How we tested
To narrow down the dog gear that’s actually worth your money, my dog Miso (who is an avid hiker) helped me hands-on (paws-on?) test every single product in this list. Broadly, we chose to test dog gear that has a four star user rating or higher, and narrowed down the pack further during the testing process.
Our testing was based on a real-life hiking environment. Each piece of gear was used on-trail over a week to figure out whether it’s worth the money— and the space — to carry it along with you as you hike. We tested more than 20 pieces of dog gear from popular outdoor dog brands like Ruffwear, Wilderdog, and Atlas Pet Co, and picked the top 11 items that best stood up to the trails.
Factors we included while testing were:
Safety and security — Safety is of the utmost importance when choosing dog hiking gear. We thoroughly tested the buckles, clips, and attachments of all collars, leashes, and harnesses to weed out flimsy gear that your dog can break through. We also focused on testing gear that will help keep your dog safe and healthy on the trail, like dog boots, paw wax, water bowls to stay hydrated, and comprehensive dog first aid kits.
Durability and quality — Dog gear should be durable enough to hold up to strong pups, and for hiking gear, it should also withstand the elements, dirt, dust, and more. We tested each product in the backcountry to see how it held up to walking through thick brush, getting wet and muddy, and for wearable products, being put on and taken off multiple times.
Price point — Outdoor-minded dog products can be expensive, so we weighed in the cost of each product with every other factor on this list to ensure that your money is spent on safe, durable products. We skipped on the dog products that focused mostly on aesthetics.
Available size options — Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, so we checked and reported the size options that every leash, collar, backpack, and harness comes in.