Fetch is fine after work, but on the weekend, your best friend likes to get outside and explore, too. With the right gear, you can all enjoy your outdoor adventures. Here's what our hard-playing dogs and their humans have to say about the latest dog gear... (Probably only fair to tell you that this sweet pooch isn't one of our test dogs, but until they send us their head shots, we'll just have to create the mood with a stand-in.)

Ruff Wear
Cloud Chaser Jacket

As an African hunting hound, I have a hard time adapting to the winter here in Colorado when the weather goes to the dogs. It's been below freezing for a week now, which means I'd normally be shivering all day. But I've been sporting a Ruff Wear Cloud Chaser, and I'm the talk of the dog park.

My new soft shell (yes, I know, it's as technical as the stuff my owner wears) is pretty spiff. It replaces a junky old jacket I used to wear, and the best part about it is how well it fits. This thing literally hugs me like a glove, and that means I'm warm all day when I wear it. Lots of dog jackets have a nothing but a hole for the neck and then a big droopy strap around my chest. Disastrous! All that happens is I make a mess on the strap when I lift my leg. That dated design also defeats the purpose of cold weather attire, since it leaves my chest and stomach completely bare. And when you're bouncing around in two foot deep powder, that's no fun.  

To be honest, I've only had one functioning dog jacket before the Cloud Chaser. It was the time my owner wrapped me up in a few dish towels, tied a fleece base layer around my neck, strapped a waterproof stuff sack on my back and then slapped a few rolls of duct tape around everything to hold it in place. It was an emergency situation, but at least it worked.

Anyway, enter Ruff Wear's masterpiece. I wear a slightly small version of the jacket, which is fine because the panels are super stretchy. Once the jacket is on, it's on. There's nothing dangling down to pee on either. The upper part of the jacket is wind proof and it's also coated with a water repellent finish so it doesn't soak up water. There's also a nice soft interior fleece layer that keeps me warm even on the coolest days.  

I'm pretty active, and one of the big problems with my old jacket was that droopy chest strap. It was attached with velcro, which tended to come undone. The Cloud Chaser has a great design, however. I step into it and then a big zipper gets closed on the side of the garment. What's great is that my entire chest and belly is covered, and there's nothing to come undone.  

Bottom Line:   Form fitting, super warm, well designed pooch parka that will let me go out in all conditions.

Toots, Nov 08

Price: $75 (sizes S, M, L)

Buy Online: , Sierra Trading Post

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