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Product Reviews

2017 Holiday Gift Guide

2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Updated 11/30/2018 – We still dig the items on this previous gift guide so we’ve updated some links and images. We’ve also noted some alternatives to now discontinued products.

Looking for the perfect gift for the dog lover (or dog!) in your life this holiday season? Look no further! We’ve each compiled our top 10 gifts for the holidays, and are sure you will find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.

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Stocking Stuffers

Devin’s Choice: Rad Dog Pocket Bowl
Rad Dog Pocket Bowl
The ultimate lightweight travel bowl! If you know anyone who enjoys running with their dog or is the minimalist adventuring type, then this is the perfect stocking stuffer. This bowl stuffs down teeny-tiny and weighs nothing. It would make a great addition to an emergency kit as well.

$11.95 at Amazon

Jason’s Choice: Ruffwear Gnawt a Cone
Ruffwear Gnawt a Cone
Ruffwear’s new Gnaw-west toy collection is inspired by natural objects from Ruffwear’s home turf, Bend, Oregon. The natural rubber toys are tough and easy to clean. I love the shape of this one – like a big pine cone – it bounces erratically for tons of fetching fun!

$9.95 at Ruffwear

Gifts Under $30

Devin’s Choice: Ruffwear Quick Draw Leash
Ruffwear Quick Draw
This has become one of our favorite pieces of gear. This short leash clips to your dog’s regular collar, and then velcros to itself around your dog’s neck when not in use. The moment you need to leash your dog, simply pull the red pull-tab and….voila! Your dog is already on a leash! If you know someone who frequently adventures with their dog off-leash, then this is a great, inexpensive gift idea.

$19.95 at Ruffwear

[Read Our Full Review]

Jason’s Choice: Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo Collar
Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo Everyday Collar
As the evenings have grown darker this time of year, how about a collar that reflects up to 500ft! The integrated 3M Scotchlite reflective material will keep your dog seen and looks pretty cool during the day too. I also dig the separate leash and tag attachment points so you’re not accidentally clipping your leash to your dog’s tags.

$25.00 at Stunt Puppy

Gifts Under $50

Devin’s Choice: Ruffwear Front Range Harness
Ruffwear Front Range Harness
This is Bella’s go-to harness and one of her first pieces of gear ever…we’ve been using her current Front Range harness for over 4 years now! It is very comfortable for her, and is our top choice for every-day errands, adventures, and walks on-leash. With lots of bright color options, you can be sure to match any personality and style. We use this item every single day, and love that it doesn’t stress her neck or back when she pulls.

$39.95 at Ruffwear

Jason’s Choice: Ruffwear Kibble Kaddie
Ruffwear Kibble Kaddie
I’m a weekend warrior from April – October. This year I was not home for a single Saturday for 6 months and at least one dog – and the Kibble Kaddie – was with me every one of those weekends. It holds 10L (42 cups) of food, opens and closes like a roll-top dry bag, and even has a magnetic closure chute on the side for quickly dispensing food.

$39.95 at Ruffwear

Warm Climate

Devin’s Choice: Ruffwear Jet Stream
Ruffwear Jet Stream
The Jet Stream doesn’t have as much coverage as the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler (see Jason’s pick), but is our top to keep your dog cool for faster-paced adventures such as mountain biking, trail running, etc… Unlike the Swamp Cooler, this vest hugs the body for an active fit, doesn’t require as much water to soak, and fits under harnesses and other gear. Bella wears this trail running with us from spring to fall in Colorado!

$39.95 at Ruffwear

[Read Our Full Review]

Jason’s Choice: Ruffwear Swamp Cooler
Ruffwear Swamp Cooler
With two Black Labs, summertime overheating is always a concern. The Swamp Cooler is easy wherever we are – camping, canoeing, day hiking, or just lounging around our camper. Get it wet, lay it over the dog and clip it under the chest. It’s that easy. The evaporative cooling works well even in humidity and adds additional sun protection/reflection.

$59.95 at Ruffwear

[Read Our Full Review]

Rainy Climate

Devin’s Choice: Ruffwear Aira Rain Jacket

UPDATE 11/30/2018: The Aira has been discontinued. While you can still find them online, consider the Ruffwear Sun Shower as an alternative.

This high-end rain jacket also doubles as a wind layer for summits and holds up in rugged conditions. Mesh lining cuts down on static and chaffing, a harness portal allows for harnesses to be worn under the coat with leash attachment, and optional leg loops keep the coat from flapping in the wind. This is a coat that can be used all year long, even in places with four distinct seasons. Buying for a dog with long hair? It’s probably the only coat you will need! It’s not insulated but protects from rain, slush, and wind. Also, it’s breathable! Bella uses this running in rain and snow, backpacking, and on horseback rides.

$79.95 at Amazon

Jason’s Choice: Ruffwear Hi & Dry Saddlebag Cover

UPDATE 11/30/2018: The Hi & Dry has been discontinued. We recommend grabbing one online where you find it; we’ve haven’t seen a good alternative to date.

