Dogs, Hiking Gear

Exploring Trails: The 5 Best Dog Leashes for Hiking


It was a crisp autumn morning. The sun was just beginning to rise over the rocky horizon, casting a warm, orange glow across the trail. My trusty sidekick, Chester, a bounding bundle of energy, was already raring to go. His eager eyes reflected the breathtaking scenery around us and mirrored my own excitement for the adventure that lay ahead.

As we prepared for our hike, I couldn’t help but think about the importance of the gear we were carrying. The right hiking dog leash, along with other vital dog hiking accessories, truly makes a world of difference. Hiking with Chester has always been a bonding experience for us, a chance to explore the great outdoors and enjoy each other’s company. But the peace of mind that comes from knowing he’s safe and secure makes our adventures all the more enjoyable.

This isn’t just any old walk in the park, after all. When you’re out on the trail, it’s essential to have reliable hiking dog gear that can withstand the rigors of the wilderness, and stand up to the exuberance of a four-legged hiking enthusiast like Chester.

So, if you’re a fellow dog-loving hiker, stick around! In this article, we’ll review 5 of the best hiking dog leashes, discuss what makes them standout, and help you decide on the best gear for your furry friend. Prepare to make your next adventure the best one yet!

1. MayPaw Heavy-Duty Round Rope Leash

MayPaw Heavy-Duty Round Rope Leash

Ergonomic & Comfortable Handles

  • Material: Nylon
  • 360° Swivel Clip
  • Perfect for Medium to Large Dogs
  • 25 Colors & 4 Size Options

Whether you’re navigating rugged mountain trails or exploring your local dog park, the MayPaw Heavy-Duty Round Rope Leash is an essential piece of hiking dog gear. This leash, designed with strength and comfort in mind, ensures that your outdoor adventures are safe, enjoyable, and effortlessly stylish.

One of the standout features of this leash is its 12mm (1/2″) diameter round rope design, making it lightweight yet durable enough to withstand the excitement of medium to large dog breeds. The leash’s robustness doesn’t compromise its usability or your comfort – the ergonomic handle offers excellent grip, ensuring control, even if your large dog starts pulling.

An ideal length of 6ft provides your dog with ample space to explore their surroundings while maintaining your peace of mind. This perfect balance between freedom and control ensures your dog can wander a little, enhancing their hiking experience without sacrificing safety.

Further adding to its appeal, the MayPaw leash is equipped with a heavy-duty metal swivel clip for easy attachment to any collar or harness. This 360° swivel clip feature eliminates the worry of rope twining during your outdoor escapades, allowing you to focus on enjoying the great outdoors.

Besides its functionality, MayPaw doesn’t disappoint on the aesthetics front. With 25 different colors and patterns to choose from, there’s a style to suit every canine adventurer. Whether you have a boisterous Boxer or a lively Labrador, there’s a MayPaw leash to complement their personality and make them the talk of the trail.

In terms of sizes, MayPaw provides an extensive range, from 3 to 15 feet, catering to different control preferences and ensuring the best fit for your outdoor adventures.

All in all, the MayPaw Heavy-Duty Round Rope Leash is an impressive blend of strength, comfort, and style, promising to be a valuable addition to your dog hiking accessories.

2. COOYOO Heavy Duty Reflective Dog Leash

COOYOO Heavy Duty Reflective Dog Leash

2 Pack With Collapsible Water Bowl

  • Material: Nylon
  • Impressive Reflectivity
  • Strength of Rock-climbing Ropes
  • Water Bowl & Poop Bag Dispenser Included

The COOYOO Heavy Duty Reflective Dog Leash is more than just a dog leash; it’s an all-in-one solution for your hiking adventures with your beloved canine companion. Built for both daily hikes and outdoor activities, this leash brings together practical design, durability, and comfort.

What sets the COOYOO leash apart is its impressive reflectivity. The leash is interwoven with highly reflective threads, ensuring visibility and safety during evening or early morning hikes. This feature makes it an excellent choice for those beautiful sunset hikes or early morning explorations, allowing you and your pet to stand out in low-light conditions.

