The Restcycle Dog Bed has become a popular spot for our tuckered-out furry pals to settle in and find rest after a big day on the trail. Cue the deep, steady snore, and it won’t be long before paws twitch and eyelids flutter as visions of the next dirt path, the next pine cone, the next excursion weave through their dreams.
It truly is a sight that warms the heart, but knowing the sustainability story behind the Restcycle is even more reason to smile.
The product designers at Ruffwear had the Restcycle Bed on their mind for quite some time, inspired by the pursuit to do more with less, get creative with available resources, and minimize our impact on the environment. And since there’s no shortage of landfill-bound scrap material in the outdoor industry, it would be a win-win to discover a way to repurpose those quality leftover materials in a comfortable, long-lasting bed.
Finding the Fill
Early iterations explored using materials like scrap fleece and fabric, or even rice husk for filling, but then designers came across a mountain of trash bags filled with closed-cell foam pellets at a supplier factory. They’re the byproduct of punching holes out of backpack straps for breathability purposes, and they ultimately end up in the trash.
The material could be repurposed as it was without the need to process it. It’s a foam that won’t absorb water or odors and won’t break down or pack out, which got the designers thinking: these are just the kinds of things you want in a dog bed and not a landfill.
The initial attempt to develop this product back in 2012 was met with some resistance from foam suppliers because, as Ruffwear product designer, Liz Zarro, says, “It’s a weird request to ask for someone’s trash.” But after partnering with a new supplier and working out the logistics, the plan to build a bed entirely out of recycled and repurposed materials moved forward.
“Foam” Follows Function
A key factor for designers was ensuring the Restcycle Foam’s functional performance was just as strong as its sustainable sourcing. They found that filling the baffles with a graduated amount of pellets lets dogs dig, nest and shape the bed (think “beanbag chair,” but firm and supportive). And the ability to re-distribute the filling by giving it a quick shake meant no more worn out dead spots – the all-too-familiar culprit in short-lived dog beds that land in landfills.
Observing office dogs and feedback from wear-testers helped designers fine-tune features like the amount of fill, the cover materials, and the pillow topper. Signature Ruffwear details were added with the integrated handle for easy transport, the non-slip waterproof bottom, and the ability to easily remove and clean the cover.
Ruffwear believes in being mindful of how design decisions affect the environment. Building products that minimize (or in this case, repurpose) waste and last longer ultimately aids in protecting the wild places we explore with our faithful dogs by our side.
The Restcycle has quickly become a good spot for canines to catch a few Z’s between excursions. We hope the Restcycle helps you rest easy as well, knowing you’ve made an eco-conscious choice.
As we enter the holiday season and begin to wind down the year, it’s a great time to pause and give thanks. More than anything, we’re grateful for our friends, family, canine companions, and the time outside we spend together throughout the year. This is where we forge bonds and make memories that we carry forward into a new year of experiences. This is where we find inspiration, push ourselves, try new things, learn, and grow. We’re also thankful for the gear that helps us get out there. Below, a few Ruffwear pack members and friends share their thanks.
Eddie and Kacie
Eddie is thankful for tacky dirt trails and mud puddles. Kacie is thankful for the Dirtbag Seat Cover, because it means less time cleaning up and more trail time with Eddie.
Elise and Bailey
Elise is thankful for sunrise powder turns before work. Bailey is thankful for the Powder Hound jacket, which keeps her warm and dry lap after lap.
Liz and Bernie
Liz is thankful for Bernie’s good manners. Bernie…well, you can probably guess. The Treat Trader helps Liz keep treats on hand, so Bernie can demonstrate his good manners and earn a well deserved reward.
Tala, Cade, and Becca
Tala is thankful for slow mornings at camp, where she can relax in her cozy Clear Lake Blanket and watch the sunrise. Cade and Becca? The same, plus coffee.
Marv and Mary
Mary and Marv are thankful for nights spent outside together, under the stars. Marv is especially thankful for a meal that’s ready to go, as soon as they get to camp. Fuel up, Marv.
Jen and Millie
Jen is thankful for mild, sunny days in the high desert. Millie is thankful for fresh air and her comfortable-all-day Hi & Light Harness.
Let us know in the comments below what you’re thankful for this season, and share your stories with us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Happy Holidays from the Ruffwear Pack!
Spilling from alpine heights through the world’s first national park, the Yellowstone River — the longest free-flowing river in the lower 48 — winds north, past the century-old stone arch marking the border of Yellowstone National Park, and into a Montana valley called Paradise.
Wildlife abounds in this valley and the land surrounding it. Elk herds roam along the riverbed, raptors swoop over trout streams and antelope spring across the valley, sharing the space with human residents. Grizzlies, mountain lions and wolves complete the portrait of nature as it once was — predator and prey striking a balance.
Here, near the braided river and enfolded by rugged, 10,000-foot peaks, Darcie Warden preps for one of her favorite meditations — in a place that is now considered under threat.
The Paradise Valley and surrounding area face an uncertain future. Two gold mining proposals are slowly moving forward, and many say they would threaten water resources, wildlife and the quality of life that supports the region’s economy. One mine would perch on a prominent peak, while the other would literally sit on the border of Yellowstone Park.
The proposals have spurred local businesses, residents and politicians on both sides of the aisle to declare that the Yellowstone ecosystem is more valuable than gold.
Darcie pulls two harnesses from her rig. Balto bounds back and forth, back and forth, always ready. Ever-skeptical Ruby cocks her head as Darcie clicks into skis.
Called skijoring, Darcie says it really feels like flying. To run, to pull, to move in perfect harmony. is what these Alaskan husky siblings were born to do.
It’s intense love for Balto and Ruby, three working together as one. It’s connection to this place that’s a home for her heart, drinking in the wind, the trees, and the beckoning mountains.
