Going on hikes can be very enjoyable, but it also means that you need to find appropriate gear for both you and your dog. A properly fitting harness for your canine is just as important as a properly fit pair of hiking boots for yourself.
Using a harness decreases the risk of neck injury from pulling, while also providing chest support and often a handle for guidance over difficult terrain. We were given the opportunity to test Kurgo’s Journey Air Dog Harness through Dogs That Hike. We received a size Medium (18-28”) in blue. We used the harness roughly once every couple of weeks for five months. It was tested in various conditions such as mud and snow, various hikes, as well as walks within the city.
The Journey Air Dog Harness is available in three different sizes ranging from 12” -35” chest girth. It has recently become available in red, black, and blue. It is designed as a harness for both hiking and running, specifically designed with a V-neck to lessen strain on the neck if a dog pulls while on leash. We didn’t notice any coughing or choking from Farley when she pulled, which she often does while wearing other harnesses and collars. The back handle is meant to extract or assist dogs. In our experience, we did not feel that the harness provided enough full body support to be comfortable lift testing a large breed; however, it may be sufficient for small dogs. The back of the harness is quite firm and narrow, which could be uncomfortable for some canines. The harness feels rigid, like is a large piece of metal underneath the handle, but throughout our use Farley was not bothered by this.
There are four adjustment points, making it easy to fit to most dogs. The medium harness fits chest girths up to 28”. While Farley’s chest is 27.5”, there was still a few extra inches of wiggle room, allowing dogs who are on the cusp for sizing to be able to fit into the harness. While we didn’t have any issues with sizing, we did notice movement of the harness under the rear straps. While padding is in place to protect the straps from rubbing against the skin, there is nothing to secure the strap to the padding causing the straps to slip off and come in contact with the dog’s skin. While we didn’t notice any chaffing on our shorter adventures this may become uncomfortable for a dog with thinner fur over an extended period of time.
The neck adjustment points thread through the harness close to the edge, helping them remain in place. The back nylon straps are noted to thread farther from the edge of the harness, causing movement. The harness could benefit from placing the opening to thread the back straps closer to the edge of the harness to hold them securely in place. There are thin reflective strips on both the front and back of the harness. While they don’t provide as much reflection as other harnesses, it’s not something that most people rely on to adequately see their dog at night. One of the features we really enjoyed was the leash attachment points. There are two, one rear clip and one front clip, making it perfect for hiking or loose leash walking training. The hardware is rustproof aluminum and is very durable for strong dogs and making it perfect for various weather conditions.
The attachment point on the back of the harness serves a dual purpose is one of our favourite features: a bottle opener. The front of the harness has four fabric loops that had us wondering if they had a purpose. While reading the FAQ’s on Kurgo’s website, we noticed that other customers had the same question. Kurgo did reply saying they were for cosmetic purposes only. We do believe that this feature may increase the chances of owners misusing the harness by attaching other leashes to these loops. The harness offers a narrow but comfortable chest plate, allowing support without any chaffing for most dogs. The interior is lines with mesh, allowing for air circulation and helping prevent the dog from overheating.
Despite being used in various weather conditions and hikes over several months, the harness remained clean without being washed unlike our other harnesses. The mesh and fabric held up and still looks brand new. We did notice some pulling along the raw edges where the blue and grey fabric are sewn together, although this did not extend past the seam or rip the seam. The metal hardware held up perfectly, unlike our other harnesses where the paint started to chip off of the hardware. The plastic buckles held up well and there was no wear and tear to the nylon. We do wish that the harness had a more secure attachment to the rear nylon straps to prevent potential chaffing with extended use.
Overall the harness did perform well and held up to various levels of activities by providing a comfortable chest plate with a “V” front to prevent choking while pulling. Having both a front and back clip options is great for owners who need the flexibility between training and adventuring. If being used for an extended period, we would likely choose a harness with a more comfortable back and secured nylon straps to prevent friction. While we did enjoy this harness, we might be more likely to purchase a more versatile product at a slightly lower price point.
The Journey Air Dog Harness would work best for: Dogs who pull, small dogs, dogs who overheat easily, humans who enjoy a beer on their hike
The Journey Air Dog Harness may not be ideal for: Dogs with broad backs, dogs who need to be lifted, dogs with thin fur/sensitive skin who need to use the harness for an extended period of time
Farley’s measurements: Girth 27.5″ / Back Length 20″ / Weight 50 lbs
Journey Air Dog Harness Size: Medium
Review by: Dogs That Hike Explorer @farley_the_labrador