I live in cold places: from northern Wisconsin to the mountains of Colorado to (currently) the Bitterroot Valley in Montana. Barley and I regularly stand shivering at the startlines of a skijoring race in 0*F weather (-17.8*C). Barley has waited patiently while I ice-climb above him and curled in the crook of my knee for 12*F (-11 C) nights of camping.
I say all of this to make something very clear: my dog and I are not wusses, yet I find the Hurtta Expedition Parka to be one of our favorite pieces of gear.
Despite Barley’s long coat, he still gets cold during some of these adventures. I find myself reaching for his Hurtta Expedition Parka when I know we’ll be standing around (like at skijoring races) or sleeping in the cold. Generally, he doesn’t need it if we’ll be active – running, hiking, or skiing.
Hurtta Expedition Parka Quick Specs
- Breathable and water-resistant Hound-tex
- Reflective piping
- Available in a variety of colors
- High neckline to keep out snow and keep the head warmer
- Leg loops to stay in place
- Closeable gap for a leash/harness combo beneath
- Cincheable waist that’s easy to close with mittens on (just one large buckle)
- Multiple adjustment points at the neckline, collar, and back length for a perfect fit
- Constructed to protect key muscle groups in the chest and legs
- Smart belly design prevents getting urine or feces on the jacket
- Generally sold for about $80-120 USD
- Sizes in 20-80 cm back length, measured from your dog’s neck/shoulder junction to the base of her tail (8-32 inches)
Images above show the leash gap, the leg loops, and the V for the tail.
About Hurtta the Company
Hurtta is a company of clothing industry professionals and dog lovers from Finland. They play in some of the most frigid, rugged terrain on the planet, and their gear is made to excel in that environment.
Many of Hurtta’s employees and product testers are also dog sport professionals. Much of their gear works well to help in the warm-up and cool-down for sports just as well as it does for camping and skiing.
Hurtta also has a line of eco-friendly products made from recycled materials. Currently they don’t have a ton of options in their eco line, but I’m SO excited to see what else they come out with!
My Experience with the Hurtta Expedition Parka
Hurtta sent me an Expedition Parka for free to test out while I spent 10 days camping in northern Maine. Barley and I were filming a television show all about dog-human survival – and that’s all I can tell you until it’s announced publicly due to NDAs.
We had to build a shelter and find our own food, and the Hurtta Expedition jacket was the #1 item I wanted to bring to keep him warm and cozy. He wore the coat from about 6pm to 8am every day, helping keep him warm as it rained, snowed, and temperatures dipped to just 12*F (-11*C) at night.
Everyone on-set complimented Barley on his Hurtta Expedition Parka. It was stylish, functional, and looked SO cozy. Several producers called it “chic.”
But most of all, I was impressed with how warm Barley seemed. He didn’t need it during the day when he was moving around, but as soon as we got back to camp he happily wiggled into the jacket and curled up on the pile of sleeping bags, his nose under his tail.
I found the jacket absolutely perfect for an active dog who won’t stay under blankets. I tried to tuck Barley into a sleeping bag at night, but he was too fidgety. The jacket was perfect!
The Hurtta Expedition Parka was also tough and functional. It protected Barley’s chest and neck while he barreled through dozens of downed spruce trees. He wove and jumped through branches and brambles all day for 10 days and the jacket still looks perfect.
Barley is a total water hound, and I love that this jacket isn’t likely to get soaked if he wades into a pool for a drink. I tried to remove the jacket before we ventured to the river each morning, but even if I forgot or it was too cold, the jacket never got wet. I’d worry a bit about a jacket with sleeves for that reason.
I also love how the jacket keeps your dog’s coat cleaner – while this might not be a huge benefit for shorthaired dogs, it’s a huge relief for me to not have to pull burrs out of Barley’s fluff at the end of an excursion.
Since returning from Maine and our TV show, I’ve been putting the Expedition Parka to the test in Montana’s winter. From early-morning walks in blizzards (where the photos in this article are from) to warm-up and cool down at agility trials, I am consistently happy with the Expedition Parka.
While walking Jax a few weeks ago with the parka on, I literally had a woman pull her car over to ask where to get the jacket because he looked so cozy!
I have a few friends who found that their dogs would get their forelegs stuck in the parka when hopping through ultra-deep powder, but we suspect that this is because of incorrect fit.
If your dog is practically swimming through snow ANY jacket will let some snow in. I have found that some snow can get packed into the chest panel and then will freeze into giant ice balls. This problem isn’t any better without the jacket, so I’m not upset – but note that the jacket won’t necessarily save your dog from ice balls.
Overall, the Expedition Parka seems to allow Barley full range of motion in a variety of activities. He can extend his front legs perfectly and the jacket stays in place due to the rear leg loops. I am careful to remove the jacket before he gets warm, but so far he’s always seemed comfortable.
Kayla is from Ashland, Wisconsin but lives in Missoula Montana. She holds a degree in biology from Colorado College and has spent years working in zoos, animal shelters, as a private dog trainer, and with working detection K9s. She is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant. She shares her life with her border collie Barley.