Imagine exploring the wilderness with your dog by your side, getting connected to the lush environment around you. While there’s nothing quite like watching your dog run and frolic on an adventure, you’ll need to carry a few pieces of the right gear to keep them safe. One essential piece of equipment you should invest in is the best leash for hiking with your dog.
From standard dog leashes and training leashes, to slip leads, hands-free leads and more, there are plenty of products on the market to suit your needs. However, choosing an option that’s both reliable and durable enough to withstand the outdoor environment takes a bit of research. To help you navigate which leash is right for your adventure, we’ve gathered this simple guide to get you, and your dog, hiking in no time!
Here are 5 of the best leashes for a hiking adventure with your pup, and a buyer’s guide to help you choose which is right for you:
Best Leashes for Hiking with Your Dog Reviewed
1. TaoTronics Hands-Free Dog Leash
The TaoTronics retractable and dual bungee dog leash is designed for ultimate ease and convenience while hiking with your dog. Using this leash you can enjoy a hands-free leash belt that straps around your waist, providing you the ability to carry gear, keep hydrated, or assist in rough terrains without feeling restricted by your dog’s movements. Along with a waist belt, this leash also features extra handles for added control, allowing you to guide your dog without breaking your hiking stride. This gives you a more direct control over your pup when it’s needed most.The strong dual bungee system on this dog leash has a spring build that absorbs jerks and lunges from dogs weighing up to 150lbs. This feature is ideal for reducing pain and strain on your body from added pressure. Along with a reliable and durable construction, this leash is also fit for all dog sizes and stretches up to 67” long to suit all breeds. Additionally, the reflective stitching provides added safety and visibility in nighttime or darkly lit conditions.
2. Lanney Hands-Free Dog Leash
The LANNEY hands-free dog leash is made of a durable anti-tear nylon material that is designed to withstand pulling from excited dogs while hiking, and features a convenient fanny pack for carrying gear. It’s construction is great for both medium and large sized dogs, and the cross-stitching lines are wear-resistant, ensuring the leash will keep your dog safe and close for many adventures to come. Featuring heavy-duty metal clasps with 360 degree rotation, the leash is designed to keep your dog secure throughout your adventure. Additionally, the reflective strips running throughout the leash are ideal for increased visibility in low-light conditions.
Along with a durable construction, this dog leash is also made to be extremely convenient for the user. The elastic bungee system is designed to absorb shock and pull force from dogs up to 150lbs., and to reduce stress and fatigue on your hands, arms and shoulders. Extending up to 76” long, this leash also features dual padded handles for ultimate control of your pup while exploring. Additionally, the adjustable waist belt is made to comfortably fit a wide variety of users, and the color choices are sure to suit your individual aesthetic preference and personality.
3. OutdoorMaster Bungee Dog Leash
If you’re looking for a more traditional and standard style dog leash for your hiking adventure, the OutdoorMaster Bungee leash is highly rated and reviewed for durability and convenience. Not only does it come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, but the stretchy tubular nylon webbing bungee system is great for reducing the risk of stress, strain or injury from your dog pulling or lunging. This feature also makes for a more comfortable control over your pooch, even while exploring rough and exciting terrains. For added comfort and ease, the padded handle and quick release and connect buckle create ultimate ease in use. In addition, this leash also has an extra handle near the buckle end for added control while exploring.
While contracted, this leash length is about 36.5 inches, and 48 inches while stretched. Additionally, to suit your needs as an individual it features 3 different colors to choose from, as well as hands-free options for ultimate convenience while hiking. If for any reason this leash doesn’t meet your expectations, the manufacturer offers a 6-month warranty for worry-free purchasing.
4. oneisall Multifunctional Training Dog Lead
This unique take on a traditional dog leash is designed for ultimate convenience and ease in use through it’s multifunctional use. The oneisall dog leash is an adjustable and versatile product that works well for a variety of activities, like hiking, walking, running, and exploring the beach with your dog. The clasps at both ends of the leash can be adjusted to attain the perfect length of leash for your adventure, from short to medium or long. Additionally, it can be carried like a standard leash, strapped around shoulders for a hands-free hike, or even quick tied for ease on the go.
