Ruff Wear Swamp Cooler Review
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Aspen, our Airedale Terrier dog tester, has been loving his Ruff Wear Swamp Cooler all summer long. The Swamp Cooler is designed to use evaporative cooling to help keep your dog cool when the temperatures start to rise. We have been testing the Swamp Cooler in Colorado, where the air is quite dry and evaporative cooling is quite popular, whether in the home, and now with the family dog.
Here is an image directly from Ruff Wears site that depicts “How it Works”. Simply dunk the Swamp Cooler in some water, place on your dog, and ________ (you fill in the blank with some activity).
The details of how it works is wonderful, but the fact that it really works is the most important feature in my book. Aspen, despite his soft-light weight coat, gets very hot when temps get around 80 degrees or higher. As some of you may know, Colorado has had a dry and very hot summer thus far, making walks, hikes, and even trips to the dog park quite hot and short lived. Thankfully, the Swamp Cooler has given Aspen a bit more freedom this summer with the heat; he has been able to walk around town a few degrees cooler and panting much less than normal, he even ran a 5Km race at the Teva Mountain Games sporting the Swamp Cooler. I cannot say how many degrees it cools his body down, but he is noticeably happier with the Swamp Cooler on, as evidenced by fewer attempts at pulling me to the shade and rolling in the grass or no longer refusing to go out for a mid-day walk.
Now to the features. The Swamp Cooler is available in XXS to XL with a size guide based on the girth of your dog at his or hers’ widest part of the rib cage. Aspen is 78 lbs and measures 31″ around, which places him between size medium and large; we tested out the large and found that it offered a bit more coverage over his sides, which means more cooling surface area. Ruff Wear suggests sizing up in such instances, which I also agree with. Our other dog tester, Suki is a tad more petite (same breed) and would be best suited with a medium. The premise of the Swamp Cooler is different than other jackets you may buy for your dog, loose is ok and probably better, so keep that in mind when purchasing. The swamp cooler is different than cold weather jackets in that there is little coverage over their bellies; for those that have fit issues with the underside of jackets covering up necessary parts, you will not encounter this problem with the Swamp Cooler. On Aspen, the jacket sits along his back and stops at the top his hip bones.
If your dog carries his or her own weight on an outing, Ruff Wears’ packs line up well with the Swamp Cooler and you don’t have a bunch of overlap with the buckles, etc. But just an FYI, placing a pack over-top does eliminate some of the surface area that is able to participate in the cooling effect. We tested out the Swamp Cooler with the Single Track and Palisades Pack, two pack offerings from Ruff Wear.
The Swamp Cooler is easy to get on and off thanks to two adjustable buckles along the side. Simply slip the jacket over your dogs head and snap at each side. The easy on/off is great because if you are out for a more extended period of time you may need to slip the jacket off and re-wet it. After two months of dunking the Swamp Cooler in mountain streams and lakes, it started to look a little grungy and had a brown hue to it. One trip through the washer with cold water on the gentle cycle and the Swamp Cooler was as good as new. Ruff Wear states you can dry in on low in the dryer, but I have opted for line drying.
The Swamp Cooler retails for $54.95 and to me that is money well spent if it adds more quality time outside with our pups, Aspen and Suki. Now we just need to get a second one for our Suki girl!
For more info on the Swamp Cooler and other Ruff Wear products, visit www.rei.com.