Patrick Kruse is Ruffwear’s Founder, Owner and Leader of the Pack. Read on for Patrick’s Fall/Winter 2012 seasonal perspective and get the inside scoop on the inspiration behind our latest product launch…
As we head into another fall/winter season, I look back at this past product development period here at Ruffwear as the year of the rope. I have an interesting relationship with rope and so I’ve been intrigued to learn more. With a bit of searching, I found that archeological fossils show braided fibers have been in use since 17,000 B.C., 13,000 years before the wheel came onto the scene.
As kids, our first experiences with braided fibers might have been a shoelace, hair tie or jute twine used to support snap peas in the garden. I spent my teen years living on a sailboat and this experience exposed me to several knots capable of turning a simple length of braided line into a virtual tool kit. These knots made it possible to secure running rigging, lash gear to the deck, tie the dingy to docks or to our boat when under sail, or to function as a safety lifeline that secured us to the boat while on watch during midnight passages. Equipping yourself with a rope and a few knots can be an empowering experience.
As humans ventured into new world activities like kayaking and mountaineering, many of the knots we learned to trust from our days aboard boats translated quite well. One of the bigger turning points for rope was in the 1940’s when rope braiders switched from a three-strand natural fiber rope construction to kernmantle braided polyester or Nylon fiber. This leap essentially doubled the strength, as well as improved overall durability and performance, that we had come to expect from rope.
So, what does all this have to do with Ruffwear and Performance Dog Gear? Our connections with ropes in our outdoor pursuits naturally translates into our connections with dogs. A hank of rope and a retired carabiner made a great impromptu dog leash. Ruffwear’s first leash, our Knot-a-Leash™, was inspired by this rope/carabiner combination that we débuted in 2001. We saw opportunities to improve on the basic concept by incorporating a tubular webbing handle, creating an accessory loop for pick up bags, streamlining the connection between the rope and carabiner, and sizing the carabiner so that it would be better suited for getting out with our four-legged friends.
On this season’s newest version of our Knot-a-Leash, we streamlined the carabiner keeper, inspired from climbing quick draws, and freshened up the colors. The refined Knot-a-Leash is available in both the 10mm and 7mm diameter rope providing durability and high visibility in low light conditions. The two sizes accommodate different needs based on rope diameter and both provide a natural, comfortable fit in-hand.
Our updated Just-a-Cinch™ Leash uses the same 10mm reflective braided rope as our Knot-a-Leash and provides improved use and interaction from an all-new silicone slider. This slider improves the function of an infinitely adjustable cinch lead. Of course, the 10mm rope leash benefits from our comfortable tubular handle, complete with an accessory loop. The Just-a-Cinch continues to be one of the favored connections to dogs because of its ease of use, comfort, and adjustability.
Ruffwear’s new Knot-a-Collar™ is rooted firmly in our mountaineering heritage. Belay plate hardware and Ruffwear’s V-ring leash attachment laced with a prusik- inspired, 7mm reflective rope creates a low-profile minimalist dog collar. Often, less is more and our Knot-a-Collar certainly embraces this ethos with an unobtrusive, lightweight, extremely strong I.D. collar and leash attachment that comfortably connects us with our canine companions.
And last, but not least, the redesigned Climate Changer™ fleece jacket lives up to its name, keeping dogs warmer while reducing the impact on our environment. With 75% recycled and recyclable content, dogs enjoy warmth without weight in a quick- drying, breathable dog jacket. Two leggeds enjoy the updated colors (Granite Gray, Purple Dusk, and Burnt Orange), integrated reflective trim, and full-length zipper for easy on and off. And, everyone benefits from the extended outdoor adventures our Climate Changer inspires.
For Ruffwear, the history lessons that we lean on allow us to expand our horizons and extend our adventures, after all – it’s about the adventures. We continue to apply lessons from our past to inform our future and in the end, our goal is to continue to build the best dang Performance Dog Gear on the planet. Have fun out there.