Ruffwear Review: The Aira Dog Rain Jacket

Ruffwear Review: The Aira Dog Rain Jacket

So most of you know I’m a big animal lover! Obviously, I love geocaching too! That means I love creating new blog posts about both! Our last post about hiking tips for dogs got a lot of response on the Colorado Geocaching Facebook page too so I think its time for another! It sounds like people were looking for more information on inclement weather too! Well, at least a few people. So for this post, we are going to review the Aira dog rain jacket by Ruffwear. I’m a big fan of Ruffwear but the price can sometimes be a limiting factor. But if you make it to the end of this article I will tell you a way that you can get 20% of the Aira rain jacket. At least if you live in the Aurora area that is!

First, why would you want a rain jacket for your dog? While many dog breeds definitely don’t need a jacket (think of the fuzzy Burmese mountain dog) others with a shorter coat can get really chilly really quickly. It can also depend on what you’re doing and where you’re hiking. The last factor is the overall size of the dog. Smaller dogs have a tougher time regulating their own body temperature. That means my little Chihuahua friend Chico can have a really tough time staying warm! A jacket is a must for him on almost any geocaching expedition!

The Good?

The Aira rain jacket can be adjusted to fit just about any size dog. Whether your dog has a deep chest or is very lanky, there are enough points of adjustment on the Aira that just about any size dog can fit comfortably in the jacket. Ruffwear generally produces high quality products and the Aira is no different. I’ve used the jacket with Chico more than 40 times and I’ve not noticed any significant wearing of the buckles and other straps. There has been some color change but beyond that, the jacket looks almost new!

The jacket is well designed and works great in windy conditions. The jacket has a very cool feature that I don’t see in most other dog jackets. There are loops in the back of the jacket that fit over your dog’s legs. While some dogs may find this annoying at first they can be adjusted as needed. These keep the jacket on the dog even in windy conditions. While this may not sound like a big deal, most dog jackets end up flapping around on the back when things get windy and don’t help your dog at all.

The material is breathable making the jacket a good choice in both very cold and just cool temperatures. The jacket doesn’t get too hot when worn in cool weather. At least based on how much Chico pants! However, the jacket really shines when it comes to windy conditions. The jacket stays where it needs to be and really breaks the chill!

The jacket is easily packed. The jacket compresses well and easy to put away if it turns out you don’t need it. Especially when you’re dealing with chihuahua sizes!

The Bad?

The cost can be a bit much. This jacket will run you around $80 retail. While this can seem like a lot, if you take care of the jacket it can last a lifetime.

The leg loops can get annoying for some dogs. My girlfiend has a medium sized mixed breed (around 45 pounds) that hate the leg loops! We could keep trying but at this point, she has given up on him and just lets him go without them. However, I think those loops are one of the best benefits of the product.

That’s really it! If you’ve used something like this in the past then you will probably have a good idea whether your dog will be annoyed by the leg loops or not. We highly recommend picking up this jacket!

Save 20% On This Jacket!

If you live in the Aurora area, I highly recommend you pick up this jacket at the Chuck and Don’s pet food outlet on S. Parker Road. That store, in particular, has a survey at the bottom of each receipt. If you fill that survey out you can get a 20% your next purchase of a non-food item. That means Ruffwear gear! If you don’t live in the Aurora area you can also pick up the Aira on Amazon. You can pick it up here (this is an affiliate link).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garmin Colorado 300 for Geocaching- Product Review

Garmin Colorado 300 for Geocaching- Product Review

Note: There are affiliate links in this post. By clicking these links you support ColoradoGeoCaching.com! 

When it comes to enjoying geocaching, a GPS is not optional. As is often the case with necessities, a bad one can ruin your day while a stand out product can make the whole experience better. The Garmin Colorado 300 is intended to do exactly that when it comes to geocaching. Let’s see how it holds up.

First off, the issues with the previous unit seem mostly resolved. There certainly were issues. Almost to the point that it felt like the device and software were released too early. But now, that it’s fixed, it delivers everything that is supposed to.

The Benefits of Garmin Colorado 300 Geocaching Unit

I have to admit that there are a few new features that make the Garmin Colorado 300 geocaching better. For some I mean. From what I hear, not everyone is comfortable with the Rock ‘n Roller input wheel. It certainly took some time to get used to but just like anything else that’s new, you need some time to get the hang of it. Why would this be an exception? There is a learning curve, but you get used to it. Anyway, here are the highlights of the product.

  • The screen is big and clear. It measures 76 mm diagonally, and it comes with 240×400 pixels. The linework and text seem to be anti-aliased, which makes it more readable than before. Visibility is okay, despite the fact that the backlight is not too much, but not too less either. It gets brighter as you plug it in your car’s source of power.
  • The Rock ‘n Roller wheel. As I previously said, I don’t get why people get so upset. Yes, there is a learning curve, but you can get used to it fast. Just play with it for a few hours. Personally, I enjoy this. I can zoom in while on a map, I can access menus by scrolling up and down. It’s easier than using buttons. But that’s just me.
  • There is a new user’s interface. And it works perfectly with the input wheel. You can simply browse through the options using the wheel, and when you want to access a certain feature, press the center button. You can customize shortcuts to the features you use most. Text input comes up as a wheel as well. Rotate to get to the desired letter and push the center button to insert. You can also configure your GPS, manage tracks, waypoints, routes, and geocaches. You can even set and store the setting for different profiles. As far as I am concerned, this new user interface is way easier than the previous.
  • It features a built-in worldwide map, and the relief is shaded. I think that Garmin wanted to impress us with the so-called 3D maps of the Colorado 300, but honestly, my mind is split as to this is a benefit or a waste of time. It’s nice that there are the shadows, at some point you really do have the feeling of a 3D map, but when you zoom in, shadows keep emerging, and it can get annoying.
  • There is more geocaching support than previous Garmin models. Geocache data from their website can be sent directly to your unit by hitting “send to GPS.” button on the site, or you can import a PocketQuery file. The device will recognize the geocache information, and it will treat it depending on the waypoint. But from what I saw online, it seems that 2000 is the maximum of loaded geocaches. I didn’t test this myself, so I don’t know for sure.
  • Other things that I like are the highly sensitive receiver, the electronic compass, and the barometric altimeter, and the fact that the internal memory is 384 MB, but you also have a slot for an SD card.

