My dog Pickle is typically pretty darn good when he hikes off-leash, as he sticks to the trail and doesn’t molest other hikers or wildlife. However, there are times when local rules, trail conditions, or other factors may require me to leash him. Since these are rare occurrences for me, I had made a very lightweight DIY leash out of an old collar, some paracord, and a light carabiner. While light, this (and just about every other leash I’ve ever tried) is annoying to use while hiking with trekking poles. If the dog tugs, you could end up swinging that pole wildly. An erratic turn could get your pole tangled in the leash. It’s always bugged me. Enter the Stunt Runner Leash by Stunt Puppy.
This hands-free leash was designed for runners, but I thought it would work just as well for hiking and backpacking. The leash is made up of two parts: An adjustable waist belt and a stretchy, flexible connector. The manufacturer states that the adjustable waist belt fits people with waists from 26″-42″. I wear size 36 jeans. Judging by the remaining slack, there is still plenty of adjustment to get to 42″.
The stretchy connector stretches from 35″-51″ depending on how hard your dog tugs on it. At it’s longest (4.25 feet), it more than conforms to the 6-foot leash rule in many parks and municipalities. This stretch also acts as a bit of shock absorption. At the end of the connector nearest the dog’s collar, there is a section of doubled-over webbing that serves as a handle. This is useful in case you need to get close control over your pet.
At 7.7 ounces, this is significantly heavier than the DIY leash that Pickle normally carries, but I thought the benefits might “outweigh” the weight penalty in Pickle’s pack. Adding this leash will not overload him in any way, so I thought I would bring it along for a little testing in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
I didn’t actually have to use this leash too much, but it did work well when I did. When I hike fast or run, Pickle keeps pace with me, so the leash worked perfectly. When I stopped, he wanted to roam around and pull me, so I ended up having to put a hand on the leash anyway. One night at a very busy campsite, I did use it to tie him to a tree beneath my hammock, so he wouldn’t go “visiting”. It worked OK for that, too.
All in all, I think I will continue using this leash for a while, at least when space in Pickle’s pack isn’t at a premium. I’ll update this review if I discover something I particularly like or dislike about it in the future.
Disclaimer: I purchased this item at full price with my own money. I was not asked to write this review. All opinions stated here are my own.