We all know our own dogs. Some have thick fur, some thin, some love wild weather, some hate the rain, and some even love wild camping with us.
Camping with both Dixie and Tilly, we tried all sorts to keep them comfy. The summer’s not so hard, but in the cold it can be very challenging.
Blankets, fleece coats, insulated coats, foam mats – they’ve all been tried, in every combination possible. One icy cold night, several years back, I even ended up unzipping my toasty sleeping bag and pulling my shivering Dixie (previous Boxer) inside with me, as nothing I covered her with that night seemed to keep her warm.
Nothing ever seemed either just right or straightforward.
But since Pebbles and Islay have been on the scene, we’ve discovered some doggy sleeping bags. On sale in the States (although they have recently stopped shipping to the UK) and rather expensive, we nevertheless invested in some.
They’ve been quite a success.
If it’s hot, the dogs don’t have to be fully covered, but if it’s cold, they can be. We’ve never found the need to carry a foam mat for them anymore either, although there’s no harm in doing that if you wish to. So far for us though, the insulation in the beds has seemed adequate on its own. Pebbles was even toasty warm one night when it was -5C outside.
To complement the bags, they also have summer weight fleecey PJs and winter weight fleecey PJs.
If Pebbles is fidgety overnight it is possible for her to get uncovered and I sometimes wake up when she moves and have to re-cover her, but this is only really an issue if it’s very cold. And I have noticed that on the whole, the colder it is, the less she fidgets. One of the reasons it’s good for her to have winter PJs on anyway.
Not long ago, my mate James wondered if I might be able to make one of these bags myself, for Reuben to use. It was a challenge I rather enjoyed. It would appear that Reuben has also been pleased with the results.
There has been a fair amount of interest in my version of the Doggy Sleeping Bag, culminating in me making some to order.
They are bucket shaped and function rather like a cross between a soft bed and a sleeping bag. Whatever the diameter of the bed, the sides are the same height ie: a 27″ diameter bed has 27″ high sides, a 20″ diameter one has 20″ high sides etc. In soft bed form, with the sides folded down, they can simply be sat or laid in.
But if you want the dog covered, you simply have to unroll the tall sides and lay them/wrap them over your snoozing canine. Of course, if your dog sometimes prefers to sleep on its side, the bag can also be turned on its side – more like a human sleeping bag – and be used that way. In fact to be honest, it doesn’t really matter how you wrap them up, as long as they’re happy!
The medium sized bag that I’ve made most of (shown in these photos), has a base with a diameter of 27″ and seems to suit most average sized dogs. The 27″ ones weigh approximately 750g – 800g – being all handmade they can differ slightly – and easily pack into the supplied compression sack.
I have also made smaller ones at 23″ diameter (approx. 400g – 450g) for terrier sized pooches, as well as a couple of larger ones – a 30″ one which weighed around 950g, and a 32″ one which was about 1100g. Believe me, the 32″ was very large once finished, and I’m not sure my domestic sewing machine and I could handle making anything larger than that.
The donor bags that I use to make these standard weight Woof Bags have a HUMAN lower temperature limit of -2C.
I’ve recently experimented with some lighter weight Woof Bags too, and have made some 27″ ones for Islay and Pebbles. These weigh about 400g each – about half the weight of the standard bags. I personally see these as a three season version for most dogs. Since they are lighter, they’re obviously not as bulky or quite as warm, although the filling is different to that in the standard bag, and should give a slightly better warmth to weight ratio. However, If you were to try using these in colder weather (they might well suit some heavy coated dogs in the winter), I would definitely suggest a foam mat under for extra insulation. I don’t think they’d be warm enough for our two in extreme cold, but then our two don’t have particularly thick fur – especially the Boxer.
The donor bags I use for making these lighter weight Woof Bags have a HUMAN lower temperature limit of 2C.
They work in the same way as the standard bag though and will definitely fill a niche for Pebbles and Islay from spring to autumn. They don’t need wrapping up so much then, but they’re so used to their beds now, the first thing they look for as soon as we’ve pitched, is their own bag for a snooze.
To help you decide between the two different bags on the basis of weight, Pebbles’ standard weight, 27″ Woof Bag weighs 741g, and her lightweight, 27″ bag weighs 406g, ie a saving of 335g. She can also carry the lightweight one herself in her panniers, as it packs down much smaller, whereas I end up carrying the standard one.
Here are a couple of photos showing the relative sizes of the two bags when packed up in a compression bag:
Unfortunately, as with a lot of Outdoor Equipment, lighter often means more expensive and these do work out a bit dearer. I’ve put the prices on the Prices page.
Of course, you don’t have to be a wild camper to have a use for a Woof Bag, car camping dogs using campsites might also appreciate one, as might caravanning and motorhoming dogs.
All the bags I make have synthetic insulation – I don’t really see down as being a viable option for potentially muddy, wet canines.
Turnaround time from placing an order with me, to receiving your Woof Bag, is generally about a week. I keep you updated with progress and send you a photo of it, as soon as it is finished.
Please do contact me if you are considering placing an order, to help with deciding what size bag your dog will need.
I don’t ask for any payment from you until it is finished and ready to post. I post them by Royal Mail (unless you are outside the UK), using the ‘First Class Signed For’ service.
Pebbles and Islay have both made a video each on how to use a Woof Bag. If you would like to watch them, click here. Most folk seem to practice using them in the house a few times before taking them camping. As well as getting them used to it, it gets their scent on it.
Click here to see what I am currently charging for a hand-made Woof Bag.
Click here to see washing/care instructions for the bags.
If you want to read some reviews, click here.
If you are interested in one or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Click here for my contact details.
I always keep a sample of each weight of bag in (average sized – 27″), so if anyone wants to see one/let your dog have a sit in one, before you commit to an order, let me know. Obviously this offer is only any use if you don’t live too far away … 🤣