Built to last, this 5ft leash draws from the strength of rock-climbing ropes, featuring a heavy-duty snap hook and a robust 1/2 inch diameter rope. This dog leash ensures your dog’s security, whether you’re enjoying a leisurely stroll in the neighborhood or tackling challenging wilderness trails. The woven rope material provides a comfortable grip, ensuring sustained control throughout your hikes.

The leash features a soft padded handle, providing exceptional comfort for your hand, even during those times when your excited large dog might pull a bit too much. This feature minimizes the risk of rope burns and ensures a firm grip, making your walks and hikes with your dog even more enjoyable.

The COOYOO leash is available in a variety of bright primary colors and a classic, elegant black, all featuring an exclusive special twill weave. This commitment to quality and durability ensures the leashes resist fading and fraying.

The value pack is an added bonus, offering two leashes, a collapsible water bowl, and a poop bag dispenser. This all-inclusive pack ensures you’re equipped for various scenarios on your hikes, reflecting COOYOO’s understanding of your dog’s needs and yours. All these features combined make the COOYOO Heavy Duty Reflective Dog Leash a comprehensive, stylish, and practical addition to your dog hiking gear.

3. CHUNKY PAW Hands-Free Dog Leash

CHUNKY PAW Hands-Free Dog Leash

Black & Grey Design

  • Material: Nylon, Stainless Steel, Neoprene
  • Ideal for Medium To Large Breeds
  • Reflective Thread For Visibility
  • Designed For Your Dog to Adapt To Your Body Movements

Unlock a new level of convenience and safety on your hikes with the CHUNKY PAW Hands-Free Dog Leash. Tailored for medium to large breeds, this leash blends high-quality materials with a user-friendly design, ensuring you can enjoy your outdoor adventures with peace of mind.

Made with robust anti-tear nylon and featuring a durable belt buckle and stainless-steel rings, this leash prioritizes you and your dog’s safety. Its sturdy construction minimizes shoulder and wrist pain, allowing for longer, more enjoyable hikes.

The leash’s dual-handle design stands out, offering two soft and durable neoprene handles that are both comfortable and easily accessible. These handles allow you to have control over your dog in varying situations. Whether you’re navigating narrow trails, busy sidewalks, or bike paths, the CHUNKY PAW leash ensures you’re always in charge.

Keeping safety in mind, the leash comes with reflective stitching, increasing visibility during evening or early morning walks, runs, or hikes. This feature allows for safer adventures in low-light conditions, ensuring both you and your dog remain visible to cars and bikes.

One of the most enticing features of this leash is its versatility. It functions effectively as a conventional pet leash but can quickly convert to a hands-free option for running, hiking, or even when you need to use your phone or push a baby stroller.

With an adjustable waist belt ranging from 27″ to 48″ and 3 rings, the CHUNKY PAW leash adapts to your dog’s body movements. Your dog learns to stay attached and anticipate your direction, enhancing the bonding experience of your adventures. The leash offers a convenient extra D-ring for carrying poop bags or other accessories, adding another layer of convenience.

All these features make the CHUNKY PAW Hands-Free Dog Leash a reliable, versatile, and user-friendly addition to your dog hiking gear, ensuring both comfort and control during your outdoor escapades.

4. Dingo Dog Trail Running Set

Dingo Dog Trail Running Set

Hands-Free Belt

  • Material: Nylon
  • Multifunctional: Walking, Jogging, Hiking
  • Bungee Shock Absorber
  • Attach Multiple Dogs at Once

Get ready to embrace the outdoors like never before with your furry friend, thanks to the Dingo Dog Trail Running Set. This comprehensive set is the perfect solution for pet owners who require professional gear for outdoor sports and want to involve their pets in the adventure.

Designed for convenience and comfort, the Dingo hands-free belt with a detachable leash allows you to run, walk, or hike with your dog without the hassle of holding a leash. This hands-free design allows you to focus on your workout or the breathtaking scenery around you, while your dog safely explores by your side.

