We’re Trail Testers for @DogsThatHike (and also happen to be rand reps for Wild Hound Outfitters!) and received the Wild Hound Outfitters Waxed Canvas Travel Bowl to try! We weren’t the designated reviewers for this product (read the official review by @reggieandthecats here) but this was a bowl worth writing our own review about!
Sizing and colors: One size, natural color (6.5″ diameter x 3.25″ tall)
I was excited to try this handmade waxed canvas bowl because so far, most of the gear we’ve tried has been performance-oriented and mass-market, rather than artisan. The handmade qualities of the bowl are in stark contrast to our most recent bowl review, the Outward Hound Collapsible Bowl– that one is the lightest, most compressible bowl we’ve used, while this one is natural, renewable and makes you stop and think for a moment as you take the extra second to unroll and shape it.
The Waxed Canvas Collapsible Travel bowl is simple in design – a 6.5″ diameter round, straight-sided bowl with a leather strap and brass snap hook to clip it to your pack. The stitching is sturdy and the edges are all well finished. Waxed canvas is a naturally waterproof material, made of cotton canvas with a food-safe wax finish applied, and while it’s thicker and stiffer than synthetic waterproof fabrics, it’s also reparable – it can be re-waxed when the water stops beading up. It’s a time-tested material, and in a world of disposable products and fabrics that work until they don’t, then end up in a landfill, I find this very appealing.
Unlike some fabric bowls, this one does have seams on the inside that could trap wet food particles, but we haven’t had a problem getting it clean – we feed re-hydrated raw on the trail. If you use it for food, just be extra aware of the seams when cleaning.
The bowl rolls up and stays closed via a leather strap and brass stud, and clips to your pack with a heavy brass snap hook. The antique-style snap hook is my least favorite part – it’s heavy, and it doesn’t have a big enough opening to clip around most straps, so I end up using a carabiner to clip it on anyway. I’d prefer a leather loop for weight savings and better functionality.
I would really, really like to see this bowl offered in a bright color canvas – especially orange! It blends in to the dirt and would be all too easy to leave behind.
The size is actually just right for 18lb Robin, who prefers bowls with a generous opening, but would of course work for medium to large dogs as well. Robin can be iffy about sticking his nose into deeper, narrow-mouthed bowls and the Waxed Canvas bowl’s straight sides are more comfortable for him.
On the packing side of fit, it’s important to note that the waxed canvas doesn’t collapse quite as small as an equivalent size fabric bowl would, because it has more structure to it. However, while this isn’t the bowl I grab when I’m going for a quick bike ride and stuffing things into my pockets, the size isn’t a problem when it’s clipped to my pack for a normal excursion.
One of my favorite properties of waxed canvas is that it doesn’t pick up much sand. Our trails are dusty and we spend time in the desert and on the beach, which means we’re already taking a lot of sand home in our gear. Our silicone bowls pick up sand like they’re covered in glue, and fabric bowls always seem to get damp from splashed water and have to be brushed clean of sand. Even the fine beach sand at Little Gasparilla Island didn’t stick to the canvas (though it sure stuck to my feet and Robin’s belly). This is also the bowl I reach for when we’ll be planted in one place for a bit, since it has good structure and holds its shape when unattended, but it might not be the best choice in muddy or wet environments because there’s no way to tuck up the leather strap out of the dirt, and it could require extra cleaning and conditioning to restore after too much water damage.
The closure strap comes punched with two holes, and it just so happens that the 2nd hole is the right size for the bowl loosely rolled up with a Robin-sized portion of freeze dried raw inside. A larger volume of less-delicate food would fit, too. Not a single particle of food escaped the roll, and when I unrolled it later at lunchtime, the delicate raw pellets were all still intact. Unfortunately, it doesn’t hold water the same way, but it definitely seals in any remaining water droplets after a water break, which keeps my pack dry.
I was skeptical of the stiffness and bulkiness of the waxed canvas when we first received the bowl, but it’s softened up nicely without losing its “memory” – it “remembers” its fold pattern for quick pack-up. Wild Hound Outfitters doesn’t provide care information, but from a little research it looks like cool water and mild soap are the way to go, so this probably isn’t the bowl to use if you’re feeding fresh meat or greasy wet food, but it’s perfect for water, kibble or dehydrated raw.
At $20, the Waxed Canvas bowl is priced below its high-tech competitors (Ruffwear’s Bivy Bowl and Hurtta’s Fountain Bowl are both $25, while pet store brands are in the $5 – $15 range. For a product that’s renewable, $20 is a great value if you’re willing to commit to some care when it eventually needs it.
The Wild Hound Outfitters Waxed Canvas Travel bowl adds a little bit of history and handmade charm to your day-to-day life. Despite using age-old materials, it’s super functional, easy to use and just requires a touch of extra thought when washing (no hot water!) and an eventual occasional re-waxing. With frequent use ours has softened and developed a bit of patina and character. It’s an unusual option in the bowl market and one I recommend giving a try!
Best for: Water, kibble or dehydrated raw, day trips, carrying small amounts of food, handmade feel.
Not ideal for: Machine washing, fresh raw/oily wet food, ultralight/ultra-compact packing.