8 Best Dog Leashes For Hiking (2022)
Some of the best hiking trips for dog owners include man’s best friend. The energy and curiosity of your dog can help make the great outdoors even more exciting. With someone to keep up with you, and meet you around every bend, once you’ve tried hiking with your favorite pup, you’ll find it hard to go back. This is especially true if you usually go camping alone: now it will be one man and his dog. So we’ve compiled our 8 top best dog leash for hiking recommendations, so you know what will best suit both you and your pooch.
In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:
And here’s an overview of the best dog leash for hiking on the market today:
You know your dog and their needs better than anyone. Here are the details for a few different standard options for dog leashes, one of which is bound to work for you and your pup, depending on your needs:
8 Best Dog Leashes For Hiking – Overview
Standard dog leash
Standard dog leashes are usually 6 feet long, are made of leather or nylon, have a comfortable handle, and a strong carabiner, or clip, attachment. The comfortable handle could just be your saving grace on your hike with your furry friend. Because these are the most popular types of leashes for hiking, and work for the biggest proportion of dogs, small dogs and big dogs alike, we have reviewed our top three standard leashes for you to choose from:
The RuffWear Knot-A-Leash is a reasonably priced, safe solution for your dog leash needs. One of the best features of this leash is the strong, secure, locking carabiner, which provides a safe and durable connection between leash and collar while you walk. The rope is also constructed of strong, durable material, with will last you many adventures and hikes with your dog. This standard leash stands out due to its reflective rope, that will help keep you safe when night comes.
The second stand out feature of this product is the built-in accessory loop that keeps necessities, such as poop bags, clip-on keys and treats, on hand. It also boasts a tubular webbing handle that keeps your hand comfy while you walk. The leash is available in 11mm or 7mm sizes, suitable for bigger or smaller dogs alike. One drawback of this model is that the leash is slightly shorter than most standard dog leashes, at 5 feet, which might not make it suitable for long hikes if you want to give your dog some extra legroom.
- Tubular webbing handle for comfort
- Built-in accessory loop
- Only 5 foot
- No flexibility while walking
Chai’s Choice Pet Products Padded 3M Reflective Outdoor Adventure Dog Leash
Chai’s Choice’s standard leash is a great option for taking your dog hiking, and here’s why. At 3 meters long, this leash gives your dog plenty of room to explore, while still staying connected to you. It’s also made of padded soft mesh, making the leash comfortable for both the owner and the dog. Made of fully reflective material, this leash ensures good visibility when the sun is setting, keeping both you and your furry friend safe at night. It’s also one of the cheapest options, at just under $15.
The carabiner is another feature that makes this leash perfect for hikes. With its lightweight zinc-alloy material, the carabiner is both durable and light, meaning you can easily carry this leash in your backpack for many years to come. For the more fashion-conscious doggies out there, this leash comes in many different colors, meaning you can fully customize your dog-friendly hiking experience. However, the handle is made of the same material as the leash, so it could cause your hands some hurt if you’re hiking for a long time.
- Fully reflective
- 3m long
- Handle and leash made of the same material
- No flexibility while walking
Dog Leash with Unbreakable Carabiner by Mexvell
This Dog Leash with Unbreakable Carabiner by Mexvell is one of the most sturdy leashes out there. This makes it a perfect choice for hard-core hikers with big dogs, who know their leashes will get a lot of wear and tear. Mexvell is so confident about their carabiner that they claim it’s unbreakable and one of the best in the world. This reinforced, zinc alloy carabiner, similar to those used by professionals, will never open or unlatch by itself, ensuring a secure connection always between dog and owner.
Maxvell has also designed the rope to survive even the most intense of weather conditions and hiking adventures. The leash is made of black pure nylon, woven in a tight grain, making this leash tough, indestructible and light. The rope also gives a little bit of slack, to avoid your arms shocking, which immediately tightens at moments of sudden pushing for safety.
Maxvell’s design also boasts a comfortable and tough handle, designed to make long dog walks easier on the human hand, with a padded handle with a cushioned inside layer. At just under $25, this isn’t the cheapest model on the market, but if you’re looking to take your dog on an adventure, especially if it’s a big dog, then we would say it’s worth the extra investment for peace of mind.
