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When Hank was a puppy, he wasn’t sure what to think of bodies of water. He still hates the rain, but he has come to love swimming and water sports. We were so surprised when he really became a water dog because he was so skeptical as a young pup. It’s fun to watch your dog learn how to swim but can be pretty scary at the same time. For the most part, Hank is a pretty strong swimmer… when he remembers he needs to be swimming.  For all the times he forgets, we’re glad he has his Ruffwear Float Coat.

Whenever we’re on a boat in deep water, canoeing across open water, or enticing hank to jump off the end of a dock to retrieve a stick, he will most likely have his Float Coat on. We have yet to take Hank rafting or SUPing but when we do, he will always have his Float Coat.

Even if your dog is an amazing swimmer, it’s still important to have a Float Coat for many reasons. I am a good swimmer as a human but I still wear a PFD when I go rafting. The same theory should apply for your dog.


For the same reason that you wouldn’t wear a PFD that would easily fall off, we highly recommend Ruffwear’s Float Coat as one of the safest out there. First of all, there is not a releasable clasp on the chest of the Float Coat. While the closure is adjustable (and garaged by a telescoping sleeve), it is permanently attached preventing any accidental unfastening or breaking which would allow your dog to slip out.


The buckles under the belly have their own garage, ensuring that they will not catch on any debris or boating gear. These are also very adjustable so you can get an accurate fit on your pup.

One of the most important features of the Float Coat is the strong handle strategically placed between the shoulders. We use this all the time whether we are trying to get Hank in the boat or hanging out with him in the deep water. I can imagine that in an emergency situation, without the handle you would be at a loss.

Ruffwear pays close attention to detail and uses high quality products to ensure that, in an emergency or daily life, this canine PFD will not fail. Reflective trim and a light and a leash loop are just a few more ways to show that Ruffwear was serious about safety and functionality when designing the Float Coat.

Hank could spend all day in his Float Coat and he can swim easily and comfortably, as the coat does not restrict any range of motion. We got the yellow color, which is great for visibility and brings out the color in Hank’s eyes.

If you and your dog are water-sports addicts or adventurers, you should definitely be able to justify spending $80 that could potentially save your dog’s life one day.  You won’t be disappointed if you pick up a Float Coat for your dog and he or she will thank you later in forms of sweet slobbery kisses.  Be sure to check out Ruffwear for sweaters, leashes, travel gear, beds, and much much more!




The Float Coat by Ruffwear

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We’ve tried numerous times here at Backcountry Treks to convince our readers that Muck Boot Company boots are more than just the name implies. Tyson and I use Muck Boots as our daily winter boot heading to the ski resort or going on snowy hikes with Hank. In the summer time, we use them to work in around water and chemicals and on rainy days there is nothing more perfect.

This spring, two water-loving adventurers, Carrie and Alex, had the opportunity to take Muck Boots with them on their 21-day 226-mile river trip to show you all just one more way that Muck Boots are an adventure boot too. Proving that this boot is a four-season, multi-environment, versatile addition to your closet, they also found that these were the perfect boots for early morning camp pack-ups before heading out for a long day on the river.  The Grand Canyon is an unbeatable place; from listening to the water flow every day and night, to the beautiful stars. It is definitely an adventure for any outdoor enthusiast’s bucket list.



Alex wore the Men’s MuckMaster HI, which was a durable boot that kept his feet protected and warm during the spring trip. In March, the river is still pretty chilly and while daytime temperatures can be comfortably warm, nighttime and early mornings can still reach the 30’s. Alex and Carrie found themselves to be extremely lucky with the weather and grateful for not running into any unexpectedly cold weather.

The MuckMaster HI is a comfortably fitting boot that is easy to get on and off. The 100% waterproof feature is an absolute must when you’re trudging in and out of the chilly water. Combined with a grippy sole, the MuckMaster HIs performed well in diverse riverside terrain.



One of the most exciting things for Alex about testing out the MuckMaster HI boots was thinking about all the ways he’ll be able to continue to use the boots year-round. Whether he’s taking out the dirt bikes for an evening spin or heading out for a wintery snowmobile adventure, these will be his go-to boots! The range of temperature rating—-20°F-50°F—has Alex thinking he’ll be in and out of these boots all year round.

For both Carrie and Alex, they preferred a tall boot because they were able to pack the boat on the shore of the river without getting wet at all. The boots are also light enough to pack on your outdoor adventures, and they loved the grab loop on the boots enabling them to hook them through a carabiner and hang off the side of the raft while they paddled through one of the natural wonders of the world.

Carrie went for a colorful option with the Women’s Arctic Adventure Boot that combines functionality with style and color. While Carrie’s favorite thing about the boots was the color, she was also really excited to have warm and dry feet in the early mornings on the Grand Canyon.



The fleece lining was both soft and comfortable and kept her feet warm. Similar to Alex’s MuckMasters, the Arctic Adventure boots are 100% waterproof. These boots are also rated -20°F-50°F and their spring adventure was a perfect environment to test them out in. With Colorado’s crazy spring weather, she even had the chance to test out the Arctic Adventures in over a foot of snow in Colorado in April. She loves the grippy outsole and they provided excellent traction in the water and on the boats (which can get quite slippery when wet).

