This fall we received the new Ranger Vest from our friends at Hurtta America so we can put it to the test. This light high-visibility vest is designed for outdoor activities and hunting even in the dark.
This time of the year, hunting is allowed in the Angeles National Forest. The gunshots from hunting rifles echo in the mountains. Some locations are more so than others. Most of the time I don’t have a view of the hunters so I have no idea if they can see us or not. Due to her dark fur, Xena can be easily mistaken as a shadow, so her safety is a big concern of mine.
- Size: XXS – XXXL (size chart)
- Color: Orange Camo
- Retail price: $45
Design – 4/5
From the Hurtta website:
- Lined with a soft, mesh-like fabric
- Made of an elastic and breathable knitted fabric with a weatherproof Houndtex layer
- Because of the hook and loop neck adjustments, the vest is designed to break away if the vest catches onto something outdoors as to not injure your dog
- Has been Clariant Sanitized with Permethrin which protects against insects such as mosquitoes, horseflies, and ticks. The fabric is dermatologically tested and certified to contain no harmful substances. The finish retains its properties for up to 100 washes.
- Not recommended for cats
And now, my observations:
The fabric is odorless and easy to dress. The neckline and waistline are adjustable, but the chest isn’t.
The zipper has a lock, a simple plastic snap. The lock is there so the zipper doesn’t get undone during movement.
To not injure your dog, the vest is designed to break away if the vest catches onto something. In reality, the only part that will break away is the neckline because the zipper opens from the waistline. So I don’t think the description is entirely accurate.
Although the Ranger Vest is compatible with the Hurtta Polar LED light, the information isn’t included in the tag that came with the vest. Until I stumbled upon that info by accident, I wondered what that feature was about. It looks like the Hurtta Polar LED light snaps on to the vest. I love the idea, but I did not get to try that feature.
Function – 4.5/5
The Ranger Vest kept Xena visible in low light situations. No more being mistaken as a shadow. 😉
The vest is super light, easy to dress, and comfortable to wear. It moved with her without restricting her movement.
The waist drawstring and the hook and loop neck adjustments worked as expected.
Although the neckline can be adjusted easily with hook and loop bands, I suggest adjusting the neckline when the vest is not on your dog. The sound of velcros can be frightening to some pups, Xena being one of those pups. The last thing you want to do when you are introducing a new gear to your dog is making a scary noise.
As advertised, 3M reflective piping at the sides of the vest was great to keep Xena visible at night, and the fabric did not rustle in use.
We didn’t get to test the weatherproof Houndtex layer yet since we live in Southern California where rainy days are rare like finding gold. But all Xena’s Hurtta jackets are made with the Houndtex material, and they are water resistant.
Fashion and Fit – 4/5
Orange camouflage-print is modern, bright and stylish.
Since the chest is not adjustable, it’s important to measure the chest correctly especially when the sizing is not your standard XS-XL.
Xena is a medium size dog with a deep chest. We tried a Medium first because the description said it’s made of an “elastic” fabric. Well, it’s not That elastic. The medium size was too constricting around the chest. I adjusted the neckline, but the vest was too small for her. She looked like a sausage. She flat out refused to move when she had it on. She knew she looked ridiculous.
For reference, Xena’s chest size is 24″ and wears Large as the size chart suggested. Since she is on the lower end of the Large chest size range, the Ranger Vest is a loose fit on her without being too baggy. I adjusted the waist using the drawstring to get a snug fit. Xena looks and seems comfortable wearing the vest.
I think the vest was designed with a hunting dog body type in mind. Pointers look sharp in this vest, for example.
Quality & Durability – 3/5
The Ranger Vest is well-made with high-quality materials. The stitching is flawless.
I wash all Xena’s gear in a front load washing machine in a gentle cycle then air-dry them. The vest survived the wash cycle just fine. Tip: I throw in a color catcher sheet in the washer to retain the vibrant color.
Although the hook and loop neck adjustments seem sturdy, I am a bit skeptical about how many washes the vest can withstand before the corners of the velcros begin to roll up.
Overall – 3.9/5
The Hurtta Ranger Vest is high-performance high-visibility safety gear. Beige or tan colored dogs can be mistaken as deer and dogs with dark fur can be mistaken as a shadow during hunting season. The Ranger Vest will keep your dog visible in low light situations and even at night. It’s light, easy to dress and comfortable to wear. It is suitable for all fur-types, and it looks especially great on hunting dogs.