Review: The Latest Gear for Mountain Mutts

Per capita, can anywhere in the country lay claim to more outdoor dogs than Bozeman? Our mountain mutts go everywhere with us: hiking, camping, hunting, biking, even skiing and climbing. Yup, Bozeman dogs get after it—which is why we like Ruff Wear, a company devoted to equipping our loyal canines for the outdoor-dog lifestyle. Here are the latest additions to their “performance dog gear” lineup.

Collapsible dog bowls have been a staple for outdoor-dog owners for years, but the new Bivy Bowl ($20) takes the idea a step further. Its single-wall, seam-free construction makes it lighter and more compact than previous bowls. It also holds its shape better and has a no-slip base—which means no more pushing the bowl halfway across the campground trying to get at those last few morsels. Definitely the next generation in portable hound hydration.

About the only place my own intrepid quadruped can’t hang is rock-climbing—until now, that is. The DoubleBack Harness ($125) allows me to rope Rico in and haul him up a 5th-class climb without fear. It also works great for lowering your pooch over sheer faces or gnarly down-climbs. Strength-rated to 8.9kN, this harness is as safe as the ones we humans use, and it has a bomber tie-in point for easy rope attachment. Extensive padding and adjustable straps provide a customizable, comfortable fit. This is one piece of gear bound to broaden your dog’s horizons.

For the toy-destroyers out there, roll out a SquareBall ($18) and challenge them to dismantle it. This burly “ball” is darn near indestructible, with super-thick latex rubber and a hefty weight for long fetches. Each side has five commands for training or play, and its two-hole design prevents tongue-damaging suction. This heavy-duty cube may not become your dog’s favorite chewtoy, but it’s one you won’t ever have to repair or replace.

Ruff Wear products are available online at or at the following local stores:

Belgrade: Rocky Mountain Supply

Big Sky: Grizzly Outiffers

Bozeman: Barkenhowell’s, Bob Ward’s, Bridger Feeds, Canine Aqua Balance, Dee-O-Gee, Murdoch’s, Ennis: Shedhorn Sports

Northern Lights

Livingston: Timber Trails

West Yellowstone: Bud Lilly’s Trout Shop