Tactical dog harnesses are rugged, strong, and versatile. Here are five of the best tactical harnesses, along with tips for choosing the right option for your dog.
- Why a Tactical K9 Harness?
- 5 Reviews of the Best Tactical Dog Vests and Harnesses
- Summary & Top Tactical Dog Harness
A tactical dog harness (also called a tactical dog vest) is an ultra-durable alternative to a regular harness.
They are typically bulkier, made from strong ripstop nylon, and have a military style. Some have MOLLE systems (Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment) for attaching small carry bags, and most have handles for when you need extra control.
Tactical harnesses are typically used by service dogs, police dogs, and other working pets. But they can also be suitable for hiking on rugged trails, due to their durable and protective design.
In this article, I’ve listed my top 5 tactical K9 harnesses for outdoor companion dogs.
Our #1 Pick: ICEFANG Tactical Dog Harness
Durable no-pull harness with MOLLE and escape-proof design
My top pick for a tactical dog harness is the ICEFANG. It has a range of features, including metal buckles, MOLLE, a no-pull front leash attachment, and 4 adjustment points. It’s also strong and durable.
Why a Tactical K9 Harness?
Let’s be honest: a tactical vest isn’t really necessary for most companion dogs.
There are plenty of strong dog harnesses on the market that are lighter and less likely to interfere with your dog’s gait. Many of these are also cheaper and have brighter colours, making it easier to see your dog in the wilderness.
With that said, there are several advantages to a tactical harness:
- Built-in Handle. Most tactical dog harnesses have a built-in handle. This is useful when your dog needs help over an obstacle or into a car. Handles also provide quick control in a dangerous situation.
- Durable Materials. Tactical or military dog harnesses are typically made with 1000D nylon and heavy duty buckles. They also often have metal D-rings for extra security.
- MOLLE. Modular lightweight load-carrying equipment (MOLLE) is a military-style system for attaching pouches and other items to a harness. While it can be useful for your dog to carry a few light items, be careful to avoid over-burdening. You should also think carefully about whether carrying an item is beneficial for your dog.
- Protection. The longer design of a tactical vest means it provides more protection from thorns and other potential dangers on a walk. The bulkier design can increase the chance of your dog overheating though.
Of course, many people just like the appearance of a military style vest. There’s nothing wrong with this, but avoid a tactical harness that restricts your dog’s natural movement. Your pup’s health and comfort should always come first.
So, what should you look for in a tactical dog harness?
Firstly, think about why you need the harness. Do you just enjoy the tactical style? Do you need a MOLLE system – or would you prefer the harness to be as lightweight as possible? Do you want a tactical harness for extra durability? The right option varies depending on your requirements.
Material is another important factor. Many of the best options are made with 1000D nylon, as this is both strong and relatively light. Metal buckles and D-rings also increase durability.
Something that’s often overlooked is the colour of a harness, as many tactical options have a camouflage design. This looks great, but can make it difficult to spot your dog. For maximum visibility, look for a vest with a brighter colour.
Size is also important. All manufacturers provide a sizing chart, so make sure you accurately measure your dog’s neck girth, chest girth, and body length. Once you receive and adjust the harness, check it isn’t restricting your dog’s movement.
Safety When Wearing Tactical Vests
Tactical dog harnesses are strong and protective – but they can cause several safety issues if used incorrectly.
If you plan to use MOLLE to attach equipment or side bags, be careful not to overload your dog. Not all dogs are capable of carrying extra weight – especially long distances. Make sure that the additional weight is safely distributed.
It’s also important to research your dog’s weight allowance. Build up to this weight slowly, so your dog has time to adapt. Watch for any signs of discomfort.
Overheating can be another issue, as tactical vests cover more of a dog’s body. Breathable webbing can reduce the risk, but be aware of signs of overheating and heat stroke (this is a medical emergency.)
5 Reviews of the Best Tactical Dog Vests and Harnesses
To help you choose a tactical dog vest, I’ve reviewed my top five picks below. Please read each review carefully to find the best option for your pet.
1. ICEFANG Tactical Dog HarnessVIEW PRICE
The ICEFANG is an excellent tactical dog harness. It has a no-pull front leash attachment, which discourages pulling without causing pain, and two strips of MOLLE. It’s also available for a great price.
As you would expect from a tactical harness, the ICEFANG is strong and durable. The metal buckles, which are located in the area of greatest strain when a dog is pulling, have been tested with loads up to 1000lbs. It’s also made with strong 1050D nylon and has a metal D-ring.
There are two strips of MOLLE on either side. This allows you to attach pouches and other gear, although these aren’t included. Other features include four adjustment points, a built-in handle, and the option of attaching identity patches via a hook and loop panel.
ICEFANG is available in a variety of sizes. It shouldn’t chafe or cause restriction if fitted correctly, but always check hotspots (such as under your dog’s arms) for rubbing.
It’s important to have realistic expectations of this harness. While it has a military design, it’s not as strong as “true” military harnesses – and I wouldn’t expect it to be at this price. For most dogs, it’s more than strong enough.
Note: Some versions of the ICEFANG have four metal buckles, rather than two metal and two heavy duty plastic. If you have a big dog who likes to pull, it’s worth spending extra to get the extra metal hardware.