Overall, Muck Boots kept Carrie and Alex safe, warm, and comfortable on their 21-day adventure through the towering Grand Canyon. Their experience highlights another way that Muck Boots are appropriate boots for endless amounts of adventures! Muck Boots are versatile for any environment you may find yourself in and there will be many times you’ll be lucky to have warm and waterproof boots on your feet.



For the Ladies The Arctic Adventure

For the Gents The Muckmaster HI

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Need a pair of boots to get you around the world or just to work? Look no further than the Terra boots by Forma.

New to me only a few weeks ago, I’ve now put these boots through their paces. Multiple trips to work through a 2,000′ mountain pass, the long way home on some challenging forest service road, adventure touring in the national forest with stream crossings, and digging my bike out of the dirt in 85 degree weather. You name it and I’ve probably done it in these boots and they still look almost brand new. Through all this they somehow actually still smell new.

Forma was kind enough to drop a DRYTEX waterproof lining in these boots that extends from the toe box all the way up the boot to just shy of the top buckle. Scouting those stream crossings has become much easier when my feet stay dry.

Included are metal toe caps if you’re so inclined to use them.

My street shoe size is normally 11 but I opted to go larger to 12 US / 46 Euro for the extra room.

A $279 retail price point feels about right for years of abuse and comfort.


Forms Terra Boots

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A friend encouraged me to get the Overland Jacket by Klim and I’m glad I did. 2-Layer Gore-Tex ensures protection from wind and rain and this jacket has so far been comfortable from 45 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Normally I’m between a small and medium in most jackets and the medium Overland fits me perfectly. I can layer when it’s cold and it’s not too baggy when I only have a t-shirt underneath.

Scotchlite is added in all the right places to help alert motorists that you’re on the street with them. That’s a good thing because the gray color doesn’t do much to help you stand out in the crowd.

This jacket is nothing but durable all over. I’ve laid and dug in the dirt to get my bike out of places I shouldn’t have had it in. It’s been through rain storms and creek crossings and has been splattered with mud. It was so bad once that I had my daughters hose me off as soon as I got home a few weeks ago. All that and this jacket still looks new in this video.

D3O™ armor is used in the back, shoulders and elbows to provide serious protection while still being comfortable.

No doubt this jacket will last the test of time and see many adventures along the way. Starting at $430 it strikes a nice balance between performance and affordability.

Klim Overland Jacket


Klim Overland Jacket

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If you’re anything like us, we need to have at least three or four headlamps on any overnight adventure we take on. We seem to often misplace one or two lights at a time and if we’re lucky, by the time the sun fully sets behind the desert rock or tall mountains, we can at least find one light to get us through the darkness. The SEO 5 by LED Lenser is a sweet lamp to add to your quiver because of the advanced focusing system and custom dimming setting. Not to mention, this thing is plenty bright for even the darkest of nights under the stars.

LED Lenser is in partnership with Leatherman Tool Group Inc., so we thought we’d be silly not to try out the SEO 5. I mean, the makers of the best multi-tool in the world partnered up with LED Lenser, so that had to be a good first sign. The maximum beam distance comes in at 120m giving you plenty of light ahead. At 180 lumens at max output and 20 lumens at minimum, there are ways to reduce the light and conserve the battery life. At the lowest setting, the light will last for 25 hours and at the highest setting, 7 hours.

You are able to move the beam up and down so you can point it where you’d like and perhaps my favorite feature of the SEO 5 is that you can adjust the focal length of the beam. With a spin of the lens, you can have a wide beam or narrow beam, depending on your necessary viewing distance.

Overall, this is an extremely bright LED headlamp with functions and abilities that make it one to certainly have if you’re adventuring outside at during the night. I feel as though, for $50.00 you are receiving a very high quality light, however I think the design could be advanced. We haven’t had any problems with the light but the plastic feels cheap and looks kind of bulky. Like I said, if it’s the light you’re after (most people don’t buy headlamps as a stylish accessory), then this headlamp won’t let you down. Light up your world with a number of LED lights by checking out LED Lenser and don’t forget to find your favorite multi-tool with their parent company, Leatherman.


The SEO 5 by LED Lenser

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For those of you that don’t know, Leatherman makes really amazing pocket knives in addition to their extensive line of multi-tools. The Crater C33TX by Leatherman is literally the best pocket knife I have ever owned for one reason in particular.

Not only has Leatherman designed and developed an extremely strong, durable, and sharp knife blade, they have added Flat and Philips Screwdrivers. I can’t even count how many times I have broken the tip off of my knife blade because I was improperly using it as a screwdriver.

Now, I can protect my knife blade and be prepared for any situation thrown my way. In addition to the screwdriver features, there is also a carabiner and bottle opener for ultimate attachment options. It would really be unfortunate to lose a knife this nice!

The closed length of the knife comes in at 3.83 inches, which feels pretty standard as to any other knife I’ve put in my pocket. Considering how durable the Crater C33TX is, I feel as though it is relatively light. Leatherman uses a glass-filled nylon thermoplastic material that is incredibly strong yet keeps the weight down (total weight is 2.36 oz).

I can’t imagine ever having a pocket knife in my pocket other than this one. The Crater C33TX is extremely innovative, useful, and most importantly, strong enough to withstand your needs!


A simple way to view the features their location on the Crater C33TX (taken from Leatherman):

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 12.29.36 PM


The Crater C33TX by Leatherman

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