Ruffwear Highlands Sleeping Bag and Ruffwear Landing Pad
- Ruffwear Highlands Sleeping Bag (99.95 msrp)
Our dogs camp with us, usually in a tent, sometimes in leant-tos, on an almost weekly basis, May through October. We have never wanted the dogs sharing our own sleeping bags, but we need to be sure they are warm and comfortable. Traditionally, we have used kid’s sleeping bags, which leave about 2 feet of unused space at bottom, but do provide good “over” coverage for the dogs, as when they are unzipped, they provide a good area for sleeping on, with extra material to fold over the dogs ( unzipped, of course); they also pack up small in compression sacks.
But such bags, while warm and readily obtainable, are not really shaped for a sleeping dog, especially one that curls up, like ours do. So we were pleasantly surprised when Ruffwear introduced a sleeping bag system designed specifically for outdoor dogs. Backcountryk9.com provided this gear for us to test at the end of our camping season, which was a good situation, since the nights are certainly getting cooler now.
I first examined the bag, and gave it a trial fitting in the house. This sleeping bag for dogs is extremely well made, with strong zippers, a stuff sack which attaches to the bag with a plastic clip when the bag is in use, good insulation ,and a contoured shape for the dog. A description of the (sold separately) Landing Pad/Highlands pad follows in this report.
We then gave the bag a test on 5 different camping and canoe camping trips, and actually let both of our dogs give it a try. Temperatures ranged from 35 to 48 degrees on these nights, we were in a tent or lean-to, and neither dog ever seemed to get cold in the bag.
The bag zips open, to provide a nice flat sleeping layer, with synthetic insulation. Our dog seemed to prefer this mode, rather than being zipped up into the bag. Usually, our dogs sleep uncovered, and then if it gets cold, we flip up a flat part of the sleeping bag to go over their torsos.
Gryphon is a 72 lb., lab mutt, with a long torso, and he is a bit big for the bag. The bag is offered in only medium size, which is probably more suited for a smaller dog. Our 55 lb. lab mutt Edgar was a better fit, but even he seemed a bit long for the medium bag. There is only a one-way zip on the bag, and when our dogs were zipped into the bag they had a bit of a difficult time trying to stretch out or turn around.
The bag is 35 in x 26 in, with 1 in loft, and when zipped and flat, the available “height” of the bag is 12 inches. That makes it a bit snug for Gryphon, who has a curled up sleeping “height” of 10-11 inches, when he is zipped into the bag. Even with their back ends at the base of the bag, their shoulders and head seemed to hang out of the front of the bag, off the insulated and padded material. This was fine in the temperatures we were using it, but if it is much colder, we like to have our dogs’ bodies covered and this size bag just would not be suitable for that. For us, it makes a great portable, easily packed bed for camping, with a nice insulated layer under one portion.
The bag itself is clever, well made, and does meet a need for dogs that spend time camping or backpacking. It seems durable, and meets washability requirements for dog and camping gear.
When placed in the included stuff sack, the bag is approx.. 12 x 7 inches. The weight of the bag is 1 lb. 11 oz.T his size makes it suitable for camping and backpacking if you have the room and need for it. If you utilize the Ruffwear landing pad (review to follow), it will not fit into the stuff sack when the pad is inserted into the bag. The bag, and pad, are each designed to fit into the compartments on the Ruffwear Palisades pack, hence the offering in the one medium size. We have used a compression stuff sack (not compressed) to pack up the bag with the pad inserted, as a unit.
2. The Ruffwear Landing/Highlands Pad is an accessory that is sold separately (29.95). It is oval shaped, 34 x 25 inches, and provides an extra insulating and padding layer for the Highlands Sleeping Bag (it slides into a sleeve on the base of the sleeping bag), or as a stand-alone pad. We found out dogs liked to rest on this pad (though it is also a bit small, as it is sized for the medium bag), and admittedly, we also used it as a comfort pad for us when sitting on a rocky shoreline.
When using the Landing Pad inserted into the sleeping bag, we found the sleeping bag seemed to stay in position better…the bottom of the bag remained flat, while the top was able to be adjusted and unzipped/zipped as necessary for coverage of the dog. The pad folds up accordion style, with an attached Velcro strap that holds it snugly in a compact mode. Though I found the pad a bit thin (.4 inches), it does seem to provide padding and insulation, useful when we are camping on less than smooth sites, or on cooler surfaces.
Our dogs love camping with us, and get all excited when they see the gear getting collected and packed. We are responsible for them in the woods, on the trails, or on the water…so if there is gear that can make the trip more enjoyable for them, we will seek it out.
The Ruffwear Highlands Sleeping Bag, and the Ruffwear Landing Pad may seem a bit pricey , but if your small-medium size dog loves camping with you, the sleeping system provides a secure, snug, warm, and durable sleeping option. I hope that Ruffwear does consider offering this bag in a larger size, so more dogs can take advantage of its nice design.