Dog Hiking Harness: Best Products for Adventure and Walking

Now that you are planning to go hiking with your furry friend, it is crucial to take into consideration the safety of your dog. Dog harnesses have become increasingly popular thus, replacing the traditional collar and leash. To keep your dog safe as you hike, you need a hiking harness for your dog.

The harness will help you to save your dog if it gets into trouble. While you could use a collar for the same purpose, it could constrict the dog’s neck thus restricting air passage especially if the dog is also pulling. This factor places preference on the harness which is more comfortable, and the dog is less likely to pull in a harness. In short, you must know how to choose the best harness for your dog. Some tackles have a pack allowing you to put some of your load on the dog’s back. Besides, a good hiking harness includes a loop at the end to enable you to pull out your dog in case it is in danger.

best dog hiking harnes

Top 10 Best Dog Harness for Hiking

Dog Hiking Harness Buyer’s Guide

Sometimes it’s difficult to control your dog, especially when it's excited and jumping a lot. This becomes more of a concern when it comes to the slopes you will encounter when hiking. Depending on the size, age and the activity level of your dog, the choice of harness requires careful consideration to ensure the safety of your dog. Unfortunately, with a wide range of harnesses out there that promise the best experience, it becomes a challenge to choose one. With that in mind, what should you look for in a harness?

Factors to consider when buying a hiking harness for your dog

The right fit

While harnesses are designed to be comfortable, a poorly fitting harness can cause considerable discomfort to your dog. A harness too small will pose breathing difficulties while an oversized one might come off or entangle your dog causing it to fall. It is therefore important to ensure that the harness you choose perfectly fits your dog. Different brands have different sizes. Therefore, it is necessary to know the size of your dog.

To achieve this, use a soft tape measure to get the measurement of your dog’s girth. The girth is the widest part of your dog’s rib cage. In addition, for a perfect fit, ensure that two of your fingers can easily fit under the tape; there is enough space between the legs and also that the harness is balanced and not too high. A harness that does not balance will not only make the dog uncomfortable but also make it difficult for you to control it. On the other hand, picking an adjustable harness type will add to the ease of fitting.

The material

When it comes to choosing a harness with the best material, the conditions under which you will be hiking will play a major role. Hiking in a muddy or dusty place means the harness will attract a lot of dirt. In such a case, choosing a material that is easy to clean or one that can stay clean without necessarily having to wash it.

Hiking in the morning, late in the evening or considering overnight camping means that you will be operating under low light conditions. In this case, a harness with reflective material will come in handy to help you see your dog quickly.

If you will be hiking during rainy seasons or in wet conditions, you will need a harness with waterproof material. If your dog will be swimming, a material that does not retain water after absorption will be convenient. While padded harnesses are comfy, they won’t be after swimming. Therefore, harnesses with a slimmer material are preferable.


With hiking being unpredictable, the trails can be rough and tough. This implies more strain and activity for your dog. For this reason, a harness that is strong enough to withstand wear and tear over time is necessary. Additionally, the clips and leash attachment points should be heavy duty and resistant to rust. A good harness should come with a warranty in case it does not work as expected.

Ease of mobility

The harness you choose should make it easy for your dog to move freely and naturally without being burdened. Therefore, the harness chosen should be lightweight for easy movement. Also, the weather will impact how the harness influences the mobility of your dog. During hot weather, a harness with light, breathable material will protect your dog from overheating while during cold weather conditions, a harness accompanied with an extra layer of a coat will keep your furry friend warm. In addition, if you prefer a harness with back pockets, ensure they are evenly distributed to avoid weighing down your dog on one side.

dog harnes


Apart from the ability to keep your dog comfortable, the best harness should be comfortable enough for your dog to wear for long periods of time without straining. How comfortable a harness is depends on its size, the material it is made of and its adaptability to the hiking conditions. A well-fitting harness is comfortable as opposed to a small or oversized one. Whereas a thick, padded harness will come in handy during the cold weather, it will cause overheating on a hot day; hence, causing discomfort.

The types of hiking harnesses

The type of harness is also another important factor to consider when buying a harness for your dog. The types vary according to the position of clip attachments and the fitting style. On attachment, there are 3 types of harness namely; front-clip, back-clip and dual-clip attachment harnesses. On the other hand, fitting style harness types include the over-the-head and step-in dog harnesses.

Front-clip harness

Mostly preferred by trainers, this type of harness with a front clip has the leash attachment placed centrally on the dog’s chest. This kind of harness puts pressure on the dog’s chest when it pulls thus, discouraging pulling. It is, therefore, useful in controlling and restraining your dog especially if it has a bad pulling and leash behavior. In addition, it offers the convenience of making the dog turn around back to the owner by just turning the leash to the side instead of pulling the dog back. However, slackening the leash too much might entangle your dog’s legs since it is at the front.

Back-clip harness

This type of harness has the leash being attached to a clip at the back of the dog. This kind of harness is much more popular compared to the other harnesses. This is because of the ease of putting it on as well as the dog’s ability to adjust quickly. It also helps to protect the neck of the dog especially if the dog is young or of a small breed. While this type is easy to use, it may not be convenient for untrained and big dogs which have a tendency of pulling hard on the leash because it will be difficult to control them.

Dual-clip harness

This kind of harness consists of attachments both on the front and the back. Over time these kinds of harnesses have also grown popular in the market. This is due to the ability to conveniently use either the front or back clip as needed. For instance, when you need to control the dog especially on a hike, the front leash is preferable while a back leash is suitable when in need of a normal walk. As a result, it becomes easy to train the dog as well as control it while keeping it safe.

Note: You must also check out how to put the harness on your dog to make sure that you are doing it correctly.

These two types of harnesses can be worn in either of the two styles below

Over-the-head dog harness

Over-the-head dog harness

As the name suggests, this kind of harness is worn by passing it through the head first then adjusting the straps. This is a simple task especially if the dog is small or calm and well-behaved. With a neck enclosure, they offer body control while the adjustable shoulder straps add to the neck protection of your dog. However, it may be a little hard to fit onto dogs that are not so patient.

Step-in Dog Harness

Step-in Dog Harness

This requires the dog’s legs to go into the harness first. Just like the over-the-head harness, it is also simple to put on. Simply lay the harness on the ground and have your dog step its front legs into the holes then pull it up and close it on the dog’s back. This harness is also easily adjustable to fit onto any dog regardless of its size. Now that you know what to look for in a dog harness, here are the top ten best dog harnesses for hiking.


The harness is the best choice when it comes to taking the dog with you on a hike. By hiking together, the relationship between you and your dog will improve. Also, by choosing a harness, you will ensure that your dog is safe during your wilderness adventure. In addition, your dog will enjoy the freedom and comfort that comes with using the harness as opposed to the constricting neck collar. Besides, you will enjoy the convenience of controlling your dog without breaking a sweat. Although purchasing a harness is costlier than a collar, it is definitely worth it. With the many harnesses out there, this guide and review will hopefully help you get the best hiking harness for your dog.


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