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My Review of the Ruffwear Roamer Leash

Jogging with your dog? Try out the hands-free Ruffwear Roamer Leash and enjoy your runs together. Here’s my review.

Ruffwear Roamer Leash
Here’s Banjo and the Ruffwear Roamer Leash on a beautiful fall day. Photos: Allison Gray/Petful

When I first got Banjo, I was excited to have an energetic pup who could go running with me.

I love running, but solo outings can be a little tedious. Once she was big enough to keep up with me, I started taking Banjo out.

I immediately realized that my jogging companion wasn’t going to just trot contentedly by my side. On those first few runs, I ran into some major problems while using a standard 4-foot leash and collar.

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I soon fit Banjo with a comfortable harness and began shopping for jogging leashes.

After a quick search on Amazon, I decided to buy the Ruffwear Roamer Leash. Banjo already had a Ruffwear-brand harness, so I was familiar with the company, and the reviews were mostly positive.

Review: Ruffwear Roamer Leash

The Ruffwear Roamer Leash caught my eye initially because it met most of my needs:

  • It adjusts to fit around my waist, leaving my hands free while jogging.
  • It has a length of webbed, stretchy nylon, giving the leash a bungee-type of flexibility that keeps Banjo from jerking too hard ahead.
  • It comes in 2 lengths — medium and large — and the medium was a perfect fit for us.
  • It comes in a variety of eye-catching colors that are more visible in lower light.
  • At less than $35, it’s affordable.

At first, I bought the large length, thinking I’d need a longer leash to keep from tripping over Banjo. But with the full extension reaching 11 feet, I found that she was too far away — and I had a hard time keeping her from zigzagging all over the trail as we ran.

I still keep the longer leash as a backup, but now I primarily use the medium length (with a full extension reaching 7 feet).

The Ruffwear Roamer Leash is durable and affordable.

Issues and Concerns About the Ruffwear Roamer Leash

For over a year and a half, I’ve been using the same Ruffwear Roamer Leash. Unfortunately, it certainly isn’t perfect, and here’s why:

  • The talon clip that attaches to Banjo’s harness is durable, but it can be tricky to open if you have a wiggly dog or cold fingers (from jogging on a chilly day).
  • There is a layer of padding along the section of leash that wraps around your waist, but it’s so thin that I don’t find it effective when Banjo is excitedly pulling forward.
  • The leash is adjustable, allowing you to wear it around your waist or create a smaller loop to hold in your hand. I’ve tried both and found that the leash is extremely uncomfortable and stiff to hold in my hand, and I always revert to wrapping it around my waist.
This leash wraps around your waist so your hands are free when you’re running with your dog.

What I Love About the Ruffwear Roamer Leash

I wouldn’t still be using the Ruffwear Roamer Leash if the pros didn’t outweigh the cons.

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Sure, it isn’t perfect for me, but this leash has a lot going for it:

  • Durability: I’ve been using this leash since June 2016. During nicer weather (April to November), I sometimes run with Banjo 15 miles a week. Even after continued use, the leash’s webbing has maintained its elasticity and there’s no fraying or signs of damage.
  • Comfort: Banjo is a strong dog, and if she happens to see a squirrel (or squirrel-shaped leaf) on the trail ahead of us, she lunges forward with all 60-plus pounds. If I’m mid-stride, it’s extremely important that there is some give to the tension in her lunge. With the leash’s webbing, even when Banjo jerks forward, I can maintain my balance and guide her back to me.
  • Control: There is a “traffic handle” near the buckle attachment, so I can use that to get control of Banjo quickly (when we’re crossing the street or passing an unfriendly dog). If we’re leisurely jogging along an otherwise empty trail, I can let that handle go — if Banjo stops to sniff, the webbing in the leash gently tugs her as I pull ahead.

The video below features another review of the Ruffwear Roamer Leash:

Overall, the issues I’ve had with this leash are minimal and easy to forgive. Using it has made running with my dog so much more manageable. Without it, I doubt I’d be taking her on many of my outings.

I continue to be impressed with how well the leash has withstood a year and a half of regular use and would recommend it to anyone wanting to take their dog jogging.

Learn more about the Ruffwear Roamer Leash on Amazon.

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Allison Gray

View posts by Allison Gray
Allison Gray gained a wealth of knowledge about animal welfare issues and responsible pet care during her nearly 5 years of work for an animal shelter. She is a writer, photographer, artist, runner and tattooed remedial knitter. Allison also has been researching, testing out and perfecting nutritious pet treat recipes in her kitchen for Petful since spring 2017.

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