Running, hiking, or simply walking with your dog is a team sport, and having the right gear can make the experience successful and fun. This multi-use dog leash grows with you and your dog, fostering a deep and unbreakable bond, making every outdoor adventure a shared experience.

The Dingo Dog Trail Running Set is ideal for various outdoor activities like hiking, running, and even skiing with dogs. With a focus on safety, the bungee dog leash design ensures your dog’s sudden moves or strong pulls won’t throw you off balance. This feature comes in handy particularly for those who have had troubles with a strong dog or mobility issues.

The leash, measuring 1 x 67″, includes a bungee shock absorber to cushion strong jerks and is equipped with two snap hooks. Crafted from a sturdy nylon rope, it ensures durability and reliability on your runs.

The running belt comes with the ability to attach several dogs at once, making it perfect for multi-pet households. It is equipped with highly visible reflective elements for added safety during nighttime activities. The maximum circumference of the user’s belt is 47″, with the wide part of the belt measuring 4×26″.

Easy-to-unlatch secure buckles, metal ring, and snap hook add to the convenience and safety of the Dingo set, allowing for quick attachment or removal of the leash. The metal ring ensures smooth movement as your dog moves from side to side, reinforcing the hands-free comfort of this set.

As a family business operating in the pet industry since 1977, Dingo’s commitment to quality and comfort shines through their products. Each item is handmade, showcasing their dedication to providing comfortable and safe accessories ideal for playing and training with your dog. This dog trail running set embodies this dedication and is a practical, stylish, and robust addition to your dog hiking gear.

5. FLEXI Giant Retractable Dog Leash (Tape)

FLEXI Giant Retractable Dog Leash

Neon-Colored Tape

  • Material: Nylon
  • For Active Dogs Up to 55lbs
  • Single Hand Use
  • Extends All Directions Without Jamming

Meet the FLEXI Giant Retractable Dog Leash (Tape), a robust and feature-rich dog leash designed for active dogs weighing up to 55 lbs. Built with the adventurous dog and owner in mind, this leash promises great freedom of movement, allowing your dog to enjoy their outdoor experience to the fullest.

One of the standout features of this leash is its 26 ft long, neon-colored tape, which gives your dog ample space to explore while making you both more visible for safety. Whether you’re on a well-trodden trail or venturing off the beaten path, this visibility can be crucial, especially in areas with traffic or during low-light conditions.

This leash isn’t just about giving freedom to your canine companion; it’s also designed for your comfort and convenience. The single-handed use of the brake button and permanent stop feature allow you to quickly and effectively manage your dog’s movement. The leash also boasts an ergonomic soft grip handle, designed for comfort even on the longest of walks.

One of the features that set the FLEXI Giant Retractable Dog Leash apart is its robust tape guidance system. This ensures the leash can extend in all directions without jamming or snagging, giving your dog the freedom to move around without interruptions.

Finally, the comfortable braking system is worth noting. The short-stop, one-handed braking system ensures a fast and reliable response, providing you with complete control even when your dog gets too excited on their hike.

To sum it up, the FLEXI Giant Retractable Dog Leash (Tape) combines functionality, safety, and comfort, making it a worthy addition to your hiking dog gear. It offers your dog the freedom they crave and the control you need, making it an excellent choice for hiking, walking, and exploration.

What to Look for When Choosing a Hiking Dog Leash

What to Look for When Choosing a Hiking Dog Leash

Choosing the perfect hiking dog leash for your canine companion goes beyond picking out the most appealing design. There are several crucial factors to consider to ensure both you and your dog enjoy a safe and comfortable hiking experience. Here’s what to look for:

1. 🏋️‍♂️ Material: The material of the leash plays a critical role in its durability. Look for leashes made from strong and robust materials like nylon or leather that can withstand rugged environments and resist wear and tear.

2. 📏 Length: The length of the leash should provide a good balance between giving your dog freedom to explore and allowing you to maintain control. Depending on your dog’s training and temperament, you might want a shorter leash for more control or a longer one for more freedom.

3. ✋ Handle Comfort: If you’re going to be out on the trails for hours, you’ll want a leash with a comfortable handle. Look for ergonomic designs or ones with padding to help prevent hand fatigue. Alternatively, opt for a hand-free model so you’re always ready for what the trail may throw at you.

