Puppy Safety: Sleepypod ClickIt Sport Harness

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Ya know what happens when you spend two hours watching crash test videos involving dogs? You spend $80 on the one harness that didn’t send a test dummy flying through the air.

That’s how Bailey ended up with a Sleepypod ClickIt Sport harness.

The Center for Pet Safety (CPS) and Subaru of America last month released the results of its crate and carrier safety tests. Sponsoring these tests is one of the million reasons why I love owning a Subaru and probably wouldn’t purchase any other car. It’s also what made this report so damn disappointing.

Anyway…in a nutshell, CPS crash tested some of the most popular carriers and crates used by pet owners. Just about all of them failed miserably. Crates and carriers are good to keep your pet from being a driving distraction, but very few of them will keep your pet safe should you get into an accident. Not only can your dog get hurt, but your dog can hurt you as she flies through the car.

Harnesses aren’t any better. We’ve seen this for ourselves the few times I needed to stop short while traveling with Bailey. She often slipped forward, landing in the space between the front and back seats. I hated it, but I had read in numerous places that no harnesses fully kept your dog secure during a crash. Knowing that they all sucked, we went with what worked best in terms of comfort.

That’s until I saw the crash tests.

Due to the video settings, I can’t embed them here. You can check them out for yourself using this link.

Of all the harnesses tested, the Sleepypod ClickIt Utility was the only one that kept the test dog safe in a mock accident. The ClickIt Sport was later tested and performed just as well.

Chuck usually balks when I buy something for Bailey, but he didn’t bat an eye when I told him I was adding $80 to our existing credit card debt to purchase one of these harnesses for Bailey. Thinking about the expense logically, using our existing system should we get into a car accident and Bailey survive, treating her injuries would likely cost more than $80.

Our Personal Test Run

The ClickIt Sport comes in multiple colors, but I decided to go with bright orange because this harness since it will also be used as Bailey’s hiking harness. The orange will hopefully keep her from being mistaken for a deer while we’re in the woods. Considering where we go hiking, I don’t see this as a realistic threat, but it’s good to play it safe.

The harness has two reflective strips so I decided to start using it while we jog. As you may have read in last week’s post, we try our best to be visible when we go jogging in the early morning hours. Between the reflective strips and the bright color, it should help Bailey be seen when we go running.

Photo: After the Knot

Photo: After the Knot

My only concern was the placement of the leash rings. They’re in the back up by the shoulders. I’m a big fan of the Easy Walk, which attaches in the front. This gives me a lot more control of Bailey’s movements and generally keeps her from choking herself should she get too excited and start lunging forward. Generally, back attachments encourage pulling so they’re discouraged by science-based trainers.

In practice, though, I found that Bailey’s leash manners are good enough that I haven’t had any problems with pulling and the harness gives me more control than I had expected.

We finally got to take it for a test drive Labor Day weekend with a trip to Goodberry’s for ice cream (we went at like 8:30 hence the dark photos). Bailey doesn’t love car rides likely because she still gets somewhat car sick. She’s used to a huge range of motion that allows her to sit, stand, lay down in funny positions, and ball the seat cover into a little pillow.

Photo: After the Knot

Photo: After the Knot

The ClickIt Sport cuts down on this range of motion, which sucks for Bailey, but it’s what will keep her safe. She can sit and lay down just fine, but she won’t be able to stand and walk around. This is fine on short trips, but we’ll have to make sure to give her more stretch breaks when we stop.

Photo: After the Knot

Photo: After the Knot

She did get herself a bit tangled when I opened the door at our destination. She learned pretty fast and when we got home she waited patiently for me to unbuckle her.

Downsides

Like everything, it comes with a few downsides.

Price: It’s freaking expensive. Worth the price? Sure. But expensive is expensive.

Sizing: Be sure to measure your dog to ensure you get the right size. Bailey is a bit oddly shaped. She’s small for a Lab and is always too big for a medium but too small for a large. The harness can be adjusted, but I feel like you need to be an engineer to tighten and loosen the straps. There’s a video on the website, which you may have to watch like 10 times.

