Current Favorites 👑

Even amongst the gear that makes it into our regular rotation, favorites have definitely emerged- items that I reach for over and over again. Click the links to read in-depth reviews. You’ll also find our favorites in the menus with a ⭐ at the beginning of the title. (Italicized categories don’t yet have a favorite – I’d love to hear suggestions!) This page will be updated as we go.


Lightweight jacket: Ruffwear Climate Changer. Absolutely perfect fit on Robin, packs small and light, and has survived endless washes. When he’s active, it keeps him toasty in below freezing weather, and it’s a perfect baselayer.

Heavier jacket: A new category for us, but our Hurtta Ultimate Warmer seems good so far and fits like a glove. I’ll update when we have some winter data. We are also testing the new Extreme Warmer.

Raincoat: We LOVE Robin’s Hurtta Torrent Coat. The blaze orange and the high-tech material are perfect for crisp fall weather.

Life jacket: We’ve only gone out with it once so far, but his new Hurtta life jacket is working great!


Serious Hiking Harness: Ruffwear Webmaster. We gave up our Pro version because it was an-between (too bulky for light hiking, not enough space for a bigger trips), but we reach for the Approach packs (original review) for backpacking trips and long hikes. The harness is sturdy, secure and has a handle – what more could you ask for?


Around Town & Light Hike Harness: For quick hikes, errands and when we’re in a hurry, we love Robin’s Hurtta Active Harness, with its little assistance handle and clean modern design.


Cooling coat: Ruffwear Swamp Cooler. Despite fit issues, it’s been an absolute lifesaver on hot days- I want one for myself. We’re super excited about Ruffwear’s new cooling vest coming out next spring – it looks like a happy medium fit-wise. We’re also recently loving Robin’s Hurtta Sun and Bug Blocker – it’s perfect for keeping his coat from heating up.


LED Collar: We are in love with our Head-Lites collar – it’s good-looking, low profile, and a perfect standard collar PLUS it has LEDs. It’s the only collar we’ve been using during this dark season. boots

Boots: We’ve gone into great depth about boots here and also reviewed another type here. Our previous favorites were Ruffwear Summit Trex: easy to put on, light, and durable. However, they were ousted by soft Cordura boots, which we LOVE. They’re light, packable, and don’t fall off ever. Just ordered two new sets! (We’ve also found socks to be critical with boots, and we’ve got a favorite combination – read about them here.) Unfortunately, we haven’t found a wet-snow option yet – aren’t totally waterproof.


Leash: Previously our Ruffwear Roamer, but I haven’t been reaching for it as often because it’s starting to look worn. Really liking our Wolfpack Supply leash so far!

Outward Hound

Bowl: Previously our Guyot squishy cup for its small size and snap-open functionality, but we’ve mostly been using his Outward Hound Port-A-Bowl lately – now that we feed freeze-dried raw on the trail, a bowl that fully folds up to contain food residue AND can be machine washed is perfect.


Sleeping bag: We love Robin’s Large Alcott sleeping bag. He stays in it all night and it packs into a 6L sack, but we just got Hurtta’s Outback Dreamer and we’re LOVING the build quality and overlapping flap design so far.

What are your favorites? Any items we should definitely try?


25 Comments Add yours

  1. Andrea says:

    Great favorites! Some of them are my favorites too.
    For light I use the Nite Ize LED Collar cover. It’s super easy to use and I don’t need an extra collar. Just clip it to your existing or on the harness handle.
    Another thing I like to bring on our hikes is a Nite Ize Pack a poo. You can stink proof store the poop bags in there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I want a Pack a Poo! I went looking for one but they’re discontinued. I did make Robin a little dry bag that’s seam sealed and I can toss a poo bag in there, but I’d love to see an updated version of pack a poo.


      1. Andrea says:

        They still sell them on Amazon!
        There is something else I always bring on hikes. It’s a poop bag dispenser from Alite design, called boa pod. It’s prefect for clipping it on the backpack or leash.


    2. How big is the Pack a Poo? Is it bulky? Robin’s poop is little haha.


      1. Andrea says:

        It’s not bulky at all. And I wouldn’t recommend it for bigger dogs because it’s not big, but I can easily fit two full bags in it if needed. It has two carabiner, so you can clip it to the outside of your backpack.


  2. Tina says:

    Hi! Love all of the info you guys share 🙂 Thanks! Do you have any training tips for hiking with dogs? I have a 14 week pup in basic obedience & want to get into hiking with him (thanks to you adventurous peeps!).
    Keep adventuring!! Xoxox


    1. My biggest tip is to hike with other dogs that behave the way you want yours to! Robin learned from one dog to stick close (previously he was crazy and would try to dash out the door) and then learned from another dog to do a bit more exploring on the trail rather than just walking next to me. I’ve never had a puppy but I know you have to be careful about overtaxing their joints and since they’re less mature be cautious about trusting their recall.


  3. I am going to have to check out the White Pine slip collar. Xena likes to roll on things so I have to wash her b&w heart collar weekly. I love that collar on her so I hate to wash it too often. I want it to last forever. Lol. Thanks for sharing!


    1. Maybe a coated collar like the Ruffwear Headwater or Honest Hound collars! They wipe clean. I love Robin’s slip collar but it’s very soft nylon, so I don’t know that it would hold up to tons of washes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I see.. I did order a Honest Hound for that reason but can’t help stop looking. I should try it first before I get another one. 🙂 Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. melodified says:

    Would you say the sun shower ruffwear is the same size physically as your swamp coat?


