DoggyBag offers rest for the four-legged
A sleeping bag sized for man's best friend is the newest product to target the Pacific Northwest's coveted demographic of outdoor enthusiasts with a pup in tow.
With the DoggyBag, Portland entrepreneur Rachel Bauman is aiming at campers whose "adventure dog" always tags along on their owner's Instagrammable exploration.
"I don't think consumers are accepting subpar products for their dogs anymore," says Bauman, who founded her company, Whyld River, in 2017. "I'm saving the world one doggy sleeping bag at a time."
The two-part bed is composed of an oval-shaped pad that can serve as a stand-alone cushion or as a homebase for a dog staking out his or her territory in the wild. If your pooch needs extra pampering, there's a handy sleeve to insert human-based bedding, though Bauman says a DoggyPad is coming soon.
The top "quilted" layer snaps on to the pad, creating a pouch that's slightly reminiscent of those Smucker's Uncrustables sandwiches still taking the after-school set by storm.
Three sizes are available — small for canines under 20 pounds, medium for 50-pound pooches and large for anything bigger — which should keep even a Great Dane cozy. Sizing is key, Bauman says, because "if it's too big it doesn't insulate as well," just like a human's bed.
With no local manufacturing options available, Bauman formed a relationship with a supplier in China. The entire shebang is made out durable synthetic nylon.
"Dogs are kind of gross," Bauman laughs. "You've got to be able to throw this in the washing machine."
Bauman was part of the second cohort to graduate from the University of Oregon's Sports Product Management program in Portland in March, where she hand-sewed a prototype as part of an assignment to bring a product to life.
"It really taught me how to create a product, how to get a business up off the ground, and create a valuable network," notes Bauman, who earned the school's prestigious Entrepreneurship Award.
Since then, she's attended Outdoor Retailer, the massive annual expo and conference that recently relocated to Denver, Colorado after rejecting a bid from local politicians and state tourism agency Travel Oregon.
She admits there are other doggy sleeping bag options on the market, though she doesn't think they're much competition because they're low quality and have zippers.
"A zipper might be great for us humans, but dogs have tails and fur," she explains.
As for the origin story, Bauman says she loved how camping brought out the confident side of her rescue dog, River, but worried he might freeze his nose off without proper protection. Bauman and River have done plenty of road testing for the DoggyBag while camping near Mt. Hood.
While this product won't hit shelves until October, hikers and backpackers can pre-order the DoggyBag for $89 at Bauman's website, www.whyld-river.com.