- Very sturdy, perfect for big dogs
- Cushioned handle
- Not reflective
- A bit more pricey
Training leashes are often made from nylon webbing, and range in length from 3-30 meters, perfect for hiking with your dog if you’re not ready to let them off the leash. They are a great option for hiking and camping because your dog has the freedom to roam. However, they’re not good for pups who aren’t off-leash trained, and they can get tangled on hikes, and are quite bulky to carry in your backpack. Here’s a review of our favorite training leash:
Leash Boss Long Trainer
This leash is perfect for big dogs, due to the long-lasting nylon leash, which is much more durable than other cotton or lower quality nylon options. This model also has an easy coiling system, with a hook and loop closure, reducing the likelihood of it getting tangled, and making it easier to store and carry. The Leash Boss leash also measures 1 inch wide, making it even more durable, by 20 feet long. This is ample room for you and your dog to both have a feeling of independence while you hike. There are also other different sizes available: 15, 20, 30, and 50 feet.
With a 5-year guarantee, rare for dog leashes as they withstand so much wear and tear, this leash will stand the test of time. So if you’re looking for a good investment for a long future going hiking with your dog, especially if your dog is large or very energetic, this could be a great option for you.
- Long, sturdy leash
- Coiling system
- 5-year warranty
- Not reflective
- Handle and leash are made from the same material
The slip leash, sometimes called the training lead, is a non-extendable piece of rope that functions as both a collar and leash. So no need to bring along a leash or dog harness! You need to have a lot of knowledge and training to use these correctly, as they can tighten and damage your dog’s neck or throat. However this is a great option if your dog is extremely well trained, and you just need a leash to get them from the car to the beginning of the trail, or up some of the more difficult bits and don’t want to carry heavy kit. This is a perfect option for well-behaved dogs who don’t wear a collar.
Friends Forever Extremely Durable Dog Slip Rope Leash
This Friends Forever leash is our favorite pick for a slip rope leash. A benefit of this leash is that it doesn’t need a harness or collar to attach to. This means that you only need to carry one piece of kit with you for walking your dog. At 6-feet long and 1/2 inch thick cord, this is the standard size for a dog leash, providing you with everything you’ll need: especially for very well behaved dogs who can spend most of the hike off-leash. With an adjustable loop, this leash can be used with all sizes of dogs. It’s even been tested up to 1000 lbs of weight but remains very lightweight, so this leash is a jack of all trades when it comes to your dog’s needs.
This leash is also made with heavy-duty mountain climbing rope, meaning you can trust it to keep you and your dog connected through the years, and protected from all weather conditions. Friends Forever are so confident in this leash, that they have a satisfaction guarantee: complete satisfaction or 100% money-back guarantee. However, we wouldn’t recommend using a slip leash unless you have a lot of practice and a very obedient dog. They can be difficult to use, and could even cause harm to your dog if used incorrectly.
- Fits any dog breed size
- No leash or harness needed
- Difficult to use correctly
- Don’t need a harness – could be dangerous
Flexi leashes are retractable leashes that allow your dog to walk ahead 20 feet or so. For hiking, we would recommend that you don’t choose these leashes unless you find one made of solid webbing. Some of the thin cordage Flexi leashes can be pretty flimsy, especially for the great outdoors, and you don’t want to run the risk of getting rope burn if your dog runs off excited about something.
Flexi Giant Tape Leash
The Flexi Giant Tape Leash is a great option for medium, large and extra-large dogs. However this is not the cheapest option we’re reviewing, ranging from $31-53 depending on the length, so is it worth your investment? Robust rope makes this leash perfect for active dogs up to 55 lbs. This option is also convenient to handle, especially if your dog makes a run for it, with the ability of the single-handed use of the brake button.
At 26-ft, the tape is more than long enough to give your pup plenty of room to play and explore in the great outdoors. This option also has ergonomic soft-grip handles, and is reflective, keeping you safe and visible in the dark. If you’re looking for a Flexi-leash for your big dog, then the answer to our previous question could be: yes!
- Long extension length
- Good for big dogs, despite being a Flexi-leash
- Easy brake button
- Less control over your dog’s movements
- Not as durable as previous options
Elasticated leashes can allow you some flexibility, but we would only recommend using them if your dog is very obedient. You don’t have much control with this leash, it’s less easy to gently pull to signal to your dog, or stop them running away to chase a bird. These leashes bring added comfort to you and your pup because they reduce the amount of jolting that happens when your pooch runs off. This is also a really good option for very energetic dogs: the resistance in the leash can tire a dog out after a long hike.
