What’s the Best Dog Harness for Hiking?

If you’ve been looking to take your dog with you on some hiking adventures – you’re not the only one! Dogs make amazing hiking companions! Especially the ones that are highly energetic and hyper – they love being alongside you as you go on adventures. And of course, if you want to take your dog with you on hikes, then it’s important that you give them the best dog harness for hiking so that you know that they are safe as they go with you wherever you take them.

Ruffwear Hiking Pack for Dogs Check Price
Ruffwear Multi-Use Harness for Dogs Check Price
T3 K9 Harness Check Price

Taking dogs on hikes might sound simple – and it usually is. You don’t necessarily need any specialized equipment, but if you get them it just makes your life so much easier. Providing your pet with the best dog harness for hiking makes it a bit easier to navigate difficult environments and terrains. It can also make it easier to get up hills, rivers, lakes, and more. A comfortable harness allows your dog to handle the hike better and prevents chafing that irritates their skin.

This is exactly why hiking harnesses were made – and today, we are here to talk about the best ones out on the market today.

Why Should You Use a Hiking Harness?

best dog harness for hiking

If you’re asking “why should I use a harness? Isn’t a collar enough?” Well, the answer is using only a collar is definitely not advisable. It doesn’t offer enough support to your dog and can make things difficult. Allowing your dog to walk off leash is also possible if they are comfortable doing so, but this still does not provide enough support as well.

Some people choose instead to use the standard walking harnesses that they have. Generally, this is fine, because your dog is already comfy and used to it. But if you’re off to go on a hike, especially a long one, a more practical product such as a special hiking harness might help you better. Of course, the product you will need will depend on how long the hike is, the weather, and the environment that you expect to find yourself in.

So, shall we talk about the different types of harnesses for hiking?

Different Hiking Harness Types

There are many different types of harnesses that you can use for hiking to make you and your dog’s life much easier. Today, we will discuss these types of harnesses so that we can then talk about the best dog harness for hiking. Remember, you don’t necessarily have to purchase any of these products, but if your trail is longer, or if it involves camping, or even if it has varying terrains for you to deal with, you may want to get a harness specific for the situation.

Dog Harnesses for Hiking

For today’s article, we will be talking about these dog harnesses in particular. Typically, hiking harnesses are designed similarly to regular walking harnesses. However, they do usually have more straps. These additional straps serve a purpose – first, to prevent your dog slipping out if they somehow manage to wriggle their way out. Second, it also helps to spread the pressure or load, if you will, making it more comfortable for them to wear. These harnesses also often have a handle with a grip, making it easier for you to help them find purchase on difficult terrain.

Hiking harnesses are often more breathable and lightweight so that the dog does not get overcome with the heat or the weight. Some products may also come with saddlebags, which are useful for helping your dog to carry equipment and provisions, if any.

Dog Backpacks

The second type of harness is the dog backpack. Sometimes they come as part of the harness itself, but other times they are an attachment. Most often these are saddlebags that rest on your dog’s sides, making it possible for you to store essentials such as waste bags, water bottles, and food for your pooch. It’s great if you’ll be walking long distances because it allows you to carry less yourself. Also great for camping.

Life Jackets for Dogs

If you are taking your pup on a hiking trip that involves rivers or lakes, a life jacket works great because it’s both a harness and a way to keep your dog safe.

Cooling Vest for Dogs

If you know that you will be taking your dog hiking through very hot weather, a cooling vest is a good choice of product to keep them from suffering a heat stroke. This is especially handy for pet owners whose dogs are particularly sensitive to heat. Cooling vests are often worn on top of or along with harnesses.

Rain Jackets (Waterproof)

Finally, waterproof jackets are also available for your pup. Some of these

 are also reflective to help keep your dog more visible in the dark. Most of these jackets are worn on top of the harness.

How to Choose a Harness

Now that we’ve discussed the types of harnesses available, it is time to talk about how to choose the best dog harness for hiking.

  • Comfort is the first thing that you should look for because otherwise your pet can get rather uncomfortable – and their skin can get irritated too. You don’t want to pick a harness that chafes your pup’s skin, especially if you’re going on a really long walk. Chafing can lead to a lot of pain, sores, and even infections – not something you would ever want to cause for your pup.
  • Proper fit is essential when you buy your dog’s harness. You need to make sure you have the right size using the right measurements. Check the sizing and measurement charts provided by the manufacturer. You need a harness in the right size, otherwise your dog could get very uncomfortable, or could escape. It’s always a good idea to buy a larger size and then use the straps to adjust it down to just the right fit.
  • Look for handles – a grip on your pet’s harness can make it easier for you to help him on rougher terrain and on steeper climbs. It also makes it easier for you to hold your dog in one spot should they need to.
  • Breathability is also definitely a consideration – a harness that doesn’t breathe can contribute to heat stroke.

