--------------------- Field Report -----------------------
--------------------- Jan. 5th, 2010 ----------------------
As of January 1st I have used the Guyot Designs âSquishyâ Pet Bowl on forty-one treks with at least thirteen different dogs. On all occasions it was used for watering between one and three times per hike.
Field Tests October through January
All hikes taken during the field testing phase lasted between two and four hours and took place in various Sonoran desert mountain preserves within a few miles of my home in Phoenix, AZ. Elevations in these conservation areas range from 1,500 ft (450 m) up to 2,100 ft (640 m). Temperatures during my on trail hours fluctuated between 80 and 40 F (5 to 26 C) over the three month span.
My experience with the âSquishyâ Pet Bowl has so far been positive. During my field use the 32 oz (0.95 L) bowl proved voluminous enough to water two medium to large dogs at one stop without the need for refill. After a third or fourth dog was added to the mix the bowl needed a second doze of water fairly quickly. Standing by the bowl and refilling certainly is not a hassle, however, and if I felt it was I could always consider the larger bowl Guyot Designs offers.
The bowl has retained its shape perfectly, never failing to pop open to its original form as soon itâs out of my pack. Once out and filled, the 6 in (152 mm) opening was without doubt large enough for all the doggy muzzles diving in for a drink. The largest faced breed to use the bowl was Jack. Heâs a stout guy, possibly a bulldog/boxer cross and quite a sloppy drinker because of his fleshy jowls. He was a little apprehensive at first to stick his nose into the bowl, not sure why, but after the first time he was golden. Jack's the strappin' fella on the far right in the picture on the right. The 2.7 in (69 mm) side height also worked nicely. The one small dog I hike is Koda whoâs a young Dachshund. From ground to nose heâs about 7 in (18 cm) and he was able to access the water in the bowl without any problems other than avoiding slobber trails from the taller dogs standing over him. Yuck!
Over the three months of testing the bowl has remained in surprisingly good condition. Itâs still puncture fee despite the abundance of pointy hazards on the ground in the desert and the rough nature of some of my traildog companions. A few of the dogs have on occasion stepped on/in the bowl, laid on it, and tested it for chew-toy worthiness. The picture to the left is an example of how one of my goofier canine cohorts, Joey a large yellow lab mix, routinely treated the âSquishyâ Pet Bowl.
I have yet to clean the bowl properly, meaning a good washing with soap and water in my sink. (I do not use a dishwasher so evaluation of how the bowl handles that will have to fall to the other testers.) Generally I just shake out whateverâs left in the bowl when the dogs have had their fill and stuff it back in my RIBZ front pack until the next stop. That seams to work fine unless itâs heavily goobered with dog slobber or there is a lot of dirt or leaves inside or on the underside of the bowl. Tapping it up against a tree does help but once wet, the bowl material clings to leaves and the like and requires wiping with a cloth or rinsing with more water. The picture below and to the right shows an example of this.
Folding and storing it is my only area of contention, mainly because itâs not as compact as the other collapsible bowl I used previously. Iâve had to make adjustments to fit it comfortably into my standard dog hiking kit, which is a RIBZ front pack. The bowl rolls up okay but doesnât stay compressed and ultimately pokes me in the side through the pack material. I switched some things around inside the pack so now my K9 first-aid kit pushes up against the bowl holding it in a squashed position. That helped and I have been satisfied with this way of lugging it so far. During the last two months of testing I will store it in one of the dog backpacks a few of my traildogs wear to see how well it works as part of this set-up.
Pros and Cons Thus Far
Good marks for the following aspectsâ¦
Size is working nicely with various shapes/sizes of dogs
Sturdy material has held its shape and is puncture free
Holds a practical amount of water
Aspects Iâm not keen on right nowâ¦
Not as compact as Iâd like
Please check back in two months for the final installment of this test series, the Long Term Report.