EzyDog Zero Shock Leash
EzyDog Zero Shock Leash is a great example of a high-quality elastic leash. And the main selling point of these leashes is in the name. EzyDog Zero Shock Leash has added shock reduction, with its elasticated rope, to improve control while simultaneously easing pressure on the leash for both the owner and the dog. It also has a padded handle, with waterproof neoprene lining, which will keep your hands comfy in any weather condition even if your dog is a puller.
This is a great option for you if having a big dog takes its toll on your arms, or if you have a smaller dog who tends to constantly run off on their own adventures. At $34.00, they’re not the cheapest on the market, but it might be worth the investment to save your arms from being as tired as your legs after a long hike.
- Shock reduction
- Padded waterproof handle
- Not the cheapest option
- Not a good option for non-obedient dogs
Hands-free leashes can attach to your waist or backpack. This is a great option for jogging, or for outdoors enthusiasts who want a lot of independence while knowing their dog is right by them. Don’t consider this leash if you have a large dog or a dog who isn’t very obedient. If you want the best of both worlds, consider adding a climbing carbon to a regular leash handle, so you can attach the leash to your belt or backpack, for both hands-on and hands-off options.
AYUTION Hands-Free Dog Leash
This hands-free leash attaches to your waist, a perfect option for those looking to jog along hiking trails with their dog. Attaching your dog to your waist rather than your hand or wrist reduces shoulder and back fatigue. You also avoid tired or rope-burnt hands at the end of your hike: and your hands are free to hold your water bottle.
The feature that makes this model stand out is the elasticated waistband. Absorbing the shock when your pup runs, this leash makes hiking more comfortable for you and your dog. It’s also highly reflective which will keep you safe and visible at night. At only $16.99, this is a cheap, easy option for people looking to go hiking and jogging with their dog, at a low price point.
- Hands-free dog walking
- Highly reflective
- Less control
- Cheaper materials
Some recommendations for hiking with your dog
There are many other things you might need to think about when going hiking with your pooch. There’s even more dog gear you might need to bring, like a dog collar, a dog harness or a collapsible water bowl. But here is our main piece of advice for you when heading out on a hike with your furry friend: trust in your dog! The first time you go hiking with your dog can be a little nerve-wracking, especially if you’re new to going off-leash, but remember to trust your dog and not to panic! They need to feel your authority, so don’t get nervous about the experience, and this way they will be just as relaxed as you and free to enjoy the great outdoors.
Another thing to remember is that leashes aren’t the only option. So: to leash or not to leash? If you have good control over your dog, a hike is a perfect way to continue training them off-leash. This will leave you both feeling free, and protected, as the other waits for you around the corner. Hiking off-leash is so much fun for dogs, as they can adventure on their own, and follow a scent or chase a bird.
Also, adjust your hike for the age and experience of your dog. If you’ve never taken your dog on a long hike before, especially if they’re young, try a short, easy hike (less than an hour) to test the waters. Once you’ve worked out your dog’s limits, you’ll be able to plan your hikes better to incorporate their needs.
Make sure you also plan the hike according to your dog’s abilities. Before you take your dog on a hike, you have to think about what they’re capable of in terms of stamina. You know your dog back to front. Use this knowledge to plan a hike, the difficulty, and length especially, with your dog in mind. Really energetic dogs may want to keep hiking even longer than you, but bigger or older dogs might have some requirements. Plan in advance to avoid tiring your dog out.
Make sure that your trail is dog-friendly. Remember to do your research before you go on your hike: looking into the trail or park regulations on walking dogs, especially as to whether they can go off-leash or not.
And lastly, remember to prepare for the ride home. Dogs can get super messy on hikes, especially if they have been swimming in rivers or streams, if you’ve been primitive camping, or if it’s been raining recently prior to your hike. Remember to take a towel with you to clean their paws and belly before they take the ride home. For extra protection, especially if it’s a rainy day, consider putting newspaper on your dog’s seat, or a backseat protector.
Our top pick of this list is Mexvell’s leash. In our eyes, this is the ideal leash for hiking with your dog, especially if you are an avid outdoor enthusiast. It can fit any dog, is lightweight while being uber sturdy and durable, and the fixings will never fail you. For a leash that will survive you and your dog many seasons to come, rain or shine, and keep you safe with its reflective rope, this is a wonderful option. The best dog leashes for hiking really depends on your needs and the needs, size, and energy level of your dog. Make sure to consider all of these factors before deciding which type, and then which style, of leash, will work for you and your furry friend.
Bonus tip: If you’re interested in learning how to train your dog to listen while they’re not on their leash, you can check out the video below!