In this world where waste is becoming a bigger and bigger issue every day, it is crucial that we all start thinking a little bit more carefully about our impact on the environment. Plastic is one of the biggest culprits for polluting our earth. Carelessly dumped plastic has impacted our oceans significantly, such as the creation of “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch”. This floating island of garbage and toxic sludge, which is suspended just below the surface, is estimated to be as large as the size of Texas. With this in mind, I was very excited to hear that Hurtta America would be launching their Eco Rain Blocker which uses plastic bottles to create the beautiful soft and strong fabric of the jacket. This fact blew me away and I was even more excited to have the opportunity to test an Eco Rain Blocker, in hedge green. Atlas wore it around our city and out on the trail. He has put this jacket to the test for a period of two months here in Edmonton and out in Alberta’s majestic Rocky Mountains. Here in Alberta, we joke that we are now on our 5th or 6th winter of the year and we have yet to encounter any real spring downpours. Atlas was however able to test the jacket out on very snowy conditions as well as extremely muddy ones.
The Hurtta Rain Blocker is available in both an eco-friendly version (the one we tested) and a regular version. What makes the eco version so ecologically friendly you may ask? Well, I recently asked Hurtta America what the difference was between the two jacket materials, and they let me know some interesting facts: each smaller size of the Eco Rain Blocker uses about seven bottles to create the soft and strong fabric of this jacket, whereas the larger sizes use around 28 bottles (way more than I expected)! The bottles are collected from recycling plants and finely shredded and melted and then combined with textile to create the lightweight fabric used to protect your dog from the elements. Hurtta America also indicated that they hope to create more eco-friendly products in the future, which is fantastic!
Now that I have talked your ear off about why the Eco Rain Blocker is a step in the right direction for the environment, let me tell you about some of the subtle differences between the Eco Rain Blocker and the “regular” Rain Blocker. The first difference folks will notice is that the eco-friendly is slightly higher in price ($80 USD vs $75 USD). The eco-friendly version is available in the Hedge (a lovely shade of green) and the regular version is available in Raven and Stream (a light blue). The regular version has a few additional reflective graphics on it (rear and neck of the jacket). Lastly, after chatting with my fellow Dogs That Hike Explorers we noticed that the Eco Rain Blocker material is slightly thinner compared to the regular version. The thinner fabric hasn’t affected performance in any way and is likely due to the way that the material is made.
Hurtta has a variety of different jackets for wet weather. Around this time last year we tested and reviewed the Slush Combat Suit so throughout this review I will make comparisons between the two very similar jackets. Hopefully this will help some of you who are not quite sure which would be the right choice for your dog.
The Hurtta Eco Rain Blocker was designed as a jacket to keep your dog dry in all the rainy and slushy conditions of spring and beyond. To fight off sogginess from spring downpours, it features a very lightweight and extremely waterproof polyester fabric shell, with taped seams to seal out unwanted moisture. The fabric is easy to clean and washes quickly with a damp cloth. The Rain Blocker also features effective neck protection from rain with its ‘rain trap collar’ design, which includes two snaps to keep it in place. The outer shell of the eco version does not really make any rustling sounds. It is a nice soft green with bright blue details, along with a beautiful blue inner material. An additional thing to note about this fabric is that it is designed to keep water and wind off of your dog only. If you are looking for more warmth for your dog, you can choose to layer it with the Hurtta Body Warmer underneath.
The biggest difference between the Rain Blocker and the Slush Combat Suit comes down to the style of the rear. The Combat Suit offers full back leg coverage while also allowing for more coverage around the rear and belly. The Rain Blocker has an open blackleg concept which allows for more freedom of movement. The open concept in the rear of the Rain Blocker is a great feature for dogs who are more body sensitive, as it is less restrictive. I did find that because there is less coverage, much more of Atlas’ booty fluff (or “butt curtains” as I like to call them) was more exposed to the elements. There are two back leg straps to keep the jacket from slipping and sliding in the rear, but I find that the oversized rear coverage flaps do tend to blow around in the wind a bit. The Rain Blocker is slightly easier to get on your dog, as there are only two legs holes to worry about, rather than the full four on the Slush Combat Suit. Like the combat suit, the Rain Blocker has two sets of snaps to keep the legs in place. Atlas has not had any issues with his legs coming out of the holes while running around at full speed, on and off the trail. The legs of the Rain Blocker tend to fit a little bit baggier than the Slush Combat Suit, but don’t seem to interfere with Atlas’ movements at all.
