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May 2022

Gear Review: Ruffwear Flagline Harness, Tried and True

Written by: Courtney Ledden featuring her Adventure Partner Charlie

When I first started hiking with my dog Charlie, the piece of gear that I struggled the most with finding was a harness. Why? Well, it was important to me that not only did it fit him well, but it had to be durable and include features that were helpful for the types of wild adventures we enjoy. You know, when we’re climbing up Mount Baldy on the “scramblers” route for funsies only to discover a 5 foot step down.

Kidding aside, after about two years of trying on every harness I could find, few met our needs. Then, I stumbled across the Ruffwear Flagline harness and that is where my search ended.

With the exception of the Ruffwear Palisades Backpack for the odd backpacking trip when Charlie needs to carry his own doggie bags and treatos, the Flagline Harness has been the only harness that he has worn for the past 3 years. It’s especially great when scrambling or if we’re in tricky situations and he needs assistance maneuvering terrain.

Recently, Ruffwear released a new and improved Flagline Harness. I was excited when Valhalla Pure Outfitters asked me to try it out and Charlie was especially stoked to add some new clothes to his closet. As we awaited the arrival of our new gear, anticipation rose. “I hope I still love it”, Charlie exclaimed (well, I could tell that’s what he was thinking by the look in his eyes). To both our relief, everything that we love about the harness remains or was improved!

So, what does Charlie (me) love most about this harness?

It's comfortable and safe.

This harness fits Charlie perfectly and doesn’t leave him with any rubs after a long day exploring. The 6 points of adjustment provide a better fit in addition to extra security, which is a huge plus for us considering the scrambling we do. Charlie seems more comfortable when I need to boost him as the panel underneath disperses pressure across the chest/belly, instead of solely under his armpits.

It’s lightweight and durable.

Charlie wears this harness year-round. There is no extra material or bulk on those hot summer hiking days, and it fits well under his jackets in the winter. It packs small so that when he’s not wearing it during our backpacking trips, it fits nicely into his Palisades pack or my own bag. Then, we whip it out later for quick little jaunts in the backcountry. And after wearing it for the past few years, it’s yet to suffer any damage, which is amazing considering the rock we traverse, and I expect no less from their newest version.

Easy to clean.

Not only is the make and material light, but the denier polyester shell and lining stays stain free despite some of our muddy treks through the forest in the spring. The belly takes the biggest hit, but after a hand wash in the sink with some detergent and an air dry, it’s as good as new! It comes in several different colors, but the sage green is particularly my favorite and compliments Charlie’s coat well.

The handle and leash points.

Now, while it may seem silly to most people, I love the direction of the handle. Having it run the down the dog’s spin (as opposed to across the back) is way more ergonomic, if you will. It is easier to grab to lift Charlie when I need to. In their latest version, the stitching is done a bit differently and it feels more padded. Multiple leash connection points are also a bonus, and they are strong for the days Charlie is eager to summit.

You can’t go wrong with a durable, lightweight harness that provides comfort and features appealing to dog ‘pawrents’ alike. But as a dog mom who loves her pup more than anything else in the world, I’m grateful to live in a time where so much amazing gear is accessible. Being able to outfit Charlie in a harness that he is comfortable in for our crazy adventures with safety in mind makes us both very happy.

I thank Ruffwear for their innovative designs and Valhalla Pure Outfitters for making them accessible to me! If you’re looking for a harness for your furry best friend, I can’t recommend this one enough.

Happy adventuring,
Courtney and Charlie