If there’s one thing better than getting out into the great outdoors, it’s hiking with your favorite four-legged friend. Sadly, most of us aren’t blessed with a perfectly behaved dog (but it all adds to their character, right?), which means we have to think about how to keep our dogs safe on our hikes.
At A Glance: Our Top Three Dog Leashes For Hiking
A good hiking leash can keep your dog in check no matter what you encounter – small children, traffic, and other dogs are the most common issues – but the type of one you need will depend on your dog’s size, behavior, and training status.
Seeing as there are so many dog leashes out there, we’ve put together this list of the best dog leashes for hiking to help you find the one that’s right for you (and your dog!).
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Like to keep your hands free when you’re out on a hike so you can check your map, take a drink of water, or keep hold of your child’s hand? Sounds like you might love the Ruffwear Roamer Leash!
Rather than using traditional handles, this leash fastens around your waist, keeping your hands free for other tasks. What’s more, it’s also great for absorbing some of the impact from you, because it is made from slightly elastic 25mm polypropylene.
It also comes with padding around the handle, as well as a clip area to attach things such as dog poop bags you might want to carry while on the move. Also great if you are out on a long hike.
This dog hiking leash also uses a simple side-release buckle with a Swiveling Talon Clip™ for a strong and secure attachment to your dog’s collar.
Note: Another great addition to this dog leash is a dog harness like the Ruffwear Front Range Dog Harness. It helps reduce any strain on your dog’s neckand makes a great set of dog hiking gear!
The Mendota Pet Slip Leash is an absolute must-have if you have a dog that doesn’t like to wear a collar thanks to its all-in-one approach.
Let’s face it, some dogs, no matter how well trained, hate their dog’s collar. And having to force one on at the start of every hike can be a pain. With this leash, the handle, lead, and ‘collar’ (which is really a loop) are all one long cord, so you can simply slide the loop around the neck of your dog, and, voila, you’re good to go.
Another bonus of this approach is that you can attach the dog leash very quickly when you need to – for instance, if there’s a mean-looking dog or manic child approaching – because of the lack of fiddly clips and buckles.
We also can’t get enough of the feel of this leash – the multi-filament braid is super supple and soft to the touch (no breaking in required) and the leather finish and minimalistic hardware add a stylish overall appearance – oh, and it’s available in a ridiculously large range of colors too.
It probably isn’t the best dog leash for an exceptionally naughty dog or one that will run far away, but if your dog is fairly easygoing and you want a dog leash just in case, then it’s a super stress-free option. Another drawback is that it’s designed for smaller dogs (50 lbs and under), so we’re afraid you’ll have to look elsewhere if you have a big pooch at home.
Next up we have the lynxking Cord Leash, which is an awesome choice for excitable dogs that tend to tangle their leashes.
This hiking dog leash is constructed from an actual climbing rope, so you know it’s going to be super strong and stand up to life in the great outdoors. What’s more, despite its strength, the fabric is lightweight and has also been designed to float, so if you do happen to drop it in a stream, you’ll be able to retrieve it before it sinks.
We love that it features a 360-degree rotating clasp to stop your dog leash from getting tangled too (whether it’s by the dog or just when you shove it in your bag). The handle is double braided and very soft to the touch, and there are heaps of sizes available, including extra-long, so you can find the size that’s right for your (and your dog’s) needs.
A final touch that we love is the handle little backpack that comes included, so you don’t have to worry about getting your pack dirty after a long muddy hike. As will all braided leashes with a single handle, there’s not much versatility with this dog leash; however, if you know what length leash you need, this is a super durable, comfortable option.
Next up on our least of the best dog leashes for hiking is the Leashboss Long Trainer.
As the name suggests, this is a great dog leash for training your dog and letting it know who’s boss. Constructed from durable nylon that’s 1-inch thick, this leash certainly has the strength to handle even large dogs. What’s more, nylon is water-resistant and will stand up to some of the bumps and scrapes it will undoubtedly encounter in the great outdoors.
The leash is available in several sizes, ranging from as short as 15 ft to as long as 50 ft. The short leashes options are great for hiking on treacherous paths, such as cliff edges, when you want to keep your furry friend close. The longer dog leashes for hiking are great for when you’re hanging out in open spaces and want your pooch to run around but need that added security that it will come back.
The chunky construction does mean that this leash is a tad on the heavy side, but it folds up surprisingly well thanks to the hook and loop coil system (you basically coil the leash then fasten a strap around it).
We’d like to see a bit more padding on the handle too, but overall, this is an awesome hiking dog leash that won’t let you (or your four-legged friend) down – and in case you don’t believe us, there’s a 5-year warranty included too.
Next up we have the Primal Pet Gear Leash, designed for ultimate control over medium- and large-sized dogs.
