Traveling with a dog is a big hassle, and seeing your pet in a cage is never easy, but it’s a little easier if they’re at least in a nice dog crate instead of any old tin can. If you’re bringing your dog along on your vacation, you want to make sure they’re traveling as comfortably as you are. That’s why we’re going to help you find the best travel dog crates for your furry friend to travel in style.
Keep reading for the full list of our best portable dog crates followed by a special section of budget dog crates and then a breakdown of which dog crate you should get based on your specific needs. Or if you’re in a rush, skip to our number one portable crate for dogs by clicking here.
What Should You Look For in a Portable Dog Crate?
I know how much dog owners like to spoil their dogs, and you definitely don’t want Fido to be uncomfortable during a long car ride or flight. To find the perfect travel crate for your dog, you’ll need to know what traits to look at. Luckily, we’ve taken care of that for you. Here’s a breakdown of all the criteria we used to evaluate the best portable dog crates.
Criteria #1: Portability – A portable dog crate should obviously be portable, but there are a few different ways to achieve this goal. Of course, the crate can just be small, but that won’t work if you have a larger dog like a German Shepherd or a Golden Retriever. Ideally, you’ll have a dog crate that’s collapsable, so you can easily pack it up while you’re not using it, or a crate with wheels to help you move it around. Of course, if you have a smaller dog or a puppy, the crate might be of a manageable size as it is, so this won’t be as necessary.
Criteria #2: Durability – We don’t want you to have to go out and buy a new dog crate every time you go on a trip, and your dog’s crate might take some abuse. Unfortunately, your dog might not be very thrilled about their travel arrangements, and especially if you have a bigger dog, it’s not out of the question that there will be thrashing around over the course of the trip. We want to make sure you have a crate that lasts long enough that your dog can get used to it and learn that everything will be okay.
Criteria #3: Ventilation – As we’ve said, we want your pup to be as comfortable as possible, and part of that means finding a crate that doesn’t feel like a crate. A well-ventilated crate will help your dog stay cool and calm while traveling. The simplest way for a crate to be well-ventilated is to have a lot of gaps and bars, but some materials will also just let air in better than others. You’ll want to see the design of a crate and know what material it’s made of before you buy it.
Criteria #4: Price – With food, toys, treats, training, leashes, and collars, having a dog is expensive enough as it is. We don’t want to have to add an expensive dog crate to that long list. You’re going to have to spend some money, and naturally, the better products will be more expensive, but we’re here to help you find the best deal. That means that no matter how cheap or expensive a product on this list is, we’ll make sure that it delivers a performance that justifies its price.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Portable Dog Crates
We used the criteria above to evaluate all of the most popular portable dog crates on the market and made sure to check the brand websites to see what kind of performance is to be expected from these crates. In addition to that, we read blog posts and customer reviews to make sure that all of the crates on our list performed as advertised.
#1: Life Stages LS-1648DD Double Door Folding Crate (Best Value – All-Purpose)
Coming in 6 different sizes, this collapsable dog crate has something for everyone. It has a pretty standard design that features a steel frame and all-around visibility, so your dog won’t feel too locked up. It has a secure lock to keep your dog safely inside, but it features a low door threshold so you can leave the doors open and give your pup the option to go in and out as they please. This is great for helping your dog feel like the crate is a safe space instead of a punishment. And when this crate is collapsed and folded, it takes up almost no space at all, so you can just throw it into the trunk of your car and quickly be on your way.
In addition to coming in 6 different sizes, meaning you can spend as much as you need to spend and get the perfect sized-crate for your dog, this crate comes with the option of having one or two doors. The two-door option is nice for making your dog feel a little more comfortable, and it’ll make it easier for you to navigate. You won’t have to bend all over while opening and closing this cage. You can just pick the more convenient door. A second door does cost extra though, so you’ll have to way the pros and cons of that before you make your decision.
