Monday, July 7, 2014

Review: Urban Trail Harness by Alpine Outfitters

Just another quick review of a custom harness I bought for Champ recently:

Here's the link to the product: Urban Trail Harness

Note:  This is a non-biased, honest review. I was not compensated or asked to do this review, and I purchased the product myself.





+All the awesome options for customization from d-ring placement to color to reflective tape to embroidered text.  I pretty much got to build my all-around, perfect harness!

+Even though I ordered the custom non-adjustable harness, you can adjust the girth.

+Versatility! This harness is ideal for joring sports, hiking, tracking, neighborhood walks.  (Note, not for sledding/carting.)  I added a front-clip d-ring for crowded or high-distraction areas, extra back ring for a tab or handle attachment, and side biking ring, in additional to the standard back ring placed for a [towing] line or leash.  I can't wait to use it for pretty much everything!

+The Polartec fleece padding throughout which is soft and pretty water resistant.

+The amazing craftsmanship of the sewing/construction; it is a sturdy, strong hardness for sure and the attention to detail is impressive!  They are obviously committed to quality products.

+The elastic strap and quick-release buckle keepers = pleasant surprises.

+The customer service has been great.  Really great.  I've bugged them with multiple emails, and they've handled it in as friendly and efficient manner as you can get.

+Hand made in California! Go West Coast!

+Overall, it fits great since it is made to measure and has an overall good design.*

Could be better:
~Well, the fit works, don't get me wrong.  I forgot to show it on the video, though, but the "yoke" of the neck piece to sternum strap sits a tad bit higher than I would have preferred.  As it is, there isn't much pressure on his neck--certainly nothing that causes him to gasp or choke--however, ideally, that yoke, where everything meets in front would sit more centered on his breast bone to totally alleviate any pressure on his trachea when tension is on the harness.  I'll post an update once we've used it more, but I don't think it will be a problem as is.  He hit the end of the long line hard once or twice at the beach going after a bird and he was completely unphased.

~Production time notice: I ordered in the non-peak season, so according to the website, I should have gotten this harness in 2-3 weeks versus peak season production length of 4-6 weeks.  Mine took 6-7 weeks to arrive.  Considering this length of time was abnormal/inconsistent with what their site says, some other form of update/notice on their website or personal through email would have been appreciated to ward of any/all antsy-pants tendencies.  I emailed them twice--once to add another ring if it wasn't in production yet (it wasn't) and a second time to inquire about status--both emails were promptly responded to.  That said, the wait was worth it, the production time itself wasn't an issue, and I wasn't actually getting impatient... I knew the quality would be amazing since I've been stalking their FB page.  (I will note they have "ready to go" harnesses available in four sizes if you are looking for something asap.)

Disappointed (but see below for the updates):
-The d-rings.  Not the placement or method of attachment--that is all perfect.  The hardware itself, though, started to rust on two d-rings after just ONE half-day trip to the Oregon Coast. I even hand-washed the harness when I got home to get all the salt-water off.  Never have I had gear rust after a trip like this to the beach, so I know it's not just the salt-water's fault, which I know can be corrosive.  I'll admit I'm pretty disappointed that I now have a brand new, used once, amazingly customized and constructed harness with rust on the two main attachment points.  I don't know if it was hardware choice (I can't imagine it's chrome plated and not standard stainless steel), if this is a common issue with their stuff, how well it will hold up to swimming in fresh water at trips to the park or hikes... not to mention our rainy season (3/4 of the year).  The long-term durability, though, definitely concerns me.

Would I recommend it to a friend?*
Well, until I hear back from customer service about the d-rings, I'm going to say, yes, I'd absolutely recommend it to a friend that will never take this harness on coast/beach trips.  I can't imagine it would, without that initial corrosion, rust from just fresh water, considering the company makes sled dog harnesses.  However, I wouldn't recommend it for people/dogs who love the beach like mine do and are hoping to replace a closet full of harnesses like I was with an all-arounder in this.

Again, see the updates below, but to sum: Yes, I'd still recommend this harness to a friend despite the hardware issue.  If you want to use your harness at the beach, make a note with your order requesting Stainless Steel hardware; I'm confident they will work with you to make your new favorite harness!  If your dog never swims in salt water, their welded nickel-plated die cast hardware will be fine, and will not rust in fresh water.

Would I buy another?
Yes, and I plan to!

Update on July 7, 2014: I heard back from Alpine Outfitters within a couple hours of sending my email and they seem eager to make this right.  Apparently, the d-rings are welded nickel-plated die cast that should not rust and haven't had this issue before, so they have contacted their supplier.  Props for great customer service.
July 10, 2014: After a couple emails back/forth with pics and research, they are ordering stainless steel d-rings for me and remaking my harness!  How awesome is that?!  It turns out that the nickel-plate WILL rust in salt-water, but the rust should rub off and the core strength/durability of the die cast--welded for further strength--is NOT compromised.  However, I'm so looking forward to having the new one that I can take everywhere, including the beach.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

AllSafe Harness Review

Oh, hello there!  Just thought I'd drop off this review of the AllSafe Harness!  It's long.  It's unedited.  It's embarrassing.  The video, that is.  The harness is just awesome!

Links mentioned in the video:

AllSafe Harness.  Purchased from Clean Run ( Distributed by 4x4 North America.Inc. ( Manufactured by Klein Metall (