Overall, I think that the Garmin Colorado 300 geocaching features are more than satisfactory. Its perfect for anyone starting out since you really don’t need much more than this to get the job done!

Garmin Colorado 300 geocaching drawbacks

Just as any other product, the Garmin Colorado 300 geocaching unit comes with a few disadvantages.

  • The search feature is close to useless. If you want to find a particular place, you can’t. You only have a “Find nearest” option. But if you want to go to another location, you have to scroll manually on the map. Although, it ‘s hard to find something when you don’t know where it is.
  • Map exploration is somewhat restricted. You are only allowed to zoom in or out at the found location.
  • I am going to mention the fact that zoomed in 3D maps of Colorado 300 are a failure. Too many shadows. They don’t go easy on the eyes and it can sometimes become very difficult to actually know what you’re looking at.
  • Controlling the map can be achieved mostly in the setup page. It would have been better if could do it on the map page menu. Almost all of the other products I tested had this option.
  • It has a slow startup, especially when you have many points. If you add more waypoints to the internal storage, they appear as processed only once, but if you add them to the SD card, it’s like they are processed every time you turn on the unit.
  • You can’t change the color of the track. I always like that on other devices.
  • If you save more than one track, you will be able to see just one at a time.

 

There you have it. While the device is a bit older at this point it is still worth the purchase. And considering you can pick one up on Amazon for a very reasonable price, I would say its certainly a good pick for your first GPS device. If you have a chance, take a look at the 3D map option and see if you prefer that over more standard options. I suspect that will be the main issue that people have.

Have you used the Colorado 300? Let us know below!

 

3 Tips for Geocaching With Your Dog

3 Tips for Geocaching With Your Dog

Colorado is well known as a dog-friendly state. We have some of the best dog parks, dog cafes and dog everything in the nation! Coloradans love their pets! Which may be why we see so many geocaching enthusiasts that are looking for pet-friendly finds! Well, the good news is, that most hunts are pet-friendly and treasure hunting is one the best activities you and your dog can share. But here are three things you should keep in mind before taking your furry friend out on the hunt. This post was put together with consultation from my local veterinarian and friend Dr. E. Find out more about her clinic here.

Keep Those Puppy Paws Padded!

While dogs can typically handle any terrain for a period of time, sometimes the long term nature of geocaching in Colorado’s rocky and mountainous trails can start to take a toll on your pooch’s paws. That’s why Dr. E recommends canine booties to keep your four-legged friend hot on the treasure trail for as long as possible. These “puppies” (pun intended) are the real deal. Made with premium material and gore tex, just like with human hiking boots. Dr. E says that you have to watch out for two main issues- first is the possibility of sharp or jagged rocks and second is the continued wear and tear on your dogs feed. The products at Ruff Wear will handle both. While they certainly aren’t cheap at right around 40 dollars a pair it is still a lot cheaper than a visit to a veterinary clnic for a laceration repair!

my dog chico

My little buddy Chico the geocaching Chihuahua always wears his Ruff Wear booties!

 

Know Your Dogs Limits

Depending on the breed of dog you’re treasure hunting with you will be capable of different things. A heartier breed like a lab or shepherd can handle a lot tougher terrain (for the most part) but are also prone to hip issues, says Dr. E, and thus it may not be the best idea to go on long hikes with them. I took my little friend Chico with me and since he is chihuahua he can’t always hack it. While he does great at bouncing up and down rocks sometimes he gets a little worn out and needs some help. The good thing is that since he only weighs 8 pounds its quite easy to pick him up and carry him for a quick break. If your dog weighs 100 pounds that just isn’t an option.

That’s why our veterinairan friend and fellow geocacher, Dr. E, recommends you build up to longer hikes or take some trial runs at a large lap or other area where you can easily get back to safety. This way, you can begin to learn the limits of your dog and what they can or can’t handle. Obviously this super dog can handle quite a bit!

 

Bring Plenty of Food And Water- For You and Your Pet!

Dr. E points out that most people are chronically dehydrated and even worse most people don’t take enough water to account for the stress of a long hike. Don’t let your pet suffer for this too. It can be hard to know how much they need since…well…they can’t talk! But shouldn’t stop you from trying to figure it out. Generally, dogs need about 12-14 ounce of water per 10 pounds. In colder drier environments (like the mountains!) it can be even higher. The same goes for food. Just like you, your dog is burning much more calories while out looking for that deeply hiidden cache and he needs to have an increase in calories to match!

Ruff Wear offers a series of foldable dog beds and bowls to make the process easier- even better they offer doggie backpacks so that Fido can carry his own food!

Doesn’t get better than that.

All in all, don’t forget that your dog is much like you and most the preparation you have to make (food, water, protection and knowing what you can handle) apply to your dog too!

Happy hunting!