Leash Ring Placement: Bailey has good leash manners so this is turning out to be a minor problem for us, but dogs that are still in training with a front-clasp harness may not benefit from having the rings in the back. Changing harnesses once you reach your destination would be a raging pain in the ass. You could, in theory, put another harness over it, but I’m not sure how I’d feel about that if I were a dog.

I don’t see any of these issues existing if your dog uses just a collar or a Gentle Leader.

Final Verdict

Overall, I really like this harness. I wouldn’t use it for casual walks around my neighborhood, but it works well for jogging in the early morning. Bailey gives it a thumbs down for range of movement in the car, but I give it a thumbs up for keeping her safe. Once you get the sizing right, it’s easy to put on and easy to secure in the car. While not in our budget, it was worth the extra debt as it should hopefully prevent even higher vet bills should we get into an accident.

Photo: After the Knot

Photo: After the Knot

If you’re going to swing by Amazon to purchase one for your pup, do me a solid and use my affiliate link. The price is the same for you, but I get a little pocket change which I can use to spoil my dog pay my bills. Thanks!

Finding the Perfect Water Bottle: The Hunt is Over

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Aside from coffee, wine and the occasional can of Dr. Pepper, water is the only thing I drink.

It’s probably the only healthy thing I don’t struggle with. I never had to “cut out soda” because I’ve never been one to drink it regularly. I don’t even get down on myself when I do have have that giant Dr. Pepper because I know the next one I drink will be in like six months.

I only drink juice when I’m sick or mixing it with rum. I haven’t had a glass of milk since I was two when I stopped drinking it in protest of my mother taking away my bottle. I found out that fun fact like five years ago.

So water is my jam. I don’t even need to add flavors to it. I actually drink less water when I add stuff like lemon or mint.

Finding the perfect water bottle has been tricky. The perfect water bottle had to meet a few, but very important, qualifications.

  1. It couldn’t be plastic. I’m really trying to move away from using too much of the stuff. It’s great and it has some amazing uses, but I’m trying to limit my use of it.
  2. It had to keep water ice cold. I love an ice cold glass of water. Maybe it’s because my fridge didn’t have an ice maker so growing up ice was scarce. As soon as it gets to be room temperature, I stop drinking it as often.
  3. It had to be spill proof. I have this horrible personal flaw where I don’t close things very well. I’m notorious for leaving cans, jars and bottles open, which always ends up in me spilling the contents all over the floor or myself (I actually did it while writing this post. Not even lying) Water bottles are no different. I essentially need a sippy cup.

Not too hard right?

Yes. Apparently it was too hard. After years of searching, I finally found the perfect water bottle that meets all my criteria.

Behold HydroFlask.

This stainless steel water bottle is vacuumed insulated so it keeps ice water cold forever. I have literally found ice in it 13 hours later. The locking top makes it spill proof. I’m in love.

I was introduced to HydroFlask during a shopping trip to REI, a store that I’ve become in love with despite often feeling like the most out of shape person there. One of the employees recommended it to me and when I was checking out, the cashiers followed up with equally great reviews.

Initially, I purchased the purple one shown in the photo below.  Its slim design was great when we went hiking a couple of weeks later, and the top can be easily attached to a carabiner. I quickly fell in love with this water bottle. It kept water colder than any other water bottle I had ever experienced.

Photo: After the Knot

Photo: After the Knot

The only downside: the top. It wasn’t spill proof and it was a pain in the ass to open when I was driving. Despite that, it’s a great water bottle. So great that C asked me to pick up one for him.

I made my way back to REI and there I found the latest models. I think they’re made to be used for coffee as they also keep liquids warm, but I was just so, so excited. The size was a bit smaller and it’s a little bit heavier, but it had the spill proof top I was searching for. I bought one for C and another one for me.

