Pet product review: Outward Hound Hands Free Hipster with Dog Leash

Here’s a handy hands-free storage belt for runners, hikers, and walkers who like to take their dogs along. The Outward Hound Hands Free Hipster (which comes with a dog leash) has three zippered pockets (including one that fits a standard-sized water bottle) and two open mesh ones for holding all sorts of take-alongs.

Product publicity photo - fair use

I purchased the Outward Hound Hands Free Hipster with Dog Leash in lime green. The product (labeled as item 23004), which is made in China, also comes in light blue. It retails for about $30, but it can be found on Amazon for less than $20. There’s also a matching collapsible bowl (in 24- and 48-ounce size options) that can clip on easily for use on hikes or longer walks and runs.

Product publicity photo - fair use
This product reviewer purchased the product described and evaluated here, and the reviewer has no prior or existing relationship (either familial or professional) with the creator, manufacturer or marketer of the product.

The product design makes the Outward Hound Hands Free Hipster comfortable to wear.

It’s lightweight and breathable. The webbed belting is adjustable (although it doesn’t stay snug enough during running or other movement, particularly on a slimmer person. Instead, the belt shifts and slides and spins around the waist, especially if the dog is a tugger or a puller.

Product publicity photo - fair use

The fit, though changeable, isn’t perfect for everyone.

The belt adjustment may fit a wide variety of wearers (even over bulkier seasonal apparel), but I found it does not go tight enough to fit snugly on a smaller person. Personally, I find that the whole thing slips lower and lower, the longer I wear it, requiring frequent adjustment. I wish the product were available in various sizes. It’s also quite wide for a shorter wearer.

The leash attachment is easy, but is it sufficiently sturdy?

Metal D-rings are attached to both sides of the Outward Hound Hands Free Hipster, so a dog leash may be fastened to either one, or two dogs may be walked (with one on each side). This arrangement may be sturdy enough for a small- to medium-sized dog who does not yank or pull hard, but I have heard of multiple users who have experienced breakage of this feature, in which their D-rings have torn off of the belt.

Disclaimer: The product packaging includes a disclaimer that says, "Caution: Not intended to restrain dogs that pull heavily. Intended for dog use only."

During each run, I tend to switch my dog's leash from one D-ring to the other, as my direction shifts and as the belt seems to slide back and forth on my waist.

Gotta love a lotta pockets!

The pockets are more-than ample for storing a cell phone, a set of keys, a pair of glasses, and other essentials. The zippered cargo pockets are not ideal for carrying loose treats or small items, however, as the zippers begin around the five-o’clock spot (if you think of the front of the pockets as clock faces), so items tend to fall out while the wearer is accessing them.

The center pocket opens and folds down to become a water bottle carrier, including a toggled drawstring at the top. This is handy, although the water bottle tends to be carried in the center of the wearer’s own back, if a dog is attached to one of the belt rings in front.

Let’s lose the leash.

Immediately, I discarded the five-foot lightweight webbed leash that came in the package. Although it sported handy snap clips on both ends, it was simply too flimsy for running with my medium-sized Lab Mix dog. I use this storage belt often for cani-cross, which sort of demands a stretchy bungee-style leash. Plus, I think a five-foot leash is a little short for trail running with an energetic dog.

Product photos – fair use

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