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Reviews > Animal Companion Gear > Dog Wear > Ruff Wear Jet Stream Cooling Vest > Test Report by Michael Pearl

RUFFWEAR JET STREAM COOLING VEST
TEST SERIES BY
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - June 25, 2018
FIELD REPORT - August 28, 2018
LONG TERM REPORT - October 30, 2018

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Pearl
EMAIL: mikepearl36ATyahooDOTcom
AGE: 44
LOCATION: Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 155 lb (70.30 kg)

I have a great appreciation for the outdoors and get out at every opportunity. I am a three-season, learning to be a four-season backpacker and year-round hiker. Currently, my trips are two to three days long as well as an annual week-long trip. I utilize the abundant trail shelters in my locale and pack a backup tarp-tent. I like to cover big distances while still taking in the views. I have lightweight leanings but function and reliability are the priority. I mostly travel woodland mountain terrain but enjoy hiking beautiful trails anywhere.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Ruffwear IMAGE 2IMAGE 1
Year of Manufacture: 2018
Manufacturer's Website: www.ruffwear.com
MSRP: US$39.95
Listed Weight: Not Listed
Measured Weight: 3.6 oz (103 g)

Made in Vietnam

Colors Available: Salamander Orange and Blue Lagoon
Color Tested: Salamander Orange

Sizes Available: XX-Small to X-Large
Size Tested: Medium

Features:
- UPF 50+ Coverage - lightweight spandex back panel provides shade and UPF rated to 50+
- Three layer construction cools the core IMAGE 3
- Wicking outer layer reflects heat and facilitates evaporation
- Absorbent middle layer stores water for evaporation
- Comfortable inner layer transfers cooling effect to the dog
- Zippered closure for high-performance fit

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Jet Stream vest arrived inside a plastic shipping bag. Upon removing the vest I noticed that it is rather light. The spandex section that makes up the top of the vest is soft, smooth, stretchy and very bright. The Ruffwear logo is found near the neck area and a full length plastic zipper runs down the left side. The underside section is a grey, textured and lightly padded material. Inside the vest is a small loop of fabric for hanging the vest and two tags. The first tag shows the vest size and has an area to write the owner's name and phone number on the front. On the back of this first tag are materials and washing instructions. The second tag shows use instructions in four pictures that are easily understood. Picture one shows a container labeled H2O pouring water on the vest. The vest turns blues. Picture two shows a blue vest in the shape of a wrung towel. Picture three shows a dog wearing a blue vest. Picture four shows a dog wearing a vest no longer blue with arrow pointing to picture one. I take this to mean repeat.

There is also a product tag attached to the vest. There is information about the Ruffwear company and this item. The item specific information is about how to size a dog for the vest, the vest size, features and the same four pictures demonstrating how to use the vest. This time four brief lines accompany the pictures listing the features:
- cools with water
- soak in water, wring out, put on dog
- lightweight spandex provides shade
- three layer chest panel facilitates evaporation and transfers cooling effect to the dog.

While looking over the Jet Stream vest all materials and assembly appear to be of good quality. I do not see any defects. It seems made well enough to hold up to my dog in the outdoors. Now I wonder what my partner for this test will think. This test series I will again enlist the help of my pet dog Oscar. Oscar is a 52 lb (23.5 kg) mix breed dog. He really enjoys being out in the woods and never passes up an opportunity to take a swim.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

I found care and use instructions on the Ruffwear website, product hang tag and tag inside the vest. All are clear and easy to understand. Use instructions were mentioned in the previous section. Care instructions are as follows.

Washing Instructions
- Secure fasteners
- Wash in cold water, gentle cycle
- Use mild detergent
- Hang to dry
- Do not bleach, iron or dry clean

TRYING IT OUT

The vest unzips easily, there is a small loop of cord attached to the zipper acting as a pull. The openings for the legs are large and easy to pass paws through. After pulling the vest up toward Oscar's body I wrapped the orange spandex portion over his back. I then lifted the other section to attach the zipper. There is a zipper garage making it kind of hard to pull the spandex section, lift the grey section and attach zipper. The garage while providing protection to the zipper also hides it. I found if I held the zipper pull between my thumb and index finger while applying pressure with my middle finger to the back of the zipper I could match it up. I then can pull the zipper closing the vest. However the vest fits close and is a bit tight. I need to pull and stretch the spandex toward the zipper. Then holding the two sides of the zipper close to each other I can move the zipper pull to fully close the vest.

Oscar looked comfortable and he did not make any sounds or movements to suggest discomfort. I repeated this process two more times. By the third time it all felt much easier and fluid. Saying fluid reminds me that this was all done with the vest dry. I will need to take note of this process again in the field when the vest is wet. All other "doggie wear" Oscar has worn uses hook and loop and/or side release buckles. So my hope is putting this vest on will feel more natural with experience.

