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July 2023

Ruffwear Gear Review: Never Leave Home Without These 3 Items

Reviewer: Marlow (@my_pal_marlow)
Breed: Rescue (Shepard Collie - ish)
Age: About 3.5
Weight: 80lbs
Favourite Activities: Chasing Sticks, Swimming, Paddleboarding, Mountain Biking and Ski Touring

Reviewer's Assistant: Christina (@csharun)
Breed: Human
Favourite Activities: Biking, Paddling, Ski Touring and Camping

Hi there! I’m Marlow. And this is my Mom Christina. We’re super excited to partner up with Valhalla Pure Outfitters and Ruffwear to talk about some of our favourite adventure doggo gear!

My Mom and I met two years ago when I got drugged, stuck into a box with a bunch of holes in it and put on a big scary metal bird for what felt like forever. When I woke up, she was waiting for me and she seemed pretty nice, plus she had a car and treats, which I love, so I figured I’d go with her! She told me that I had come from somewhere called Whitehorse and that I was on Vancouver Island now. I don’t know what either of those words mean but the new place was a lot warmer with fewer of those little flying critters that were always trying to bite my butt!

And, the best part? There is a huge ocean right by my Mom’s house! I wasn’t too sure about it at first but now, it’s my mom and my favourite place to do our adventures in the summer. My absolute favourite thing is to go paddleboarding. The wind blowing my ears and the fresh salty sniffs are just the best! Plus there are sticks. So many sticks!

Having the right gear to enjoy my adventures is really important for both me and my mom. That’s why we love Ruffwear! My mom says it’s all about safety and function. For our water adventures, there are three pieces of gear that we never leave home without.

Float Coat, Size Large, Wave Orange

I love wearing my Float Coat! Because it makes it easier to swim, I feel like I can fetch at least 40% more sticks. I love how easy it is to put on. My mom slips it over my head, does up the two buckles under my belly. That's it! I also love that the jacket wraps around my stomach a little bit so that the straps don’t chafe and there is no risk of catching my fur in the buckles. My mom says she loves how easily it adjusts and how well it fits. Ordering the right size was a cinch using Ruffwear’s size chart. She also loves that the floatation is well positioned to keep me swimming in a neutral position in the water and that the leash clip is neatly stowed under the handle, so that there is nothing that can catch and get stuck.

We both love the bright colour and the reflective details, especially when we are out for a sunset or night paddle to watch the sparkly water (my mom calls them phosphorescence). We also love the handle. Sometimes I like to jump off of our paddlecraft to check something out. The handle makes it super easy for my Mom to give me a hand getting back onto our board or into our kayak without tipping it over (she really hates that).

Now you might say, “Marlow, you're a dog that can swim. Why do you need to wear a Float Coat?” Well, I used to think that too. The thing is, my mom is a really good swimmer too, and she also wears her PFD whenever we’re out on the water. Why? Because when you need them, it’s often too late to put them on and if my mom ever needs to rescue me, it will make it a lot safer for her if I am wearing my Float Coat.

Confluence Collar, Size - 14-20”, Midnight Blue

Our second essential piece of gear for paddling is the Confluence Collar. I love it because the webbing has a waterproof coating that doesn’t leave my neck fur damp and smelling like musty socks. My mom loves it, because all she needs to do is give it a quick rinse after we’re done in the salt water. She's able to immediately put it back on me without worrying about causing hot spots.

The other thing she really loves is that the leash clip folds flat when we’re not using it, so it’s way less likely to get caught on stuff (the same reason why she loves that the leash clip doesn’t stick out on my Float Coat). She also said that she really likes how solid the buckle feels, and how it’s easy to tell when it has properly clicked together (just like the buckles on my Ruffwear Flagline Harness, which I have been rocking for over two years now and haven’t been able to sneak out of even once)!

The cool colour and reflective printing definitely enhance my handsome factor, and I really love the rubber tag that helps to keep my ID tags from jangling around and annoying the heck out of me.

Pack Out Bag, Basalt Grey

I’m still not too sure why Mom insists on following me around and collecting my poop in small plastic bags. I think it’s weird. She says it’s proper trail etiquette and that no one likes to step in poop. For both of our sakes, I am really glad that she decided to add the Ruffwear Pack Out Bag to our repertoire of required adventure gear. The only thing worse than collecting my poop is parading around with it so that the whole world can see.

Here’s what my mom has to say about the Pack Out Bag: “I love Marlow deeply, but carrying around his turd nuggets is definitely a buzzkill to our adventures, especially if he decides to take care of business early on in a hike. I love the Pack Out bag because it lets me stash his waste cleanly and keep my hands free for other fun things, like throwing sticks and taking pictures. The bag has one roomy main compartment, which is highly secured by a water and smell-resistant zipper.

"The back side of the bag has a small poo bag dispenser, which is awesome! I love always having a bag at the ready and how easy it is to grab one when I need it. There are two attachment options. A ¾” nylon webbing belt is my option of choice. It’s easy to adjust and comfy to wear. There is also a sturdy belt clip if you prefer to wear it that way. I’ve been experimenting with using it as a treat dispenser bag as well (not at the same time as it’s being used for waste storage) and I really like how easy it is to keep Marlow’s training rewards handy. I also love that it keeps my pockets clean and crumb free! I’d love for there to be another small pocket where I could stash my keys while we hike but maybe that’s an idea for the next version! As it is, the Pack Out is a must have addition to your adventure tool kit!"