Special Mission Accomplished – Peek Inside the North Face of Dog Gear

Photo courtesy of Ruffwear
Photo courtesy of Ruffwear

So there I was, fawning all over like a giddy teenager in front of her crush.

A couple of weeks ago I was at Superzoo – a huge pet product trade show – and visited the Ruffwear Performance Dog Gear booth. I had a special mission.

My hubby and I were going to Bend, OR for a vacation with the dogs in a couple of weeks and that is where the Ruffwear headquarters are located. It was a dream of mine to visit their warehouse for a tour. Also, as a social media geek and pending digital communication graduate student, I wanted to find out who was behind their amazing social media image.

I wasn’t ashamed. I gushed to the Ruffwear representative about how much I LOVE the Ruffwear brand and what they stand for. I went on and on about how well their products were made and how I liked that they were for REAL outdoorsy dogs (they sponsor the Mt. Bachelor Avalanche Rescue Dogs). I told him about my passion for social media and to learn more.

He kindly gave me the card for the Ruffwear Marketing Coordinator. I contacted him and he agreed to meet with me, and the Social Media Marketing Coordinator as well, and let me tour the warehouse with my hubby and Chester and Gretel.

We met and ate lunch at 10 Barrel Brewing – a local dog-friendly restaurant.

I wish they had driven us there in the Ruffwear van. Kidding. Not really :)
I wish they had drove us there in the Ruffwear van. Kidding. Not really 🙂

I grilled them for over an our on their social media strategy, where Ruffwear was going and told them about us crazy pet bloggers – spinning stories of twitter parties and blog hops. I talked with them about their affiliate program (the first one I have ever considered joining). Afterward, we went back to the Ruffwear headquarters to check it out.

It was the realization of a dream for me. I have always wanted to look behind the scenes at an outdoor gear manufacturer. That dream has always been out of my reach because I was just another gear junkie. Finally, I found a way in with my two tickets named Chester and Gretel.

After a quick tour of the warehouse, we met all of the staff and had our photos taken. We got to see their product testing room.

A big strength-testing doohicky in their product testing room
A big strength-testing doohicky in their product testing room

They had this cool box that they put the fabric in to test what the color looks like under different lighting conditions (maybe to make sure your dog looks good no matter what kind of light they are in? ha, ha)!

The staff said they didn’t get many small dog models in that they could measure (because they all own medium dogs) so Chester and Gretel got their measurements taken.

Photo courtesy of Ruffwear

Gretel got to try on one of their prototypes (I can’t share it with you now but it is very exciting and I will tell you about it later). They actually asked me for some feedback on how they could improve the fit for small dogs! Here we were, bonafide outdoor gear testers!

After some pictures, and *ahem* Chester peeing on their warehouse floor, we got out of their hair. It was a super fun experience though and I hope to get to do it, or something like it, again in the future. Even if that was our 15 minutes of gear-tester fame, it was the most awesome 15 minutes of glory. I can cross “get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of one of my favorite outdoor gear manufacturers” of my bucket list.

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica. I’ve been studying the Dachshund breed since 2007, owned 3 of my own, and shared in the lives of thousands of others through their owner’s stories. When I’m not sharing what I know on this blog, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.


  1. Cool trip. I like their products but I’m disappointed with their sizing. While I am glad they make a variety of sizes including one for “small dogs,” that size still won’t fit most dogs under ten pounds.

    The xxs is a bit too big on my almost seven-pounds dog. We have the Web Master harness and even when the straps are at their tightest, there’s still a gap. I tried one of the jackets on him and it is about two inches too long and too wide.

    To be fair, I don’t know if there would be enough demand to consider adding another size. But it would be nice.

  2. Fun! Ammo’s best buddy Trooper recently tested out their SwampCooler on our blog, which I thought was a great product – especially for dogs with lots of hair.
    We haven’t taken any of their harnesses for a spin yet, but it looks like they have some nice ones that fit even the weirdly shaped dachshund sizes.
    Can’t wait to hear more about their new prototype!

  3. Um…how awesome is that?! What a perfect day for you guys (and how cool that they test the product like that.) I love it!

  4. Have you ever used their shoes? I’ve tried on several different brands with my weiner but to get them big enough for his paws, they are always too long for his legs. Any assistance you can offer is greatly appreciated!!

    1. I’ve had the exact same issue. It’s especially a problem with Ruffwear boots because they are so stiff. Really though, I haven’t found any boots that work. Chester and Gretel have never had an issue with their paws though so I just quit looking…..although I have seen almost every dog boot on the market. Is there a reason that your pup needs to wear boots?

      1. Thanks so much for your quick reply! I live in Phoenix and am really concerned about burning my dog’s paws in the summer. This generally results in a lack of activity for the summer and I really wish we had an alternative!

        1. Ahhhh…that makes sense. The pavement rarely gets too hot in Seattle so I forget about that sometimes.

          Take a look at the PAWZ boots. I have doggy friends who use them for a variety of things. This FAQ page says they help to protect feet from hot pavement.

          As a side note, I know a lot of people that have gone from no boots to these cold turkey. They just put them on and take the dog for a walk. They hate it at first and dance around a bit but a lot of them get used to them and calm down pretty soon.

        2. Rhian, have you heard of a product called Mushers Secret? It’s used mostly to protect dogs paws from snow and ice, but from what I understand you can also use it for paw protection from heat. It’s a sort of balm or wax. I got some for my pup because the rental house we are in does not have grass, which is fine-it does not get hot here in WA like it does down there, but the yard is all gravel. I noticed my dogs paws were getting raw. I got some of the mushers secret and it helped a lot. Check it out! 🙂

          1. We use Musher’s secret and have written about it on our blog before. I think it is great for snow and helps with abrasion when hiking on sandy/rocky trails. Personally, I don’t trust it enough to use it as the only thing to protect my dog’s paws from blistering pavement. It might help to raise the heat tolerance of your dog’s paws but I don’t see how it could prevent blistering when your dog’s pads would still be in direct contact with the hot pavement.

  5. Wow, what an incredible opportunity…I’m glad you guys took it!! Oh, I can’t wait to hear about the prototype! We love Ruffwear and considering that they don’t have many small dog sample size models, their products fit us little guys pretty well! 😀

  6. Omigosh! I was with a friend earlier this week. She raved and shared the Ruff Wear leash she used for her now senior JRT (definitely not a PRT). And now, you are stars – well, certainly Ms. Gretel is! How kind to review all the digital/social media stuff with you (just the thought of all that makes my head swim) and give you all the tour. Congrats – and yes, good for the Bucket List.

  7. All that gushing paid off then! 🙂 Good job getting yourself and the dogs in….what a great opportunity. That looked like a lot of fun.

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