Last Updated on 27/08/2023
Which are the Best Dog Harnesses for Hiking and Camping?
In these reviews of the best dog harnesses for hiking, we explain why a harness is a good idea and which one will be best suited to your dog.
To find the best dog harness for hiking, we first have to look through all the different dog harnesses available and whittle them down to just a few. We have experience hiking with dogs around the world and understand how important it is to keep them safe on the trail with a good leash and collar/harness. This is why we compiled this list to include only the most trusted dog harnesses that put your dog’s safety and comfort first.
If you like to go hiking or camping with your dog, then a lightweight harness can offer many benefits over a more traditional dog walking collar. A dog that pulls on a leash can take some of the fun out of a walk. while a harness doesn’t work for everyone, most dog owners report that a harness will help to improve their dog’s behavior. A dog harness is also less harsh on your dog’s throat when it does pull, and they also provide superior control.
In this article, we look at the dozens of different options and decide which are best for specific types of hiking, which are the most reliable, and what to look for when buying. We managed to filter over 25 down to the seven best dog harnesses to use for hiking and review them, so you don’t have to.
In a Hurry? Editors Pick
7 Top Rated Dog Harnesses
Dog Harnesses for Hiking and Camping Reviews
RUFFWEAR Front Range Dog Harness Review
The RUFFWEAR Front Range Dog Harness is our favorite option for hiking and everyday use with all types of dogs. It has an extremely well-thought-out design made using high-quality construction that ensures your dog stays safe and comfortable on a trek.
The adjustability is amazing and guarantees that every dog gets a good fit and doesn’t feel uncomfortable. The soft padding ensures your dog feels great when running around, and the hard-wearing webbing and shell material ensure the harness will last for many years.
VERDICT: We have been using this harness for years and have found it to be an excellent choice for hiking with our dog. The materials and ergonomic shape set the benchmark for design and provide maximum comfort on a walk. This is our top-rated dog harness for hiking, and we would recommend it to anyone with a dog, especially one that pulls on a leash.
You can read our full review here for a more in-depth look at the RUFFWEAR Front Range Dog Harnes.
Kurgo Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength Dog Harness Review
The Kurgo Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength Dog Harness is possibly the highest-rated dog harness available today. With over 3,600 ratings on Amazon and an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5, you can be sure that most of the people who buy this harness absolutely love it.
It comes with a carabiner and mini leash that is used to attach your dog to the seatbelt but is also great just to leave attached to your dog, so you don’t have to carry a leash. There’s a D-ring on the top for easy attachments when hiking and one on the front for a no-pull harness feature. Coming in 5 different sizes and with five adjustable points, you won’t have a problem customizing the straps to your dog’s body shape.
VERDICT: One of the biggest draws to this new harness is that it is crash safety tested for dogs up to 75 lbs and so is recommended to be used in cars to secure your dog while driving. For driving safely with your dog, we think this is an invaluable feature.
PACKT Endeavor All-Terrain Dog Harness Review
The PACKT Endeavor All-Terrain Dog Harness is the most hygienic harness and is best for mucky pups who always come home blathered in mud. This dog harness for hiking is made from a unique material called Biothane which is basically a coated webbing. This means you get all the strength and durability of a budget dog harness but with the added benefit of being waterproof, odor-resistant, and so easy to clean.
The durable coated webbing has a 700 lb break strength and is strong enough for even the largest dogs. As well as the fabric, two black powder-coated steel O-rings and long-lasting buckles add to the excellent build quality of this lightweight dog harness. Five adjustable points allow you to get the right fit providing your dog falls between the small and large sizes.
The O-rings give the material the flexibility to rotate around and fit your dog perfectly. The front ring also doubles as a no-pull attachment point to help control your dog when it starts dragging you.
VERDICT: The material is super soft and easy on your dog’s coat and is also available in leash form which feels gentle on your hands. We recommend this dog harness to hikers and campers who like to get off the beaten trail and don’t mind getting a bit dirty along the way.
Urban Trail Padded Adjustable Dog Harness Review
The Urban Trail Padded Adjustable Dog Harness is a rugged yet comfortable harness that keeps things simple and is reliable for all outdoor excursions. The reinforced webbing is 100% covered with padding on the inside using Polartec 300 fleece material which is soft and breathable. Designed like a sled dog harness, even the strongest pulling dog won’t struggle to breathe like they would with a collar.
VERDICT: The Urban Trail Padded Adjustable Dog Harness has two secure fasteners to get a snug fit and is available in 4 sizes to suit your breed of dog. There are three D-rings on the top so that the tension is spread throughout the harness instead of on just one point. The strength and durability of the construction make this an excellent harness for strong dogs.
RUFFWEAR Approach Dog Pack Review
The RUFFWEAR Approach Dog Pack is the best dog harness for camping as they can haul their own gear in the handy saddlebags. You can fit a weekend supply of food, water, poo bags, and treats in the spacious vestibules, which keep your backpack free of dog biscuits and leave more space for your own gear.
Most dogs are happy to carry their own gear, and for a young, energetic dog, it is a great way to provide extra exercise. It is recommended that you don’t load more than 25% of your dog’s weight into the pack to keep things fun for everyone.
The RUFFWEAR Approach Dog Pack’s harness is adjustable in 5 places to get the optimal fit and is designed to spread out the weight, so it doesn’t put too much pressure on your dog. The handle on the top is ideal for getting quick control of your dog when a car passes or another dog is approaching.
VERDICT: If you like to go camping with your dog, then this dog harness is the best, and your dog will get giddy every time you get it out.