The Hi & Dry is a backpack cover for Ruffwear backpacks. It fits well and keeps the backpacks dry in the rain. I love it for covering the pack and leaving it out of the tent when backpacking – not having to take up more room in the vestibules and not worrying about the pack getting wet during a nighttime rain.

$24.95 at Backcountry

Cold Climate

Devin’s Choice: D-Fa Puff Doggy Jacket
D-fa Puff Doggy
The ultimate puffy jacket for dogs, perfect for maximum insulation. If you know someone with an older dog with joint issues or arthritis, a thermally-sensitive dog, or if you adventure in extremely cold environments, then this coat would be an excellent gift. Note that we personally only use this coat when Bella is at rest, such as sleeping in a tent, warming up for a skijoring session, or on winter summits. Otherwise, it’s too warm! The Puff-Doggy is very packable, made with Thinsulate insulation, lightweight, and designed to keep cooler areas of your dog warm.

$109.95 at D-fa

Jason’s Choice: Ruffwear Powder Hound
Ruffwear Powder Hound
We dig this jacket for cool weather camping and backpacking. The hybrid design has a synthetic fill, puffy jacket style upper and breathable, technical stretch knit lower that sheds snow and water. The design is rounded out with highly reflective trim and a light loop to attach a Beacon. With insulation under her, my main backpacking partner Cheyenne (a lab with a very thin undercoat) can curl up and stay warm all night.

$89.95 at Ruffwear

Runners/On-Leash Dogs

Devin’s Choice: Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo Harness
Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo Harness
If Bella finds a good smell on a run, she plants herself to the spot. This harness helps leverage her back to planet “I’m-still-trying-to-move-my-momentum forward.” Stunt Puppy’s running harness has a martingale tightening action that cues your dog to stop pulling. When your dog releases pressure, the harness loosens again. In addition to being a great on-leash training aid without restricting your dog’s neck or spine, this harness features reflective, durable, and water-resistant X-Pac fabric on the chest portion. If you run during dim or dark light, the 3M Scotchlite reflective panels will light up brightly when hit by headlights or a headlamp!

$45.00 at Stunt Puppy

Jason’s Choice:  Road Runner
EzyDog Road Runner Leash
For backpacking, we like the EzyDog Road Runner. Here in the Midwest, our options for backpacking are limited but one of our favorites is the Porcupine Mountains in upper Michigan. It’s one of the few places where you can truly feel remote and it allows dogs but dogs must be kept on leash. At 7’, the Road Runner can be waist worn and still have plenty of room for your dog to roam behind or in front of you. The section of bungee dappens pulls and there is an accessory loop near the handle to keep poop bags at hand. Around camp or at a pit stop, it can easily be clipped to a tree with the side release buckle integrated into the handle.

$42.00 at EzyDog

All-Around Adventurer

Devin’s Choice: Ruffwear Singletrak Pack
Ruffwear SingleTrak
If you follow us on Instagram, then you’ve probably seen Bella wearing this pack…a lot! The Singletrack pack is our go-to trail running and day hiking pack. It fits all of your dog’s essentials for the day, including water (bladders included), treats, both empty and full poop bags, and even a small jacket, first aid kit, and emergency bootie if you pack it very carefully. Since it has a low-profile, it doesn’t bounce around for fast-paced activities or get hung up on brush and rocks. Need something for longer trips? The Ruffwear Approach Pack is a great all-around pack for day hikes and an overnight or two, while the Ruffwear Palisades Pack is ideal for thru-hikes and longer multi-day trips.

$89.95 at Ruffwear

Jason’s Choice: Ruffwear Headwater Waterproof Dog Collar
Ruffwear Headwater Coller
UPDATE 11/30/2018: The Hi & Dry has been discontinued. Consider the Dublin Dog KOA Collars as a great alternative.For all our adventures the Headwater is our go-to collar. Its coated webbing design is completely waterproof and stink-proof. Any mud or gunk that gets on the collar can just be wiped off. The single piece Crux buckle is easy to use and lets the collar lay flat along your dog’s neck. Both the Crux buckle and the D-ring are anodized aluminum so the collar is super strong but nice and light. Our Headwaters get the most use at the beach, in the canoe and backpacking trips.

$29.95 at Amazon

Creature Comforts

Devin’s Choice: Pawtagonia Custom Fleece Sweater
Roraima Custom Fleece
UPDATE 11/30/2018: Pawtagonia is now known as Roraima Gear. The link below has been updated to go to the new site.Looking for a completely unique, custom gift? Pawtagonia is a one-woman-show that delivers beautiful, custom fleece coats for any dog. Founder and designer Scarlett works with you to create a 100% customizable hiking sweater based on your dog’s measurements. Optional additional features include handmade reflective piping, Primaloft insulation in specified areas, and mesh lining. Pawtagonia coats boast premium materials made for the outdoors, meticulous construction, and eye-catching prints. I purchased a coat for Bella myself, and particularly love that the close-fitting design and closure-less construction (no zippers or clips, the sweater pulls over your dog’s head) makes it ideal for layering with other coats and gear. We also opted for reflective piping to Bella’s coat, and primaloft insulation to the hindquarter area to keep an old injury warmer. *Note: Pawtagonia closes shop periodically to fulfill orders, and during peak sweater season can take 3-weeks to ship due to demand the made-to-order aspect of the product. Trust us, it’s worth the wait!

