Packing up the car and taking a road trip with your best (dog) friend can seem like a great idea. But there are a lot of places dogs aren’t allowed, and that’s where a travel crate can come into play, especially if you’re staying in hotels.
I personally have taken 5-6 trips across the United States with two dogs. We’ve used multiple types of crates, starting with the traditional house crate (hard wired metal) and finally settling on a foldable soft crate.
Noz2Noz Soft-Krater Indoor and Outdoor Crate
With a great ease of use and ability to be easily cleaned, this water resistant crate is a perfect option. It offers a variety of sizes and is very easy to assemble and use.
2Pet Foldable Dog Crate
This crate features a waterproof base and a portion of the proceeds go to a great animal cause. A washable fleece pad is the icing on the cake with this one.
Soft Crate vs. Hard Crate
You could not pay me to take a road trip with a metal crate, with one exception: I was driving a truck and the dog was comfortable or preferred the bed of the truck as opposed to the inside floor. Other than that I’m taking a soft crate every single time.
The primary reason is weight. Lugging in 1, 2, 3 or more hard crates into a hotel room is pure torture, especially if you have large dogs, which means large crates.
It’s true that hard crates are easier to clean up, so if you have an older dog or a younger dog prone to accidents then a hard crate may be worth it, but even then it’s a close call.
While cars are made for human safety, they are not always the safest for pups, especially because they cannot wear a traditional seat-belt (although there are dog specific seat-belts and harnesses) as we can. Some (not all) travel crates make sure that your dog is secure and in the event of a crash, they stay inside the vehicle instead of being ejected.
However, most travel crates are simply meant for hotels or overnight stays where you can’t leave the dog in the room to roam about. We almost never use crates inside cars (occasionally in a truck bed). Instead we’ll set up our soft crates in the hotel room so we can visit a local museum, restaurant, or another attraction where dogs aren’t allowed.
10 Best Travel Crates for Dogs
1. Noz2Noz Soft-Krater Indoor and Outdoor Crate
This model also comes in 5 different sizes for dogs weighing up to 70 pounds. The crate is made of a tight-weave mesh fabric that is heavy-duty for pet wear and tear durability. The soft crate is ideal for long trips as it is well ventilated and it sets up in a very short amount of time.
The Noz2Noz model has a water resistant base for accidents and easy cleaning and the entire cover surrounding the steel frame is washable in your washing machine.
Pros: Comes in a variety of sizes, washable, water resistant
Cons: More expensive than other brands
2. 2Pet Foldable Dog Crate
This crate features a steel frame design covered with a water resistant nylon variant over. It has mesh panel windows and a waterproof mat for the flooring of the crate. It also comes with a washable fleece cushion pad.
A portion of the sales also goes to pet shelters and charities, which is a great perk! The crate also comes with a 1 year warranty.
The crate has installed carrying handles and is foldable and lightweight.
Pros: A portion of the proceeds goes to charity, waterproof, and lightweight
Cons: More expensive than other brands
3. AmazonBasics Portable Folding Travel Kennel
A soft crate, this product comes in five different sizes to accommodate many different sizes of dogs, weighing up to 70 pounds. Featuring two doors on the front and the top, this crate makes for easy access and entry and has ventilation for your pooch on all four sides of the kennel.
With zippers to close the doors and straps to help to fasten unzipped doors, the mechanism is easy to use and provides for ultimate assurance that your dog is fastened in.
The kennel folds up flat for storage and transport and sets up quickly without any tools. The rounded corners of this kennel make sure not to damage the interior of your vehicle during travel.
Pros: Easy set up, folds up, zipper closures
Cons: No carry handles
4. Diggs Revol Small Dog Crate
This particular crate is made of high-grade aluminum, steel mesh wire, and reinforced plastic, all of which are non-toxic and safe for your dog. The crate is collapsible, easy to transport and has three carrying handles. This crate comes with wheels and a large garage-style door.