RUFFWEAR Doubleback Strength-Rated Belay Dog Harness Review
The RUFFWEAR Doubleback Strength-Rated Belay Dog Harness is the best harness for rock climbing with dogs who never want to miss an adventure. If you like to hike in hard-to-get places, then ascending and descending steep routes can become a safety concern for both you and your dog.
If you use a climbing harness yourself, then it only makes sense to get one for your dog too. The Doubleback has undergone strict safety tests to ensure that it can be used to belay your four-legged friend properly.
VERDICT: As well as being one of the few dog climbing harnesses available to buy, the Doubeback is also a highly versatile piece of kit that can be used as a regular harness. Unlike other harnesses, this one has two back-leg straps, which provide stability and balance needed to belay or ascend on a rope safely. If you are the type of adventurous and caring dog owner who likes to rock climb without leaving your buddy at home, then this is definitely the best dog harness for belaying.
You can view a video of it here or view the full specs on Amazon
SGODA Dog Harness Reflective Dog Harness Review
The SGODA Dog Harness Reflective Dog Harness is the best hi-vis dog harness for hiking at night. Made from tough nylon, the webbing is strong enough for any dog size and also features visibility stripes. The 3m reflective trim travels all the way around the shell fabric to reflect light from any direction. This helps keep your dog visible to both you and other people if walking in low light. The bright yellow fabric also helps with visibility during day hikes if your dog blends into the surroundings or runs off a lot.
Available in 8 colors and four different chest sizes, you can match most breeds of dogs to this harness and be sure that their hike will be as comfortable as yours. Two buckles make taking this off and putting it on a breeze, and the four adjustable straps let you tighten it up to fit your dog so that it won’t come off.
VERDICT: We really liked the premium attachment clip on top and definitely appreciated the lift and assist handle when picking up our dog. This is one of the more affordable harnesses on the list and is a good option for a budget dog harness for hiking.
How Do You Walk a Dog that Pulls?
If your dog pulls when you’re hiking, then the first thing you need to do is invest a good amount of time in training. This might mean hiring a dog trainer, taking a course, reading books, or watching youtube videos. Two things that can help are using a harness so your dog doesn’t choke and taking treats to get your dog’s attention if it does pull.
What to Look for In Dog Harness for Hiking
Depending on your dog’s breed, shape, and size, you may be looking for different things. For a small but stout dog like a pug or bulldog, then a wide-fitting harness that isn’t too long will work best. Bigger dogs may need more heavy-duty attachments as well as other features. Here are some of the qualities you can look for:
Most dog walking harnesses will have a top attachment that sits at the center of their back, just behind their shoulders. This allows any tension the dog creates by pulling to be spread across its chest instead of its windpipe. For small dogs, this is perfect as you have a good amount of control, but with bigger dogs, it can be trickier. You can also get front attachments, but I find these aren’t very practical and will end up twisting the hardness if you aren’t careful.
Fit and Sizing
Dog harnesses often come in at least three different sizes to suit different types of dogs, but without trying them on, how do you know which size harness to get? The first thing you should do is take measurements of your dog’s chest, stomach, neck, and length from the collar to the base of the tail. Once you know this, you can start to match it to different harness sizes.
Most dog harnesses for hiking will feature a plastic buckle or velcro strap to secure it in place. Both of these work without fail, although if your dog likes to get muddy, then maybe a buckle clip is the better choice. You can also decide where you want your attachment to being, as some are underneath, others are at the side, and some might have two closures at the front and back.
If your dog likes to run through streams, roll about in the mud, and run through the thick bush, then pay special attention to the type of material the harness is made from. Ideally, you want something that can resist water and doesn’t get soaked and filthy easily. Additionally, you don’t want a material that will attract grass seeds and sticky buds, which can be uncomfortable for the dog and annoying to remove constantly.
With any kind of outdoor dog gear, I always think the more visible, the better, and if you can have some kind of reflective strip on your dog, it is much safer around roads or traffic. Bright orange and yellow leashes are also much easier to find if they drop out of your pocket on a hike. If your harness doesn’t have good visibility, then you might think about customizing it with some reflective stickers or attaching an LED keyring etc…
Is It Better to Walk a Dog with A Harness or Collar?
For certain breeds of dogs that have short noses or struggle with breathing and for dogs that constantly pull, harnesses are often the better choice for hiking. Harnesses don’t restrict breathing as much as collars, and if you are hiking up a mountain with a small dog, then they will need all the air they can get. If you can train your dog to not pull or be trusted off-leash, then this is better than using a harness to solve the problem.
Collars do give you more control if you need to correct your dog’s behavior and are less bulky for the dog to wear. It really does come down to your dog’s breed and whether it pulls or not.
What Kind of Harness Is Best for A Dog that Pulls?
The best type of harness for a dog that pulls is one that fits securely around your dog’s chest and doesn’t put any pressure on your dog’s throat. If your dog is a particularly bad puller, then I would recommend using a collar as well as a harness so that you can give corrections if the pulling gets too much. Remember that quick sharp tugs are ten times more effective than a dragging pull (watch the dog whisperer for more info)
Should You Leave a Harness on A Dog All the Time?
If you have ever been rock climbing or worn a harness for any reason, then you will know that you can’t wait to take it off once you don’t need it anymore. The same is true for your dog’s harness. If you are done with the walk, and you are back home, then you should take the harness off. It is always a good idea to leave a collar on, though, as this allows you to always keep your contact details visible in case your dog runs off.
Can a Dog Wear a Collar and A Harness at The Same Time?
Your dog can and probably should wear a collar as well as a harness. The collar allows you to attach an identity stage as well as always have something to grab onto if you need more control than your leash. Also, having both a collar and a harness means that even when the harness comes off, your dog always has something on you can grab or clip a lead to in a hurry.
We hope you enjoyed learning about the best dog harness for hiking this year.