The October release of the DoubleBack™ Harness (a climbing harness for dogs) may have seemed like a bit of a stretch for dog—even for Ruff Wear dogs. But we’re not ones to be subtle about our outdoor aspirations. We’re proud to push the envelope when it comes to developing gear for all types of outdoor adventures.
While not everyone is cut out for a climbing adventure with their dog, we were anxious to provide a product for those who do. Our philosophy was, “people will climb with their dogs whether or not there is appropriate equipment to do so, so let’s make it safer for them to do it.”
The story of the DoubleBack™ Harness dates back to November 3, 2000, when founder Patrick Kruse was inspired to create a harness that would address the needs of ski patrollers and avid rock/mountain expedition guides. It wasn’t until a few years later while searching through You Tube videos, we realized that climbers were using our Web Master™ Harness—a non-strength-rated assistance harness—for climbing applications. In fact, though the Web Master™ is strong, durable, hefty, and often used in rehabilitation exercises, it is not adequate for hanging applications. This motivated us to build a harness that would ensure the safety of a dog in a hang-and-rappel situation.
We began with the items we knew best—the K9 Float Coat™ and Web Master™ Harness—and modified the design to include strength-rated webbing, doubleback buckles, padded belly support, and leg loops. “Throughout the years much of what initially seemed obvious has had to be rethought and learned in real world experiences during trials, prototypes, interviews and testing that caused us to reconsider our initial responses to solving the task of this strength rated harness,” says Kruse.
The final product, which was designed after consulting with veterinarians, working dog teams, climbers, and designers of human harnesses, was launched in October 2009. The DoubleBack™ Harness is strength-rated at 2,000 lbf (8.9 kN).