Camping with your dog is one of the most exciting experiences you can share with them. It’s also one of the times you will feel the most responsible for their safety. Securing your dog properly during your trip will prevent a number of potentially dangerous situations and give you both some time to breathe. Trust me – you’ll need it! That’s why we decided to do a Ruffwear Knot a Hitch in depth review.
While leashing your dog on a camping trip is always recommended, there are times when you’re going to need both hands. Setting up the tent, chopping wood, or cooking dinner are all must-do tasks that are difficult to complete with a leash in tow.
The Ruffwear Knot-A-Hitch is pitched as an easy, portable solution to this problem. But what is this dog hitching system, how does it help, and most importantly – does it really work? You asked, so we’ve put it to the test.
What is the Ruffwear Knot A Hitch?
The Ruffwear Knot-A-Hitch is a purpose-built dog tethering system. It gives your dog freedom to explore their surroundings (and frees up your hands) while ensuring your pooch is kept secure.
It’s specifically designed with camping in mind, created to withstand tough climates and a multitude of weather events. Ruffwear is known for their amazing outdoor gear, so we were very eager to see how this worked!
The system includes:
- One Weidan Kernmantle Rope: 36 feet long to allow dogs more range to explore, and 7mm thick for stability.
- A secure, locking carabiner: Designed to swivel with your dog’s leash, preventing tangles and allowing for extended roaming.
- A stow bag for storage and travel.
Pros of the Knot A Hitch
This is a product I was incredibly excited to try. Even on a group trip, when human hands outnumber paws, unpacking can be chaotic. Someone needs to watch the pets while everybody else scrambles to get things set up efficiently.
In order to justify the cost of a specially designed product, rather than just our usual DIY tree tether set-up, we needed this product to top anything we could do ourselves. Luckily, we found that it did exactly that!
Quality and Durability
Quality and durability are the number one priorities when investing in new camping gear. The dogs and I have taken some pretty ruff trips, and sometimes our gear hasn’t held up the way we needed it to.
A few tests confirmed that the Ruffwear dog hitching system is definitely made of sturdy stuff.
At first I felt a little hesitant hitching up my bigger pup (a strong full-grown kelpie) – he can be pretty heavy on the pulling and we’ve had tether systems fail us before. I really did not need to worry. The rope itself is incredibly thick, sturdy, and well made. Despite his best efforts, the Ruffwear did not budge an inch.
The carabiner is high quality and definitely not clunky, unlike other brands we’ve tried. It was fantastic not to have to pause what I was doing every five minutes to attend to a snag or tangle. My boy was pretty happy with this bit of independence, too!
In designing the knot a hitch Ruffwear has ensured set-up is super straightforward, which makes this an automatic win for us.
When you arrive at the campground, set the rope up between two sturdy tether points. We found that using two trees gave us the best set-up, but if you’re really short on options, you can even attach it to just one tree and connect the other side directly to your dog’s leash (Ruffwear provide a really good instructional video here). While this takes away the tangle-free, ziplining aspect, a 36-foot leash is still nothing for your dog to scoff at. Much safer too than a short tether that restricts movement.
No matter which set-up we tried, we found the length to be a great balance of allowing for exploration but still keeping within a reasonable range.
Importantly, we didn’t have to worry about the dog going wandering off while we were busy.
A Practical Dog Hitching System
Traveling and camping with a dog already feels like towing around a circus. The last thing anyone wants is a bulky, pointless item thrown into the mix.
The Ruffwear Knot-A-Hitch comes in a stow bag, measuring in at a perfectly compact 6in x 7in x 2in. It can easily be tucked in amongst bigger items without any concern for tangles or pieces slipping out.
Another great highlight? Unlike your typical DIY tether set up and other kits on the market, this hitch is purposely designed for camping. Its bright color and reflective strips are absolutely genius – and potentially life saving on a late night toilet trip.
Are there any Problems with the Knot a Hitch?
One potential downside to the Ruffwear hitch is the cost, and I can see why some people would feel this way.
While it isn’t in the ‘completely unreasonable’ category, it might be a budget stretch if you don’t camp frequently or are only just starting out.
If you love camping with dogs though, this product is absolutely a game changer. While the dogs and I were happy to settle on a DIY set-up at first, we won’t be going back now that we have tried the Ruffwear hitch. For the amount of use we’ve gotten out of it, how well it occupies the dogs, and the amount of materials and space it’s saved us in the car, I’m more than happy to have made the splurge.
The cost of setting up in peace? Priceless.
Ruffwear Knot a Hitch Review – Final Thoughts
We found the Knot A Hitch to be a worthwhile investment and a great addition to our camping kit. Its simple set up, purpose-built nature and the smooth attachment clip made this a huge step up from our usual DIY rope-and-clip tether set up.
Whether you’re a solo camper who brings your dog along for the ride, or you prefer group trips and are struggling to balance multiple dogs, the Ruffwear Knot A Hitch will ensure your trip goes off… well, without a hitch!