Load-bearing soft tissues such as cartilage, blood vessels and muscles are able to withstand a remarkable compressive stress of several MPa without fracturing. Interestingly, most of these structural tissues are mainly composed of water and in this regard, hydrogels, as highly hydrated 3D-crosslinked polymeric networks, constitute a promising class of materials to repair lesions on these tissues. Although several approaches can be employed to shape the mechanical properties of artificial hydrogels to mimic the ones found on biotissues, critical issues regarding, for instance, their biocompatibility and recoverability after loading are often neglected. Therefore, an innovative hydrogel device made only of chitosan (CHI) was developed for the repair of robust biological tissues. These systems were fabricated through a dual-crosslinking process, comprising a photo- and an ionic-crosslinking step. The obtained CHIbased hydrogels exhibited an outstanding compressive strength of ca. 20 MPa at 95% of strain, which is several orders of magnitude higher than those of the individual components and close to the ones found in native soft tissues. Additionally, both crosslinking processes occur rapidly and under physiological conditions, enabling cells’ encapsulation as confirmed by high cell survival rates (ca. 80%). Furthermore, in contrast with conventional hydrogels, these networks quickly recover upon unloading and are able to keep their mechanical properties under physiological conditions as result of their non-swell nature.