Our four-legged friends can make excellent hiking companions (if you own a breed that can handle it). They’re always excited to hit a new trail, rocky terrain gives them little pause, and their endurance is something to be envied. That being said, you can’t just let your dog off the leash to roam free, as there are hazards that could befall them on literally any hike.
If you want to get the most out of your outdoor activities alongside a mutt, you have to take into account the safety of your dog, yourself, and anyone – or anything – else that might be out on the trails. As such, a standard collar-and-leash combo is probably not the best choice. Harnesses have them beat several times over, as they are typically more secure, less constricting in regards to breathing, and they give you something to grab onto to pull your dog out of trouble’s way. So, the next time you and your pup are looking to climb the nearest hill or head out to a mountain range halfway around the world, strap them into one of the ten best dog harnesses for hiking – which we’ve collected for you on the following list.
EcoBark Original Harness
Simple and straightforward, this budget option is an excellent entry-level harness for hiking, day-to-day, and everything in-between. And it has the added bonus of being a bit eco-friendly, as the straps are made from recycled water bottles. Even better, the lightweight polyester mesh is easy to clean, breathable, and doesn’t impede your dog’s natural movements.
Outward Hound Dog Life Jacket
No, this is not your typical harness – it’s better, especially if you’re going on a trip with your dog anywhere near or on water. Yes, dogs have a natural inclination to paddle in water, but strong currents or distances too-great from land can pose just as many dangers as they might for a human child. Don’t take the risk if your hiking trip also includes an outing on a boat. This dog harness floats and has a large easy grab handle to make pulling your pup from the water a snap.
Babyltrl Big Dog Harness
If you own a larger breed of dog – which many excellent hiking and running breeds are – then you will probably need a bit of a larger harness to suit. Luckily, this one is made specifically to suit your big mutt, especially around barrel-chested animals. It also features quick-snap buckles to make putting it on and taking it off simple and stress-free. And it’s made from a lightweight nylon with reflective highlights for safety.
Truelove Front Range Dog Harness
Made primarily from a durable and scratch-resistant Oxford material, this dog harness is lined with 3M material, making it reflective for added visibility in low light scenarios – like twilight hikes or overnight camping. It also comes loaded with a soft spongey padding to make sure your dog is as comfortable as possible, and is easy to attach to a seatbelt in your car for longer trips.
Ruffwear Front Range Harness
Ruffwear’s most popular harness, this one is excellent for controlling unruly mutts, as it comes with dual leash attachment points – one at the back and a second at the front to deter bad behavior. It also features reinforced webbing and aluminum attachment points for added security and durability, a padded chest and belly panel for increased comfort, and has a built-in pocket for I.D. tags – excellent for leash-free adventures.
Jasgood Tactical Dog Vest
Ideal for both outdoor activity and in the day-to-day, this tactical-inspired dog vest features a MOLLE-style grid for increased versatility of use. Meaning you can attach modular pouches to it in order to haul around any gear you or your dog might need on the trails. In fact, it also comes with a water bottle holder – a necessity for all outdoor activities for humans and canines alike. Finally, the harness itself is padded to ensure your dog’s comfort, even through all-day wear.
Ruffwear Web Master Harness
If your dog has a little too much energy for your liking or they have a tendency to try and cut and run at random, the Ruffwear Web Master is the deal harness for you. For starters, the format is one of the most secure available on the market, and it even features two reinforced leash attachment points for extra security. There’s also a padded handle for increased comfort when restraining or lifting your dog. And it has reflective trim to make your dog more visible in low light conditions.
OneTigris Tactical Dog Molle Vest
A lot of dog gear can get a little too cutesy for our liking. This tactical MOLLE harness from OneTigris, however, is anything but. Designed to mimic military-style vests you might see a soldier wearing out in the field, this dog harness is made from water-resistant nylon, features a modular grid system (so you can attach or remove extra pouches to suit your outing), has velcro panels for attaching patches, and has two easy-grab handles at the front and rear.
Ruffwear Web Master Pro
In case it isn’t abundantly apparent, Ruffwear is probably the leading brand when it comes to outdoor gear for dogs. And if there was any doubt, their Web Master Pro harness should quash it once and for all. Designed specifically to meet and exceed the needs of professional avalanche search and rescue teams, this lift-and-assist harness is built with all-metal hardware, comes with an oversized handle to cope with gloved hands, and features two small pockets for carrying small essential gear. If you go hiking with your dog in cold weather, this is the harness for you.
T3 K9 Quick Harness
Don’t let the minimalist appearance of this dog harness fool you – it’s both incredibly secure and absurdly durable. In fact, this tactical-style harness was built with approval from Navy SEALs. Constructed from heavyweight 1000D Cordura nylon, this harness features a sturdy Cobra buckle (the same SEALs have on their own battle-ready gear), a reinforced handle, and it pairs with the brand’s equally tough Patrol Lead leash.
Best Dog Hiking Packs
Some adventures require gear with a little more carry capacity. For those trips, we recommend one of the bags found on our list of the best dog hiking backpacks.