Pet Travel. Made Easy.

Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Wins’s Best Pet Travel Gear at 2013 Global Pet Expo

Global Pet Expo – where do I even start describing this event? First, let me try to give you an idea of the scale – there were more than 2,900 booths covering an area the size of thirteen football fields. My pedometer said I walked just over 18 miles in three days – up and down the rows, stopping to visit with friends and companies displaying interesting travel gear, and I still couldn’t see it all. And it keeps growing every year.

Global Pet Expo 2013

Getting the Scoop

In the weeks leading up to Global, the press releases came hot and heavy. Companies were launching new products at the show and holding press conferences in their booths to introduce the latest innovations in pet care. Listening to the executives of some of the major pet brands, I was struck by the imagination of these folks – they’re going to the ends of the Earth to feed, outfit, and entertain our pets … and then topping their accomplishments year after year.

Global Pet Expo 2013 - PetSafe

The television media was there, too. A crew from the Today Show was sniffing the merchandise and conducting interviews. Here’s our friend, Gordie Spater from Kurgo, showing off the features of their Surf n Turf – a life vest and three-season shell in one!

Global Pet Expo 2013 - Kurgo

On the Prowl

Being a newbie to a happening of this scale, I can finally understand how the dogs feel when they’re overstimulated during our travels. Rather than bite off more than I could chew, I made a bee-line to scout the New Products Showcase and start my search for the Best Pet Travel Gear at the show. Gathered back in the corner were all the beds, toys, flea and tick protection, door mats, floor mats, a pet first aid kit, leashes, collars, treats and auto accessories being introduced for the first time. With my feet beneath me and still scribbling notes, I then hit the main floor to find out more about my favorites.

Pet travel gear was definitely a theme at the show. Petmate announced their launch of an entire new line of carriers, auto accessories, a collapsible crate, a folding bed, harnesses, and travel bowls.

Global Pet Expo 2013 - Petmate

PlanetDog featured a section of gear for traveling pets – including their Zip Lead Retractible Leash that only extends to six feet. Now, that may be a retractible that I can get behind!

 Pet Expo 2013 - Planet Dog

If our dogs were smaller, we’d be all over the new Park Tote carrier from Sherpa. Unzip this soft-sided carrier and it converts into a blanket you can use in the park. What’s even better? You can throw the whole thing in the washing machine!

Global Pet Expo 2013 - Sherpa Park Tote

For the RV Crowd

There are unique challenge to living in the Winnebago with the boys, so I’m always hunting for gadgets that make traveling in the RV easier. Happily, I found a few – of course, they’ll also work in homes that aren’t on wheels.

First is the CritterZone Air Purifier – it may be small, but it packs a punch! I tried one out in my hotel room in Orlando and noticed an improvement right away. The scientific explanation of how it works is fascinating, but the keys to me are that there are no filters to change and you can plug it into a wall outlet or the 12v adapter in your car.

Global Pet Expo 2013 - CritterZone

The new “Here Doggy” toys from Quaker Pet Group may save my marriage. A while back Rod and I had a difference of opinion over allowing the dogs to have squeaky toys in the Winnebago. I say yes, because they love them – he says no, because they drive him crazy. So far I’m winning, but now we may have a solution that makes everyone happy. These plush toys come in lots of fun shapes and all have squeakers that dogs can hear … but humans can’t!

Global Pet Expo 2013 - Here Doggy

Coming in late spring and priced at $149, I’m excited to try Samsung’s new PetCam Wifi Video Pet Monitor. This camera allows you to keep an eye – and ear – on your pets while you’re away using a smartphone, PC, Mac, or tablet. Just plug it in, connect it to the app, and you can not only see and hear what your pets are up to, you can talk to them through the mic on your phone or computer! With night vision and the ability to send you messaging alerts for motion or audio detection, this seems seems like a no-brainer for anyone traveling in an RV with their furry loved ones.

Global Pet Expo 2013 - Samsung

And The Winner Is …

With all the great pet travel gear out there, choosing the winner of our Best in Show award was tough. Ultimately, it came down to a product that allows people to include their dogs in more activities, keep them safe, and have more fun – perfectly aligning with the mission!

We’re proud to announce that the Swamp Cooler Cooling Vest from Ruffwear is the winner of the Pet Travel Gear – Best in Show award at Global Pet Expo 2013.

Global Pet Expo 2013 - Ruffwear

Reading the features of this vest, which uses evaporation and heat reflection to keep dogs cool, I couldn’t help but think of the poor Newfie that suffered a heat stroke hiking with his family just after we left Acadia National Park last year and had to be rescued. With Buster’s black coat and Ty’s short snout, we know how quickly heat can become a problem for a dog. The Swamp Cooler vest utilizes the same technology as the swamp cooler appliances people use for cooling their homes to keep your pup’s temperature down while you’re out and about.

Global Pet Expo 2013 - RuffwearGlobal Pet Expo 2013 - Ruffwear



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  • Global Pet expo!! what a great idea. I appreciate you going and finding the best of the best. I would love to read more…

  • Hi Keri! Global really was something else. It’s a good thing I only took a carry-on, because there was literally no space in my suitcase for any purchases. (I’ll know better for next year!) Of course, now that I’m home, I can let my fingers do the walking. We have written quite a few posts about The Honest Kitchen, which is what we feed to our dogs. Here are links to a few of my favorites:…/ Also, if you have any specific questions, I’m happy to answer them!

  • Keri Farley says:

    I am super jealous of you! I’d love to go to this someday. I think I’d come out spending more money than the trip costs, lol! I went to the RI pet expo this year which is nothing compared to the one you went to! I’m looking for a great carrier for my little one & I might just be getting a Sherpa I heard they are really durable. I love the retractable leash I’ve never owned one but I like that it will only go to 6 ft. I’m always on the look out for a great leash that will be short for high traffic areas but longer for less crowded areas. That might be a great fit for me! Oh & the pet cam. Now that is awesome!! I love & hate the Internet sometimes ;) This is off topic but I was just wondering if you had written something on what brands of dog food you use and if you haven’t I would love to read about it. Thanks!

  • I hear ya, Murphy Brown! I can’t wait until it’s released so I can give it a shot. And, it’s my pleasure to take you guys along with me. This whole blogging thing would be pretty lonely if I didn’t have my vicarious travelers.

  • Honestly, Jen, I didn’t know where to start either. I still get butterflies in my stomach a little just thinking about it! But, even though I was a bit overwhelmed, it was so exciting and I’m hoping I can go again next year. When you’ve done it once, it should be easier the next time, right?I think the Swamp Cooler really would help the Newfies. First of all, it’s reflective – which would help their dark coats not absorb as much heat. And, even through their thick coats, I would think the evaporation process the vest uses would dissipate the heat. It would be interesting to try the vest on one of your boys and see if you can tell if he’s more comfortable than the other!

  • I know, Carrie – I’m so lucky that I was able to attend. It was exciting, and exhausting, and a little overwhelming … but I’m already looking forward to going again next year! And I’m really looking forward to trying the Swamp Cooler on Buster. Our black Shepherds need all the help they can get staying cool in the summer, especially Kuster when he’s out working and training!

  • Murphy Brown says:

    Oh, dog, I want that PetCam. What a crazy, overwhelming but really amazing adventure this had to have been. Thanks for taking us there!

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