The 6 Best Dog Leashes for Hiking and Backpacking

Video best leash for hiking with dog


Standard Leash

This is the most common type of leash with a handle on one end and a clasp on the other. Standard leashes come in 4ft and 6ft. They can be made from a variety of materials from nylon to leather and come at a wide variety of price points depending on material and quality.

Standard leashes are widely available at pet stores, grocery stores or can be custom made from boutiques. With such a wide variety of styles available, it is easy to find the right fit for any dog.

Adjustable Leash

This type of leash has clasps on both ends and D-rings at various points. This allows you to adjust the leash to different lengths. Where you attach the clasps determines the size of the handle and the length of the leash.

An adjustable leash allows you to loop the leash over your shoulder for hands-free walking, or when not in use. These leashes come in different which make this style of leash particularly useful while hiking.

Bungee Leash

A bungee leash is helpful with absorbing shock from your dog’s sudden movements which is helpful for reducing strain on your arm and shoulder when your dog pulls or tugs. Most bungee leashes come with an adjustable waist belt to allow a hands-free option. It is most commonly used for running but is also great for hiking.

Opt for a bungee leash with a traffic handle. A traffic handle is a secondary handle closer to the dog’s collar, used for situations where you need close control.


Slip Lead

A slip lead has a metal ring at one end and handle at the other. The handle is looped through the ring to make a slip knot. It is a leash and a collar all in one. This makes it particularly convenient for off-leash hiking because of how easy it is to slip on and off. This comes in handy at road crossings, busy sections of the trail, or when passing by other people and dogs.

The slip lead adjusts to the size of any dog’s neck and does not allow them to back out of it. An important thing to note, if your dog tends to pull or lunge unexpectedly, this leash may not be the best option because of the tension it would cause around the neck.

Retractable Leash

A retractable leash is a long leash that is wound inside a plastic casing. When your dog pulls on it, the leash unspools and extends, so the length of the leash is adjustable to your needs. You can also limit the length of the leash using a braking button.

Retractable leashes are popular because they allow dogs to have the freedom to explore but still follow leash laws. A downside to retractable leashes is they do not allow for much control over your dog because you cannot quickly reel them in. When using a retractable leash, it is best in settings where the trail is not crowded or where it could get tangled up in vegetation and trees.


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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>