Gear Reviews

Ruffwear Powder Hound

I laughed when I read this trending headline: “Groundhog predicts an early spring. Don’t get too excited, he’s usually wrong” early in the month of February. Here we are approaching March, and I can’t help but think winter has decided to fully mock the groundhog. Let’s be in on the joke with this moody winter season and refrain from packing away our winter gear! With all the fresh snow that’s been falling in the Cascade Mountain Range in Oregon, we were excited to test out the Powder Hound by Ruffwear on Winnie!

Photo credit: Callie Rumley @life.with.winnie

This coat is perfectly designed for a snow day. The Powder Hound is created with two different materials for dual functionality. The first material, located on the top of the jacket, is a high-loft polyester that helps trap in body heat to keep your dog warm. This high-loft design is soft and puffy to the touch in the same way a human down jacket would be. The recycled polyester insulation works to trap in the heat! The second material, that covers the bottom half of the jacket, is a nylon-spandex blend that assists in preventing heat loss. This fabric is super flexible allowing for full range of motion which is something I just haven’t seen in many other dog jackets. If your dog is easily excited in the snow like Winnie, it’s helpful to have a jacket that doesn’t limit those puppy like movements as they barrel through the snow!

The main reason we were interested in this jacket was that we often found ourselves adventuring in deep powder. Not only do we enjoy hiking in winter but we also enjoy skiing with Winnie. Compared to other winter jackets we’ve tried, the Powder Hound’s sleeve style goes above and beyond basic belly coverage to further assist in keeping that heat sealed inside and the snow out. While Winnie does have a double coat, she can get cold on our adventures. On the many adventures that we put this jacket to the test, Winnie never got cold. I frequently stuck my hand between the top layer of the jacket and Winnie’s back always felt nice and toasty. The nylon-spandex blend on the bottom of the jacket also prevented snow-ball buildup on Winnie’s chest and front upper legs. While the jacket worked well for us, dogs with thinner fur or who are prone to getting cold may want to add a layer underneath this jacket for those really cold winter days.

Photo credit: Callie Rumley @life.with.winnie

So, it’s warm and flexible but how dry does it keep your dog? The fabric used in this jacket is described to be water-resistant, not fully water-proof. The fabric does do a great job shedding fluffy snow on really cold snow days, keeping your dog dry in the areas that it covers. Not all snow days are created equal though.  When we tested the jacket in wet sloppy snow, the nylon-spandex layer did quickly absorb water. This led to Winnie having one wet belly! While the top high-loft polyester layer also absorbed water, its padded design prevented the water from fully soaking through to saturate Winnie’s back. If the temperatures are mild, allowing for snowmelt and/or your adventure forecast calls for a snow/rain wintery mix, I would be hesitant to choose this coat over others designed to with-hold water absorption. If you are looking for a fully waterproof option you may want to consider another jacket.

The Powder Hound ranges in sizes from XXS to XL. Based on the size chart Winnie should be an XS but given her fluffy coat and longer back we chose to size up to a small. Winnie comfortably fits in a size small, not too big and not tight at all. The side zipper runs the full length of the jacket and allows for a pretty seamless transition in and out of it. The zipper area also has an extra piece of polyester directly below it that helped prevent snagging of Winnie’s long hair as we zipped it up. We’ve tried other winter jackets before that use velcro, snaps, and/ or buckles to secure on your dog. The zipper design on the Powder Hound is by far the easiest tool of them all. And once it’s zipped there’s no snaps or cinch adjustments necessary. The downside to using only a zipper is that if your dog doesn’t perfectly fit one of the existing sizes you aren’t able to adjust it to make it work. This wasn’t an issue for us but may be an issue for dogs with hard to fit body types.

Photo credit: Callie Rumley @life.with.winnie

The jacket comes in a choice of three colors: Sockeye Red, Blue Atoll, and Forest Green. We went with the Blue Atoll to help accentuate Winnie’s blue eyes! Who says you can’t be functional and fashionable?! In addition to each color vividly standing out in the snow, there is a reflective trim on the top back of the jacket and a loop to connect a light near the neck to further increase visibility. One element that I was a little bummed to not see included was a portal on the back of the jacket for harness access. If your preference is to leash your dog with a harness, instead of a collar, you will have to layer your harness over top of the jacket. I tested this out with Winnie’s harness at home and I just had to loosen the harness a bit to sit comfortably over the jacket. If you don’t mind layering things this way this jacket is still a nice option.

Overall, I am pleased with the hybrid functionality of this jacket. Where some jackets sacrifice range of motion for warmth, the Powder Hound checks off as being able to do both! Outside of the continued use it will get while this winter continues to stick around, I also plan to have Winnie wear this jacket for dry but chilly hiking and backpacking trips in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. Making the high-range price point, worth it!  

Photo credit: Callie Rumley @life.with.winnie

I would recommend the Powder Hound to anyone who is looking for a multi-season jacket to keep their dog warm while not having to worry about frequent adjustments, limited mobility, or poor design that could lead to elements like brisk winds, snow, and ice getting in! Happy trails!

The Ruffwear Powder Hound would work best for: dogs who are adventuring in deep snow, a variety of dog sizes, shapes, and breeds in cool to cold temperatures, dogs who need a multi season jacket

The Ruffwear Powder Hound may not be ideal for: dogs who need a waterproof jacket/who are adventuring in wet weather, dogs who need full body coverage like a snow suit, dogs who need extreme warmth

Winnie’s measurements:  Girth 20″ / Back Length 20″/ Weight 26 lbs

Powder Hound size: Small

Review by: Dogs That Hike Explorer @life.with.winnie

Product from: @ruffwear /

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