You’re excited to hit the trails with your dog. You want them to power boost you up those challenging hills (not down the hill Riggs!). Well, if that’s the case you’re definitely going to need something to transfer that power!
That’s where your new canicross line (or leash) will come in.
So, what should you look for in a good line for canicross? I’m so glad you asked! In this post we’ll go through three main things you should look for when picking a good leash for canicross.
The first thing…sort of a bonus, is too look for one that’s the correct length. If you’re buying from a mushing supply shop (check out our suppliers guide for some inspiration) you’re almost guaranteed their leashes will be the correct length. 6’ (when it is not stretched) is usually a good guideline, but if you plan to race, check out the race rules for the governing body to make sure your new equipment can be used.
If you don’t plan to race, anything around 6’ will work.
Alright, let’s dig into the 3 things to look for in a canicross line:
1. Line Material
You have two main options for a leash: webbing or rope (polyethylene is ideal)
Personal preference really comes into play here, I like (and recommend) webbing for canicross. I find it’s easier on my hands when I’m handling it a lot, like on busy city pathways. But, prefer rope for more durability when I bikejor or go kicksledding. Polyethylene rope doesn’t absorb water and stands up to abrasion (dragging on the ground, catching on branches) better than webbing.
2. Enclosed Bungee
Ensure that whatever line you buy has a bungee enclosed in the design.
It should be inside the rope or webbing, so that in the event that it breaks down, the outer material will still hold your dog. Rope lines have many different fasteners to attach the bungee, just be sure that if you buy a rope line, that the fastener is safe for you and your dog. Some manufacturers use metal clips (which are a good option), just make sure the sharp ends are filed so they don’t poke you or your dog.
3. Snaps vs Loop Ends
Alright, somehow you’ve got to attach this leash to you and your dog. Let’s talk options. Most serious mushers prefer as few snaps as possible on their gear. In very cold weather metal snaps don’t always work well in the cold – Italian brass is the go to for cold weather if you plan to use a snap. Snaps are a failure point on a large line, and can be hard to replace on a remote trail. Where you can usually make trailside repairs on a loop pretty easily.
That said, it’s hard to eliminate them entirely. You can connect one end of a line without a snap, but it’s a challenge to do both ends. And, it isn’t very convenient if you have to swap harnesses or your set up (to change to other mushing sports, or for a different number of dogs) frequently. That’s why we use snaps, even if they aren’t perfect.
If you live in a warm climate, this probably doesn’t have to factor into your decision making very much. But, if you live somewhere where the metal might freeze, make sure your line has a quality brass snap to simplify your life.
Now you’re all set to find the perfect canicross line. If you’re not sure where to kick off your search, check out our free Equipment Suppliers Guide (we aren’t affiliates, we just like these suppliers and think they’ll make your search easier).
See you on the trail!
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