Best Dog Harness for Hiking

We’ve talked about the different types of harnesses. We’ve even talked about how to choose the right one. Now, it’s time for us to list down and review some of the products we consider the best dog harness for hiking. Hopefully, you’ll find one on this list that suits your pooch!

Ruffwear Hiking Pack for Dogs

The first contender for best dog harness for hiking is the Ruffwear Hiking Pack. This product basically combines hiking harnesses and backpacks, offering you and your pooch a perfect item to take along with you on longer trips. This product is made from water-resistant nylon that is lightweight, making it light but also durable. It comes in four different sizes and two different colors.

The Ruffwear Hiking Pack has two different points to which you can attach your leash for better control. The four large saddlebags found on the sides allow you to carry provisions for your pup. This product is actually a great choice for long trips or for camping, because it offers you more carrying space so that you don’t have to bring everything on your own back. It does tend to look bulky which can as a fact put some people off, but despite this the truth is that this product is rather handy.

Pros and Cons of Ruffwear Hiking Pack for Dogs

✔️Four handy bags to carry things in
✔️Two different leash attachment points for better control of your pooch
✔️Lightweight + water-resistant material
✔️Comes in 4 sizes
❌Looks rather bulky
❌Only comes in two colors

Ruffwear Multi-Use Harness for Dogs

The next contender for best dog harness for hiking is from the same brand – Ruffwear. This time, it’s the Multi-Use dog harness. This product is designed particularly for rough and rugged terrain and environments. It comes in five different sizes so you can find one that can fit your dog perfectly. It works fantastic for trail running, hiking, climbing, and more.

The woven straps on this product are robust and durable, allowing them not just to fit comfy but also to be secure. This harness is extremely easy to put on your pup – just pull it over his head and then clip the straps properly. For your convenience and to make your pooch even more comfy, this harness offers six different points of adjustment.

The straps on this harness are also padded, giving it more comfort. On top of that, the padding on the straps also prevents chafing, so your dog won’t get irritated skin at the end of the day (or worse, in the middle of your hike!). Like the hiking pack above, this harness gives you two different points to attach the leash to – one for normal walking, and one for more control. The top of this harness also comes with a grip handle so that you can help your dog navigate the tougher terrain you’ll be walking through.

For visibility purposes, this harness comes with reflective trimming so that your dog will be easier to spot after the sun goes down.

This harness is very much secure and comfortable, making it a fantastic choice. The best part is how versatile it is – it can be used in many different situations due to how adjustable it is.

Pros and Cons of Ruffwear Multi-Use Harness for Dogs

✔️Padded straps
✔️Offers 2 different leach attachment points for better control
✔️5 different sizes
✔️Grip handle
❌Doesn’t help you with carrying any items (but this may not always be considered a con)

T3 K9 Harness

The last product that we want to talk about today that also qualifies as best dog harness for hiking is the T3 K9 Harness. This product is actually approved by the Navy SEALS – which for sure is enough to clue you in to the fact that it is extremely strong and rugged. This product is designed for versatility and allowing your dog the full range of movement. It’s also extremely light, which allows your dog to stay cool.

A handle is available on the top to let you assist your dog if and when necessary. This dog harness is made from Cordura (1000 weight) and is secured with a one-clip buckle (Cobra). This harness is lightweight, resilient, and robust, making it great for a heavy duty hiking harness. It doesn’t come with as many features as the other products we have mentioned above, but that doesn’t mean that you should skip it for this reason. For a no-frills heavy-duty hiking harness that will keep your pet secure and comfortable, the T3 K9 Quick Harness is a great choice.

Pros and Cons of T3 K9 Harness

✔️Simple and easy to use
✔️Has a handle
❌Doesn’t come with as many features as other products


In the end, the choice of whether you want to purchase your dog a harness specifically for hiking or not is all up to you. Again, it’s not entirely necessary, but we will definitely advise against using just a collar for long hikes. This can become extremely uncomfortable for your dog, and it comes at a risk as well because you will be pulling and yanking on their collar to help support them across hard terrain. If you choose not to purchase a hiking specific harness, at least use their regular walking harness so that the weight and pressure is distributed.

However, we do suggest purchasing one of the best dog harness for hiking we have listed here to make you and your pup’s life easier. If you don’t find anything that interests you on this list, there are many other products available out there, too!

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