Best Dog Harness For Hiking

Dog Harness For Hiking - Reviews & Guides For 2023

Our Top Dog Harness For Hiking

Need Help Choosing Dog Harness For Hiking?

Dog Harness For Hiking Buyers Guide

Taking your beloved dog with you while hiking can be the best you can experience, especially if you own a dog breed that loves hiking while exploring the hidden places. Like you, the pooch can also get excited due to seeing the new location, and controlling it can be hard.

As you are in a new area, thus letting the dog free isn’t a choice as it can lose its way or the livestock grazing nearby can get spooked. So using a dog harness for hiking can be the best thing to do. Not only will it help you control the dog, but you can also enjoy hiking together.

But do you know how to purchase a dog harness?

It's not as easy as purchasing an everyday dog collar as the harness has to withstand brutal force caused by an excited dog. Here with this buyer's guide, you can buy the top dog harness for hiking that's robust and comfortable for your pet.

Why is using a dog harness for hiking a good idea?

You might be thinking why using a harness is essential when the regular dog collar can do the job. The regular dog collars you have been using for walking aren't great when hiking with the pet. An excited dog can pull, which can trap its airways.

Hiking harness is specially designed to keep the dog comfortable all the time so you both will enjoy the hiking trip. Here are some undeniable benefits of using a dog’s harness.

Better control

You get better control over the dog, which is a necessity when you both are in the wilds exploring nature. A harness will hold the dog so it can be in your control fully.


Dog harness for hiking is durable as compared to the regular collard. The material used to manufacture these harnesses can withstand almost anything, even the canines of your dog, so a hiking dog harness will last longer.

No breathing issues

If you tend to use a regular dog collar, then it can lead to respiratory issues when the dog pulls too hard. Small breeds can even die if they pull the collar with force.


Just like your hiking shoes, a hiking harness is essential for the dog. These harnesses offer ample comfort so that the pooch will love it, and you can spend more time together roaming and finding new spots.

So you have decided to go for a hiking harness? Excellent! But do you know what types of hiking harnesses are there and what material or size to choose that suits your beloved pet?

Continue reading this guide to know more about how to buy the best harness.

Factors to look for when buying a dog harness for hiking

Keeping these factors in mind will help you in buying a reliable harness that's perfect for your pooch. From comfort to the types and size, we have listed everything you should check before making your decision.

The common types

The type of harness differs based on the fitting style and the placement of the clip attachments. You will find three types of harnesses based on the difference of the attachment i.e., dual-clip, back-clip, and front-clip.

In terms of style, there are two types of dog hiking harnesses, such as step-in and over-the-head dog harnesses.

Dual-clip harness

These dog harnesses have two attachments, both on the back and the front. These harnesses enjoyed sheer popularity because you can use them both ways, either with the back or the front clip.

You can set up the harness on the front clip with the leash while harness for added control, whereas the back clip is ideal for everyday walks. So you can say that it is a versatile dog harness that is perfect to use on every occasion.

The harness is suitable for:

  • Trained dogs
  • Big and powerful breeds

The harness is not suitable for:

  • Untrained dogs
  • Dogs that move a lot can find it uncomfortable.

Back-clip harness

With this harness type, you can attach the leash to the clip available on the backside of the harness. You will find these harnesses as the most favorite amongst keen hikers due to the ease of putting it around your dog's neck.

Furthermore, these harnesses are suitable for small dogs and young breeds like pugs. However, you shouldn’t use this harness if you have a big or untrained dog that can pull it brutally due to excitement.

The harness is suitable for:

  • Dogs with any previous neck injuries
  • Small breeds and young dogs
  • Dogs suffering from the trachea or respiratory problems

The harness is not suitable for:

  • Untrained dogs
  • Powerful dogs that pull vigorously
  • Dog breeds with extreme prey drive

Front-clip harness

If your dog needs training, then a front-clip harness can be an ideal choice. The leash attaches to the clip-on harness so your dog will feel the pull, thus helping him learn how to hike. The harness will be beneficial to teach your dog leash behavior and bad pulling.

However, with this harness, you have to be extra careful as the dog can get tangled in the leash while taking a turn.

The harness is suitable for:

  • Dogs that get distracted easily
  • Untrained dogs
  • Dogs that pull

The harness is not suitable for:

  • Aggressive breeds with uncontrollable prey drive

Step-in harness

Step-in harness requires you to put the pet's front legs into the harness, so it is easy to put on, especially if you have a small dog. Moreover, the harness is adjustable so you can fit it on any dig irrespective of its size.

Step-in harness can be a great choice if you need a lightweight and comfortable harness that doesn’t restrict your pet while moving.

