An inevitable part of owning and loving a hunting dog is injury and mitigating how our four-legged best friends could get hurt — it isn’t IF it will happen, it’s when.
Our dogs are predisposed to injury given the nature of their work and the environmental factors they encounter. Examples include shiv-shaped cane stalks in pheasant marshes, small tree stumps or barbwire fences — all obstacles a dog pays no mind to as it chases its nose.
Field Armor would become the answer to dog injuries and vet bills for a pair of new bird dog owners and boyhood friends trying to navigate their dogs’ injuries.
Born out of necessity
Dog vests and skid plates have been around for some time — most are designed with labs in mind, which doesn’t always bode well for popular upland dogs like the GSP, pointers or setters.
After a several-thousand-dollar vet bill from a bird dog running into a barbwire fence, the Field Armor crew decided investing in a protective vest might be the safer and cheaper option.
What they found, though, was an industry plagued with poor form, fit and function. Vests would chaffe dogs, fall apart after one use and weren’t designed for dogs covering many miles each day or retrieving dozens of birds.
Subpar, poorly constructed materials and a lack of research and development in the hunting dog vest industry provided Field Armor an opening to create a better, more functional product.
Field Armor: Fit. Form. Function.
In early 2022, the duo began buying, researching and breathing dog vests. While each had a day job, their passion drove them to solve a lingering problem for bird dog owners – creating a vest able to withstand the rigors of hunting and be comfortable for the dog.
Countless research hours went into materials, sewing, learning what is and isn’t rot-resistant, understanding where others had cut corners and how supply chains work, and figuring out what it would take to make a vest that will last and function.
Prototyping isn’t as sexy as it sounds, and the Field Armor crew went through 10 vest designs, each rigorously tested afield, before landing on a design they could grow and build their company from.
They cast Jax, a German shorthaired pointer, using an unscientific technique to create their medium – proof that there wasn’t much catered toward the proper fit on the market.
During the fall of 2022, they launched Field Armor. The pair had created something to be proud of, they said.
“Our vests solve the problems of fit, form and function,” the pair said. “Our vest has a lot of adjustability; it isn’t a universal fit like others. Our materials form a product that will last afield and in the marsh for years. Most importantly, the vest functions for your dog, protecting it comfortably.”
The duo is on version two of their upland and waterfowl vest, releasing both in late August 2023.
Their V2 Waterfowl Dog Vest will be the answer many waterfowlers have been looking for.
“We took what we learned from version one, added a zipper, made the vest bulletproof, integrated waterproof mesh into it and, most importantly, maintained an adjustable fit for maximum comfort,” they said.
The upland and waterfowl vests utilize strategically placed and tightly woven waterproof, rot-resistant mesh. It is similar to what is found on some patio furniture. To maintain comfort, neoprene and other materials are used in high-friction areas to prevent chafing.Upland configurations come in mesh or neoprene, depending on your dog’s coat or how it handles warm or cold weather. The waterfowl vest is made from the same mesh but is neoprene-lined.
Although each dog will need to be measured to determine what size vest they need, both versions are adjustable and will provide a custom fit for your dog, providing maximum comfort and safety.
All Field Armor products are sourced and assembled within the United States. The company currently employs two seamstresses, and there are plans to add more to accommodate an increase in sales.
Made and sourced almost exclusively in Southeast Michigan, the company prides itself on being available to customers and creating a product they can stand behind.
Field Armor also turns out minimalist vests and belts, a harness, a gear bag and a car seat hammock. They also offer a premium gun case lined with faux rabbit fur and protected by premium cordora and buckskin leather.
The company carries a one-year craftsmanship warranty and a 30-day return policy. They will exchange a new vest for a different size.
Field Armor is happy to answer any questions. You can reach out to them via their support page on their website.