Life Handle Dog Leash- Hands Free
Life Handle Dog Leash- Hands Free
With the various mountain activities my wife and I do with our pup Samson, I am constantly finding myself tinkering with ways to keep my hands free while still abiding by local leash laws. We’ve experimented with several hands-free leashes that have all come up short for one reason or another (no pun intended), so we usually just end up resorting back to old faithful: a cheap retractable leash clipped to the sternum strap of our backpack. While ugly, cumbersome, and impractical, it has done its job well enough.
Turns out, the folks at Life Handle took a similar idea and absolutely knocked it out of the park with their Hands-free Leash Bundle. With the Life Handle leash, gone are the days of tying a leash around your waist or clipping a leash to your pack – both of which are unsightly and unsafe. The Life Handle is a comfortable and practical solution to the hands-free dog walking conundrum.
The build quality of this leash bundle is excellent. It is evident that Life Handle cut no corners when selecting materials to construct this product – the fabrics are robust and durable, details are thoughtful, and the patent-pending HUB system (more on that later) is tough and extremely well thought-out.
The base sling features a slight ergonomic curve that allows it to sit comfortably on the upper shoulder. One feature that I grew to appreciate was the inside seam that lies against the wearer’s neck is lined with a soft chamois-like fabric that virtually eliminates any chafing against the neck. A light weight, padded mesh lines the inside of the sling for great moisture management.
The sling slips over the wearer’s shoulder and will remind you of a lightweight pack strap off a high-end outdoor backpack. It features enough padding to be comfortable on long walks/hikes, but it is light enough so that it’s possible to forget you’re wearing it. It strikes a perfect balance between comfort and weight, leaving nothing to be desired in either category.
Lastly, this leash is the absolute perfect length for a dog that is reasonably well leash trained. It offers enough length so that Samson can sniff things in the grass, but not so long that slack is dragging on the ground when he’s a good boy and decides to heel.
Our pup Samson is a 60 lb Super-Mutt (Lab mixed with Pitt and a bunch of other things), who loves hiking and loves chasing squirrels even more. For this reason, we were thankful for the small amount of shock absorption in the lower handle (about 25 lbs. worth, according to the Life Handle site). It’s a thoughtful detail that makes the leash safer for both the dog and the human alike. In addition to offering shock absorption, I appreciated the two handle options on the lower leash – the upper loop was perfect for detaching and using as a regular leash, and the lower loop was great for taking up slack and keeping your pup nearby when passing other dogs.
I’ll admit that I was very confused at first by the patent-pending quick connect HUB design. My leash arrived with no instructions on how to operate it and, being the meat head that I am, I almost broke the thing after about 15 minutes of trying to operate it incorrectly. To save yourself the trouble, see my video below (and I think Life Handle now has a video on their site too).
Turns out, it’s actually a very simple twist-and-pull type design that allows the leash to detach from the sling. Note that this part will not break away under force… i.e. make sure your 200 lb mastiff is under control so it doesn’t take you for a ride.
After I had solved the mystery, it was actually very easy (and dare I say fun) to operate. It is extremely robust, and I have no trouble believing it would hold up to a dog much, much larger than Samson. I’m a big fan of any product that earns the “patent-pending” designation – it’s an indication that someone has put a lot of work into a design that has been deemed novel by a third party. I will always tip my cap to a creative, new idea, and this HUB technology certainly fits the bill.
I also really enjoy the daisy chain-style webbing on both the sling and along the leash. There is a small carabiner that, at first glance, seems only decorative; However, you can clip the carabiner to the webbing further down on the leash to shorten the length of the leash – yet another thoughtful design on this product. The user can also use the daisy chain on the sling to clip things like a water bottle or poop bags (remember, there’s no poop fairy!).
Life Handle offers two different sizes for the sling, based on the user’s height. At 6’3” I was most comfortable with the tall version (no surprises there) and my wife, at 5’5” prefers the regular size. The only difference is a couple inches of extra webbing in the longer version, and when we swapped sizes, we were reasonably comfortable with the opposite size. In short – don’t give too much thought to the size, as the regular length should work for 95% of people.
One of my biggest initial questions was, does this base sling work with a pack? I found that the answer is a resounding “YES!” Just put your pack on first, and simply slip through the sling second.
Conclusion – Samson Approved?
The Life Handle Leash Bundle is fantastic for regular walks, hiking, and is especially great for running. Put it on and forget it’s there while you and your pup enjoy your time outside – it’s truly that simple.
At just under $60, this is a great value, too. Many other “hands free” leashes are nearly the same price just for a longer piece of webbing and a plastic clip – not coming close to matching the thoughtful design of the Life Handle. I find myself looking forward to using this leash (almost as much as Samson does).
Lastly (and most importantly), Samson gives his stamp of approval since dad now has another free hand, which means double the ear scratches!
Jace is a third-generation Coloradan, raised in the foothills of Evergreen. He fell in love with the outdoors at a young age, summiting his first 14er at 8 years old. He studied business at the University of Denver, where he was an All-American Rugby player.
He lives to play in the mountains with his wife, Taylor, and their super-mutt Samson. You can find them (usually together) playing on Colorado’s high peaks… Backpacking, mountaineering, snowboarding (split and solid), trail running, and mountain biking — these are a few of their favorite things.
He has an affinity for high-quality gear, but he’s not afraid to use it and is notorious for testing his equipment to its fullest potential.