The durable nylon material used in the leash construction makes it a durable and reliable product that can last for many adventures to come, while the soft mesh handle is made for comfort and to protect hands during use. For added security, the rustproof alloy clips are used to harness your dog and can be easily adjusted to change the leash length. This multifunctional and simple construction is designed to make your adventures as convenient as possible.
5. SparklyPets Hands-Free Dog Leash
The SparklyPets hands-free dog leash is designed to keep your dog safe and secure during your hiking adventures, while giving you ultimate convenience through it’s hands-free style. Featuring a support mechanism that utilizes 2 stainless steel clasps to take pressure off the plastic buckle, this system also divides the pulling force to the waist belt. Ideal for medium and large sized dogs, this leash is able to absorb shock from lunging and pulling without compromising your control over your dog though it’s durable and flexible bungee system.
Along with a quality construction and convenient use, this dog leash also features an easy grip control handle on the bungee that provides a firm and smooth hold of your dog when you need it most. Whether you prefer a hands-free style or a hands-on traditional leash, this product provides ultimate ease in use with a length between 28 to 47’’. The comfortable rubber handle and durable waist belt makes both uses of this leash reliable and user-friendly. Additionally, if you’re not completely satisfied the manufacturer offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee to ensure your purchase is worry-free.
Choosing a Dog Leash for Hiking Adventures: Buyer’s Guide
Taking your dog along on a hiking adventure is sure to get your four legged friend very excited. Whether you are hiking along a river, through the woods or in the mountains, making sure your pup is secure and safe should be a top priority.
When you begin your search for a leash there is seemingly an overwhelming number of styles, manufactures and designs to choose from, as a result, some people simply choose whatever is available at the local pet store.
To help you narrow your search we have pulled together the following guide and information:
Things to Consider
Before starting your search there are a few things for you to consider:
- Local Laws and Regulations: When you are hiking in the wilderness we recommend keeping your dog on leash at all times. However, if you have a well trained pup, are in a relatively safe area and choose to have your dog off leash, first check to see if it is allowed.
- Terrain: Some trails and areas you hike may have a fairly gentle terrain. However, if you are hiking areas that are steep, rocky, slippery, or more challenging or dangerous terrain this will impact you and your dogs needs for securing her/him on leash.
- Trail: Who or what will potentially be on the trail should be factored into choosing the appropriate leash. Other hikers, dogs, wildlife, mountain bikers, ATVs, etc. can all create circumstances that will impact how you will need to secure your dog.
What To Look For
Once you’ve determined the environment and conditions you will be hiking under and have explored the local laws, you can focus on your specific individuals needs:
One of the most important factors to pay attention to is the quality of the materials used in the design and construction of the leash. The following are a few things to consider in your search:
- The most common leash materials are nylon, leather and chain. For the purposes of hiking we would highly recommend eliminating any leather or chain leashes from consideration.
- It is possible that you will also find leashes made of rubber, faux leather or cotton. Again, we would recommend eliminating them from your considerations.
- Whatever leash you choose, it should be
- Strong enough to restrict and secure your dog when necessary
- Sturdy enough to hold up under potentially harsh conditions and environments
- Durable enough to last and remain in good condition and maintain it’s look/color
- Easy to clean and dry
- A popular style of hiking leash are those made from climbing rope. Internally these products are made from nylon fibers that are braided and wound tightly. The outer covering has a colored woven nylon that is smoother and flatter.
- Another good option is a coated nylon webbing leash. They are more comfortable for your hands when gripping the leash, as they provide a smoother surface than an uncoated webbing. The coated webbing is also more durable and holds up under wet or grimy conditions.
Ensuring you have a leash that will hold up and secure your dog is paramount, especially under more challenging conditions.
Of equal importance to the material used in the leash is the design, material and construction of the clip or hook that attaches to your dog's collar or harness. The following factors should be considered:
- Secure: The securing mechanism of the clip should be of a high quality. Often the clips will have a spring or coil device that when compressed opens the gate and when released closes and secures the clip. It should work smoothly and have a sturdy and steady feel.