Finally, in addition to being completely collapsable, this four-sided crate is made out of a heavy-duty, wire mesh, steel frame that won’t break on you anytime soon. You could honestly probably keep a bear in this cage, though I don’t recommend it. It’s also easy to set up and easy to use, and it comes with roller feet that will not leave any scratches on your floor. However, the rollers aren’t proper wheels, so if you’re bringing this crate through an airport or similar building, you’ll still need to place it on a dolly.
With its different sizes, everyone can find a version of this crate that fits in their budget and goes with their dog. This is one of the best foldable crates for dogs on the market, and you don’t have to take only our word for it. In addition to being featured on “best dog crates” articles and lists, this dog crate was reviewed more than 13,000 times on Amazon, and the review section is one glowing review after another. Customers loved how quick and easy it was to set up this cage, and owners of bigger dogs said the large size of this cage got the job done. This crate gives you everything you need and lets you set the price.
#2: SportPet Designs Plastic Kennels Rolling Plastic Wire Door Travel Dog Crate (Best Dog Crate for Flying)
Just like our number one dog crate, the SportPet Designs Plastic Kennel for dogs comes in multiple sizes, but this crate only comes in 5 sizes, not 6, so if you have a really huge dog and want this crate, you might be out of luck. It’s also more expensive than the Life Stages LS-1648DD Folding Crate, which is why the SportPet Plastic Kennel landed the number two spot on our list. That being said, there are a couple of reasons you may decide it’s worth it to spend more and walk away with our number two dog crate.
Reason #1 to Choose This Product: Wheels
Coming with fully-functional, removable wheels, this crate can be used as a standard crate at your home, but it’s also perfect for bringing your dog on a flight or train. It’s also International Air Transport Association (IATA) airline approved, so you can be sure that this crate was specifically designed to bring your dog on that long-distance vacation or farther flight to your new job. In addition to the snap-on, removable wheels, the SportPet dog crate has two handles on the top of it that make it truly perfect for bringing your special friend through any big transit hub. It’ll be much easier to pick up this crate, even with your dog inside. The crate also comes with “live animals” stickers so you can make sure the airport staff takes proper care of your dog.
Reason #2 to Choose This Product: Attachable Food and Water Bowls
With a water dish and a food bowl that latch onto the grate of the door, this cage gets the most out of its space. You’ll be able to make sure your dog has enough food and water before you part ways for the duration of your flight. This is also convenient even if the crate is staying in your home, because the bowls are latched into place and not as likely to move around and spill all over the floor of the crate.
Pet owners may not like this crate as much as the cheaper Life Stages dog crate because its plastic build gives your dog less visibility and ventilation, and the SportPet crate isn’t as compact when taken apart. However, the crate does have steel mesh windows on the side that somewhat make up for the drop in visibility caused by the plastic frame.
This crate can be used as an at-home crate, but it’s mostly intended for travel, while our number one crate is the other way around. If you’re constantly flying and want to be able to bring your dog around with you, then there’s no better crate for you than the SportPet Plastic Kennel. You may prefer our number one crate if you like the extra visibility and ventilation it affords, if you mostly stay put but want a crate that you can bring on road trips, or if you just don’t want to spend as much money.
#3: Petmate Two Door Top Load Dog Crate (Best for Puppies and Small Dogs)
Sure, both the Life Stages crate and the SportPet crate offer smaller crates, but if you have a small dog, there are certain luxuries and extra features that can be fit into a crate that don’t really work with large dogs. Since they’re not specifically designed for smaller dogs, our top two dog crates don’t have these features. However, the Petmate Two Door Top Load Dog Crate gives you all of the extra features that are only possible with a smaller dog crate. This means you’ll never have an easier time carrying around or traveling with your furry little friend.
The first feature that makes this cage great is the top-side door, which gives it its name. This will make it much easier for you to get your dog into the crate, even if they’re a bit more resistant to the idea. Just pick up your little pup and place them inside. Now try doing that with a golden retriever. Yeah, not as easy. The top door is also convenient for placing food, toys, or treats into the crate, without risking your dog running out and making a break for it.