The ICEFANG Tactical Dog Harness is my top pick in this category. It has everything you could want from a tactical vest, including a no-pull leash attachment, MOLLE system, and a highly durable design.
2. OneTigris Tactical MOLLE Dog Training VestVIEW PRICE
The OneTigris Tactical Molle Vest is a strong, versatile and stylish harness that comes with three detachable pouches. If you don’t need both front and rear attachment points, it’s an option to consider.
Like many of the best tactical canine harnesses, the OneTigris is made with 1000D nylon. The harness has a built-in handle, heavy duty buckles, and adjustable webbing. It’s also made with a mesh interior to increase air circulation.
One of the key features is the MOLLE on both sides. This can be used for attaching a variety of accessories, including pouches and medical bags. Just be careful not to overload your dog!
The OneTigris also has two belly straps, rather than the typical single strap. This makes it more difficult to escape from, but can be uncomfortable if over-tightened – especially for male dogs.
As with the other options on this list, don’t expect the OneTigris to match true military harnesses when it comes to durability. It’s still much stronger than the average dog harness though.
Note: The OneTigris is available in both tan (camo) and black.
The OneTigris Tactical Molle Vest is another strong option with built-in MOLLE strips. It also comes with three pouches – although it doesn’t include a no pull leash attachment.
3. Julius-K9 IDC PowerHarnessVIEW PRICE
The Julius-K9 isn’t as featured-packed as some of the others on this list. It doesn’t have a front leash attachment, nor does it have MOLLE. But if you just need an ultra-durable harness for rugged trails, it’s one of the best harnesses on the market.
There are a variety of sizes available when buying the IDC PowerHarness. These can be confusingly named, so make sure you follow the size guide closely. You can also adjust both the front strap and chest strap to get a snug fit.
Other features of the Julius-K9 include reflective edges, hook and loop patches, and a breathable inner liner. The IDC is also available in a range of colours, so it’s one of the best tactical harnesses if you want a bright colour.
As I mentioned, the IDC doesn’t include MOLLE for attaching bags and other equipment. There is the option of buying a side bag though. It’s also not the most escape proof harness on the market, due to the relatively small design and lack of a second belly strap.
For dogs that don’t try to escape, however, the Julius-K9 is an outstanding product.
The Julius-K9 IDC doesn’t have the same vest design as the other harnesses on this list, but it’s one of the strongest on the market. It’s also available in a range of colours, so it’s great if you want a heavy duty harness without the camouflage design.
4. OneTigris Small Dog VestVIEW PRICE
Most tactical harnesses are designed for large breeds – but what about small dogs? For these breeds, the OneTigris Small Vest is often a great choice.
Aside from its smaller size, the OneTigris is everything you expect from a tactical harness. It’s available in several camouflage styles and is built with 1000D nylon. It also has heavy duty quick-release buckles, a handle for extra control, and functional MOLLE straps.
Of course, you shouldn’t load up a small dog with lots of equipment. But the MOLLE straps can be useful for adding patches and maybe a small treat pouch.
A drawback is that it’s a bulky vest harness for small breeds. It’s built to a high standard, but may be too heavy or restrictive for the smallest dogs. Some people also won’t like the D-ring being so far back on the dog’s back, as this provides less control.
So, while the OneTigris Small Dog Vest is a high quality harness, make sure you check your dog is comfortable when wearing it. Many small dogs are likely to prefer a regular harness.
The OneTigris Small Dog Vest is one of the best tactical harnesses for small breeds. It’s made with tough 1000D nylon, has MOLLE for patches and lightweight pouches, and a handle for extra control.
5. Excellent Elite Spanker Tactical MilitaryVIEW PRICE
The Excellent Elite Spanker Tactical Harness is a good alternative if you don’t want a bulky dog vest. It’s still made with highly durable 1000D nylon and heavy duty buckles, but isn’t as long or restrictive as other tactical harnesses.
With strong nylon construction and a metal D-ring, the Excellent Elite Spanker is just as durable as the other options on this list. The lack of a rear strap means it doesn’t cover as much of your dog’s body, however, which could be better for dogs that overheat or feel restricted in bulky vests.
The harness also comes with a water repellent coating, quick-release buckles and five colour options.
A downside of the smaller design is that it doesn’t include MOLLE for patches or pouches. If you want to attach accessories to a harness, this isn’t the one to get. It also doesn’t come with a front leash attachment and isn’t as adjustable as some of the others on this list.
If you just want a tactical-style harness that’s strong and looks great, however, it’s an excellent choice for most large dogs.
The Excellent Elite Spanker Tactical Patrol Harness isn’t as bulky as some of the other options on this list, yet is still strong and durable. It doesn’t have MOLLE though.
Summary & Top Tactical Dog Harness
A tactical dog harness can be a durable and versatile alternative to a regular harness – plus they look great!
My top recommendation is the ICEFANG Tactical Dog Harness. It’s a strong option with two strips of MOLLE, front no pull attachment, and four adjustment points. It’s also available for a great price.
Do you have any questions about choosing a tactical dog vest or harness? Please let me know in the comments section below.