With dual handles, once located 1 ft from the clip and another 8 ft away, you can keep control of your dog’s movements from a distance and up close. This is great if you’ll be hiking along with a mixture of open spaces and places where you need that bit of added security, such as along roads or cliff edges.
The handles feature heavy neoprene padding too, so you won’t get sore hands even if you have a lively pooch.
The nylon construction is nice and thick for added durability and features close stitching for added strength. What’s more, the clip itself is made of rust-resistant zinc so you can rely on this dog leash to last you a while (plus there’s a 1-year warranty included too). The dual-sided reflective stitching means that you’ll be easily spotted by passing traffic at night too.
A final touch that we really like is the D-ring at the 8-ft handle – this is super handy if you want to attach extra bits of gear, such as poop bags or even your keys.
As this dog leash is only available in one length, it isn’t the best for those of you that like a long floppy lead that lets your furry friend roam around at a great distance. However, for small or medium dogs that you want to keep nice and close, this is one of the best dog leashes for hiking out there.
The Fida Retractable Leash has to be the most versatile leash on our entire list.
As the name suggests, this leash is retractable, which means you can reel in your dogs if you’re hiking over treacherous terrain, but let it out again when it’s safe for it to explore (up to 16-ft away). What’s more, it’s available in a range of sizes designed to fit dogs that weigh anything from 18-110 lbs.
The handle is ergonomically designed, which is great if you’ll be out hiking all day long and is lined with softer material for added comfort. It also features reflective markings to keep you safe if you end up hiking in low light.
The 360-degree swivel will stop you from getting tangled, even if your dog likes to run rings around you. Although the nylon used can handle some knocking around, overall, this dog leash isn’t the sturdiest once we’ve come across. However, in case you do run into any trouble, it comes with a 1-year warranty included.
Overall, if you want to give your dog some freedom, but also want the power to reign things in when needed, this is one of the best dog leashes we have found.
If your dog is pretty well behaved, but you like to hike around dusk and your route home takes you by some roads, then we definitely recommend the Chai’s Choice Reflective Leash.
Not only is this leash available in a range of vibrant colors, but it’s also constructed from nylon webbing featuring reflective material so you’ll be spotted by traffic a mile off.
The nylon construction, combined with zinc components, makes this a highly durable yet very lightweight leash – so it’s perfect for popping in your bag and using it once you’re out of the wilderness and closer to home.
This simple leash comes in two lengths (44 inches and 78 inches) as well as two widths (1 inch and 0.8 inches). If there was one thing we’d like to see on this leash that’s missing, it’s a tad more padding on the handles. However, if you’re using it with a tame dog, we doubt you’ll have any problems with this leash.
Overall, it is a great option for anyone that hikes near or around the road in the evening times, and it offers excellent value for money too.
So, there you have it, the best dog leashes for hiking currently on the market. As we’ve seen, they come in shapes, styles, and sizes, so what is it you should think about before buying one of your very own?
This comes down to not only your dog’s behavior but also where you’ll be hiking. If you’ll be in areas packed with other dogs and your dog doesn’t like that, a short leash is best so you can stay nice and close. Short leashes are also great if you’ll hike along roads and there’s a chance your dog might leap into the road.
However, longer leashes allow your dogs more freedom, which means they can run around more and burn off extra energy. If you really can’t decide, then maybe you should think about a retractable leash instead.
Don’t underestimate how important this factor is! If you’ll be out in the wilderness all day long, you need something you don’t mind holding on to for a long time. Braided leashes with a broken-in feel tend to be the most pleasant to hold, but if you’re dog’s powerful or a little live wire, then you might need a sturdier handle with some extra padding.
Leashes with dual handles offer a great way to control your dog’s movements and work very with powerful dogs. If you have a small dog, this might be overkill, and a retractable leash will probably work just fine. If you’re still heavily involved in training your dog, a harness could be a good shout, as it will keep your hands free to provide them with treats when they’re well behaved.
Our top pick if you’re on a budget just has to be the lynxking Cord Leash. For a very reasonable price point, you’ll get a super durable leash constructed from a climbing rope that floats, is super soft, and has a 360-degree swivel that stops tangles.
Plus, it’s available in heaps of colors and even comes with a little carry bag – what a steal!
Our best leash when it comes to convenience is, without a doubt, the Mendota Pet Slip Leash.
You can whip this leash-and-collar combo on your pooch in just seconds thanks to the lack of fiddly clips and, if your dog hates collars, you’ll definitely be in the good books.
On top of that, it’s one of the most attractive leashes we’ve come across and it’s also incredibly comfortable.
But our absolute number one dog leash for hiking is the Ruffwear Roamer Leash – how could it not be when it lets you take your dog for a hike without hanging on to a handle all day long?
What’s more, it’s great at absorbing shock, and the dual handles allow fantastic control when you need it. With reflective stitching to boot, it’s no surprise that this one’s our favorite!