Ruffwear Float Coat Review
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Ruffwear Float Coat
|Price||$89.95 at REI|
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|Pros||Top-notch flotation, very secure, no flapping strap tails, available in 6 sizes||Very breathable, comfortable, large pocket||Rescue handle, padded head support, open back for seat comfort||Great mobility, stays put, durable||Accommodating sizing, large armholes, great price, lightweight|
|Cons||Not breathable, stiff, pricey||Less secure, takes time to adjust, less flotation than some||Hard to swim in, doesn't turn a child onto their back||No pockets, a bit long, full coverage is less breathable||No pockets, top strap hard to tighten, torso length too big for smaller paddlers|
|Bottom Line||A well fitted canine flotation aid with the right amount of coverage to protect your pup without hindering their movements||A very comfortable and breathable jacket for laidback dogs and confident swimmers in calmer waters||An easy entry PFD that has an open back for seat comfort and offers extra neck and head support for your floating child||A simple, comfortable paddle vest that stays in place and provides a great value||A super adjustable, surprisingly comfortable option that's simple and easy to wear|
|Rating Categories||Ruffwear Float Coat||NRS CFD||Stohlquist Child||NRS Vapor||Stohlquist Fit|
|Comfort and Mobility (20%)|
|Quality of Construction (15%)|
|Features and Versatility (15%)|
|Specs||Ruffwear Float Coat||NRS CFD||Stohlquist Child||NRS Vapor||Stohlquist Fit|
|Intended User||Dog||Dog||Infant ( <30 lbs)
Child (30-50 lbs)
|Intended Use||Dog safety||Dog safety||Canoeing, kayaking, sailing||Paddling||Paddling, general boating|
|Entry Style||Over-the-head, bottom clip||1 neck and 2 bottom clips||Front zip, 1 chest strap, between the leg strap||Side entry, side clip||Front clip|
|Wear Type||Top and bottom flotation||Top flotation only||Vest||Vest||Vest|
|Sizes Available||XXS (13-17")
|XS (18-24" chest, < 20 lbs)
S (22-28", 20-40 lbs)
M (26-30", 40-60 lbs)
L (30-37", 60-80 lbs)
XL (36-41", > 80 lbs)
|Youth (30-50 lbs)||XS/M (30-42")
|Youth (50-90 lbs)
Youth L/Adult XS (75-125 lbs, 27-33" chest)
Adult XL (48-60")
|Size We Tested||Large (30-37")||Large (32-36")||Youth (30-50 lbs)||XS/M (30-42")||Universal (30-52")|
|Measured Weight||18 oz||15 oz||13 oz||28 oz||14 oz|
|Foam Type||Foam buoyancy cells||Not specified||PVC & PE foam||Soft foam||PE foam|
|Main Material||Nylon||1000D cordura shell||200D nylon||400D urethane-coated ripstop nylon shell, 200D nylon liner||200D nylon shell, 200D oxford liner|
|Claimed Designed Buoyancy||No rating provided||6.4 lbs||8.38 lbs||16.3 lbs||16 to 18 lbs|
|USCG Classification||N/A||N/A||Type III||Type III||Type III|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Ruffwear Float Coat was our favorite flotation vest for our canine companions. Striking the winning balance for ease of use, flotation, and freedom of movement, our dogs seemed quite comfortable in this life vest, and we were comfortable knowing they had suitable protection. Available in a whopping six sizes, there is a Float Coat that is right for your pup.
The Float Coat wraps around your dog's torso, providing strategic flotation that supports their natural swimming position. If your dog is not yet a water lover, this support can help encourage water confidence. For the more adventurous hounds, this PFD would be suitable for swimming in aerated water and is designed to provide similar flotation to an Adult human Type III life vest.
Ruffwear does not assign a weight rating to their doggie PFDs, and the USCG is not yet interested in certifying this piece of gear. However, when compared side by side during our in-house float testing, the large Float Coat provided more flotation than the other large doggie PFDs we tested in this review.
The Float Coat provides the same secure fit that humans expect from their PFDs, except it is designed to fit the unique profile of your dog. The two girth straps offer 7 inches of adjustability around the torso, helping to ensure that the jacket is well contoured to the dog's body with no unnecessary gaps. An additional adjustment point at the neck of this jacket enables you to telescope the vest's collar to suit your dogs' dimensions. This option was particularly appreciated for pups with relatively broad chests compared to the rest of their body.
The adjustability of this jacket means that it can grow with your dog. We have seen a dog grow over four years, gain 30 pounds, and still fit into the same Float Coat. Out of all the canine PFDs we tested, this one is available in the most sizes (six), covering XXS (13-17 inches) to XL (36-42 inches). Regardless if you have a Chihuahua or a Great Dane, there is a Float Coat suitable for their next aquatic adventure.
Comfort and Mobility
In order to ascertain the comfort of the dog PFDs in our lineup, we utilized the WAG test. The Float Coat was a top performer, with our dog's tail wagging positively throughout the test. This was definitely not the case with all the PFDs we tested. Although the Float Coat delivers ample flotation and provides a lot of coverage, it does not look cumbersome on the dog. This isn't the lowest profile dog PFD we tested, but is still a comfortable option. The ease with which you can slip this jacket on helps to avoid any agitation before the adventure begins.
The contoured profile of this PFD does not interfere with movement on land or in the water; our doggies testers could still swim, run, jump and frolic as if they had nothing on.
Quality of Construction
The shell of the Float Coat is made of 800-denier ballistic polyester, so it should be able to withstand whatever rough and tumble play your dog puts it through. Throughout our testing period, we had no concerns with this jacket's quality and think it will last for many years to come. We have seen previous models of the Float Coat last over five years so we are pretty comfortable that the newer designs will have a similar longevity
Our dogs really like to put their gear through its paces, not only swimming in their PFD but play-fighting with other dogs, running through marshes, rolling in puddles, and squeezing through bushes. At the end of our testing sessions, the eye-catching "Blue Dusk" color finish of our jacket was more like a " Brown Mud ."Luckily this PFD will tolerate a gentle wash on a cold cycle.
Features and Versatility
The low-profile handle on the top of this PFD is well-positioned and padded. It is not the beefiest handle we came across in testing, but it was ample to haul our 80-pound wet canine companion out of the water. In addition, it is streamlined enough not to present a huge snag hazard.
The velcro tabs are helpful so you can avoid dangling straps. In addition, we appreciated the D-ring attachment point so we could transition to using a leash on land. There is also a nifty fabric loop on the handle designed for you to attach a light for low-light adventures.
The Float Coat is more expensive than the other dog vests we tested, but it also outperformed them all. This jacket's ease of use and peace of mind make it well worth the cost if you plan to take your dog on some water-based adventure.
The Ruffwear Float Coat is the one we reach for when we want to bring our dog along for playtime in the water. It has become a total hit with our testers, and our doggo now gets excited when we take this jacket out of the closet as he knows it's a sign of fun times to come.
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