A walking belt has always been an essential piece of kit for me and the dogs. I have had quite a few over the years. A walking belt can save the constant strain on your wrists, arms and shoulders, which over time could lead to muscular or joint problems. Walking more than one dog at a time can be tricky to hold the leads, especially when you arrive at a gate or need a free hand. The Ruffwear omnijour hip belt has got to be the best purchase yet. I was a little apprehensive at first due to the holding clip for the tow line and quick release system. I really thought the clip would not with stand the strength of both Asher and Marley, however I was so wrong. I have had this belt for a year now and being used daily, it has not let me down.
The belts hip design is so comfortable, slightly padded and sits great on the hips. There is no rubbing or any restriction felt, you actually forget you are wearing it. It is fully adjustable so can be altered to suit whatever type of clothing you are wearing. I would advise wearing a rucksack without a waist strap as this can feel awkward with the hip belt. But wearing both the hip belt and a rucksack is not a problem. I alternate between 30 litre and 60 litre rucksacks depending on my length of walk and it does not cause any restriction to the belt. If you are wearing a rucksack you will not be able to use the bottle holder at the back of the belt.
The quick release system is a great safety feature. If a problem arises and you need to release the dogs quickly, a pull on the quick release line will free the dogs from the belt instantly. This was another feature that I was a little cautious about, however I haven’t as yet released them accidently. If you feel you don’t want the quick release system a knot can be tied close to the clip and the tow line will not release.
The adjustable tow line at the front is a great feature, that allows the leads to run smoothly side to side, enabling the dogs to walk free to and fro in front of you without pulling you side to side.
The hip belt has two handy sized zipped pockets at the front. I use one for my phone, should a great photo opportunity arise and the all important dog waste bags. There is a handy clip attached to the inside of one of the pockets which I attach my van keys, which gives you peace of mind knowing they will not fall out, should you forget to zip the pocket.
The leads I use with the belt are double ended clipped leads. They can be used by clipping one end to the dog collar and one end to the tow line. Or if the lead is long you can thread it through the tow line and double clip at the collar. Bungee leads could help absorb some of the shock from a dog that pulls. The tow line can be threaded through the lead handle and back through the clip.