Hiking with your dog requires being prepared for many scenarios. A good start is with safety and a reliable dog harness for your hiking adventure. No matter which type of hiking you do – trails with bends and curves or rough terrain with hills and valleys – a good harness for your pooch can make the difference between a disastrous hike and a great hike.
Our vet advisor, Dr. Jamie Whittenburg, chose five of the best dog harnesses for hiking. The Ruffwear Web Master Multi-Use Support Dog Harness ranked number 1 for the best overall hiking harness because it’s secure, which is important for your dog’s safety. Read how she chose the top 5.
Bring an extra collar, leash, and harness when hiking with your dog. You never know when you might need additional support.
Our Vet’s Top 5 Dog Harnesses for Hiking
These are the top picks from our veterinarian, Dr. Whittenburg. Compare the ratings and key features of the different models.
|Front Leash-Attachment Option
|Ruffwear Web Master Multi-Use Support Dog Harness
|Rabbitgoo Dog Harness
|Best Backpack Harness for Hiking
|Excellent Elite Spanker Dog Saddle Bag Backpack
|Best for Small Dogs
|Joyride Harness for Dogs
|Best for Large Dogs
|Pawtrender Tactical Dog Harness for Dogs
*Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and based on reviews, feedback, and opinions of actual customers
In This Article
Who Should Buy a Dog Harness for Hiking
- You walk your dog frequently. If you walk your dog or take her on wooded trails or up hills on a regular basis, consider a harness for your adventures. A harness increases your safety factor.
- You’re going on a hike with an enthusiastic pooch. If your pup is a bit over-exuberant, a harness for hiking could help you keep better control of your enthusiastic pooch. Though harnesses are said to encourage pulling, a well-fitted harness can help your dog feel a bit more secure and calm.
- Your dog needs lots of exercise. Harnesses for hiking come in a variety of styles, one of which is the backpack harness. If your dog has high energy or enjoys performing a task, a dog backpack harness for hiking can contribute to your pup’s exercise by adding a little weight and purpose.
Who Should Not Buy a Dog Harness for Hiking
- Your pooch pulls on the leash. If your dog spends all his time pulling you around while on a leash, a harness may only encourage and reinforce that behavior. Alternatively, consider a dog harness for hiking that is designed for pullers – one that features a leash attachment on the front.
- Your dog overheats easily. Most harnesses cover a good portion of the chest or back, which can act like a coat for some dogs. If your pooch overheats easily, think twice about a dog harness for hiking because your dog could get too hot on your travels.
Research Tips (from a Veterinarian)
As a veterinarian, I often get asked how to choose a good dog harness for hiking. Here are some tips and best practices to consider when purchasing a dog harness for hiking. Be sure to do adequate research on the product you are considering purchasing to look for key features and ask around for recommendations on dog hiking harnesses.
- The harness needs to fit your pooch well – The most important part of a dog hiking harness is the fit. A poorly-made or ill-fitted harness can cause your dog discomfort or pain. Always measure your dog before purchasing a harness for hiking to get one that’s the correct size. Use the adjustable straps to properly fit the harness on your dog. Be aware of any areas that are too tight, which could cause chafing or irritation.
- Avoid most harnesses if your pooch pulls – Harnesses are not good for dogs that pull. Though they do spare the neck, harnesses encourage dogs to lean forward and pull. If your dog is a puller, there are better solutions. However, if your dog needs a harness for hiking, you may want to purchase a model that has a front attachment for the leash which may discourage pulling.
- Consider the style and function of the harness for hiking – Does the harness need to carry items on your hike? If so, consider a backpack-style dog harness that allows for storage. Do you need the dog harness to have a handle so you can lift your pooch? Think about what functions you might need the hiking harness to have.
- Choose a color appropriate for your particular adventure – Dog harnesses come in a variety of colors, which may help or hinder hiking with your dog. If you’re hiking in known hunting areas, be sure to outfit your pooch in a brightly colored harness. Likewise, if the weather is going to be warm or hot, consider a light-colored harness so your dog doesn’t overheat.
How Much Do They Cost?
Between $30 to $40
Dog harnesses for hiking cost about $30 to $40, though they range anywhere from $15 up to over $100, depending on what you’re looking for. The average dog harness for hiking has a large lift handle on the top to aid you in maneuvering your pooch around obstacles and up hills. Basic harnesses for hiking are on the lower end of the price scale and may not have as many features as a hiking harness on the higher end of the price scale. More advanced harnesses for hiking often feature side pouches for carrying small items, such as a bottle of water, collapsible bowl, poop bags, and first-aid.
Our Methodology: Why Trust Pets Digest
Through the veterinary profession and my personal experience, I selected the top five dog harnesses for hiking based on several factors, such as safety, durability, and strength. When choosing a hiking harness for your dog, it’s a good idea to ask other dog owners and your veterinarian for suggestions. It can also be helpful to read reviews from customers that have purchased and used the product. – Dr. Jamie Whittenburg
The Best Dog Harnesses for Hiking: Full Reviews
The top choice belongs to the Ruffwear Web Master Multi-Use Support Dog Harness. Its sturdy, solid construction lends to keeping your dog safe in many scenarios. Whether you’re hiking flat land or rough terrain, trail walking through the woods, or working with your service pup, the Ruffwear dog harness features five different adjustment points to customize the fit of the harness to your dog. Available in red, blue, and gray, the dog harness for hiking comes in sizes from extra-extra small (13- to 17- inch girth), to extra large (32- to 42-inch girth.)
