The Best Hiking Gear for Dogs: 2020 Recommended Gear List

Whether your are new to hiking with your dog or have seasons of adventure under your belt, finding good quality gear for your furry companion’s is an important part of any outdoor adventure.

Over the years, I have tried out a lot of gear with my two hiking companions: a 9-year-old 40-pound mutt and a 12-pound cavalier mix. We average ~2 hikes per week. And we hike year-round, from the humid and hot temperatures of July through the snowy and cold days of January. From this experience, I know how hard it can be to find the best hiking gear for your dog to make your hikes fun and safe adventures.

Every year we try new gear, but below you will find our current list of favorite trail-tested gear.

*This blog post contains affiliate links. I am an Amazon associate and also work with AvantLink. As a result, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Best Dog Harness for Hiking: the Ruffwear Flagline Harness

I am a huge fan of Ruffwear’s dog harnesses. Both Glia and Sasha have been wearing them since 2017 when I first discovered this company. I had originally purchased a Web Master harness for Glia when she started to demonstrate reactive behaviors and almost slipped out of her current harness. We still like the Web Master, but the newer Flagline Harness is our current top recommendation for the best hiking harness for dogs.

This harness is relatively lightweight with a slim profile. It has a solid chest/belly panel and a handle along the back of the harness to help you aid your dog over rough terrain. There are 3-attachment points for a leash: one on the chest, one mid-back, and one at the very back of the harness. The harness is pretty adjustable and very durable. And the dogs don’t have to step into them. The harnesses simply slide over the pups’ heads and can then be buckled while all four paws remain on the floor.

Find the Flagline Harness on (link opens in new tab). Or if you want to learn more about this harness before purchasing, check out our full reviews of this harness:

The Best Hands-Free Leash: The TuffMutt Hands Free Leash

The TuffMutt leash is the first hands-free leash that we had ever purchased. And it is still our favorite, although it is starting to get a little worn out after a few years of hard use.

We brought this leash along on a 3-month road trip across the western half of the United States and found it to be a fantastic leash to keep our hands free for picture taking.

The leash has a waist belt that can be separated from the leash itself. This comes in handy if you need to detach the leash to navigate challenging trail areas. The leash portion also has a bungee component to minimize the impact if either your or your dog starts or stops suddenly. Additionally, the leash is even reflective to help with visibility at night.

You can find the TuffMutt Hands Free Leash on or you can find out more about why we love this leash in our TuffMutt Leash gear review post.

Best Dog Backpacking Pack: Groundbird Gear Trekking Pack

When I started to take my 40-pound dog on overnight backpacking adventures, I figured it would be nice if she could carry some of her own gear. So I set out to find the best dog backpack on the market.

After reading a lot of online reviews, I took the plunge and purchased a custom fit harness with trekking packs from Groundbird Gear.

Groundbird Gear is a small, American based company run by Marie Sellnick, an experienced thru-hiker. She creates custom lightweight harnesses for any size of dog. But the best part of her harness/backpack design is the roll-top trekking packs.

You can choose the size of pack that best works for your dog. This can help the trekking packs keep a lower profile on your dog compared to some of the other dog backpacks available on the market. The roll top design is a nice feature to easily pack and access items when the packs are on your dog. They also allow you to roll the pack down tight to secure items when your dog is carrying less bulky gear.

Just remember, the rule of 10%. Your dog should only carry around 10% of his or her body weight out on the trail.

Find out more about this harness in the following blog posts:

Best Dog Boots:

Not all dogs need to wear boots on certain trails. But when you need a little extra protection for your four-legged friends paws, has you covered with their lightweight, cost-effective, and fairly durable dog booties.

For my pups, dog boots are most often needed in the winter to add a layer of protection between their paw pads and the ice and snow of our winter trails. But dog boots can also help protect against rough terrain or can be used to protect a paw injury on a normal trail. In fact, we pack a pair of dog boots along as part of our hiking/backpacking first aid kit.

Glia, my dog who is the most sensitive to the cold, first tried out Muttluk’s Dog Boots. These worked well to protect her feet from the cold, but they slipped off of her paws at least 1-2 times per hike. And finding dog boots in the snow can be difficult. It is possible that we needed a different size or that I wasn’t tightening them well enough. But after we found, we have only used the Muttluks on really cold days when a thicker boot is needed.

Our dog booties are easy to put on and stay on well. And if we do lose one in the snow, it isn’t as big of a problem as each bootie only costs $3. And as an added benefit, you can mix and match sizes in case your dog has larger front paws than they do hind paws.

Find out more about in the following blog post:

Best Insect Repellent Dog Clothing: Insect Shield Cooling Tee

Our final favorite product recommendation for dogs hiking in 2020 is the Insect Shield Cooling Tee. We often hike in heavy mosquito and tick areas and I was looking for something to help keep the bugs off of the dogs as we relaxed at our campsite at night. The Insect Sheild Cooling Tee has been the perfect solution.

It can be worn during the day out on a hike but doesn’t work super well underneath a harness. The fabric is stretchy and moves backward under the harness creating some tightening around my dog’s shoulders/chest. If your dog hikes in a collar, this shouldn’t be a problem. We may end up creating a custom leash portal along the back of our Insect Sheild Tee to allow Glia to wear the tee over her harness.

The permethrin-treated fabric does a fantastic job of preventing mosquitoes and ticks from landing on your dog (at least where your dog is covered by the tee). This helps reduce the number of single-use applications of bug protection you need to apply to your dog. My pup really dislikes sprays and wipes, so she is very happy to have the shirt to reduce how often I wipe her down while out on the trail.

You can find the Insect Shield Dog Tee on Or read more about the product in our review:

Now get your dog and head out on a hike!

Whatever gear your choose to outfit your dog with on your next hike, the most important thing is to get out there and enjoy an adventure with your dog.

And if any of you readers have recommendations for gear that you love for hiking with your dog, let us know in the comments below.

Happy Hiking Everyone!

Kate, Glia, and Sasha


Kate is the writer of Pawsitively Intrepid. She currently works full-time as a veterinarian, treating dogs and cats. But in her free time, she loves to hike and adventure with her dogs, Sasha and Glia.

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