Rocco has a love hate relationship with the outdoors. He loves to run free down the trail, chasing squirrels and sniffing everything. But he dislikes some aspects of it, like the rain and being cold at night. Prior to our trip in the San Juans I thought rain jackets for dogs were useless and gimmicky. Easy for someone to say coming from a place that sees less rain then nearly everywhere. After having to shack up with Rocco in tight quarters, after drenching through rain I was grateful for any relief from the moisture. A few days before leaving for Colorado I picked up a Ruffwear Sun Shower rain coat just in case it rained. Sure enough, the trip turned out to be a great proving ground for the coat.
Initial Thoughts- The Ruffwear Sun Shower jacket is a simple rain coat built with the active dog in mind. The coat is made of a waterproof PVC free material. The jacket has reflective lines running the entire length of each side, providing great visibility in low light. The collar is extended providing additional coverage, while also adding another line of reflective material. True to Ruffwear's style the top of the jacket has a light mount. The front of the jacket extends down and underneath the dog, providing more protection against low brush that maybe wet. On each side there are two covered buckles. These buckles are attached to elastic straps, allowing the dog to move freely. The build quality is high, typical of Ruffwear equipment. Imagine a product that resembled the quality of a human piece, but for your dog. Ruffwear decided to forego a hood, which is probably for the best. I am yet to see a dog rain coat that incorporates a hood well. Overall I was impressed with the design and quality of the piece.
Use- Like I mentioned earlier the Colorado mountains through all sorts of weather conditions at us, providing a great test weekend for this piece. Initially I was concerned because there was no way to rig the jacket over his Ruffwear Palisades Pack. I quickly realized that the jacket could be worn underneath the pack harness, and still provide the protection from the rain. This worked especially well on the second day, as Rocco was not thrilled about putting on a wet, heavy pack. The jacket acted as a barrier between his fur and the pack, allowing him to stay dry, longer. There was no chaffing caused by the jacket and Rocco appeared to be able to move freely. Even after walking in the rain the entire day, the majority of his body was dry. Obviously the jacket does not prevent all moisture from reaching him, but it does a great job at the areas it covers. On the days when the sun finally came out, the jacket dried quickly laying out on a rock for just a few minutes. Although I am not certain, I believe that jacket also kept Rocco warmer during the day. By keeping most his torso dry, appeared to be able to regulate his body temperature easier. After the trip the jacket looked like it had been washed in a mud puddle. A simple spray from the house took most the dirt off. I was a little frusterated to see that Ruffwear had not incorporated a stuff sack. This is one feature of their Quinzee coat I really like.
Final Thoughts- Like you, your dog deserves the best outdoor gear. Buying cheap alternatives is not a solution for your gear, and neither should it be for your pup. The Ruffwear Sun Shower jacket is a quality built rain jacket for the active outdoor dog. The jacket's slim design allows use with a pack and keeps your dog more comfortable. If you are planning a trip to a rainy area with your dog, the Sun Shower jacket will do an excellent job of keeping your dog dry and warm. More details about the jacket can be found here.
*This item was purchased for this review.