Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Review
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A few years ago, we provided an in depth review of the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler. The folks over at Ruffwear are constantly updating and innovating their products to meet the needs of your pup. The Swamp Cooler underwent a revamp this past season and here are some of our impressions.
Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Basics
As a refresher, the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler is designed to keep your dog cool when the weather really heats up by utilizing evaporative cooling and reflecting sunrays, rather than absorbing. To use the the Swamp Cooler, simply dunk or spray it with a hose, wring out any excess water to avoid weighing your dog down, and slip the vest on. The Swamp Cooler has three layers: the top layer features diamond shaped wicking mesh layer that allows for evaporation, while the middle layer holds onto the cool water, while the bottom layer transfers the cool water to the dogs skin/fur via large pores. The updated Ruffwear Swamp Cooler design features larger pores on the inner layer to maximize the surface area in contact with your dog. The top layer replaced circular openings with diamond shaped with small circles within in the updated model.
Performance and Features
When used side by side, I felt that the newer Ruffwear Swamp Cooler stayed wet a bit longer. It was difficult to do a side by side comparison on the same dog at the same time in the same heat. My methods were as follows, Aspen sported the newer model and Stella the older one. I did test the Swamp Cooler on multiple hot summer walks, with and without the Swamp Cooler. Needless to say, the dogs were much happier with the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler on their backs: they walked longer, panted less, and didn’t pull me to every shade tree that we passed on 90F plus days.
Getting the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler on and off is a cinch thanks to a vest design, which does not require slipping paws through a narrow opening. The updated Ruffwear Swamp Cooler features buckles that are housed underneath an additional flap of the breathable fabric. This change has many advantages: the buckles don’t catch on items if the dog brushes closely by, it eases layering with a dog pack, and the buckles are protected which increases longevity. Your dog will also now be more visible, thanks to the addition of reflectivity at not only the neck (like the previous model), but also along the back hem.
The fit is also a bit different, the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler now features additional fabric or coverage at the chest area for increased surface area/moisture transfer in a high heat area. The shoulder cut outs are also a bit larger, which is more advantageous for the stockier or broad shouldered dogs. While on the sizing topic, the new Ruffwear Swamp Cooler utilizes an updated size guide, available here. The Swamp Cooler is available in size XXS to XL, based on abdominal girth. You can also look at the sizing of each type of jacket or vest, which includes length and neck girth. These two additional dimensions can help you to get the perfect fit for the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler or any of their other products.
In the old model, our boy Aspen wore a size large. In the updated Swamp Cooler model, he needed a size medium. Despite losing about 2 inches of coverage over his back, the smaller size fit his midsection and shoulders a bit better than the large did. As for our smaller Airedale Terrier, Stella, the size medium remained a bit too large in the shoulders, and the vest tended to slide around a bit. Based on her dimensions, she is a medium in 2 of the 3 measurements. At the end of the day, I’d rather have a Swamp Cooler a touch on the large size to keep the dog from feeling constricted.
Overall, the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler remains a staple in our household for our summer adventures. With a price tag of only $59.99, the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler is a must for those with a dog that easily overheats.
For more info on this and other Ruffwear products visit www.rei.com/ruffwear.