    1. I think the sun shower is a little bigger in the chest. He’ll sometimes step one leg through to the other side. Otherwise, they’re the same.


      1. melodified says:

        I just looked at the specs on the Sun Shower and noticed that the length of the coat is around 17.5in I saw that Robin’s back is less than that… does it hang off? My dog has a curly tail too so that probably won’t work.. =( Is the jacket really that long and does it hang off his nail too?


    2. I wish wordpress would let me post pics in response. That back length is weird- I didn’t notice that. It’s just the right length for him, but his curly tail tries to flip up the back and sometimes gets caught underneath it. In every pic I have, the back is scrunched up a bit by his tail. I think if he wasn’t a curly tail, it would hit right at the base of the tail. One brand to consider for fellow curly tails is Hurtta- a lot of their jackets have little toggles at the tail to cinch up the back. We tried Robin’s Chill Stopper today in the rain and it was great! Water resistant, full coverage. Very expensive though.


  5. Katie M (@nhk8e on Instagram) says:

    Hi! I am looking for a good harness for Oakley. We have a Julius K9, it’s beautiful but I can’t pick him up with it. Oakley seems to be about Ribins size, I want the option of lifting him up, over etc. I saw your recommendations for the Ruffwear one, can you lift the pup up with it?

    Also, for longer hikes, can you recommend a pack for ME that will carry HIM?


    1. Hahaha! I haul Robin around by the handle ALL THE TIME. Love it. A word of caution – I had him in an XXS Approach pack (the webmaster with the bags) because the bags were more proportionate, but I was recently informed that the back belly strap was hitting him right on the floating ribs- creating a potential for dislocated ribs if he’s lifted too fast. His proper size, XXS, hits him in the soft tissue behind the ribs, which isn’t dangerous, so I just ordered him a size up. Ruffwear also just came out with a brush guard that distributes pressure more evenly over the belly, but I tried it today and I’m not really a fan. It’s less adjustable than the pack and it isn’t close enough to Robin’s adjustments, so it doesn’t fit that well. Kept him very clean though!

      My backpacking pack is the Deuter Act Lite 60+10. I tried Robin in it and he fits (though he’s not a fan). That might be overkill. Packs are totally person-specific though. Definitely go try on a bunch with weight at REI or similar (and bring Oakley and stick him in some, I doubt they’d care too much). People love the new Osprey packs with the fancy trampoline suspension, but I was miserable and unbalanced. You’ll know when you try on the right one.


      1. Katie /nhk8e says:

        Thank you!!! I also have the Dueter for my overnight pack. Love it! I guess I’ll have to play around. Something that I can bring as an extra bag so I have my own and then an ‘Oakley pack’ to stick him in for periods of time. Maybe something sturdy but packable. Don’t want to have to empty out a bag or stuff to fit the pooch. I want to be able to bring him on things but his little body shouldn’t be doing as much as that.

        So you still like that harness for him? I’d just need to make sure that it isn’t hitting those last ribs? Thank you so much!!!


      2. Will he fit in a Flash 18? I don’t think Robin would – but they’re soft and rollable so you could just stuff one in your regular pack.

        I love the harness. I have the Webmaster style, the Webmaster Pro style and I just got the Doubleback for scrambling/climbing haha. Just make sure it’s the right fit.


      3. Katie says:

        Fantastic! I will look into those, thanks so much!!


    2. Katie says:

      One more question…looking at prices now. Why the Webcast Pro Harness over the just the Webmaster of Front Range?


      1. It has pockets! It’s a good compromise between the Approach and standard webmaster for peakbagging or day hikes. I went into more detail in my recent Webmaster Pro review. I’m not interested in the front range – it doesn’t have any features that appeal to me. If Robin was always on leash or a puller, it might make sense, but I basically see little point in a harness without a handle for hiking.


      2. Katie says:

        That makes perfect sense, sorry, I didn’t even notice (and hate when people don’t read what is already written!). Just ordered a red XS webmaster harness from Ruffwear (and a flat-out leash too). Got 10% off for joining their mailing list which put it at a better price than Amazon Prime. SO excited! Your website is remarkable. It’s well laid out, visually appealing and extremely well put together with a tons of terrific info. Thank you!! Oakley weighs 19 lbs and has a girth of 19-20″. I am hopeful this harness will do well. I have half of the 48 4k’s done in NH and am hopeful that maybe the little guy can join me on some. Definitely need a way to carry him, lift him and grab him. Stoked, thanks again!


      3. Don’t worry! I didn’t mean it like that. I don’t expect people to have the site memorized! Glad you got a deal, can’t wait to see Oakley out trekking in the new gear! And thanks for the kind words about the site. I’m glad it’s a good resource.


  6. It’s a real challenge to find things that fit Dachshunds well. I really like the Hurtta cooling vest. While it’s not as long as the Ruffwear coat, it fits them perfectly so they don’t trip on the front chest part. Our favorite super warm jacket is the Ultimate Warmer from Hurtta. Something I didn’t see here was a sleeping bag/pad. I love using the Ruffwear Highlander bed with a baby Rumpl blanket for them when we are out hiking or snowshoeing and they need a warm, toasty break. At night, they sleep in OUR sleeping bags of course 🙂


    1. Robin has the Hurtta vest as well! I love the color and the fit is perfect on him. We have the Ultimate Warmer as well, but I haven’t tried it in snow yet so I didn’t want to put it up here. Have you found that it gets wet underneath because the lining isn’t waterproof? I’ve heard reports of it getting soggy.

      Can’t believe I forgot the sleeping bag! Robin has the Alcott one and loves it. He actually stays in it all night.


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