As summer winds down and we head in to winter, I thought we’d take a few weeks to discuss the gear we brought on the trip: what we loved, what we’ll ditch next summer, and what we still need. The first item up is something I didn’t think I would need, but has proven to be a pretty cool addition to our gear closet. As of right now, I’m hoping that these gear posts can grow and expand over time – the more we use an item, the more we’ll know about it.
I used the Kurgo K9 Excursion Running Belt ($30) a few times this spring, while we were in California building the bus. We haven’t used it too much while on the road, because we generally choose to visit areas where Hilde is allowed to roam off leash. However, sometimes places we expect to be off-leash turn out to be otherwise, and this running belt is perfect for those cases.
Earlier this week we went on a quick run up Long Canyon, off the Colorado River just out of Moab, Utah. 50 yards in we came across this sign. I love letting Hilde run freely off leash (actually, I don’t think anything makes me happier than seeing her zoom along a trail!) but I know that if she saw any sheep, big or little, she would want to chase them.
You might think that this is no big deal – sheep get chased all the time, right? Actually, it’s a pretty big deal. When prey animals get chased by dogs, even friendly dogs, they use up valuable energy. In certain places and seasons where food is hard to come by (like the desert) this energy reserve (or lack thereof) could mean life or death down the line. So, end of soapbox, we saw that sign and immediately got Hilde on her leash.
If you’ve ever run with your dog on a waist leash, you probably know how nice it is to have your hands free. However, you might also know how annoying it can be if they pull, digging into your waist or jerking you around the trail. Hilde’s not “100% puller” like some dogs, but if she gets excited or sees something interesting up the trail she can really jerk me around. This belt relieves those problems and makes running with Hilde on a leash much more enjoyable.
Paired with the Kurgo Quantum Leash (pictured, $20), Hilde gets a full 6 feet of freedom – much more than she would if I just had a leash wrapped around my waist. This means she has +/- 2 extra feet to get ahead, sniff things out, and then catch back up with me before she runs out of slack, which makes both of us happy!
The belt is much wider than just a leash, similar to the hip belt of a backpack. This means that any pressure on the leash gets distributed over a larger area, so I don’t feel it as much.
Speaking of pulling, it comes with these nifty leash attachment sliders that dampen the shock when Hilde decides there’s something interesting to see on the other side of the trail.
The pocket on the back is juuuuust barely big enough for a Kate’s Real Food bar, a handful of poop bags, and my Patagonia Alpine Houdini rain jacket. This was just a short trip, and I was able to fit everything in, but it was a tight squeeze! On a longer day I would probably empty the belt (to be honest, the water bottle is a little clunky for running) and wear my Patagonia ForeRunner vest in addition for extra storage.
Overall, I think the belt is a great addition for people who like to run with their dogs, especially if you go on shorter runs in places that require your pup to be on a leash! See it on Kurgo.com »
- Wide belt distributes pressure
- Sticky rubber lines on inside keep it from riding up
- Big buckle + easy to adjust straps, similar to backpacking hip belts
- Basic storage for poop bags, small snack
- Leash connection ribbons help dampen jerky movements
- Water bottle connection is bouncy – might just be that I’m not used to running with water on a belt.
- Dog can’t “swing” all the way around, you have to step over the leash if they go behind you
- Limited storage, need to wear a pack in addition for longer excursions
Do you want to try out the Kurgo K9 Excursion Running Belt? Leave a comment below with your favorite #WalkingYourDogWeek story below. We’ll pick our favorite and send you a belt to try out!
Disclaimer: This post is made possible by Kurgo, who gave us a lot of free gear when Hilde won the Kurgo Live Your Adventure Contest. However, all opinions and recommendations here are our own!