Over-the-head harness

These harnesses offer ultimate control over the dog because of the fit. You can easily fit it on your pet, and the harness won't feel tight and restrict the respiratory organs or the airway. The harness is available for small and big dogs, so you won't face any issues while finding the right size for your pet.

However, there is only one downside of this harness, and it is not good for dogs that aren't patient. If your dog moves a lot, then you will find it hard to fit the harness around it.


After selecting the type of harness, you need to make sure to check your dog's exact size. A harness that's too small can block the airway, and a loose harness can set the dog free after a few efforts while looking baggy.

The best way to determine the perfect size for your dog is by measuring it before buying a hiking harness. Get a measuring tape and measure the dog's rib cage where the harness will fit. While measuring, place the harness across the widest part to measure the circumference.

Furthermore, measure the harness's back by measuring the base of the tail and base of the neck. Also, note down the neck's circumference and use these details while checking the size chart of the hiking harness.

You can also measure the shoulders as some dog breeds have wide shoulders. Check all these factors, and then you can select the best harness size for your dog that fits him comfortably.


You have to be extra careful when choosing the material as the harness's durability and lifespan depends on it completely. The choice of material depends on where you want to go hiking. If you are planning to visit a place that's muddy and dirty, then look for materials that are easy to clean.

So your pooch doesn't have to wear a dirty harness. Furthermore, the light reflective material is good for low-light conditions so you can quickly find your dog. On the other hand, if you visit a wet and rainy area, look for waterproof material that dries quickly, so the dog doesn't insist on removing it from his neck.

Some manufacturers offer padded dog harnesses for hiking that are comfortable to wear all day long. Overall, the choice of material depends on you. You can quickly make a choice based on the material you need, such as waterproof, padded, reflective, and much more.


There are some inevitable issues you may face while walking on the rough and tough terrains. So the harness should be durable so that you can prevent your dog from running away from you. Not every harness can control a big and excited dog, so durability plays a vital role.

Check the material and the clips to make sure that everything is made using high-quality material, and it can withstand the pull of the dog. Furthermore, check the harness's construction and choose from single and two-ply based on your budget and preference.

Single-ply harness

The single-ply harness has a single layer making them ideal for small dogs and not so powerful breeds. The layer can be leather, nylon, or any other synthetic material. You shouldn't use single-ply harnesses for big dogs as these can be less durable if the dog pulls vigorously.

Two-ply harness

Two-ply harnesses have two layers making them more durable and robust. The two layers stitched together to make the harness suitable for big dogs. If you have a powerful dog breed, then go for two-ply harnesses.


An ideal harness should offer ultimate comfort to the dog so that your pet doesn’t resist whenever you try to put the harness around its neck. You can determine the comfort of the hiking harness by checking its material and how well the harness adapter according to the hiking conditions.

A comfortable harness allows the pet to breathe properly without blocking the airway. Also, these harnesses don't block the dog's vision, so you both can spend some memorable time while hiking as the dog will also enjoy wearing the harness for a long time.

Ease of mobility

The choice of the harness will decide how the pet will feel after putting it up. A lightweight harness will let the dog enjoy the trip without feeling overburdened with the weight of a heavy collar that’s chocking the neck.

Furthermore, the climatic conditions also impact the ease of mobility, so you should consider these while selecting a dog harness for hiking. Padded and thick harnesses are suitable for cold weather, and the dog will not feel sweaty and tired.

On the other hand, harnesses made using breathable and waterproof material are ideal for hot weather. When your furry friend gets the ease of mobility, it will enjoy hiking, and you have to spend less time calming the dog due to a burdening harness.

Back pockets

Sometimes, slowing down a really exciting pooch can be a task, but the harness's back pockets will help. You can put some weight on both sides to slow down the dog. Moreover, dog harnesses with back pockets are ideal for training a dog.

If you are a hiking harness for the first time, then look for harnesses that have pockets.

Control handle

A control handle is attached to the harness on the upper side to help you carry the dog whenever required. If your furry friend is afraid to cross the puddle or you don't want him to get dirty, then pick the pet up from the control handle.

Another benefit of the control handle is better to control. In some situations, when the leash isn't enough, then you can hold the handle to calm down the dog.

Three-way adjustability

Adjustable dog harnesses make it easier for you to loosen or tight the girth based on the requirements. These harnesses can be adjusted in a few seconds, so you don't have to keep it too tight when going for a regular walk with the pooch.


The price of the harness depends on the type and the brand. You will find some affordable and expensive options on the market. Make your budget before you shop for the harness to avoid overspending.

