WOLFPACK SUPPLY (NOW WILDERDOG*) SMALL + BIG CARABINER LEASHES
Islander + Granite // Small (5/16″ x 5′) + Big (3/8″ x 10′)
$22 + $25 (with 15% off coupon) through Wilderdog ($26-39 MSRP)

SUMMARY:
+ Available in a variety attractive colour choices and comes with feel-good factor
+ Strong/durable and comes with lifetime guarantee (minus chewing)
+ Overkill big carabiner prevents accidental unclipping, but can be annoying, too
+ Small carabiner less flexible and unsightly (since updated as of Nov ’17)
+ No reflectors woven into rope for nightime safety (added to store as of Jan ’17)
+ Simple with bulky knots and not as soft or flexible as other mountain rope leashes

OVERALL RATING (OUT OF 5): 3.67
Function: 4 // Durability: 4 // Value: 3.5 // Aesthetics: 3.5 // Fit: 3 // Customer Service: 4

REVIEW:
Wilderdog is a leading supplier of mountain ropes and has a considerably large presence on social media. In fact, I first saw Wilderdog as Wolfpack Supply in an Instagram ad. The colours immediately caught my attention and to this day, make for some of the most stand-out leashes in photos posted by customers.

img_4906

Simple and attractive, it is easy to find a colour combo you like!

At the time of this original review, there were 12 different colour combinations available. Unless you prefer the subtle, less bold colours, or prefer solids, it’s quite easy to find a combination you like.

We were in need of a 10 ft leash for training, but also for leashed hiking. The second leash was purchased primarily for aesthetic reasons, and to get free shipping (marketing trap!). Since this initial review, we have given away the smaller one due to little use and replaced it with a a big in the same colour from @robinventures as a hand-me-down.

My leashes arrived in 4 business days of ordering which proved that the leashes are pre-made and ready in stock. In fact, as it says in the FAQ, the ropes are manufactured in the USA and the leash is then hand knotted and sewn before shipping. After this initial review, Wilderdog messaged me to confirm that their “ropes are spun and then assembled at a rope factory here in California.”

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 20.27.38.png

Wilderdog leashes make for fantastic outfit roundouts!

Immediately out of the envelope, the colours were as expected and I noticed how simple and light the leashes were. The knot work is not particularly difficult, and two points are held together by what seems like a hybrid between electrical tape and a thick rubber band. I can’t imagine post-production assembly is much work, making Wilderdog highly efficient and probably quite profitable.

In fact, because the design is so simple, I don’t mind carry the 10′ leash even when the dogs are off lead because it doubles as an actual climbing rope. I’m not much of a climber, but having a rope available provides for many general uses when it comes to survival or the unexpected.

That being said, despite the simple design, these leashes are still very strong and durable. My dogs are smaller and don’t pull much to test strength, so I hooked it to myself and attached the other end to a car and pulled as hard as I could. I also left one of the leashes out in the rain overnight. Both tests yielded virtually no changes to the rope. We have now owned these leashes for a year and there is very little wear and tear, except for dirt.

fullsizerender-jpg-2The big (left) and small (right) sizes don’t look much different from each other, but the feel in my hands is obvious.

This sturdiness goes back to the typical structure of a kernmantle climbing rope – which means an outer layer (the sheath or mantle) is used for aesthetics, flexibility, and durability, and inner fibers (the core or kern) provide the actual strength. However, one huge flaw is the lack of reflectors embedded into the rope or anywhere on the leash. This makes the leash a total no-go for nighttime safety, nor easy to find if dropped in the dark. (Since this original review was written, a reflector version was released in January 2017).

fullsizerender-jpg-1The left Metolius carabiner is double in size, but also 24 times in strength!

On the big carabiner leashes, an all-black Metolius Element Locking Carabiner is used (~$10 bought separately). Metolius is a reputable climbing supply company, and a solid choice for a climbing rope…although, maybe too solid for a leash. It’s tested for 5400 pounds of force (or 24 kN), and I have no doubt these leashes could handle quite some adventures with strong pullers, but seriously, what single dog or activity would require such strength?

Furthermore, the carabiner weighs 2.5oz (73g), which is about 1/3 of the total weight of the 10′ leash and it’s quite clunky. It doesn’t have a swivel component so tangling can be an issue (the quick clip leashes do), but to make up for it, the locking component does ensure that escape is unlikely.

img_7355-jpgThe Metolius screw carabiner (left) compared to the Petoji swivel bolt twist lock carabiner (right).

Personally, I would have wanted a smaller carabiner and I would have also preferred a twist lock rather than a screw lock as the threading is so long, that screwing and unscrewing the lock takes a few seconds – not exactly a quick-and-go situation. I end up never using the screw lock and it has even gotten in my way locking on its own.

Not only does the big carabiner look a little ridiculous on my dogs, the leash itself and the knots are also quite big. The big leash is 3/8″ (9.5mm) thick, so you can only imagine how thick double knots can be. It just doesn’t make for a very sleek look, but you might like it if you prefer the more “rustic” less-finished look. All in all, I wouldn’t recommend using this leash on a dog smaller than 40 lbs (18kg) or so.

On the older small carabiner leashes, a QMH Snap Hook with Screw and Eyelet is used and features the same screw locking mechanism, but is only tested for 250 pounds of force (1 kN). This carabiner feels way less clunky and unlike the Metolius carabiner, this one is attached to the leash by an eyelet making the leash just a bit more stable at the attachment point, but less flexible for switching out. They have since updated their small carabiner leashes with a smaller version of the big carabiner, and is likely more suitable for my dogs’ sizes.

img_4914

Wolfpack Supply leashes (right) side-by-side with Hurtta Mountain Rope Leashes (left).

Although the Wolfpack Supply big carabiner leash is smaller in thickness to the Ruffwear large rope leashes and the Hurtta Mountain Rope, it feels substantially bigger in your hands. I think part of that is due to the knots, but also the stiffness of the rope. It’s even stiffer when you first receive it. Luckily, over some time and multiple use, the rope has loosened up a little, but it still can’t compare to the other brands’ flexibility or softness, nor their polished looks.

IMG_5761.JPG

These leashes take no damage being dragged around.

Just in case a Wilderdog leash happens to fail you and your dog, Wilderdog does offer a lifetime warranty…and it’s only void if your dog chews it (Mountain Dog Products and Atlas Pet Company both offer a warranty on their leashes that INCLUDES chewing).

And if that’s not good enough for you, purchasing from the store directly helps support food donations to the monthly chosen shelter or rescue group. They confirmed in their response to the original review that they donate what the rescue typically uses, which is generally around $2/pound! In the midst of other companies being found of fraud, it’s a relief that Wilderdog does not skimp out.

img_7257

Two different dogs, two sizes of leashes, attached at two different points.

FINAL SAY: Recommended. Both my dogs and myself like this leash enough to consistently use on leashed hikes. We’ve used them for over a year with little damage and wear, but may be replaced by other leashes in the future that are softer, more attractive, and come with a lighter clip (including others in their line).

SIMILAR ITEMS (REVIEWS COMING SOON):
Hurtta Mountain Rope + Casual Rope Leashes
+ SloppyChopsCo Mountain Rope Leash
+ Ruffwear Knot-a-Leash + Knot-a-Long Leashes

*As of May 1, 2017, Wolfpack Supply is now known as Wilderdog due to trademark issues. There have not yet been any changes to the products, except for logo/name differences.

Originally written Nov. 2016, updated May 2017, updated again Nov. 2017