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The 4 best dog harnesses for hiking

While taking your dog for a walk in the neighborhood might be part of your everyday routine, going for a hike requires a little more thought and preparation. For extended time on more challenging terrain, the best dog harnesses for hiking combine comfort and control. These durable harnesses are padded to prevent skin irritation and come with adjustments that offer a secure, customizable fit. Many of them also feature a no-pull design.

Before purchasing, you'll want to consider a few factors:

  • Adjustability: Adjustable buckles and straps let you get a more customized fit, which will ensure that your dog is properly secured but still has enough room to move freely.
  • Comfort: Breathable mesh fabric can keep your dog cool on warm days and adequate padding will help prevent uncomfortable rubbing and chafing.
  • A no-pull design: If your pup tends to pull a lot, a standard leash can potentially be harmful to your dog's throat and trachea. The best dog harnesses for pulling will have a leash clip at the chest, instead of behind the neck, which will direct the dog towards your side when they start to pull, while also lessening pressure on the trachea.

You may also want to consider features like built-in storage for treats and water, reinforced stitching that'll hold up over time, and a lift-and-assist handle for pups that need a little help getting over obstacles. With that in mind, read on for the five best dog harnesses for hiking.

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1. The fan favorite

With more than 40,000 five-star reviews, this dog harness vest is a popular option on Amazon. Made with durable, weather-proof mesh, it's breathable to keep your pup cool and has soft cushioning that protects your dog's skin. The harness features a rear leash-attachment, as well as a front leash-attachment to prevent pulling, and the top handle offers extra control in case your dog gets a little too excited when making new friends. The four adjustable straps ensure a proper fit, and the reflective threads enhance visibility during evening hikes.

One reviewer says: “A medium fit my pit terrier mix 50 lbs dog, I used this to take my dog hiking with me and it is so much better than a collar since she likes to pull and choke herself. Very sturdy and seems like it’ll last a long time."

  • Available colors: 9
  • Available sizes: Small - X-large

2. The rugged harness

This heavy-duty dog harness is made from 1,050-denier ballistic military nylon — a fabric originally used for flack jackets during World War II. Perfect for powerful breeds like German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies, the harness features reinforced stitching for next-level durability and metal shoulder buckles that are built to withstand strong pulling force.

For extra control, there's a top handle and two leash attachments: One at the rear and one in front. The five adjustable straps offer a customized fit while the breathable mesh and pressure-point padding help keep your canine cool and comfortable. A pouch on the side is great for treats or other essentials, but there are no reflective strips, so it's best for daytime use.

One reviewer says: “This rugged, versatile tactical harness has all of the features necessary for use in a tactical environment, as well as for use by service dogs or large-breed, active dogs who spend a lot of time hiking or camping. Build quality is excellent."

  • Available colors: 3
  • Available sizes: Medium - X-large

3. The saddlebag harness

If you're going for a long hike, you'll probably want to pack some essentials for your dog, like treats and water, and with this saddlebag harness, there's plenty of room. Made with padded mesh, it has eight adjustment points, a top handle for control, and a single rear-mounted leash attachment — but no chest attachment for pulling. The zippered pouches on each side are lightweight and comfortable, but keep in mind that they're not detachable. And one more thing: How much stuff a dog can carry varies greatly, so you'll want to be mindful of your dog's size and strength, and it's a good idea to consult with a vet, too.

One reviewer says: “I have an 80lb bloodhound and was looking for something to put on her for when we go on long walks and hikes to carry her own water and such. This pack held 4 water bottles, dog treats, and still had plenty of room so I put some of our snacks in it.”

  • Available colors: 4
  • Available sizes: Medium - Large

4. The budget one

If you're looking to stay on a budget, this dog harness vest is a fantastic option. Made with padded, lightweight mesh — and recycled water bottles — the harness features reinforced stitching for energetic puppies. However, there's only one adjustment point and leash attachment (on the back) and no reflective trim. Another bonus: It's a great option for small dogs, as it it can fit pups that are 6 inches smaller in neck and chest girth than any other option on the list.

One reviewer says: “Extra small is perfect for my five pound chihuahua girl. She can’t slip out—it’s actually small enough for her. And though it’s a sturdy harness for a spunky and energetic little dog—it’s soft and doesn’t chafe her delicate skin at all.”

  • Available colors: 9
  • Available sizes: X-small - XX-large

Also great to have: a cooling vest

If you do a lot of warm-weather hiking, you can keep your canine comfortable with this innovative dog cooling vest. The light-color fabric reflects solar radiation, and when the vest is soaked with water (and then wrung out), it'll slowly evaporate and pull heat away from your pup's body. Plus, it has reflective trim for low-light conditions and the leash portal at the rear means it's compatible with most rear attachment harnesses.

One reviewer says: "If you are in need of a cooling vest for the hot summer months, this is it!! I used this vest when traveling in the hot states of Utah, Arizona & California and it really works. My dog was able to do some hikes while wearing this vest & he did those hikes like a champ & wasn't overheated."

  • Available colors: 1
  • Available sizes: XX-small - X-large