This hiking harness showcases a padded and reinforced handle on the top of the back to aid you in lifting your dog and helping him around. There are two connection spots on the back near the handle to hook up your pup’s leash. The shoulders of the harness are also padded for extra comfort.
The Ruffwear dog harness for hiking is outfitted with a safety loop to attach a beacon light, which is sold separately, as well as reflective strips on the trimming. Fitting most dogs, as well as amputee dogs, there is a designated spot for placing a badge, patch, or other notification for service and working dogs.
- Adjustable to customize fit
- Range of sizes available
- Lift handle
- Option for light
- Bulky, may cause overheating
- Doesn’t feature front latch for leash
Our vet advisor’s top budget pick is the Rabbitgoo Dog Harness for its simple, no-pull design. Coming in small, medium, large, and extra large, from 13 inches to 24 inches in girth up to 21 inches to 38 inches in girth, this dog harness for hiking gives you better control of your dog when you use the front clip for the leash. Alternatively, you have the option of hooking the leash to the back as well. The harness comes in a multitude of colors and is designed with breathable nylon mesh to help keep your pup cool. The dog harness for hiking is also cushioned with soft padding for added comfort.
The Rabbitgoo dog harness for hiking is adjustable at four different points to customize the fit to your dog. The harness features a top handle so you can help your pup get around obstacles or over tougher terrain. The harness slips on over your dog’s head and clips together with two quick-release buckles. For safety, the dog hiking harness is outfitted with reflective strips.
- Multiple sizes and colors
- Front and back leash loop
- Breathable padded lining
- Lift handle
- Not meant for working or service dogs
If you’re looking for a dog harness for hiking that also doubles as a backpack your dog wears, our expert chose the Excellent Elite Spanker Dog Saddle Bag Backpack as the best backpack harness for hiking. Made from 1000D nylon, this dog harness resembles a saddle bag with two large, zippered compartments on either side of the harness. Each pouch measures 7 inches by 11 inches and features an outer pocket for a compact umbrella, as well as crossed bungee cords for holding onto extra items.
The Excellent Elite dog backpack harness is recommended for medium and large dogs weighing between 44 pounds and 121 pounds with a bust 27 inches to 39 inches. The harness fits your pup with a front chest and under belly strap using a quick-release buckle. The leash hooks to the ring on the back of the backpack harness. This dog backpack harness for hiking is available in neutral colors and features a strong, sturdy lift handle.
- Two zippered pouches
- Bungee cords on each compartment
- Easy to put on and take off
- Lift handle
- Not suitable for small dogs
For the little pooch in your life, Dr. Jamie Whittenburg chose the Joyride Harness for Dogs as the best dog harness for hiking with small dogs. Available in multiple sizes and coming in a range of bright colors, this dog harness fits pups as small as 5 pounds with a 12-inch girth, such as Chihuahuas and Yorkies. Easy to put on and take off. the quick-release buckle is located on the under-belly strap, which a couple of customers complained was poorly located under the armpit of their little one.
The Joyride dog harness for hiking is made with a soft, breathable mesh fabric to help keep your pup cool and comfortable as you wind your way through sun, shade, and varying climates. There’s a convenient large handle on top to help lift and support your dog, and you can attach the leash in one of three ways. This hiking harness is designed with three metal rings – one on each side and one on the back. For additional safety, especially at night, the chest strap features a wide reflective strip across the front.
- Lift handle on top
- Easy to put on and take off
- Multiple leash-attachment options
- Bulky fit
The Pawtrender Tactical Dog Harness for Dogs is our expert’s top choice for large dog hiking harnesses. Available in medium, large, and extra large for large breeds, such as German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Akitas, this hiking harness is a black tactical harness that’s well-suited for training, service, working, or hunting dogs. The extra-large size fits a neck girth of roughly 26 inches to 37 inches, a chest girth of about 33 inches to 46 inches, and a belly length of approximately 14 inches to 20 inches.
Made with 1050D nylon thread and reinforced at the seams, the Pawtrender dog harness for large dogs features padding at key points to reduce skin irritation and add comfort. There’s a large handle on the top near the neck to help aid your large pooch around or over obstacles. Four lockable buckles – two on the chest and one on each shoulder, and five points of adjustment combine to help you customize the fit of the harness to your dog, as well as make it easy to put on and take off.
The Pawtrender dog harness for hiking features two rings for attaching your pup’s leash – one in the front for discouraging pulling and one on the back. The tactical hiking harness is also outfitted with front and side hook-and-loop patch areas for displaying signs, alerts, or other décor.
- Strong nylon with reinforced seams
- Four lockable buckles with five adjustment points
- Front and back leash attachment
- Not meant for small dogs
- Bulky and black, may be warm
Frequently Asked Questions
Should a dog wear a harness when hiking?
What kind of a harness can a dog not slip out of?
How do you carry water when hiking with a dog?
Can a dog wear a collar and a harness at the same time?