Product Review: Ruffwear Omnijore Joring System

Kevin Roberts
by Kevin Roberts

You really have to admire (or scratch your head in amazement) at a guy like Kev Roberts. He braves the blizzards and -30 below temperatures of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada to test out products for us. This time around, Kev and his dogs test out Ruffwear’s Omnijore Joring System. Designed for any dog-pulling activity in any climate condition, Kev uses the Omnijore Joring System on a recent skijoring run. Here’s what he has to say about it:

It was a cold, cold morning when we headed out to test Ruffwear’s Omnijore Joring System.

The system has three components. There is the hip belt, the towline and the harness. The package is sold together for $149.95 – a competitive price for all three pieces. The whole package fits neatly into a small mesh bag, with a zip top.

The Hip Belt

Starting at the human end, we were impressed with the skijoring belt! The belt is adjustable, and fits people with waist sizes 27-48”. One of the nicest features of the belt, which really sets it apart from other skijoring belts, is the zipped pocket with a key clip! It’s just one of the innovative ideas that went into the design of this product.

The belt comes with adjustable leg straps, a must for skijoring! It takes the pressure off your back, and also keeps the belt from riding up on your body. The leg straps have clips on the front and the back, making it easy to put on.

The straps are removable and easy to put on or take off. Using the belt without straps is perfect for canicross!

We are used to skijoring systems which use a metal quick release. The Ruffwear Omnijore Joring System works with a quick release strap. This means you loop the strap through a line that attaches to the belt. If you need to let go, you pull the strap, and it unhooks. We tried out the quick release strap system and it works well. Unlike some of the other quick releases out there, this one did not let go by accident, but was still easy to use.

The Towline

Often referred to as a gangline, the Ruffwear Omnijore Joring System calls this piece the towline. It’s the part used to attach the dog harness to your harness or belt. It is a woven length of nylon with an internal bungee. Each end has a loop, for extra control on your dog… another smart feature I liked.

The snap was easy to use with gloves on, and worked well in the extreme cold of -40.

I would like to see a higher grade bungee used – our dogs are hard pullers, and the bungee did little to take the slack out of the line, or to ease the momentum of the run.

The Harness

The harness is fully adjustable, through the chest and down the sides. You simply move the plastic buckles until the harness fits your dog snugly. We tested the medium size harness on three dogs, all of which fell into the target range for the harness. The harness worked on all the dogs.

We are often weary of harnesses that use buckles in their design. Plastic parts can shatter in the cold, and the plastic rubbing on the dogs’ side can lead to hair loss. This means the dog is going to get really cold and uncomfortable. The clever folks who designed the Omnijore Joring harness came up with a simple solution – they covered the plastic buckles with nylon tubing to protect the dog’s coat. It’s simple and thoughtful touches like this that really make a difference for us and the dogs, and make it much more enjoyable.

The harness works well for a single dog. It is designed for a dog who is pulling straight out front, on its own. When we switched the harness to a two dog set-up, it was ineffective. But that’s fair enough, as the harness is designed for those running a single dog.

The Verdict

There are some very good ideas they incorporated into this product. I am most happy with the hip belt. There are some excellent features, and the belt stays in place well. We love the zipper pockets, and the leg straps. We would happily buy the hip belt, if it was sold separately.

If you are starting out in canicross or skijoring, and have one dog, this is a good system to buy. The price is comparable, and the dog harness is so adjustable that you can buy just one, rather than multiple harnesses as the dog grows or loses weight.

We found the system simple to use and it held up well in the cold temperatures we (the dogs and I) skijor in. Watch the system in action as the team and I try it out in the video below.

Ruffwear’s Omnijore Joring System retails for $149.95 and is available on Ruffwear’s website.

Note: was NOT compensated for this review. We received a Ruffwear Omnijore Joring System to review. The opinions expressed in this post are the author’s. We provide unbiased feedback of the products and share products we think our readers would enjoy using and learning more about.

Kevin Roberts
Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts lives for adventure. Together with his pack of rescue dogs and his husband, he spends as much time outdoors as possible. Kevin lives by the motto: "Get outside and play with your dogs!

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