Ruffwear is an outdoor dog gear brand based in Bend, Oregon, founded in 1994. The company is dedicated to creating gear for outdoor adventures and is guided by principles of performance, adventure, and sustainability. They are committed to conducting business to maximize the good they can do in the world while being conscious of their impact on the planet.
About the Ruffwear Hi & Light Dog Harness
The Ruffwear Hi & Light™ Harness is a minimalist, lightweight, and low-profile harness. It has four adjustment points for an optimal fit, ensuring a full range of motion.
The anodized aluminum V-ring leash attachment point on the back provides a secure attachment point for the leash, while the dirt-resistant liner helps to keep it clean. The reflective trim is a safety feature that improves visibility in low-light conditions. Additionally, the harness features a light loop for attaching a light, like Ruffwear’s The Beacon.
The harness also has an ID pocket for storing dog tags and pick-up bags, providing an extra sense of security when out on an adventure. The Hi & Light Harness comes in six sizes and is designed to fit even small dogs.
Ruffwear Hi & Light Dog Harness Review
We have been using the Ruffwear Hi & Light as Zulu’s search harness for over three months. This high-visibility, lightweight harness is somewhere between a harness and a vest - offering everything I was looking for when choosing her search harness:
☑️ It provides good armpit clearance for free shoulder movement but doesn’t rotate or slide up,
☑️ distributes the weight well on the chest when she pulls into it when working,
☑️ it is light and thin, which will be a great feature for the summer, while also bright making it easy to track her when she is working off-leash. It doesn’t soak in water or mud and dries fast, which is also ideal for the woods.
The chest piece is wide enough to distribute the leash pressure, but it narrows between the legs to prevent chafing. Zulu is a very hard-to-fit dog with her proportionally deep chest and narrow neck, but this harness fits her well and still leaves plenty of room for adjustment.
It’s also a nice detail that the buckles are placed by the back plate instead of on the bottom straps, so they don’t end up rubbing against the leg when the dog steps, regardless of how much you adjust the chest straps.
The harness in the review is the Sockeye Red version which is being discontinued as I write this review. The new version is available in four new colors, has a no-pull loop at the chest piece, a new shell fabric, and should have a slightly updated design for a better fit.
Although the reflective lining is only present on the four stripes on the chest piece, the color of the harness and the loop for the light on the back provides different ways to make it more visible in the dark.
Functionality Review of the Ruffwear Hi & Light Dog Harness
No-pull correction: Only the newer, updated version has a no-pull ring.
Running/Biking: This is not a pulling harness, but you can use it if the dog runs next to you without pulling or if you just want to give running/biking a quick try before investing in proper equipment. The lack of padding makes it unsuitable for pulling sports.
Hiking: It’s a light but durable harness that’s great for hikes. The streamlined design and the lack of a handle minimize the chance of the dog getting stuck on something in the woods, while you can still use the back panel to grab the dog when needed. The harness dries fast and doesn’t soak in much water, so it’s a low-maintenance option for muddy hikes.
City walk: Works well; the visibility is excellent for evening walks.
Easy to put on/adjust: It has two buckles on the chest straps, so it needs to go over the dog’s head. Adjusting is easy, and the sliders stay in place well after adjustment.
Visibility: The color makes it highly visible, but the reflective rims face the front, so they are not visible from the side. Adding a light to the loop on the back is a great way to provide visibility in the dark.
The Ruffwear Hi & Light Dog Harness provides exactly what you expect based on its name: Hi-visibility and Lightweight. If you are looking for a heavy-duty, well-padded harness, this is not for you, but if you want something durable, light, and comfortable for the dog, it is an excellent option for both on-leash walks and off-leash hikes.
Where to buy
As always, be sure the harness is a good fit for YOUR dog. If you need help deciding, read our article on harness fitting.
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Many of you asked for the dog’s measurements in reviews to better understand the different products’ fit, so I’m sharing Zulu’s below for reference.
Shoulder height: 19 inches (50 cm)
Weight: 29 pounds (13 kg)
Widest chest circumference: 24 inches (60 cm)
Neck circumference for collars: 13 inches (33 cm)
Back lengths: 17 inches (44 cm)