Furthermore, always choose harnesses made by famous brands, so you get the quality assurance you need.

FAQs: Best Dog Harness for Hiking

Q: Is it possible for a dog to escape the harness?

A: In some situations, the dog can escape the harness after a few efforts, and this can be due to incorrect fitting. If the harness is too loose, then the pooch can escape it easily. Another factor is the durability; the poorly built harness can break off easily, thus letting the dog free from it.

Q: Can I leave the harness on the dog for an entire day?

A: Yes, you can leave the harness on the dog for the whole day, but make sure that it is comfortable and of the right size. Dog trainers recommend that you should take off the harness after some time so that your pet can feel un-tucked.

Also, removing the harness allows the skin to breathe, so make sure to take some intervals to put off the harness.

Q: How to wash a hiking dog harness?

A: You should clean the dog harness frequently to remove the mud and to prevent it from stinking. You cannot throw the harness into the machine. Follow the below-mentioned process to clean the dog's harness.

  • Remove all items from the harness like bladders and secure all buckles properly.
  • Take a bucket full of warm water, and add a mild soap to it.
  • Soak the harness for a few minutes and wash it gently with your hands.
  • Hang dry it in the shade to prevent direct exposure of UV rays.
  • Use a soft brush to spot clean the harness, and it is ready again to put around your dog.
Q: How do I know if it is the time to replace the harness?

A: There are multiple signs that you shouldn’t ignore if you want the harness to remain secured in its place. Never use a harness that shows signs of damages such as broken straps, buckles, and other accessories mounted on it.

Moreover, just like every other dog product, a hiking harness has a limited lifespan that depends on how much you are using it, and how powerful your pet is. Keep checking the harness for any damages so that you can order a replacement on time.

Q: Can a dog sleep with a hiking harness?

A: It is not a great idea to let the dog sleep with the harness on. The sleeping position can create choking issues, which can be harmful to the dog. Always remove the harness so that the pet can sleep peacefully.

Also, wearing the harness for too long can flatten the fur, so if you don’t want to see your lovely dog with flat fur, then remove the harness after some time.

Q: How are hiking harnesses for dogs different from regular collars?

A: You will see multiple differences between regular harnesses and hiking harnesses. Below we have explained the common difference why hiking harnesses are the best.

Durable: In terms of durability, hiking harnesses are better. The material used to manufacture these harnesses last longer and can control even the aggressive dog breeds.

Lightweight: Dog harnesses for hiking are lightweight for the ease of mobility. Regular collars made using leather or other materials can be heavy, so you cannot use them while hiking.

Heavy-duty attachments: The buckles, D-rings, and clips attached to the harness are heavy-duty to withstand rough and tough conditions.

All these reasons are enough to prove why a regular dog collar can't take the place of a dog harness for hiking.

Q: Can I use a hiking harness for walking my dog?

A: Yes, you can use a hiking harness to walk your dog as these are comfortable. Consider buying a versatile harness so you can attach the leash on either side.

Q: Do dogs hate wearing a harness?

A: It depends on multiple factors such as the size, weight, and material of the harness. If the harness is of incorrect size, then the dog will surely hate wearing it, and you have to buy a new one.

Similarly, the heavy harness can make the pooch feel overburdened, so it will definitely restrict wearing the harness any further.

Q: Are hiking harnesses visible at night?

A: If you need a harness that's visible at night, then go for the ones that have light reflective material. You can quickly spot your dog in low-light, and that's what you want. Generally, most dog harnesses for hiking have light-reflective strips that bounce back the light when you search for the pooch with your flashlight.

Q: Can small breed dogs wear hiking harnesses?

A: Yes, hiking harnesses are available for dogs of all sizes and breeds. No matter if you have a cute pug or a powerful pitbull, you will find an ideal hiking harness for the pooch.

Q: Can I train my dog with a harness?

A: Yes, you can use a hiking harness to train your dog for the hiking trail. It would be great if your pet spends a few days with the harness before climbing the trail. Ensure that the harness fits the dog properly, and it is the best option for the breed.


This dog harness for hiking buyer's guide has everything you should know before buying one. From size to fit and comfort, we have highlighted all factors you need to consider before pressing the buy now button.

Keep in mind the behavior of the pooch when choosing the right type, as some dogs are very aggressive. After considering all these points, you can compare different harnesses to settle down with an excellent option.

Also, check the FAQ section to learn about some tips on how to clean the harness, and much more. Lastly, you can consult a professional dog trainer about the harness to be extra sure that your furry friend likes it.

Enjoy hiking with your dog! / - © Copyright 2020