If you get one gear for your active dog, I hope it’s a harness that is made for adventures. A quality harness keeps your dog protected from elements when exploring in wilderness. A bright-colored harness makes your dog visible to hunters during hunting season. Another feature of an active harness I personally rely on is the handle on the back. I’ll talk about that more later.
So how do you pick one that is right for your pup? You have to read reviews (like this one) of different products and make an educated decision as if you are buying your gear. Quality performance gear for canine hikers aren’t cheap and a lot of times than not, you get what you pay for based on my experience. Good brands use people clothes quality materials and have thoughtful design details that you’d appreciate while adventuring with your pup.
This fall we received samples of Active Harness from Hurtta North America to try. Hurtta is a Finland company and it has been compared to the dog counterpart of North Face. We were using Ruffwear harnesses so I was excited to compare the two leading brands side by side. This review is based on using the harnesses for a few months.
- Chest Size: 16″-47″ (Xena is wearing 24-32″)
- Colors: Raven, Cherry(pink) & Juniper(grayish blue)
- Dazzle Colors: Hi-Viz Yellow & Hi-Viz Orange
- Retail Price: $40
- Designed in Finland and made in China
Design – 5/5
Hurtta Active Harness looks similar to Ruffwear’s everyday harness Front Range and shares the following similarities:
- Adjustable collar and chest straps
- Easy to dress
- Padded and comfortable to wear
- Ring on the back to connect a leash
- Works well as a safety harness for the car rides
While the Active Harness is comfortable to wear and has the relaxed look, it is ready for adventures. The buckles are bigger and the webbing is wider. Overall, it’s more sturdier. And, it has a handle on the back to give you more control over your dog in difficult places or when your dog follows the yummy smell coming from a campsite. A handle is a must on an active harness in my opinion.
Multiple 3M reflectors are placed on the harness front and back for safety in the dark.
Hurtta also has a Dazzle collection. Hi-Viz Orange popped against Xena’s black fur. A neon color harness with 3M reflectors, Xena can’t hide even if she tries to. Ha!
Function – 4.5/5
3M reflectors worked as expected and the Hi-Viz Orange was perfect during the hunting season.
Although I had no problem using the handle on the back to help Xena overcome difficult obstacles, I’d like to see Hurtta enhances the handle in the next version to be wider, padded and vertical. It will be more comfortable in my hand and will look and feel more sturdy.
Quality and Durability – 5/5
We tested the harnesses in rugged conditions then I washed both of them in a front load washing machine in a gentle cycle and air-dried them after each use. The neon orange harness came with a warning that the discoloration can occur during wash so I added a sheet of Shout Color Catcher and the sheet took care of it. Both harnesses came out of the washer like new.
Like the Trail Pack, the materials used on the harnesses are equally high quality and durable. And the stitching is done flawlessly. It bothers me when the stitching is not perfect.
Fit and Fashion – 4.5/5
Xena’s girth is 26.5″ and 24-32″ fits her very well. I didn’t notice any chafing and her movement wasn’t restricted in anyway.
Although I personally like the Hurtta’s wider (tapered) chest plate better than the one on Ruffwear (because it provides more protection, especially when she is lifted using the handle) the width might not work on all dogs. It might be an issue on small dogs or dogs with narrow chest.
The sizing starts at girth of 16″. It’s not available for extra small dogs.
Overall – 4.8/5
Hurtta Active Harness is a quality performance harness for small to large dogs. If you already have a Ruffwear’s Front Range harness and are looking for something more but not quite Web Master, this is the one for you. This is an adventure version of Front Range. I am impressed with the design, quality and its dashing colors.