Thursday, March 18, 2021

Gear That Works! Carrying the Water: RuffLand Waterhole and Dakota 283 Dash


RuffLand Waterhole (Note the carefully applied orange tape, so I don't donate another one to Rest Areas around the country.)


This is, and has been for many years, my primary dog watering hole. I like it.  A lot.  It's a recommended piece of gear.  In addition, I carry gallon jugs to fill this container while on the road or hunting.  I always thought it carried 2 gallons of water, however the company website reads it carries one gallon of water.  The video on the website shows it accepting a gallon of water, but it's a misnomer (in a good way).  Yes, you can pour one gallon of water into the front, open section of the bucket.  But, the way I handle this is to then tip it back and have the water run back in to the container, then add another gallon up front.  So, it will hold almost two gallons.  The downside is that driving using my method will splash a lot of water out- back to nearly the original gallon. And, although the back of the truck is all-weather, I now have water splashed into the back of my truck. 


How the Waterhole travels.

When I went to the "4 kennels in the back" method of hauling the Brit pack, I could not find room for the square cube Waterhole.  Now it sits, angled up to keep water from splashing out, between the kennels and the tailgate.  A keen observer will note: I cannot open the tailgate without first grabbing the water bucket and lifting it out.  It's not a huge inconvenience, but it's not the best solution, either.  

Enter the Dakota 283 Dash.  When I won a Regional NSTRA field trial, this was one of the awards.  I'd never heard of it.  I got home, opened the box, and pulled it out. 

Dakota 283 Dash 3.5

It's made out of a hard plastic (that's a non-technical term I apply to most things not wood or metal) similar to the Waterhole.  I was initially unimpressed with the cute little, blue plugs.  So, I filled it, inserted the plugs, and it's water tight.  Wait!  No splashing?  I laid it flat, and pulled the bowl plug.  The bowl filled with water using the same siphon wizardry the Waterhole uses. Then, I tilted it back up, and all the water in the bowl ran back into the hole.  Plug inserted, I lifted it back to the vertical position. I was pondering how long it would take me to lose the little, blue plug in the bowl, when I noticed a round slot in the back perfectly sized for the plug from the bowl. It's a clever, little storage place for the plug. (I can see already, I'll need to order and extra plug. Or, run a little cable from the plug to the handle, so it won't walk off on its own.)

Back of the Dash with bowl plug storage showing.

So, all that is good, but here is the BEST feature.  The shape of the Dash allows me to store it between my Bed Slide and the bed sidewall using the integral handle grip at the top.

Dash stowed out of the way.

To recap: The Dash gives me 3.5 gallons, that won't spill, and stores out of the way.  

Cost for each unit might be a factor.  The Dash goes for $89, regardless of color, at various online retailers, while the Waterhole goes for $46-$49, depending on color (white's the cheapest).  I suppose the techno-geek in me is rearing its head when I say I can haul 3.5 times the water, without splashing, for about twice the cost.  Sounds like a win-win to me. 

Dakota 283 Dash and RuffLand Waterhole

I really like them both.  I am a huge fan of RuffLand (notice the kennels), but in this case, the Dash scores a home run.  I think the combination of spill-proof, 3.5 gallons, and storable on the side wall makes this water delivery system a MUST BUY!  

(Full Disclosure:  I bought the Waterhole (and lost three other ones), and I won the Dash.  I was not compensated in any way, by either company.  The opinions and crackerjack science are my own.  No animals were harmed during the testing.  (In fact, no animals were harmed during most of my last bird hunting trip, but that's another story.  See Endless October on Amazon Books.)  #abirdhuntersthoughts