The Best Dog Harness for Hiking in the Great Outdoors

Here are the best dog harness for hiking we’ll be covering:

If you’re looking forward to hitting the open trails (or just the open sidewalk) with your dog but are worried about losing control, a dog harness can help you and your dog feel more secure. If your dog likes to pull on their leash or if you’re just concerned that they might slip loose of their collar, finding the right harness will go a long way towards ensuring that you and your dog stay safe and connected throughout your outdoor adventures.

For those of us who love to take our dogs on long outdoor hikes, a good harness can make sure that our dogs are comfortable and confident no matter where we go! 

There are a few differences between standard walking harnesses and harnesses that are designed for hiking, but the overall point is the same. You should use a harness whenever you take your dog on extended walks in order to reduce strain on their frame, boost your control over their path, and ensure their safety at the end of the hike.

When looking for a good hiking harness, there are a few factors you’ll want to keep in mind. Try and find a harness that:

  • Fits well: The harness shouldn’t be too tight or too loose and should avoid common pressure points.
  • Feels secure: Snap clips tend to be more secure than velcro fasteners, but they may also feel tighter and take more time to put on or take off.
  • Isn’t restrictive: Your dog should have a full range of motion on your walks.
  • Escape proof: Look for a harness that your dog can’t wriggle out of, but make sure it’s easy for you to use as well.
  • Comfortable: You’ll need breathable, lightweight material that won’t chafe or irritate, especially on long hikes.
  • Practical: Depending on where you live, look for control handles to help your dog over obstacles or reflective material to boost visibility in low-light environments.
  • Keeps your dog from pulling: If your dog likes to pull on the leash, a good harness will stop this behavior.

Some of these factors, like the built-in handles and visibility stripes, are only found on hiking harnesses. However, a good harness of any kind should fit well and keep your dog from pulling on their leash without restricting their movement.

Our recommendation for the best dog harness for hiking

As you start looking for the best dog harness for hiking and “regular” walking alike, the important thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the decision should come down to personal traits. Look for a harness that suits your dog’s personality as well as your own busy schedule.

We’ve put together a list of our top five best dog harnesses for hiking. Under each entry, you’ll find a short list of pros and cons, as well as what kind of dog might appreciate each model. Use this list to start your search for the perfect hiking harness!

Ruffwear Web Master Dog Harness

Designed for trail running and other fast-paced outdoor activities, the Ruffwear Web Master Multi-Use Support Dog Harness is a tough, no-nonsense harness that allows for plenty of movement while still supporting and directing your dog’s movements. The thick straps let you lift your dog over obstacles, and the padded straps cushion their every step.

Pros: durable construction for a rugged, resilient feel, tough build won’t break down over repeated walks, foam padding along sensitive joints, sturdy click-on closure for a more secure fit, padded handle helps you guide your dog over rough terrain, very difficult to escape, easy to take on and off.

Cons: if your dog likes to chew on their harness, this may not be the best fit, as the tough fibers can be quickly chewed through by determined dogs.

Perfect for: smaller dogs, dogs that are still growing, dogs who like to explore on their walks, escape artist dogs, owners who struggle to lift their dogs over obstacles.

Scenereal Escape Proof Dog Harness

If your dog is a bit of an escape artist, the Scenereal Escape Proof Large Dog Harness may be the perfect fit. With multiple straps to prevent any slipping or loosening, the harness also features reflective strips and supportive padding along the joints to improve your dog’s comfort and guarantee their continued safety.

Pros: extra soft padding along the chest, back, and sides, multiple leash attachment points allow for more versatility when linking up, padded handle for greater control and maneuverability, high visibility reflective panels, durable polyester weave that’s still soft enough to be breathable and comfortable, secure click fastening and overlapping straps make escape very difficult. 

Cons: again, keep this harness away from teething dogs and make sure that the clips are actually fully fastened before walking your dog.

Perfect for: larger dogs, escape artist dogs, dogs who live in high-traffic areas of low visibility, owners who want a harness they can use on and off the trails.

EzyDog Convert Trail-Ready Dog Harness

The EzyDog Convert Trail-Ready Dog Harness is tough enough to brave the great outdoors without sacrificing comfort or freedom of movement. The single-click fasteners make this harness easy to put on or take off without having to worry about multiple attachment points or wrestling your dog into a convoluted web of overlapping straps.

Pros: super durable construction, optional saddlebags for carrying dog treats or extra water, single chest strap reduces risk of chafing or irritation, high visibility panels for reflecting light, soft cotton lining on the inside of the upper shell, sturdy design and secure fit, extremely easy to put on and take off with the single click-on fastener.

