There are, literally, probably 1 million different dog leashes out there. There are stylish leashes made of fun fabric patterns, colorful cotton rope leashes, leashes made of climbing rope, traditional nylon webbing leashes, leashes you can snap around your waist, and much, much more. The choices are overwhelming.
So what kind of leash is best for hiking with your dog? That answer is actually pretty simple. At least it is to me. Biothane leashes!
Never heard of Biothane? Think of it as the “Kleenex” of the dog-leash world. Biothane is actually the brand name of coated webbing products made by Biothane Coated Webbing Corp. It’s basically a polyester webbing with a TPU or PVC coating that makes it more durable, waterproof, and easy to clean. While, technically, a leash is not “Biothane” unless it’s made using materials sold by this particular company, there are several nylon coated webbing materials out there that are either referred to as a “Biothane” or just “coated Nylon webbing” leashes.
What’s so special about Biothane leashes? They will solve all of your grungy leash problems. To demonstrate, I took ours to the beach. We usually hike in the woods but, believe me, nothing puts a leash to the test like wet, gritty sand that gets into every nook and cranny, dead stuff on the beach, and salt water.
The beach is the only place I let Gretel “off leash”. Really, I let her run around to hear hearts content dragging the leash behind her. If you’re ever tried to catch a short, rabbit-fast dog then you will understand why I leave the leash attached (in case you don’t, it’s so I can stomp on it to stop her). As you can imagine, she drags the leash through everything and it’s a total mess afterward. There is no more rigorous test for a leash than this. Ha, ha.
See how yucky it is? This is why Biothane leashes are so amazing: they are waterproof and easily clean off with a dunk in water or wipe with a wet towel.
There are several other great reasons to love Biothane leashes too. Coated nylon webbing leashes are more comfortable in the hand than uncoated ones because they have a smoother surface (wet nylon leashes can feel like sand paper). The thicker, softer Biothane is made to mimic the feel of leather, which makes them a great vegan leather alternative. They are also very durable and often look brand new even after a few years of use.
I won’t ever use anything else for hiking ever again. I’m serious. I have head a couple of people over the years say that that the leash felt slippery to them when wet but I’ve never had an issue with that.
So what are my favorite Biothane, or coated Nylon webbing, leashes?
Biothane Leashes for All Size Dogs
The first Biothane leashes I fell in love with were from Dog Walkies. If I remember right, I actually heard of them through my friend at Kol’s Notes. This is what she had to say about them:
“They actually are all the things they claim they are. The rain beads off these Dog Walkies Beta Biothane leashes like water is afraid them. They don’t soak in any moisture at all. The texture of the material makes it easy to keep hold of the leash… A quick wash with soap and water and they looked as good as new. They don’t hold odours which means there is none of that awful damp smell in my entry… The hardware is high quality and sturdy and for those of you that live near an ocean, it’s salt water safe. I’ve received more compliments and questions about leashes in the last two weeks than I have in the last six years.”
Go read her review to learn more.
Since our weather in Seattle is wet (and muddy) most of the year, these became my go-to leashes for everyday use too. I would have never bothered to look for anything else but I lost our first Biothane leashes in a paddleboarding “accident” (no one was hurt – it was minor except for me crying inside because my favorite leashes ever ended up at the bottom of a lake).
Note: If you are at all concerned about the leash slipping (like I said a couple people have mentioned over the years) this brand, or a leash made with the same material, is for you. It’s thicker, softer, and textured. I honestly feel like I’m holding a leather leash.
I tried to replace them right away. Unfortunately, the owners of Dog Walking took a break for a while so the leashes weren’t available. I went back using our old nylon webbing leashes but wasn’t happy about it. I searched and searched for a replacement but there weren’t many on the market. The ones I could find were wider than 1/2″ and/or the leashes were shorter than my preferred 6′ length and/or the hardware was too heavy and bulky for a 12 lb little dog.
But then I discovered Blissful Hounds leashes at Superzoo – a big, annual pet trade show where a lot of new companies to go exhibit. These leashes were everything I was looking for and more! They were the width I wanted, with small hardware, and were 6 feet long. The best part was that, although the texture was smoother than my previous leashes, they were about half as thick and light as a feather (but still super strong).
Unlike most of the coated nylon webbing leashes out there, the ones from The Blissful Hounds are “welded” together. That means there are no sewn parts to gather dirt, or unravel, and no rivets to weaken the leash and tangle in fur.
I did end up getting some replacement leashes from Dog Walkies. I like the heavier feel to them. They are a bit softer too. I end up using the leashes from the Blissful Hounds almost all of the time though.
Coated Nylon Webbing Leashes for Bigger Dogs
Note: The links below are affiliate links, which means I get a few pennies, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase to help support this blog (and we really, really appreciate it!)
There are other, similar, leashes out there I really like but that aren’t my choice for my small dogs. They would work great for a dog that’s a bit bigger though. Those leashes are:
Ruffwear Headwater™ Leash – The four-foot length works great for keeping dogs close at hand. Bright colors and reflective patterns keep people and dogs visible in low-light conditions. It’s 3/4 inches wide and comes in 4 bright colors. The Talon Clip™ clasp at the end is lightweight and easy to use with one hand (and especially handy to use in cold weather). It’s pretty big and bulky for my tastes though.
OllyDog Tilden Leash – This is a six foot leash that is 3/4 inches wide and comes in six colors. The moderate-sized, eye trigger snap for easy and secure attachment.
PETOJI Premium Waterproof Dog Leash – If you’re he kind that likes an actual carabiner on the end of the leash, get one of these. The carabiner that attaches to the dog’s collar or harness has an auto-lock feature on it. The leash is 6 feet, 3/4 inches wide, and comes in 11 colors.
This type of leash, in my opinion is the best for hiking with your dog in wet or dirty conditions… which is pretty much all hiking scenarios.
However, some people like to use a hands-free leash. You can turn one of these leashes into a hands-free one by putting a carabiner on the handle end hooking that to your backpack waist belt, your pant belt loop, or wear a belt and hook it to that. Personally, I like having the carabiner on the end anyway so I can loop the leash around a branch or backpack strap, and attach the leash to itself, to keep Chester and Gretel from running off.
Have you ever tried a coated nylon webbing leash? What did you think?