High Gear: Ruffwear’s Mt. Bachelor Pad and Dirtbag Seat Cover
Editor’s note: This story originally ran in Summit Daily News, located in Frisco, Colo. It is a sister publication to Tahoe Daily Tribune, serving Breckenridge and the surrounding region. High Gear features outdoor sports gear, technology and innovations useful in the High Sierra and America’s West.
When I joined the ranks of Subaru-owning mountain-town residents a few years ago, I preemptively bought a set of covers to protect my seats from muddy paws and that lovely wet dog smell. Because of a slippery nylon underside, they didn’t end up staying in place very well, meaning my 40-pound Alaskan husky, Nika, would slide around on the seat, constantly unsure of her footing. I thought my only other option would be expensive, custom-fitted neoprene seat covers, until Ruffwear came to the rescue.
Ruffwear Dirtbag Seat Cover
I tested out the company’s new Dirtbag Seat Cover on an overcast day, just after a rainstorm had passed, and was impressed with its versatility and design. It’s made of durable, waterproof polyester, which causes water to bead up on the surface, rather than soaking into your car seats, and the non-slip backing and stuffer cleats mean it isn’t sliding all over the place when Nika is settling herself in the back seat.
The Dirtbag is easy to install, with webbing loops that clip around the headrests of the back seat. The cover can be used either as a bench, with one end hanging to the floor of the car, or the additional clips can be used to create a hammock. That seemed to make Nika feel more secure, as it alleviated the threat of her rolling onto the floor.
The hammock configuration has the added bonus of creating a barrier to keep your dog from jumping into the front seat, and it also keeps crud off the floors while providing a bit of protection to the backs of your front seats for that cringe-worthy moment when your dog decides to shake it out. Bonus: In hammock mode, if you are driving with a lot of gear (or groceries or beer for your camping trip), you can shove it under the seat cover onto the floor of the car behind the driver and passenger seats so it’s out of sight and the dog isn’t stepping all over it.
Nika tends to step up to the back seat, rather than catapulting herself straight into the car, so it’s nice that the Dirtbag has side flaps to protect the sides of the seat during entry and exit. The cover is made to be compatible with seatbelts, but rather than subject my passengers to water, mud and dog fur, I opt to quickly unclip it from the headrests, un-stuff the cleats and fold it down onto the floor, leaving a dry, clean seat.
Retail: $79.95, one size fits most vehicles
Ruffwear Mt. Bachelor Pad
My fiancé and I have never really taken a dog bed with us camping, as none of ours are made for the outdoors and we didn’t want them to get all grungy — plus Nika likes to lay in the cool grass outdoors and root around in the sleeping bags to make a nest inside the tent. But we took the Ruffwear Mt. Bachelor Pad on a recent camping expedition to Rifle Falls, and now I don’t know how we ever lived without it.
The bed has a microsuede top and a fairly rugged, waterproof base, which seemed impervious to sticks and small rocks, even with Nika pawing around on it. After a few curious sniffs, she plopped right down. As the sun went down at the campsite and we joined some friends around a campfire, their dog was all too happy to try out the bed, as well. Nika seemed less restless with her own spot to lounge and chose the Mt. Bachelor Pad over the sleeping bags that night in the tent.
Using the attached Velcro straps, the Mt. Bachelor Pad folds and rolls with an integrated handle for carrying, but we unrolled it and threw it in the back seat on top of the Dirtbag Seat Cover for a bit of added luxury on the drive to and from the campsite. When we got home, the bed was pretty gnarly with fur from two dogs and dirty paw prints, but I tossed it in the washing machine and air dried it and it came out like new again.
Retail: $69.95 (medium, as reviewed), $89.95 (large); colors: Overcast Blue (pictured) or Granite
I’ve always been impressed with the functionality and durability of Ruffwear products, and the Mt. Bachelor Pad and Dirtbag Seat Cover did not disappoint. Visit http://www.ruffwear.com to order, or use the “Find a Ruffwear Dealer” link for local stores that carry these products.