The Bowl That Started It All

The Bowl That Started It All

  • Cristina Stavro

It all began in 1994 with a lightweight, packable bowl to fuel dogs on the go. It opened up a new world of exploring with our dogs – a world that has in turn fueled our inspiration ever since.

In the summer of 1992, Ruffwear founder Patrick Kruse was mountain biking in the Los Padres National Forest with his friend Liz and her dog Moqui. On that ride, he encountered a challenge that would lead to a series of innovations and kickstart an entire industry: performance dog gear.

Trying to give her dog Moqui a drink, Liz emptied half of her water bottle into a plastic bag and held it while the Rhodesian Ridgeback took a few slurps. Moqui walked away panting, and Liz was literally left “holding the bag.”

If she set it down, all the water would spill out. And she wasn’t keen on emptying what was left back into her own water bottle. “You need to do something about this,” Liz challenged Patrick. That moment sparked the inspiration for Ruffwear’s first product — a collapsible waterproof bowl.

Man mountain biking with dog and quencher packable dog bowl in the foreground.

At the time, Patrick was designing paddle sports apparel and accessories through his company, Salamander Paddle Gear. With his experience in technical fabrics and design, Patrick set out to build a waterproof bowl from a dog’s perspective. It needed to hold food and water in a way that appeals to dogs and pack small for outdoor adventures. 16 months of research, development, and testing later, Patrick created the first Quencher™ collapsible food and water bowl.

Original prototype of the quencher bowl sewn by founder Patrick Kruse in 1994.

The Quencher accompanied Patrick and Salamander Paddle Gear to Outdoor Retailer in the summer of 1994. Set out on a table at the front of their booth, the collapsible waterproof fabric bowl drew crowds.

In the crowd was a buyer at L.L. Bean, who promptly placed an order for 8,000 units. Ruffwear had officially launched. Since then, Ruffwear has pioneered a category, building performance dog gear to enhance and inspire adventure for outdoor explorers and their human companions.

A puppy with three sizes of the original ruffwear packable dog bowls.

Over the years, the Quencher has evolved – changes in color and modifications to its size and shape – yet the form and function of the original bowl has remained the same. Here's a look at the bowl's design over the years, changing most recently in Spring 2021 with a color makeover on its still iconic shape. 

Adaptive athlete on a off road handcycle on trail while dog Bernie drinks out of quencher dog bowl at her side.

 

Dog in front range day pack drinks out of quencher packable dog bowl on trail in Jefferson wilderness.

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