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Product Reviews

Review of the Ruffwear Track Jacket and Beacon

Ruffwear Track Jacket and Beacon Review

Ruffwear Track Jacket and Beacon ReviewFall is here in full force, and the days are already shortening. Once the time change is here, getting out in the daylight becomes harder and harder, particularly during the workweek. Whether your fall adventures with your dog include road running near traffic, off-leash hikes, or mountain biking in the foothills, making sure your dog can be seen is important for a variety of reasons. Rifle hunting, wildlife around the campfire, and reduced visibility for motorists are all potential hazards that pop up more frequently in the fall. Ruffwear recently updated two products that have been staples in our fall gear lists in the past, and have now become even more functional with a few key updates in the waning daylight hours.

Fall is our favorite season, and we’ve tested the update Beacon Safety Light and Track Jacket on all of our best autumnal adventures. Bella wore the new Ruffwear Track Jacket on many miles of horseback riding through the mud, rain, and under barbed wire, as well as fly fishing and off-leash trail runs. The Beacon kept Bella seen on neighborhood road runs as well as car camping in Wyoming and National Forests here in Colorado. Here’s our take on these two updated products.

The Beacon Safety Light

Ruffwear Track Jacket and Beacon ReviewA small light that clips to your dog’s collar or other gear.

Updates from the Previous Model:

  • Fully waterproof to a depth of one meter for 30 minutes
  • Three different colors in one with three different modes
  • USB Rechargeable; indicator lights warn when the battery is low
  • Clear sides allow light to be visible from all sides
  • Updated clip fastens more securely

Our Favorite Features:

Ruffwear Beacon Review

The new clip stays put. Bella used to lose her old Beacon on a regular basis unless we attached the key ring portion to her ID tag ring. The old plastic clip finally broke on her previous Beacon after getting stuck on a fence. The new clip on the Beacon is metal and can be clipped shut, making it much more secure. The new red, green, or blue light feature is great and mimics quality bicycle lights. The new waterproof feature is great for adventures in rain, or for when your pup goes for an unexpected swim! Finally, being rechargeable makes this light more environmentally friendly than others.

Best for:

  • Activities at night
  • Conditions with poor visibility, such as fog
  • In addition to running, hiking, and camping, we attach the Beacon to Bella’s bike trailer for additional lighting during rides to work at dawn and dusk.

Maybe Not for You If:

  • You typically stay in after dark.
  • If you want a smaller, inexpensive light for occasional use.

Our take:

While at $24.95 this light isn’t the most inexpensive option available on the market, it is the most rugged light and brightest light made for dogs that we have tried to date, and being rechargeable it is a more environmentally friendly option than others. If you want your dog to be seen at night, it’s a great investment!

Track Jacket

The track jacket is a rugged, high visibility utility coat available in blaze orange. The Track Jacket is made from a tough, water-resistant polyester fabric.

Updates from the Previous Model:

  • New buckle style
  • Wider reflective strip

Our Favorite Features:

Ruffwear Track JacketThe Track Jacket doubles as rain protection in inclement weather. It also works well to layer over coats, or under harnesses, and is strong enough to hold up in rugged conditions. While we never had an issue with the old style fastener coming off, the new buckle clips more securely. The new wide reflective stripe on both sides was an excellent update to this product (the lack of reflection on the last model was our only gripe)…the new version lights up well at night with the flash of headlights or a headlamp.

Best for:

  • Off-leash excursions
  • Hunting/sport
  • Adventures in brush, tall grass, dense woods
  • On-leash activities near traffic
  • White dogs in snow, black dogs at night, tan dogs in dry grass (you get the point!)
  • Nighttime activities
  • Other activities where safety and proximity must be closely monitored, such as horseback riding.

Maybe Not for You If:

  • Check the fit: The jacket comes in only three sizes, XXS/XS, S/M, L/XLG. While Bella fits in the S/M category here, the neck opening was a bit snug, but over time the stretchy portion over the shoulders molded to her shape, and helped the jacket sit better and not so high on her neck. If you are between sizes, be prepared to try a couple of sizes to discover what works best.
  • Your dog doesn’t adventure frequently off-leash and/or at night.

Our Take:

Ruffwear Track JacketWe use this coat very frequently in the fall for all off-leash activities, including horseback riding, fly fishing, hiking, and running. We feel more peace of mind making Bella obvious to hunters, and it is so much easier to spot her in dense brush, forest, and grasses when she is wearing this jacket. Bella works around sometimes 50 horses in one go, and we often cross the occasional road or National Forest campground on horseback. It’s critical that we know where she is at all times. This jacket is very rugged and has held up in the dirtiest, roughest, and wettest conditions we could expose it to. Bella did punch a small hole in the fabric while shimmying under a barbed wire fence, but the hole has not widened or frayed after several uses since, even when rubbing her back vigorously on the undercarriage of a parked diesel truck. The stretchy panels on the shoulders make for a nice athletic fit. At $39.95, the Track Jacket won’t break the bank.

Where to Buy

Explore the Beacon Safety Light and Track Jacket at Ruffwear or Amazon (Track Jacket, Beacon)