This crate fits any breed up to 30 pounds and has a puppy divider, a removable tray and a ceiling hatch. The dimensions of this kennel are 25x17x19.
Pros: Easy to clean, collapsible, non-toxic
Cons: comes in one size
5. Aspen Pet Porter Heavy-Duty Pet Porter
With eight size choices, this model dog crate packs a punch! One perk about this kennel is that with an easy-open latch, you can open the crate with one hand. This specific crate meets most airline cargo specifications and regulations.
It is made up of a heavy-duty plastic shell and metal screws and features a lightweight design.
Pros: Airline cargo certified, 8 size choices
Cons: Does not fold down
6. AmazonBasics Two-Door Top-Load Kennel
You have two size options with this particular crate. It is a hard-shell, two-door top-load model. The top door is able to open up to the left or the right. While the exterior is made of plastic, the front door is comprised of a steel wire to safely secure your pup.
The price point is very reasonable and is easy to clean. If simplicity is your goal, this is a great option.
Pros: Simplicity and price
Cons: Does not fold down
7. EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate
The EliteField model comes in 5 size options to accommodate your dog and over 10 color options! Although this is a soft crate, the frame is a strong steel tube and the crate cover is made out of a durable fabric.
This kennel has a total of three doors: one on the top, one on the front and one on the side. It comes with a carrying bag and fleece bed for free! Also, it should be noted that a 2 year warranty comes along with this product.
Pros: 2 year warranty, free carrying bag and fleece bed, many color choices
Cons: Higher price point
8. Guardian Gear Collapsible Dog Crate
This crate features 4 different sizes and is able to accompany large dogs such as Great Danes, Great Pyrenees, Greyhounds, and St. Bernards. It is quick and simple to assemble and to take apart and has mesh windows on all four sides for ventilation and visibility.
This model has a machine-washable sheepskin mat, along with a carrying handle.
Pros: Has a very large size option, Quick Assembly
Cons: Higher price point
9. New World Folding Metal Dog Crate
This brand offers options! You can choose from 5 different sizes and a single or double door. It is a folding metal crate with two heavy duty slide-bolt latches. The New World crate has a leak-proof plastic pan for accidents. No tools are needed to assemble this kennel and it fits easily in the back of a vehicle.
Although it does not come with any soft bedding, your dog’s bed can be added for extra comfort.
Pros: A great price point, many customizable options
Cons: No soft bedding included
10. LUCKUP Heavy Duty Dog Crate
The Luckup crate is very heavy-duty and the frame is made of steel for durability. The finish on it is nontoxic for your pup’s safety. It has a double door and a locking caster. The bottom of the crate is made to easily be able to slide out for cleaning. You can choose from 3 different size options for this crate.
Unique to others, the bars are much thicker and appear to be more sturdy. It can fit in the back of a vehicle for easy transport.
Pros: Durability, Non-toxic
Cons: No carrying handles
My detailed travel crate setup
For the past several years we’ve used the same two Noz2Noz Soft-Krater without a single issue.
Unfortunately we didn’t start out using soft crates. We started with the traditional metal crates (that way a ton!).
Our first road trip was about 3 weeks across the U.S. and I will never, ever, ever again use metal crates. Holy cow was that a pain.
Our car is packed exactly the same, except we now use soft crates, which pack down even smaller than the picture below. Once we reach the hotel, if we need to leave the dogs for an excursion or something, we’ll unpack the crates and set them up like below.
You can see the 2 soft crates setup in the hotel room, and I also left the laptop in the picture because we use a program called iCam that streams the laptop camera to our phone. That way we can check on the dogs while we’re out.
The crates break down super quick, and we pack up the following day (or whenever we’re done at that hotel).
We don’t even own the metal crates anymore. We used to keep them around in case we needed to crate them in the house, but now we just use the soft crates for that as well.
Let me know in the comments which option you end up going with!