HURTTA CHILL STOPPER
Juniper Blue // 18″ (with 18″ back, 23″ neck, 28″ chest)
$80 through Euro Dog Designs ($75-100 MSRP)

SUMMARY:
+ A good fit for average to bulkier dogs, but too loose for leaner dogs
+ Easy-to-clean, high-quality lightweight, waterproof and windproof materials
+ Protects from some wind, rain, snow, and cold, but not ideal for extreme conditions
+ Chafing on legs for short-haired dogs

OVERALL RATING (OUT OF 5): 3.8
Function: 3.5 // Durability: 4 // Value: 3.5 // Aesthetics: 4.5 // Fit: 3.5

REVIEW:
The Hurtta Chill Stopper is a redesign for the 2015/16 season of the older Hurtta Frost Jacket. There are some differences and upgrades/downgrades to the previous design, but it’s essentially the same soft shell meant to provide warmth and protection against wind and water for dogs without an undercoat, or heavy-coated dogs who just need a little bit of help when it’s colder and snowing to stay active a little longer.

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Deer is wearing the Chill Stopper on the left, and Jasper with the older Frost Jacket on the right.

While we like our Frost Jacket because it’s such a perfect fit for Jasper, right off the bat, you can tell the Chill Stopper is somehow “newer.” Although the material is very similar both inside and out, it feels and looks more modernized. It still features Hurtta’s Houndtex (which is waterproof and windproof), but it also feels softer, more durable, and more flexible. The feel and look of the jacket is on par with high-end human gear. It’s not rip-proof, but unless your dog consistently runs against abrasive surfaces, I wouldn’t worry about damaging this jacket too easily.

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This coat features Hurtta’s signature Houndtex exterior with a fleece-like interior in a fabulous colour!

Admittedly, this coat caught my attention first because of the colour. I’m already a sucker for blues in general, but the Juniper Blue really struck me hard. This jacket is the only gear I’ve bought for my dogs at full price because of this, and seeing it in person, there are no regrets, although I still think $80 USD is a huge chunk of change for a single jacket.

The good thing is, because the Chill Stopper was designed to bridge the gap between a raincoat and a winter jacket, it makes for a fantastic transitional piece.

img_6712-jpgThe Chill Stopper is a must for us in the Fall!

This seasonal versatility is made possible by the thin fleece-like lining inside, but also a weather-resistent exterior. The Chill Stopper doesn’t have as much neck coverage as the Hurtta Torrent Coat, but it slicks off water just the same in all other parts, especially the back and belly.

However, the back thigh coverage is there, which is especially important because of the muscle groups there. This was missing in the Frost Jacket, the predecessor. The neck coverage is quite minimal, and because there’s no way to tighten the upper collar and Deer’ neck is thin, precipitation can leak in.

This jacket also doesn’t have as much insulation, so use in extreme conditions is not recommended unless your dog already has a heavy coat and just needs a little help. It won’t do any good for a dog like Deer in temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit without another layer, for example.

fullsizerender-jpgThe harness opening is covered by a flap, and allows for the leash to move left and right.

The typical Hurtta bells and whistles are included, but questionable depending on your dog and your needs. The harness opening is convenient and is blocked by a flap to prevent moisture and wind from further seeping in, and the width allows leash movement from side to side. Because the opening faces backwards, we tend to drag the coat forward because Deer walks behind. Without the elastic back leg straps, the coat would probably slowly come off of Deer as she lags further and further behind. However, this isn’t a problem for most people as most dogs tend to pull forward or sideways if at all.

Also, a slight “downgrade” of this jacket are the reflectors. They are a little bare on this coat, as they don’t run along the sides on or by the seams as many other jackets do. They’re only on three graphics – one in the front, one on the upper right side, and one on the left back. They work well, but if your dog is positioned the “wrong” way, they almost don’t exist.

One of the major differences in design between the Chill Stopper and the older Frost Jacket are the zippers. The Frost Jacket’s zippers sit on the back and are two-way, making it very quick to take off, but able to slip off from mere gravity when being put on. The slanted zipper of the Chill Stopper prevents this issue, but because it’s on one side, doesn’t make access as quick as the Frost Jacket. Aesthetically speaking, the side zippers are “cooler” and add to the more contemporary look. But the thing I’m most happy about the new one-way zipper is that it doesn’t get stuck at the beginning like the Frost Jacket does – it’s very smooth and consistent.

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Slanted zippers add to the “modern” aesthetics of this jacket, but note the coverage in the belly, thighs, and front legs, as well as the location of reflectors.

The other important thing to note about putting this jacket on is that your dog cannot be paw shy, as you need to put the front legs through the leg sleeves. Although there is a snap button near the neck that helps keep the coat in place while zipping up, having a wiggly dog may make this jacket hard to put on, too – just to match up the zippers can be quite a task if your dog doesn’t stay still.

The other major difference between the Chill Stopper and the Frost Jacket is the fit. While the Frost Jacket fits many leaner dogs, it just didn’t work out for bulkier dogs because it constricted movement out of tightness. Hurtta went for the completely other end of the scale in their redesign. The Chill Stopper is much looser, and for smaller and leaner dogs, even too loose, but for medium to very bulky dogs, it allows for better movement, and less friction on the skin/fur.

On Deer, it fits quite loosely on her chest and legs, and especially her neck because she is on the skinnier and narrower side. In fact, the looseness of this jacket on Deer means we can fit another layer underneath, as long as it’s not as loose as the Chill Stopper. And while chafing is a big issue for both my dogs with all sleeved clothing, the slightly looser fit on Deer’s legs improved this issue a little bit, although not completely. The elastic straps of the back legs are also a little big for Deer, but with a knot, they help keep the coat in place, while also keeping it loose for smooth movement.

fullsizerender-jpg-1The back adjustment is not commonly seen in dog jacket designs and quite useful for finding the perfect fit.

However, one of the greatest parts of this jacket that I’m looking to see in other dog clothes is an adjustable back. This allows for an even closer fit, and more flexibility when it comes to finding the exact fit for your dog. That’s why the sizing skips a few typical numbers, but doesn’t leave any dog sizes out. For some dogs with curly tails, this can really help prevent discomfort.

FINAL SAY: Somewhat recommendedThe Chill Stopper is not an ideal fit for many dogs, but if it does fit your dog, you’ll get some good use out of it because it’s a great versatile jacket for covering a wide range of weather conditions. Its high quality material and sleek design makes it a pleasure to look at and comfortable for your dog to wear and move around in. Aside from a slight fitting issue and other minor downgrades, the Chill Stopper is definitely a jacket we reach for in non extreme conditions!

SIMILAR ITEMS (REVIEWS COMING SOON):
+ Hurtta Frost Jacket
+ Ruffwear Cloud Chaser

Originally written Dec. 2016, updated again Nov. 2017