- Durable: As this clip will be opened and released often it should be durable. Having a mechanism that could fail, ultimately puts you and your pet in danger.
- Materials: The hook or clip and the securing mechanism should be constructed from a heavy duty metal and stainless steel. To ensure durability for the life of the leash the clip needs to be made of a material that resists corrosion or rusting.
- Ease of Use: Because a variety of situations and conditions are inevitable when hiking, a clip should function in a way that it is easy to put on and take off.
A slip lead is a simple means for securing a leash on your dog. It is composed of a single leash line that is strung through a ring or loop on one end. It works by continuously tightening the loop that is placed around your dog’s neck. Slip leads adjust to the size of any dog’s neck and makes it impossible for a dog to back or slip out of them.
If you choose, instead of using a collar or harness, to secure your dog using a slip lead the following should be considered:
- Comfortable for both the dog and person
- Tightens and loosens smoothly
- Has a stopper to prevent the lead from loosening too much
- Are a versatile leash that can be useful in a variety of situations, however, it may not be suitable for all dogs or situations.
- Can be converted to a harness or buckle lead for training or a dog that is a puller
The handle or grip of the leash should be:
- Padded or soft enough to be comfortable on your hands, wrist or waist
- Grip doesn’t slip when you are securing the leash, making it easier to be pulled out of your control
- A nice option is a grip that is adjustable to secure to your hand, wrist or waist.
A hands-free dog leash is as the name implies, it allows you to leash your dog while your hands remain free. There are two basic styles:
- Hands-free over the shoulder sling or harness
- Hands-free around the waist strap or belt
The over the shoulder model is ideal for hiking, with the around the waist more typically used for running. Although not completely hands-free, there are also leashes that secure around your wrist.
The advantages of choosing a hands-free style leash includes:
- Hands can help to maneuver over rocks, trees or uneven terrain
- Easier to climb, descend or to engage your hands and arms in the hike
- Allows the freedom to do other activities such as using a trekking pole, taking photographs, or even giving your buddy a treat.
- You can tether your pup to a tree or post if necessary
- It is adjustable to fit all body shapes and sizes
A nice option to consider is a leash that is highly visible and under low light conditions is reflective.
The standard recommendation for the length of leash is from 4 to 6 feet. Some manufactures have designed high quality leashes that are adjustable anywhere from 36 inches to 72 inches.
A dynamic leash is one that will absorb impact. Sudden tugs or movements or slipping/falling are made easier or milder for both you and your dog.
The dog leash industry has become highly competitive and manufacturers are continuously finding ways to improve their products. A quality leash will be made with superior materials while providing a relatively lightweight leash for comfort and ease of use.
A high quality leash will require very little maintenance, however it should be designed and constructed with materials that are easy to clean and dry quickly.
If you are planning to be hiking in areas where you will cross small bodies of water (creeks or streams) or in areas where you will be exposed to water, a waterproof leash should be considered. Avoiding a leash that absorbs water causing it to both be heavier and potentially slippery would be wise.
Gear to Pack for Hiking with Your Dog
Hiking with your dog can be a fun and exhilarating adventure, connecting you both to nature and each other. Those who enjoy these types of adventures with their pups are likely familiar with some of the outdoor dog gear essentials, but don’t forget to pack:
- Waste Bags
- Collapsible Dog Bowl or Water Bottle
- Fresh and Clean Water
- Pet First Aid Kit
- Extra Food
- Spare Collar and Leash
- Dog Hiking Pack
Choosing the best dog leash for your hiking adventure depends on your personal preference and the needs of your dog. You’ll need to decide if a hands-free or hands-on leash is best for you, or choose a product that offers both to ensure ease while adventuring. Using this buyers guide, and the reviews for 5 of the best dog hiking leashes on the market, it’s time to choose one that’s best for you and get exploring!
Has this guide helped you get one step closer to an epic hiking adventure with your pup? Here at Seaside Planet we’re both outdoor enthusiasts and dog lovers, and we would love to hear about your experience in the comment section below!
Megan Jones leads the editorial staff of Seaside Planet. They are a multidisciplinary team of outdoor adventurers, water sports lovers, and passionate beach goers. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.