Review: Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Cooling Dog Vest

Chances are, if you don’t live in the desert, you may have never heard the term “swamp cooler.” Simply put, swamp coolers use evaporative cooling (water + evaporation) to cool your house – and they actually work. And now some genius dog gear designers have implemented this concept into dog wear.

Today I’m reviewing the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Cooling Dog Vest. As you can see in the name, the vests use the swamp cooling concept to cool your active dog on a hot day. Product specifications recommend using the vest in temperatures above 75 degrees.

How to use it

Soak the vest in water and then put it on your dog. Go for a walk, hike or park romp. Mesh fabric helps facilitate the evaporation, which will cool your dog. Reactivate with water when the vest dries.

Cost and Sizing

The vest comes in sizes XXS to XL, accommodating dogs with rib cage girths anywhere from 13-42 inches. You can find the vest on a variety of online shopping sites, including, for about $60.

  1. The product works. I can take my black dog – who usually starts getting hot after about a half hour in the intense Albuquerque sun – out on an hour walk. Without a vest, in temperatures of 80 degrees or more, she would pant heavily for at least a half hour after our walk. With the vest, there is no panting.
  2. Baby blue color also helps reflect the sun – especially important for dark dogs. And it’s pretty.
  3. It’s easy to put on. Simply put the dog’s head in the hole and clip the straps on either side of the tummy behind the dog’s legs.
  4. It’s well made. The front stitching on Daisy’s vest is starting to wear a bit, but she’s been highly active in this vest for 8 years. Overall, a great lifespan for the price.
  1. My dogs don’t like wearing clothing, so I have to be clever about soaking the vests sneakily and putting them on the dogs quickly.
  2. Because the vest is using evaporative cooling, it has limitations. If it is very dry, the evaporation will occur quicker. That means it’s doing its job, but will stop cooling sooner. In this case, you might want to carry some water to “reactivate” the vest. Similarly, if it is very humid, the vest will not perform as well as it would in lower humidity.
  3. People look at you weird. Honestly, no one knows what an evaporative vest is and they just think you dressed your dog up for a walk in the middle of the summer. Not really your problem, but alas.
Overall Rating

This is an invaluable product for dog owners who enjoy time outdoors with their furry friends in the summer sun. While there are some limitations, overall this product makes a big difference to dogs, who cannot sweat like us. Your dog might look like a bit of a dork in the vest, but they’ll be able to go stronger for longer in the heat.


Remember, this vest is not a substitute for common sense. It will not infinitely cool your dog. If it’s in the triple digits, please exercise caution while exercising your dog. Also remember to be aware of sidewalk temperatures – hot pavement can damage your pooch’s paw pads!



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