In summer of 1992, while mountain biking in the Los Padres National Forest with friends and their dog, Ruff Wear founder and owner Patrick Kruse met with a challenge that sparked a series of innovations in performance dog gear.

While trying to give her dog Moqui a drink, Liz emptied half of her water bottle into a plastic bag and held it while the Rhodesian Ridgeback took a few slurps.  Moqui then walked away panting, and Liz was left holding the bag—she couldn’t set it down without losing the water and she didn’t want to dump what was left back into her water bottle.  “You need to do something about this,” Liz said, challenging Patrick to develop a solution.

Patrick Kruse was the right person to ask.  As a kid he constructed packs for his dog out of army surplus gas mask bags, using them on backpack trips in Northern California’s Trinity Alps.

Patrick's Early Dog Pack Prototype

As a young adult, he sailed for several years as crew on charter boats in the Caribbean and Central America where being resourceful was a necessity.  Patrick’s interest in kayaking lead him to start Salamander Paddle Gear acquainting him with numerous technical fabrics. With this unique mix of knowledge and experience Patrick developed The Quencher™, the original collapsible food and water bowl for dogs—and the solution to Liz and Moqui’s drinking problem.

In 1994, after 16 months of research and development and product testing, Ruff Wear made its enthusiastically welcomed debut at an Outdoor Retailer trade show with The Quencher™.

First-ever collapsible dog bowl displayed at Outdoor Retailer

Since then, the bowl has won praise from thirsty dogs and been featured in a range of publications, from Outside magazine to the Japanese version of Newsweek. L.L. Bean, as well as pet and outdoor retailers from around the world, started carrying the Ruff Wear bowl, and their encouragement inspired Patrick to develop other solutions for dogs and their human companions.

Ruff Wear now offers a full line of innovative performance dog gear.  In addition to collapsible bowls, the company produces a full line of dog-related gear designed to enhance the interaction between humans and dogs. Ruff Wear performance dog gear line includes dog packs, dog boots, dog harnesses, dog coats, and dog life jackets, to name a few key categories.

“We want to enhance the experience of all dogs and their two legged companions,” Patrick says.  Besides those who are active with their pets, trainers, working dogs, Search and Rescue teams, Canine Companions and Guide Dog Users all have become Ruff Wear supporters and each present specific challenges in product development.  “My needs pale in comparison to those who depend on their dogs for assistance,” he says.  “The specific tasks and companionship dogs provide is really incredible. It puts a smile on my face when people appreciate the simple design approach that we build into our gear to address complex tasks.”

“We’ve always been oriented toward products that will enhance and assist the interaction between dogs and humans.  And that has always been and will continue to be our motivation.”

Patrick and his canine sidekick Mavis
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5 thoughts

  1. Congratz on your continued success!!! I interviewed with your company in 2000 and was very impressed! Just had whim to look up the company. It is great to see you all have continued to thrive!

  2. Hey Michael, thanks for your reminder. I have some fond memories of that dog cart pulled by Marriah (Patches was my sister Terri’s dog). I can still remember sitting with a shoe repairman sewing up the harness for that cart using seat belts harvested from cars at that junk yard at the corner of Katella and Cerritos. I wish I still had that dog cart, I left it in Days Creek, Oregon. I owe much of my successes to all of our experimentation in those days, my only regret is Frank loosing his front teeth when he crashed on his skateboard while being towed by Patches. Go dog GO

  3. where is the dog-cart (circa 1976)?
    I recall this long haired kid strapping a home-made cart with bicycle wheels on to his dog (Patches?) and rolling around the block down in So Cal. All before he was so famous of course 🙂
    Way to go PAT, for those of us who knew you when…
    your success is no surprise.

  4. Well Patrick, Tess and I cannot thank you enough for your inspiration and forward thinking. Yesterday was a rough day in the forest in some insane terrain. I can’t imagine what it would have been like without your packs, you make our job a joy. Tess really sends Woofs and Wags on a job well done! Congratulations!
    Pat and Tess

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