Starting at $69.48 (prices increase with larger measurements and add-on features) at Pawtagonia (now know as Roraima Gear)

Jason’s Choice: Ruffwear Highlands Sleeping Bag
Ruffwear Highlands Sleeping Bag
Here in the Midwest, dogs on the trail is a common site. Dogs with their own gear on the trail though is much less common. People love to stop and chat, ask what the dog is carrying, and make the “pack mule” joke – we don’t mind! One of the items Cheyenne always carries is her Ruffwear Highlands Sleeping Bag and the matching Highlands Foam Pad, even in warm weather. The bag offers extra warmth in cold weather and when the foam pad is inserted into the bottom (imagine a Big Agnes style setup) your dog will have plenty of insulation from the cold ground as well. Cheyenne prefers not to be zipped all the way in her bag so it ends up being draped over her on cold nights or just layed on top of on warmer nights. It’s like a touch of home comfort on the trail.

$99.95 (plus $29.95 for the optional pad) at Ruffwear

Outside the Box: For the Dog Owner that Has Everything

Devin’s Choice: Embark DNA Kit
Embark DNA Kit
This might just be the ultimate gift for the dog-owner in your life. If you’d prefer to give something other than a “thing,” then this is a great way to go. Why is Embark particularly great for adventure dogs? Embark is not only accurate for determining breeds and lineage but also tests for over 160 common genetic health conditions that could impact purebreds and mutts alike. While this particular test isn’t cheap, it is very accurate, and unlike other companies, it tests for many clinical genetic traits. I remember back to the textbooks I purchased in college and graduate school…think of this as purchasing an online textbook… only one that is actually interesting, and is all about your dog! Added bonus? Embark partnered with Cornell Veterinary School, the top veterinary school in the country, to continue canine genetic research and to provide cutting-edge genetic results. We found the process extremely easy, and the online interface and personalized account were very user-friendly as well. Customer service was very responsive to our questions. Embark sent us a kit and we had Bella tested, and were enthralled with the results. What’s her breed mix? 21.3% English Pointer, 17.5% Australian Shepherd, 17.2% Australian Cattle Dog, 16.3% Coonhound, 12.8% Labrador Retriever, 8.4% Rottweiler, and 6.5% German Shepherd. This explains so much about Bella’s behavior both at home and on the trail! We weren’t surprised that as a mutt, she didn’t test at risk or as a carrier for any of the genetic conditions that the company tests for, but it was certainly peace of mind. Even more importantly, having this information could help our veterinarian rule out these conditions as causes of any problems we may experience down the road. Furthermore, we learned that Bella has one copy of a gene mutation that is associated with low ALT activity that is measured in blood panels. While this isn’t necessarily a direct health concern, it would be smart for us to talk to our vet about getting a baseline measure of her ALT levels, as “normal” levels could actually be elevated for her, which could indicate liver problems. I’m starting to plan a section thru-hike of the Colorado Trail with my mom and Bella for this coming summer, so this is a discussion I will have with my vet before we hit the trail.

$199.00 at Embark

Jason’s Choice: EzyDog Drive Car Harness
EzyDog Drive Harness
The Drive Car Harness is a crash-tested safety harness for use in the car. Simply fit the harness one time and then it is easy on/easy off with its Mag-Lok™ Instant Fit closure system. The Drive uses your car’s existing seatbelt to keep your dog in place in the car. They’ll have some freedom of movement and can lay down and sit up – keeping them safely in the car and freeing you up from distractions. While it’s true that most harnesses could do this, the Drive is going to be a bright spot in an otherwise dark accident. In a serious collision, your dog could become a missile inside the car, obviously hurting themselves but potentially you as well. A collar based restraint is good for keeping them from running around the car and reduces distractions but could be very dangerous in an accident – the neck wasn’t made for impacts. A normal harness may seem like a better option but can be as dangerous in an accident. The straps and pads of a normal harness are meant for walking, not to handle the impact, and could do internal damage to your dog. A quality crash-tested harness, like the Drive harness, is designed around your dog’s anatomy to prevent damage to your dog’s core in the event of a collision. Additionally, it is strength rated like a seatbelt to keep your dog in place in the event of an accident. EzyDog makes the Drive harness in sizes small enough to fit dog’s with just an 11” chest girth and large sizes for dogs all the way up to a 42” chest.

$99.00 at EzyDog