4. 🔦 Reflective Features: A leash with reflective stitching or elements can enhance visibility in low-light conditions, making you and your dog safer during early morning or late evening hikes.

5. 🖇️ Clip Quality: The quality of the clip that attaches the leash to your dog’s collar or harness is crucial. It should be robust and easy to clip and unclip, even with one hand.

6. 💪 Flexibility: If you’re an avid hiker, you may want to consider a retractable or adjustable leash that gives your dog more room to explore when it’s safe and can be shortened in crowded areas or challenging terrains.

7. ✅ Extra Features: Some leashes come with extra features like poop bag holders, traffic handles for extra control, or even shock-absorbing bungee segments. While not necessary, these features can enhance your hiking experience.

Remember, the best leash for your dog will largely depend on their size, breed, strength, and temperament. What works for one dog might not work for another, so it’s crucial to consider your dog’s specific needs when choosing a hiking leash.

7 Tips for Hiking with Your Dog

Hiking with your dog can be an incredibly rewarding experience, allowing you both to explore nature, get some exercise, and bond together. But, before you hit the trails, here are some additional tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable adventure:

1. 🥾 Choose Dog-Friendly Trails: Not all hiking trails are dog-friendly. Be sure to research ahead of time and choose trails that allow dogs and suit your dog’s physical abilities. If it’s your dog’s first time hiking, you might want to start with shorter, less strenuous routes.

2. 🚰 Keep Your Dog Hydrated: Dogs can dehydrate quickly, especially when they’re exerting a lot of energy on a hike. Bring plenty of water for both you and your dog, and don’t forget a collapsible dog bowl for them to drink from.

3. 💤 Take Breaks: Don’t forget to take regular breaks, especially during longer hikes or on hot days. This will help prevent your dog from getting too tired or overheated.

4. 🩹 Pack Essentials: In addition to water, make sure to bring other essentials such as dog food, a first aid kit, poop bags, a towel, and a portable dog bed or blanket for rest breaks.

5. ⛰️ Follow Trail Etiquette: Always keep your dog on a leash and make sure they don’t disturb wildlife or other hikers. Also, always pick up after your dog.

6. 🪲 Check for Ticks: After your hike, check your dog thoroughly for ticks or other pests, which can be common in wooded areas.

7. 🐕‍🦺 Condition Your Dog: If you’re planning a particularly long or challenging hike, make sure your dog is in good physical condition. Just like people, dogs can benefit from regular exercise to prepare for more strenuous activity.

Hiking with your dog takes a bit of preparation and responsibility, but the joy of exploring the great outdoors together makes it all worth it.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right leash can greatly enhance your hiking experience with your four-legged friend. Not only will it provide you with control and safety, but it can also make the hike more comfortable and enjoyable for both of you. The right leash can mean the difference between a chaotic outdoor adventure and a peaceful hike in the woods.

From durable materials and comfortable handles to reflective threads and hands-free options, the 5 leashes we’ve covered in this article each offer their unique features, catering to a variety of needs and preferences. However, if you ask me about my personal favorite, I would without hesitation choose the CHUNKY PAW Hands-Free Dog Leash.

Its hands-free design allows for a more natural hiking experience, keeping my hands available for other tasks, like checking the map or taking photos. Its dual handle design is also a standout, providing added control when needed. On top of that, the leash has reflective stitching for added safety during those dusk or early morning hikes.

But ultimately, the best hiking dog leash is the one that works best for you and your furry friend. Evaluate your needs, consider your options, and pick the leash that will make your hiking adventures safe, enjoyable, and memorable. After all, the journey is all about exploring the great outdoors together, creating shared memories, and strengthening the bond between you and your loyal companion.

So grab your favorite leash, pack your essentials, and hit the trails! Your next great adventure with your furry friend awaits. Happy hiking!

Mitch Taylor
With over 20 years experience with camping and hiking, I've taken it upon myself to share my insights. From common camping and hiking questions to gear recommendations, your adventure starts here.

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