Reviewed by Rachel Cassey-Holland
Equafleece’s marketing message is simple – they create “warm, water-repellent, breathable fleeces for you and your animals”. Priding themselves on being British made, their products purport to be “100% rainproof, breathable, warm and washable, but also incredibly comfortable” I was curious to put this to the test!
Having been chosen to review the Equafleece dog range I was really excited about it. I must admit that I have not ventured far into the dog-clothing side of life and my two dogs make do with coats that were on offer in a local supermarket! Just under two years ago we adopted our Springer Spaniel dog called Dave(!), who had been shipped over from a flooded rescue in Ireland. Before coming to the UK, he had never lived inside nor been treated with any kind of kindness or luxury. I felt that Dave would be a good tester for the product, given that he is a bit more of an unknown in terms of dog wear, even though we have just about got him used to wearing an outdoor coat every so often when it is very wet. We keep Dave professionally groomed and trimmed every 6-8 weeks, but being a typical Springer he loves sticks, mud, wet and muck.
First glance at the Equafleece website was impressive as it is attractively and clearly set out. Equafleece don’t just have an offering for dogs – their range extends to humans, horses and even calves and alpacas! I clicked on to the Dog section link and had a look at what I could choose from. The array was remarkable to me – polo neck fleeces, jumpers and dog suits with legs plus so much more. I had no idea that so much could be on offer for a dog’s wardrobe! Given that Dave has issues with being held and people leaning over him for too long as well as fiddling too much with his legs I chose what I thought would be the easier option with least stress for him – the dog coat. I chose this because it had two fasteners – one at the chest and one around the belly and it looked simple and stress free to put on him. The dog coat retails for £30, which I believe is extremely competitive, and there were plenty in stock.
Next, I chose the size required for Dave. The website offers a ridiculously easy size guide plus video showing you how to take your dog’s measurements to fit the coat. You input the measurements and it works out for you which size fits best. If only Dave had behaved as well as the website, but we tried our best and calculated that he should fit into the Springer Spaniel size coat. I was a little dubious about this as some Springers can be extremely lean. Dave weighs approximately 22kg at present and so does fall into the slightly chunkier part of the Springer range and I was slightly wondering if this would really fit him properly given our pretty dubious super wriggly measuring attempt. Nonetheless, Springer Spaniel size ordered and the colour Navy chosen. The website offers an array of colours – 14 in fact – all really attractive colours, including luminescent for nighttime walking. You can even see what each colour looks like “in the flesh” if you check out the gallery – they are all beautiful, classic and classy.
Once I had sent off my request the coat arrived really quickly – by 48-hour mail. I was immediately taken by how light it was – far lighter than the standard coat we have at home. When I removed the coat from the packaging I could instantly feel the quality of the fabric. It is warm and soft with great stretch and give, which is certainly important with a very bouncy Springer. Enclosed within the package was an Equafleece brochure with full instructions enclosed about how to fit, put on and take off each item, seemingly catering for almost every type of dog – incredible! The important blurb tells you about the fleece; that it’s made of ‘Polartec’ – “high performance polyester fleece of the grade and quality found in advanced technical mountaineering wear”. I was feeling even more impressed by the second; this was serious stuff!
Now came the big test – putting it on to him. He was extremely excited at the sight of the coat, I’m pretty sure even Dave could see the beautiful quality for himself and knew he was going to look exceptionally handsome in it. This excitement did start out as trying to grab it in his mouth and shake it – I panicked at this stage that it would rip as he can be brutal with fabric, but this fleece is so durable it held up perfectly – not even a bobble appeared. Finally, the initial fun was over so we put it on him. As I mentioned before there are two catches for fastening – one at the front and one around the belly. The catches are quick release clips like you find on a rucksack, which is so important in case of any safety issue. The clips are large and chunky enough for you to catch hold of and release easily when squeezed. The straps at the chest are double enforced in a cross shape so that they meet at the centre of the chest and do not place any restriction on the dog’s movement or across the chest. All the straps feel like they are extremely tough, durable and well affixed and the fit of the coat around the shoulders and his haunch was perfect. Once I had the chest strap done up Dave decided to skitter around the kitchen again and the fleece stayed absolutely in place, despite the belly straps dangling. I think this was in large part due to the central seam and its’ band, which runs along the spine and seems to ensure that the coat sits absolutely in the correct place – it literally did not move. The tummy straps were fixed (so easy to adjust) and we had lift off. Off we set for our walk in the Wiltshire drizzle – I was curious to see how it would hold up.
We regularly walk alongside a local golf course, which is bordered by forestry. There are fallen trees, holly bushes, long grass with brambles and it was drizzling quite heavily. I walk Dave in a harness, which, due to the non-bulkiness of the coat, I was able to put on very easily over it with no impediment to the harness or coat. I let him off lead to do his worst. The coat did not slip once whilst we were out and it did not impede him in any way. The straps kept their place perfectly. By the time we got home it was raining properly so I feel we really put it through its’ paces. The proof in the pudding was taking off the coat again. You could feel the layer of wet sitting on the top of the fleece, but underneath? Toasty warm and dry! I actually found it hard to believe and even his belly was much drier than usual. Now if I could only get him into a dog suit with legs then we wouldn’t have those pesky leg feathers to dry off. That’s clearly going to be a work in progress, but I intend to try!
From a purely aesthetic point of view I absolutely love this coat. I have to say I think Dave looks incredibly handsome in it, but there’s far more to it than that – this is a highly sophisticated, top quality coat, made out of the best quality fleece material. The stretch of the material is fantastic – it literally bounces back into place perfectly, even when Dave is bouncing (see photo). The sewing is faultless and yes, I did check and pull! It puts the supermarket coat to absolute shame. What more can I say about this product? I love it and it’s made me realize a whole lot more than I ever dreamt about dog wear. It’s even simple to wash – just put it in the machine with a scoop of washing powder and out it comes as good as new and dry within no time. I am so impressed that I have already recommended this product and company to lots of my other dog owning friends and I am about to purchase a further coat and/or jumper for my 12.5 year old Yorkie X, who has sadly had some serious health issues since we received this coat for Dave. I know she too will love it. Thank you for giving Dave and me the opportunity to test out this fantastic product, we think it’s totally ace and would recommend each and every discerning dog owner to buy one!
RRP: £15 (puppy) to £46 (Great Dane)
For more information or to buy visit www.equafleece.co.uk.