Ruffwear Swamp Cooling Dog Jacket is quality hiking gear

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In a hot, semi-humid climate, it can sometimes feel impossible to keep Enzo, my Border Collie-Cattle Dog mix, from overheating. If the temperature is above 70 and the sun is shining in, its thick, dark coat absorbs heat and it quickly runs out of steam. When it gets particularly hot, my usual routine of carrying a collapsible water bowl and staying out of hot pavement doesn’t hurt it either.

I decided to invest in a dog cooler to keep Enzo’s body temperature down — and that’s how we came to review the Swamp Cooler Vest, a water-retaining sweatshirt from the popular dog brand Ruffwear.

How does the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Vest work?

I decided to check Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Vest because I’ve been a fan of the brand Ruffwear (ours Front harness has kept for over five years!) and it’s moderately priced. It’s an evaporative cooling vest, which means it uses the evaporation of damp fabric to help keep your dog’s body temperature down — similar to how humans sweat.

Ruffwear coats are designed with three layers of polyester: a wicking outer layer to reflect heat, an absorbent middle layer to keep water out, and a mesh lining to keep your dog’s coat relatively dry.

The coat drapes over your dog’s head and features fabric-covered side zippers to prevent tearing and pulling of the coat. The vest also has an opening in the back for a lanyard and a clip in the front if you want to attach a light.

Dog wearing a cooling jacket walks along the rocky path on the lake

The Swamp Cooler has a lighter, looser design than some cooling vests.

The Swamp Cooler comes in a variety of sizes (XS to XL, or 13 to 42 inches in circumference) and can be worn on the body or via a harness. The vest’s comfortable fit means it’s a good choice for dogs with unusual shapes. (Note: Ruffwear recommends resizing if your dog is between sizes, but some pet parents report that resizing results in the vest being too big to fit. their dog.)

The effectiveness of dog cooling vest in general and how often they require water to cool off largely depends on the climate you live in and the weather on a given day. In humid environments, water evaporates less efficiently, so vests won’t do as well.

We found the Swamp Cooler to last about as long as other evaporative coolers: it needs re-wetting on a 70-degree day about every two to three hours.

The difference between Swamp cold swamp and Swamp Cooler Zip (formerly known as Jet Stream)?

The biggest difference between these two Ruffwear options is in the name: the Swamp Cooler has two side zips, while the Swamp Cooler Zip has a zipper and a slightly tighter fit. All in all, the Zip is built for more intense adventures, with oversized arm holes for full range of motion and an elastic back panel.

Through the Conventional swamp cooler matched well with our testing of hiking, Swamp Cooler Zip may be more suitable for outdoor adventures. It seems to be more durable due to the spandex outer layer (though we haven’t put it to the test yet!).

Ruffwear Swamp Cooling Vest Test

We reviewed the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler by first putting it to work in our home for a series of days of more than 100 degrees. Our window air conditioner unit couldn’t keep up, and it was very stuffy even indoors.

Enzo was initially skeptical about wearing a damp vest – he loves swimming but likes to meet the water on his own. Luckily, he forgot he put it on pretty quickly and seemed much more comfortable after about 30 minutes.

The dog stopped on a cliff by the lake, wearing a Ruffwear swamp cooler

Enzo is about to meet water on his own terms.

I noticed he didn’t pant or feel warm to the touch while wearing it around the house. I keep him off the furniture so he doesn’t wet it, which isn’t a problem, since he prefers cooler hardwood floors anyway—but puppy-friendly pet parents couches might want to invest in one furniture wrap or restrict this vest to outdoor use only.

Next, Enzo donned a Swamp Cooler vest on a two-day, fifteen-mile hike in the North Cascade mountains (thankfully with much more reasonable temperatures).

He has a natural preference for lying down in cold streams of water if they are available, but his fur dries so quickly that the cooling effect is usually short-lived. Putting on a vest ensures he can retain some of that relief for a longer stretch of our ride.

Despite the relatively long range, Enzo’s coat was hairless, and he seemed unaffected by wearing it for hours on end. I was a bit worried about the outer mesh clinging to the branches/rocks, but it held up well.

The vest looked pretty dirty after hiking — Enzo has a penchant for rolling around in the mud — but we dropped it in the washing machine, and the stain came out beautifully.

Evaluation result: A cooler, more comfortable dog

The Swamp cold swamp was a success both indoors and on a long walk outdoors, reducing Enzo’s visible signs of discomfort — especially gasping.

The concept has become familiar to some: Enzo doesn’t usually bother with clothes, but he doesn’t like getting water spilled on him and doesn’t freak out about the vest the first time I put it on. That can be part of the challenge with any dog ​​cooling vest, and I’m glad it’s less resistant every time we take it outside.

I recommend trying on the vest when it’s dry so your dog gets used to the feel of it before you come into contact with the water.

The Swamp Cooler also scores well for durability and washability, making it a strong choice for outdoor adventures.

Two people standing on a rock with a dog wearing a Swamp Cooler vest

Enzo excels at family photos.

What we like:

  • Comfortable fit and no wrinkles
  • Lightweight and durable fabric
  • Easy to use side buckles for a customizable fit
  • No freezing or other preparation required to use
  • UV protection and fashion design
  • Easy to clean dirt

Some considerations:

  • No D-loop attachments. Since there is no leash attached, your dog may still need to wear a harness underneath. If your dog’s harness is particularly padded, this extra layer may take away some of the cooling effect. Consider Ruffwear Cooling Harness instead of.
  • Requires access to water, so not best suited for a dry hike or staying indoors.
  • Light color options mean more dirt, but the vest is machine washable and cleans well.
  • Not effective in humid climates. An evaporative cooling system may not be the most effective option for pet parents in very humid climates, as the moisture in the vest won’t evaporate as efficiently. If that’s you, try one vest.
  • No Velcro in the front: My dog ​​doesn’t mind this, but in general dogs who don’t like letting things slide over their head may not like this option.

Final Verdict: Swamp Cooler Vest Perfect for hiking and outdoor adventures

The Ruffwear Swamp Cooler vest is a great choice for hot weather and provides hours of cooling for the Enzo. It fits comfortably, evaporates slowly and is made of high-quality materials. We think it’s a great choice for hiking and outdoor exploration in the summer.

Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Vest

Who would love the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Vest?

  • The dogs roam near the water or spend time on the beach
  • Puppies usually don’t mind wearing coats or life jackets
  • Unusual dog breeds
  • Dogs need to be protected from the sun

Who could not love the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Vest?

  • Dogs need a durable, impact-resistant jacket for high-intensity activities like trail running. The Ruffwear dog cooling harness or Swamp Cooler Zip both have a slightly sleeker look to be able to better suit athletic endeavors.
  • The dogs need to stay in the cool house. The cooling coat has the ability to humidify any surface it comes in contact with, so it’s not the best way for dogs to lounge on furniture.
  • Puppies have short coats or are prone to skin diseases; It is possible that prolonged wetness may cause irritation. A dry reflective vest or freezing cooling vest may be a better option.

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