Apparently I’ve had this review in my drafts for almost a year, awaiting a final once-over and final photos. We received the Chill Stopper from Hurtta awhile back and we wanted so badly to love it but it’s just not the right cut to fit a narrow bodied Robin, so we ended up finding it a new home. For others with narrow dogs, the Frost Jacket (predecessor of the Chill Stopper) has a very slim fit and would be a great option.
Price: $75 – $100 depending on size, only available in the USA at Euro Dog Designs
Sizing and colors: Juniper and Mud Brown, in 9 sizes from 9″ to 35″ back length
The Chill Stopper is a lightweight softshell with wind and water resistance – the perfect shoulder season layer, in a sleek design that fits into a city environment as easily as a more rugged one. It’s not too well-suited to layering (a layer underneath feels too bulky, and it’s not soft enough to be comfortable under a heavier layer) so it’s most appropriate for moderate temperatures, furry dogs, or moderate climates.
The Chill Stopper is a full-coverage, zip up coat with short sleeves, made out of a lovely softshell material with a microfleece lining. The fabric is buttery smooth on the outside, lightly fleecy on the inside, with a bit of stretch to it and a nice matte sheen. This coat does require a step-in, so may not be optimal for foot shy dogs, but it doesn’t have to pass over the head. It zips up with a diagonal zipper that reduces bulk and bunching compared to longitudinal zippers (like the one on the Ruffwear Climate Changer as well as the Frost Jacket), and features full hip coverage with optional leg straps to keep the hind section in place. This jacket and the Frost Jacket are the only Hurtta coats we’ve tried that don’t shift around even without leg straps, so it’s a good option if your dog is fussy about the straps.
Like many of Hurtta’s other jackets, the Chill Stopper has a toggle to adjust the back length, and an elastic around the waist to snug it up to the belly. However, due to the thicker material, the girth is still less adjustable than on other coats – Robin’s Slush Combat Suit is much bigger, yet snugs up to his belly better than the Chill Stopper does, so it’s important to start with a reasonably good fit.
Reflectivity on the Chill Stopper is fairly minimal- there’s a reflective patch on the right shoulder and one on the chest, and one hip has a reflective patch while the other has small “HOUNDTEX” reflective type. But compared to the earlier Frost Jacket, which has two shoulder reflective patches, and reflective piping running along both sides, it’s not as clearly visible in the dark.
The neck, zipper, sleeves and waistline are all trimmed in a bright blue elastic that’s smooth when new, but starts to pill especially on the sleeves and toward the neck. Although it’s not visible unless you get up close, this is not the most durable of coats – we really didn’t use it much, perhaps 5 or 6 times, and there’s also pilling on the chest where the material rubs together.
Unfortunately, the Chill Stopper just does not fit Robin well. It’s cut for a dog with a much broader chest, so there’s a lot of extra fabric between his front legs. (For reference, he’s a good fit in the predecessor Frost Jacket coat, which is too narrow for many dogs). It’s also too baggy in the body, and doesn’t move well with him. As much as I wanted to like it due to the aesthetics, he’s uncomfortable walking in it.
This coat would work much better for a rounder, broader body type. The gap between Robin’s front legs is only 2.5″, while from the edge of one sleeve to the other (on his 14″ coat), it’s 3.5″. I’ve seen the Chill Stopper look great on spaniel and pit bull type bodies.
It’s a great weight for dreary fall or spring days where rain is possible and temperatures are moderate. We don’t exactly have downpour level rain here in SoCal, but water beads up and runs off the surface of the coat without any wetting out. The Chill Stopper does a good job of blocking wind and light rain, especially because of the belly coverage, and it contains some body heat due to the microfleece lining. At the same time it’s still light and packable, so it’s easy to stow away if the weather clears up. The zipper is quick to put on, has a full zipper guard to protect the fur, and zips to the flank, not the hip, which seems to improve the fit even on Robin. If it fit him properly, the Chill Stopper might have to compete with our favorite raincoat, the Torrent, since it has better belly coverage.
Due to the fabric pilling between the front legs on Robin’s coat after relatively light use, I think the Chill Stopper is best suited for city walks and trail hiking than for more rugged or deep woods hiking – I wouldn’t go though a lot of underbrush or scrape against rock with this, because the soft fabric isn’t really meant to hold up to that. While I can’t think of any jackets we have that ARE meant for that type of abrasion (the Ruffwear Overcoat or the horse-blanket type coats are the only ones I’m aware of, and they’re stiff for Robin size dogs) we haven’t seen this issue on anything else to date.
The Chill Stopper isn’t inexpensive, and it’s less versatile than the vest or waist-belt style coats, which can be layered more easily. However, if your climate gets a lot of rain, I think this is a great option since it provides more coverage than a standard raincoat like the Torrent, and is easier to wear than a serious jumpsuit like the Slush Combat Suit. It’s also a buy if you LOVE Juniper or if you’ll be doing a lot of city walks and don’t need a super warm coat.
The Chill Stopper wasn’t right for Robin’s shape or the type of activities we do, but it’s great aesthetically, and I love the angled zipper and the city-ready design. I’d probably still recommend the Torrent over this coat for most outdoorsy dogs due to the adjustability and layering possibilities, but this is a viable contender for dogs with the right body type.
Good for: Standalone shoulder season layer for rounder/barrel shaped dogs, city aesthetic, coverage for rainy days.
Not ideal for: Narrow dogs, layering under/over, off-trail/underbrush heavy hiking due to easy abrasion.