The fabric of this jacket really does the job for Atlas in the snowy conditions. When I peel off the jacket after our adventures, Atlas is bone dry (other than his noggin, tummy, and booty fluff that pokes out a bit). I think this jacket would be even more effective if it had some sort of rear snap like Hurtta’s Extreme Warmer has to keep his “Butt Curtains” from spilling out into the wild.
As the Rain Blocker is not a full body suit it is offered in 10 difference sizes compared to the Slush Combat Suits offering of 20. Despite the more limited options, I find the Rain Blocker to be a little easier to size correctly as the jacket is less restrictive in the rear. This jacket appears to fit like the other jackets that Hurtta offers. Atlas has a 25 inch back measurement and fits the size 24 across the board. Like the Slush Combat Suit, the Rain Blocker has several cinch areas which allows the jacket to be more form fitting. Customization points include a back length, neck, and waist cinch mechanism. Hurtta seems to like to think ergonomically and tends to feature cinch points without a toggle as to not irritate your dog’s back or neck when moving. Since there is no toggle, to get a custom fit, all you need to do is cinch how you would like the jacket to sit and tie a small knot to hold it in place. The off centre zipper is another ergonomic feature to not irritate your dog while exploring outdoors. This jacket also features an open slit on the back so it can be easily paired with your favourite Hurtta Active Harness.
This jacket along with the Slush Combat Suit offered is put on in a “step into” manner. The best way to get your wiggly beast into this thing, is to lay it down beside your dog and have them step into it one leg at a time. Once your dog’s front legs are in, there is a snap to hold the jacket up (located around the withers of the dog) which will allow you to zip your dog in easily. Finally you can slip your dog’s back legs into the rear leg straps to keep the jacket into place a little easier. (Don’t be discouraged if you have trouble at first as there is a bit of a learning curve to getting this jacket on the first time.) It would be helpful if Hurtta would include a little instruction packet or YouTube video link to help indicate how to maneuver all the cinch points for first time users.
I have reviewed countless Hurtta items for Dogs That Hike in the past and they all have one thing in common: they are all made with extreme quality while keeping your dog’s comfort and happiness in mind at all times. The Eco Rain Blocker is sewn with careful attention to detail and each element has been carefully thought out in order to make the jacket function well in a wet environment. The carefully taped seams seal out water from ever contacting Atlas’ fur and really helped to keep him dry while out on the trail. The zipper is extremely easy to use and has never failed. Each snap works with no trouble and all cinch points are made with a durable bungie material that retains its stretchiness throughout the use of this jacket. The reflective piping is a great added safety feature that many other dog jackets on the market lack. The overall fabric has proven to be durable enough for Atlas to wear while out at the dog park but may not be overly suitable for dogs who like to wrestle constantly or for those to like to run through dense woods at full speed. Atlas has mostly stuck to on trail use with this jacket and it has held up beautifully. There are no rips or tears or any damage at all to the jacket after a two month period of use in various environments and with various activities.
The Eco Rain Blocker is an excellent choice for those who like to have lots of rain protection for their dog without it being restrictive in the back. It does a great job being waterproof for the areas which the jacket covers, and is a nice light-weight option that I certainly wouldn’t mind cramming into my pack while backpacking this summer. I do wish it had a bit more coverage in the booty area but it really does help to keep Atlas a bit more dry in wet, snowy and muddy conditions. I would personally choose to use the Slush Combat Suit over the Rain Blocker in most cases, because Atlas has an insane amount of butt floof that simply cannot be contained effectively without a rear snap or additional rear coverage. I can’t really see this being an issue for most dogs and would happily recommend it to less floofy bootied dog friends.
The Hurtta Rain Blocker would work best for: dogs who live in wet areas as well as great for anyone who is concerned about the environment.
The Hurtta Rain Blocker would not be recommended for: dogs who like to wrestle, and dogs with huge amounts of booty floof!
Review by: Dogs That Hike Explorer @atlastheadventuredog
Additional photos from: Dogs That Hike Explorer @mountainmuttandgirl