, whether you plan on walking in the dark and/or bad weather. Having that extra visibility can mean the difference between life and death.
Easy to Keep Clean
Harnesses can quickly get muddy with sweat, dirt, water, etc. The more you use it, the more often it will need cleaning. Therefore, having one that is easy to clean could end up saving you a lot of time and effort in the future!
Do Dogs Walk Better with a Harness?
Sadly, some time ago, it was discovered that walking a dog with a collar comes with a list of issues and undesirable effects. Most of all, pulling a collar back as you are walking your dog will increase the chances of their trachea being permanently damaged.
Yanking them back in an emergency on the lead can also significantly damage their spines.
These problems are all, for the most part avoidable, with dog harnesses. Harnesses are also a better idea specifically for hiking, as they come with handles on the backs, with the intent of being used in tricky situations or for better control over your dog. Check out the best no-pull dog harness for boxers.
Breeds that Make Great Hiking Partners
- Springer Spaniel
- Siberian Husky
- German Short-Haired Pointer
- Border Collie
- Australian Shepherd
- Portuguese Water Dog
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
Hiking with a Dog Top Tips
- Don’t hike in the hottest part of the day. Hiking in peak sun will tire both you and your dog out very quickly. This could also cause them heatstroke in a very difficult-to-reach area.
- Take a paper map. As wonderful as technology is, not all trails can catch a signal, leaving you without help or guidance on a long hike without a map.
- Pack the right gear. Do not forget your essentials, but do not lumber yourself with unnecessary stuff either!
- Follow the countryside code – gates, farmland etc. Do not wander into any areas where you and your dog are not welcome. This could be dangerous for both of you.
- Take plenty of water and a portable water bowl. The main thing that you will need with you at all times is water for you and your pup. Always take more than enough.
- Pack Food! You do not know how long you will be gone for on some hikes, and low blood sugar can be disastrous. Pack a few protein snacks.
- Train your dog to walk on lead. Even if you dog is trained in off-leash obedience, they will still need to know how to behave on a lead if they come across other dogs or people.
- Respect the local wildlife. Hiking in beautiful, natural areas is a privilege. Do not disrespect your surroundings! Obey local leash laws, too.
- Always Clean up. One way of respecting your surroundings is by constantly cleaning up after yourself and your pup. Bring enough poop bags.
- You are entering insect territory – have flea treatments up to date, antihistamines, ointment for stings and more.
- Have a first aid kit to hand. Accidents can happen quickly on a hike. Be sure to have the necessary equipment to patch both you and your dog up, if need be! Carry plasters, ointments etc
Conclusion and Top Pick
When it comes to finding the best dog hiking harnesses, look for comfort, a reflective trim, and ease of carrying if need be.
Generally speaking, the best ones are front attaching harnesses, with at least two leash rings, a mesh and waterproof lining, reflective seams, and a firm handle on the back.
Depending on what you need, the Julius K9-Powerharness is usually a strong contender for hiking, as it is so efficient that it is even used on working dogs in the forces. It’s absolutely our top pick as a great hiking harness for all active pups.
The right dog hiking harness for you should weather years to come – choose wisely.