Cons: measure your dog carefully before choosing this harness, as the sizes tend to run large. 

Perfect for: dogs who don’t like a lot of straps or webbing, destructive dogs who have already gone through multiple harnesses, dogs with sensitive fur, dogs who don’t pull too much, busy owners. 

Kurgo Molle Dog Harness

Available in a wide range of sizes and colors, the Kurgo Molle Dog Harness is one of the most adaptable models available on the market today. It also features an attachment point on the chest, which can dramatically reduce any pulling or lunging behaviors while you and your dog are out and about.

Pros: front attachment point helps curb pulling behavior, durable build is still comfortable enough to keep your dog calm and relaxed, optional side storage to help free up space on your hike, handle for greater maneuverability, easy to put on and take off, snug and secure design, fits true to size.

Cons: the handle is relatively small, and if your dog is prone to wiggling, the back end may pinch a little bit due to the construction.

Perfect for: dogs who pull, dogs who need to switch between trail hiking and “regular” walks, dogs who lunge on their walks, smaller dogs, owners who value adaptability.

Kurgo Journey Adventure Harness 

Finally, the Kurgo Journey Adventure Harness features a simple design that still provides plenty of comfort. The heavily padded support straps keep your dog from feeling pinched or restrained during your walk, while the strong back handle helps them feel secure and gives you more control in the face of various obstacles.

Pros: super sturdy attachment points, durable build and design, included leash doubles as a doggy seat belt while in the car, padded construction for comfort and safety, handle for maneuverability, reflective strips for greater visibility, minimalist design makes for a stress-free on and off process, strong chest support and back reinforcement. 

Cons: once again, check the sizing before you order and watch out for any pinching clips or attachments during your walk. 

Perfect for: small to medium-sized dogs, dogs who have torn through weaker harnesses, dogs who love to ride along in the car, owners who want their dog with them at all times. 

Now that you’ve got some idea of where to start looking for your dog harness, you may still have some lingering questions. It’s perfectly normal to still have doubts, and any extra research you do is just another step towards a happier, healthier dog. Some of the more common questions include issues like:

Do dogs walk better with or without a harness?

A harness probably won’t change the way that your dog actually walks, but it will change the results. A traditional collar puts a lot of strain on your dog’s neck and throat. If they pull on the leash too much, this can result in some serious damage to sensitive parts of your dog’s body.

A harness, on the other hand, redistributes some of that strain and puts more of the pressure across your dog’s legs and chest. This helps them deal with the strain in a healthier way and reduces their risk of trauma or neck injury.

Finally, harnesses do reduce pulling. We’ll go into this in more detail below, but if you’re tired of constantly having to haul on the leash or snap at your dog, a harness is a quick and easy solution. A harness will make your dog “walk better” in the sense that it discourages bad leash behavior like pulling or shaking loose from the collar.

Will a harness actually stop my dog from pulling?

Short answer: yes! Longer answer: it depends both on the harness you buy and your dog’s personality. Because most harnesses reduce the pressure around the throat, some dogs may pull a little bit more once they realize they won’t have to worry about choking or hurting their necks.

If you want a harness that reduces pulling behaviors, look for “no pull” harnesses. These harnesses will typically have leash attachments in the front of the harness so that when your dog pulls, all that energy will drive them to turn around instead of pushing forward. There are also special “no pull” harnesses that attach to your dog’s face and force them to turn whenever they pull.

Most harnesses, however, will reduce pulling to a certain degree and allow you to retain better control over your dog. If your dog continues to pull, you may want to consider behavioral training to address the issue.

Can I let my dog wear a harness all day?

If your dog is comfortable in their harness, there’s no real rule that says you have to remove it after a certain amount of time. Instead, the biggest issue probably comes down to chewing.

If your dog likes to chew on their collars and leashes, it may not be a great idea to leave them in their harness unattended. Instead, take the harness off as soon as you get home and give them something else to chew on instead!

If your dog isn’t particularly inclined to chew on their harness, however, there’s nothing wrong with letting them wear it around the house. Moreover, it’ll save you some time when you’re getting ready to load up the car (and your dog) for a quick trip to the next big hiking range.

No matter which harness you ultimately choose for your dog, you’ve already made the right choice by deciding to protect their behavior and their movement. With a good harness that keeps your dog close to your side, the two of you will be ready to tackle whatever adventure comes your way as you head out to explore the great outdoors.