Getting them in NY Islanders colors was a total coincidence. // Photo: After the Knot

Getting them in NY Islanders colors was a total coincidence. // Photo: After the Knot

If you want to purchase one for yourself, please use the affiliate links listed below. The price is the same, but I get a little commission for recommending the product.

21oz water bottle with the narrow mouth (in case you’re not as klutzy as me)

18oz water bottle wide mouth with Hydro Flip lid 

Runners Up

Before getting to Hydro Flask, I went through two other water bottles that weren’t bad and may meet your needs.

I was introduced to CamelBak by a friend of a friend and despite it being plastic, I really liked it. I loved that it was light — because it was plastic — and I LOVED that it was spill-proof.

Downsides: It sweats. Even the insulated one pictured below sweats. It doesn’t really keep water cold for very long and the mouth piece is hard to clean. You can buy replacements, but that’s kind of a hassle. I still use it when we go hiking because it’s light and water is water when you’re hiking.

I was really impressed with Contigo for a long time. It’s also vacuum insulated and it kept my water cold for a long time even when it was sitting in a hot car.

Downsides: You can’t put the colored ones in the dishwasher. I do anyway, but it eventually ends up looking like the one in the picture below. I also think putting it in the dishwasher regularly did something to the vacuum seal because it definitely doesn’t keep water cold for very long anymore. It’s also heavy and bulky. I still use it for coffee on my way into work, but I’ve stopped using it as a regular water bottle.

Photo: After the Knot

Photo: After the Knot

You might have other requirements for your water bottles so these could be good options for you. If you end up using any of these water bottles, come back and tell me what you think.

Finding a Thing We Do: NC State Park Bucket List

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A lot of couples have a “thing.” You know, a thing that they do.

Chuck and I don’t really have a thing. I guess we try to find the best pizza in our area, but that’s more like a quest than a thing. We also test out the calamari and the buffalo wings, but I don’t really consider either of those a thing.

I kinda wanted a thing. A couple thing. A thing that would drive us to do something fun or have adventures.

Outdoorsy Bucket List

A long while back, before I met C, I visited my cousin in Wyoming. We made a day trip to Yellowstone National Park which, by the way, is so incredibly cool. In the gift shop, I spotted this passport book that you can stamp every time you visit a national park.

I think it was something like this.

I considered getting it. “Maybe I could make that my thing,” I told my cousin. “Maybe I could visit all of the national parks in the country.”

She was encouraging, but I ultimately put it back. Realistically, I was working a dead-end job that wasn’t in my field and had no idea if I’d ever have the money to make those trips.

I ended up getting laid off a few months later, so, yeah, pretty right about that.

The goal stayed with me, though, and I never stopped thinking about it.

On a recent trip to Boone, C and I decided to take a hike at Elk Knob State Park, which was about 25 minutes from our cabin. While we made our way up the windy mountain road, I asked C if we could have an outdoorsy bucket list.

With every national park being absolutely unattainable, I suggested hitting every state park in North Carolina. There are 34 state parks and even at one a year, I felt that we could do it. Quite a few are within an hour’s drive meaning we could hit more than that.

C was on board and we found ourselves a thing. We’d visit every state park in North Carolina.

Photo // After the Knot

Photo // After the Knot

With a 2-mile hike, we checked Elk Knob off the list.

We’ve already been to Umstead State Park a couple of times and I’m trying to decide if it should count. I don’t have an “official” picture of us at the park and driving by just to take one feels like cheating.

For Memorial Day weekend, we took advantage of the below average temperatures and drove up to Durham to visit Eno River State Park. I purposely chose one of the more difficult trails for our hike because I knew A) we needed the exercise and B) there would be fewer people, fewer dogs, and fewer children.

Photo // After the Knot

Photo // After the Knot

 

I have this grand idea for painting on our wall a giant map of North Carolina with a photo by each state park. I don’t really have the artistic talent for it, but we’ll see what happens.

So what about you? Do you and your partner have a thing?