At a nearly century-old log cabin in the pines, they break for a drink and treats. It’s a welcome rest stop — Ruby’s energy is flagging. She’s averting her eyes and flopping into the fluffy snow at every pause.
With gold mining proposals poised to change the Paradise Valley, Darcie is part of the effort that is seeking solutions — ones that recognize that the area’s natural values are a tremendous asset.
Grassroots efforts are underway to prevent the sulfide gold mines that would pose a threat to these wild places and the livelihoods that depend upon them.
Darcie is doing her part by working for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. For more than three decades, the nonprofit organization has focused on safeguarding the integrity of the Yellowstone ecosystem — 20 million acres of public lands across three states that includes Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.
“I have this immense love for my dogs when I’m out with them on skis,” Darcie says. “It’s so meaningful for us, getting to jore in this very special place. It’s astounding — the Paradise Valley might not be part of Yellowstone National Park, but it has all the qualities of a national treasure.”
To secure the future of the area, Darcie says, would be to ensure future generations and their canine companions can also experience the magic she feels there with Ruby and Balto — their own memories in Paradise.
Words and photos by Alison Turner of @alisontravels
I’ve circled the country a few times over the last nine years with Max, and I can’t imagine traveling without him – or with Cooper, my newly adopted rescue pup. When I adopted Max at a farmers market in 2009, little did he know (or I, for that matter) that he was about to embark on a completely new lifestyle of traveling to unknown destinations and seeing the country.
With my trusty old 4Runner and a newly purchased tent, we hit the open road for two years without a plan. Before the world started using iPhones and smart phone apps for directions to the perfect camping spot, I relied on the analog version of Google maps…an actual map. For tips and recommendations of unknown places, I used the little green tent triangle printed on some maps, random signs on the road, or I would put my faith in complete strangers to point me in the right direction. Having Max by my side every moment of the day made me feel less alone, and less afraid of taking risks to find an unknown destination. Even though he’s the size of a small pillow, he was the main reason I kept traveling and exploring. He brought comfort and laughter to my life each day, which was a welcome break from the stress and uncertainty that solo travel can bring at times. He taught me to take things a little slower and was a daily reminder to enjoy the small moments, like taking walks. Anytime I felt stressed, I just had to look at him and my anxiety would melt away. After two years in a tent together, I upgraded to a VW Eurovan Camper and never looked back. Living in a van during our travels with a hard shell added another layer of security and luxury to our adventures.
After 9 years of traveling together, I’m starting to see signs of him slowing down a bit. For reasons I am not 100 percent sure of, I decided on a whim in early January to adopt Cooper, a cattle dog mix puppy I saw at a rescue dog adoption event. He wouldn’t take his eyes off of me as I walked around his cage and once I took him out, I didn’t have the heart to put him back in… so off we went! Now we’re a pack of three and learning how to travel as a team together.
These days, it’s much easier to get away from the crowds and find solitude with your dog, or dogs. With just a few clicks, you can find paradise not too far from where you currently reside. As much as I think I know my current town or region, there are still millions of miles of land to explore in America.
I hope you turn down an unknown road in your area and find your perfect place to roam with your best friend. Here are a handful of places where we love to roam free:
I am often asked for dog friendly destinations and I seem to always tell people to seek out your local BLM lands. www.blm.gov – Because our public lands are so dog friendly, I search for them first so Max and Cooper can be free to roam and explore. Our personal favorite BLM locations are:
At the base of Mt. Whitney lies a place called Alabama Hills. Unique rock formations to climb and trails to explore make up this popular spot among boon dockers. It’s right off highway 395 in Lone Pine, CA, and is worth a stop to spend the night under the stars. There are plenty of dirt roads to take in search of your perfect spot to camp and the dogs can wander as they please.
Bonneville Salt Flats
The area is a great place to take photos since everything is against a white background. It’s one of those places where you just want to soak up the beauty and explore. You can unleash your pups and wander as you please. You can drive along the flats and stop wherever you want. The surrounding areas are a great place to camp for free.
Max, Cooper, and I come alive when we get to run around in the dunes. This location, like many dune locations that permit off road vehicles, allows dogs to run free. There is something about soft sand that gets Max and Cooper excited. Cooper is a digger and he’s free to dig while Max and I love the feeling of soft sand beneath our feet. We also enjoy Coral Sands State Park in Utah and the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado.
Eastern Sierra – Hwy 395 in California
If you venture out of Yosemite and head east, you’ll hit prime Eastern Sierra spots. My recommendation would be to stop at the ranger station near Mono Lake and ask about the best places to remote camp. I’ve found some amazing spots just by telling the ranger a little bit more about myself and what I’m looking for. If they don’t tell you exactly where to go, they will give you a map to explore. If you enjoy hot springs, they are scattered about the area and you’ll find some remote camping spots throughout the area.
There is so much BLM land in Utah, but our favorite spots are in Southern Utah.
Of course you’ll find some amazing national parks, but just outside of those parks, you can find hidden gems. As with the Eastern Sierras, I would locate the ranger station in Kanab (or any other city with a BLM ranger station) and ask about some dog friendly remote camps.
Joshua Tree Dry Lake Bed
You can camp next to people in the National Park with your pups on a leash, but just outside of the park is a large dry lake bed where you can camp wherever you want for free. It’s just a few miles off the main road in Joshua Tree, and once you make a few turns, you’ll be driving on the lake bed where you can boon dock anywhere. You can walk for miles and get lost in the hills or stay put and hang out where you are. Be sure to bring water and everything you need since there aren’t any services. As with any destination, be aware of the heat.
The Oregon Coast
One of the most dog friendly states I’ve found is Oregon. Although not all beaches allow your dog to roam free, I have yet to find a beach that didn’t allow dogs on a leash.