It was hitting 86 degrees at the house today (yes I know…what happened to spring), so it was time to try out the Ruffwear Swamp Vest on Maggie. Bought it a while back, but hadn't been warm enough to try it.
I am very impressed with it. You just soak it in cold water, and if you put it on inside, I suggest you get just a tad of the water out of it before you take it out of the sink. (it will drip water.) Outside,,not a problem. The color is whitish / light blue, which is ok. There is a reason they don't make it in dark colors :-). The light colors might show some grime and dirt after a while. It's perfectly fine to wash it.
I could tell she liked it once I put it on. She looked at me and her adorable eyes said: "Wel dad, tis her is the bestest thang sins bagd kukis". She's already used to the Ruffwear backpack she uses when we hike, so no problem at all. When you soak it, the vest gets a little thicker due to the water absorbing material used. It stayed in place fine though, using the two buckles, one on each side. It also comes in several sizes.
This will be standard issue on hot days for sure. Makes a big difference while your best friend is outside in the heat with you, hiking etc. I highly recommend it.
We have been using the Ruffwear Palisades pack on Maggie for a while now when out hiking. She is just a little over a year old, so we don't pack her down heavy just yet. All in all, we really like it.
Ruffwear's Talking Points:
- Load stability and weight distribution provided by the five-point adjustable straps of the Web Master™ Harness chassis
- Removable saddlebags for rest stops and water crossings
- Two collapsible, BPA-free water bottles are included, each with a 1L capacity
- Load compression system secures the load for a more comfortable, compact carry
- Easy-access stash pockets on top
- Coated zippers help keep moisture out
- Reflective trim for visibility in low-light conditions
We use a Large /Extra large size for Mags. She's about 80 lbs, and a good German Shepherd size pooch. The fit is nearly perfect for her size. The strap padding that goes under the chest tend to turn a bit over hours of use. I am thinking about sewing the pad to the strap in both ends so it stays put. Other than that, the fit is good. The pack itself is "water resistant", but from experience I can testify that if your dog jumps into the water, the content will get wet. If it just rains, it would probably stay dry.
You can take the back off real easy, and still keep the harness on the dog. The harness looks to be really well made. It has a handle on top and a D-ring for attaching a leach. They both look strong, although I wouldn't use these to rappell the dog. It snaps to the harness using 3 quick snaps, one in each corner. There is also a Velcro on each side of the pack, on the inside (towards the dog) to Velcro each side to the harness to prevent the bags from flapping up and down when the dog runs. These Velcro tabs do not work very good, and come loose very easy. The pack then starts to move around a lot when she's running. So I decided to take the pack to a shoe repair shop and install two snaps, one on each Velcro tab. We went on a 9 mile hiking trip yesterday, and the snaps hold fine. From what I understand, Ruffwear has fixed this on newer packs, using quick disconnects.
The pack has 2 water bladders, one on each side, that hold about 1000 cc (1 Liter) of water each. They are fairly easy to take out (its own pocket) and fill up. The bladders stays in the pockets closest to the dogs body. Not sure, but Ruffwear might have done this to get a little cooling effect from the water by keeping them close to the body. The hoses from the bladders route forward and the nozzles goes through loops to keep them in place for easy access from the outside. A zipper on the front of each side provides access to the nozzles, and you simply pull the hose though this zipped access to get water.
When the pack is not fully packed, you can cinch the pack up to make it smaller. This is done by using two straps located inside the packs on each side.
Except from the Velcro issue, these Ruffwear packs are good. As mentioned, they have fixed this from what I understand.
Got a new Go Pro Helmet cam in a few days ago. Seems to be built pretty solid. Had to take it out for a ride on the F800GS. Hopefully it'll be worth taking on our trip west in September to capture some of the highlights. It's set on Mode 3 to be able to capture 60 fps and thus be able to run slow motion playbacks. Turning the camera on and start a video is a little awkward when you're not used to it. I ended up looking in my mirror to make sure the camera was on, and recording. Nice addition to our Olympus E-620 / Canon Camcorder. We recently also bought an Oly point and shoot to take with us out west..