IMAGE 4

SUMMARY

I always feel bad when it's really hot and Oscar is uncomfortably panting. The ability to help him more effectively lower his temperature would be great. Thus far I can say the Jet Stream Cooling Vest is well made and designed. It fits nicely and looks good. I really like the bold color for keeping track of Oscar in the woods. While I don't mind hot weather I usually don't welcome it. However with the Jet Stream in our kit I am more encouraged.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

IMAGE 1
Three hikes to Balch Hill - Hanover, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 5 mi (8 km) from 525 to 950 ft (160 to 290 m)
Temperature and Conditions - 80 to 95 F (27 to 35 C) clear and dry to hazy and humid

Three hikes around Storrs Pond - Hanover, New Hampshire,
Distance and Elevation - 4 mi (6.4 km) from 525 to 400 ft (160 to 120 m)
Temperature and Conditions - 75 to 85 F (24 to 29 C) cool and calm to damp and moist

Velvet Rocks - Hanover, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 8 mi (13 km) from 525 to 1300 ft (160 to 400 m)
Temperature and Conditions - 84 F (29 C) and humid

Mts. Flume and Liberty - Lincoln, NH
Distance and Elevation - 11 mi (18 km) from 1500 to 4450 ft (457 to 1356 m)
Temperature and Conditions - 78 F (26 C) breezy and clear

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Oscar and I saw some really unseasonably high temperatures during field testing. We avoided any exertion on the hottest days and hung out by the river or in the basement. On days that hiking was feasible Oscar and I made several short hikes to our neighborhood trails. It was still hot enough to produce shirt soaking sweat and visions of jumping into cool waters. Seeing Oscar sporting his bright orange and potentially cooling vest I wondered if it would fit me too. Then he dropped and rolled himself in a rather gross puddle. Any ideas of sharing were quickly dissolved. After the heat broke and the clouds blew out we made a trip to the higher mountains for a longer and cooler hike.

Upon leaving for each of our six local hikes I would wet the vest with the garden hose. I find the vest zips just a little bit easier wet than when dry. Oscar also seems to like putting the vest on when it's wet and cool. We then have about a 5 or 15 minute walk before being under tree cover. The vest held water well as Oscar did not leave a drip trail of water. I continually felt the vest for moisture during each hike. On the drier less humid days the vest felt dry in about two hours. This got me thinking about rewetting. I wouldn't sacrifice drinking water. Only if hiking near natural water would the vest be truly effective. Lucky for Oscar hiking around the pond made for many opportunities to wet the vest. On Balch Hill we had just this issue. Once the trail cuts away from the road there is no water in sight. On Velvet Rocks Oscar got lucky and found several puddles and seasonal streams to roll in.

So when the vest is wet I think Oscar has increased comfort. He seems to have more stamina, running longer and taking less full flop and stop breaks. When he is running ahead the bright color makes it much easier to see him. Additionally when other hikers approach him they seem friendlier. My guess is a dog dressed in a cute vest is less intimidating and more approachable.

Once home again I remove the vest, hose it off again, this time to rinse off dirt and mud. Oscar gets a towel dry if still wet. Inside Oscar seems to recover faster when returning with the vest wet or damp. He doesn't pant as hard or as long as when returning with the vest dry or when without the vest at all. This suggests to me the vest is helping to cool him. After the vest dries it's fairly clean with minor discoloration on the underside or chest portion.

SUMMARY

The Jet Stream Cooling Vest has worked quite well during field testing. It is compatible with the harness collar Oscar uses. He does not mind wearing the vest at all. In fact when Oscar sees it he becomes excited knowing a hike is in the near future. When the vest is moist it seems to assist in temperature regulation. The only down side is needing to be close to water to wet it again when it dries out. I have become more proficient with the zipper the more we have used it. The vest itself and all parts have held up to Oscar's spontaneous bushwhack off trail adventures. As well as his joyous habit of rolling in grass, leaves, puddles and jumping into the pond.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

IMAGE 1
Mt Cardigan - Alexandria, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 5 mi (8 km) from 1600 to 3155 ft (490 to 960 m)
Temperature and Conditions - 68 F (20 C) cloudy with light breeze

Balch Hill - Hanover, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 3 mi (4.8 km) from 525 to 950 ft (160 to 290 m)
Temperature and Conditions - 60 F (15.5 C) and sunny

Moose Mountain - Hanover, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 5 mi (8 km) from 1350 to 2300 ft (410 to 700 m)
Temperature and Conditions - 50 F (10 C) calm and sunny

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The temperatures cooled into the fall range and held throughout this period of testing. The Jet Stream played less of a cooling role and more of a sight and safety role. The bright orange color makes Oscar easier to keep tabs on while hiking off leash. Additionally now that it is hunting season it makes us both safer in the woods wearing blaze orange.
IMAGE 2
As said before I have become better at working the zipper though it still requires concentration. If Oscar is antsy to go it takes a few tries before I can properly attach the zipper. Once on, the vest stays in place and removing it is easy. Oscar seems to remain comfortable in the vest the whole outing. He runs, explores and plays as usual. In the photo to the left Oscar's playing his "throw me a stick / keep away" game. The colors especially on the bottom are slightly faded. This is because Oscar still likes to find mud and if it's dry he likes rolling in the tall dry grass or leaf litter. The vest continues to hold up well to his doggy antics. It remains in one piece with no tears, rips or loose threads.

SUMMARY

The Ruffwear Jet Stream Cooling Vest is a great addition to Oscar's outdoor gear. It makes hiking with him in high temps more bearable. Any help cooling a warm Oscar on a hot day is welcomed by us both. He's more comfortable and I can worry less about him in the heat. I also like the added bonus of acting as a safety vest. Hiking in our usual areas requires additional awareness during hunting season. The Jet Stream does this well with its bright color. Oscar and Iwill continue using the vest through the remainder of hunting season. Though now it seems very far away: when summer returns we will soak the Jet Stream welcoming the return of the sweating and panting season.



This concludes my Long-Term Report. Oscar and I had a great time on this test over the past months. I would like to extend my appreciation to Ruffwear and BackpackGearTest.org for the chance to test the Jet Stream Cooling Vest.

IMAGE 3

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

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