Even though this travel crate comes with a plastic frame, similar to that of the SportPet travel crate, it has a grated pattern on the sides that offers more ventilation. However, the grate windows of the SportPet crate probably offer better visibility. This crate is also more expensive than the smaller options of the Life Stages LS-1648DD dog crate, so there is a bit of a trade-off. You may decide to save some money and go with our number one dog crate. However, if you want the most convenient travel crate for your tiny dog, there’s no better option than the Petmate Two Door Dog Crate.
#4: Aivituvin Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier (Best Low Cost)
If staying within a budget is your chief concern, the Aivituvin Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier is exactly what you’re looking for. Just like the Petmate product, this soft dog crate is best for small dogs. Soft dog crates are both cheaper and much easier to pack than their harder counterpart, but you might not feel as at ease leaving your dog unattended in one on a long flight, as the soft sides don’t offer much in terms of protection.
The most convenient feature of this soft crate is that it has a sleeve on the side that slips over the handle of a suitcase giving you one less bag to carry around. The soft dog crate also has mesh windows on three sides to give your dog great visibility and ventilation. Finally, the Aivituvin Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier comes with a convenient shoulder strap for bringing your dog shorter distances, and it’s completely machine-washable.
While this crate is airline approved, soft dog crates, in general, are probably not as ideal for flying as more heavy-duty hard crates. Soft-sided dog crates are perfect for bringing your dog on local public transportation, like a bus or a subway. So, if you live in a bigger city, you’ll definitely want to think about purchasing this travel crate. It comes in at an amazing price and is incredibly convenient. The main reason you might want to decide to splurge for a more expensive crate is for the protection offered by hard sides.
#5: Petnation Port-A-Crate (Best for Camping)
All of our crates so far – whether they’ve been foldable or carryable travel cases – have been ideal for getting from one home to another, but what if your destination isn’t a building? A lot of dog owners like to go camping, and among those who do, a lot of them would like to bring their dog along for the weekend in the great outdoors. If that’s what you want, the Petnation Port-A-Crate is the perfect soft-sided crate to act as a tent for your dog that’s just as comfortable as your own tent.
It’s made of a tight-knit, water-resistant mesh so you don’t have to worry about your dog getting wet if it rains overnight, and it’s incredibly easy to clean. It’s also easy to set up; all you have to do is click a few poles into place. When it’s not set up, it’s incredibly compact, and you’ll have no problem bringing it along on any trip.
This Petnation soft dog crate comes in 5 different sizes and can fit dogs in between 10 and 70 pounds. So whether you have a chihuahua or a mastiff, you’ll be good to go with this crate. It also has two mesh windows on the sides that will help with ventilation but won’t do too much in terms of visibility. However, if you’re using it for camping trips and other outdoor activities, your dog may not be inside the crate until the night time, so visibility isn’t as much of an issue anyway.
The Port-A-Crate is amazing in terms of portability and durability, but it doesn’t have any handles. So once you set it up, it’s a bit of a hassle to move around, and moving it with your pet inside is definitely out of the question. It has a door at the top just like our Petmate dog crate, and it has a great steel frame.
Customers loved this soft dot crate, and one reviewer specifically mentioned that it was amazing for when they went camping with their dog. This crate also comes in at a great price.
As we mentioned above, this crate doesn’t have any handles. That means that, if you want a crate you can carry around while your pet is actually inside it, you’ll definitely want to look at other options. As far as soft dog crates go, the Aivituvin Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier might be a better choice. But if you want a durable crate that’s easy to pack to give your dog a special place of his own on your camping trip or picnic, this is probably the dog crate for you.
#6: Ruff ‘n Ruffus Portable Foldable Pet Playpen (Roomiest Option)
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If you have more than one pet, or really like to give your dog five-star treatment while you two explore together, this is the perfect pop-up soft dog crate for you. Despite being collapsable and foldable to a size just as convenient as any of the crates on our list, this Ruff ‘n Ruffus soft crate is luxurious and huge when it’s unfolded and set up. It’s also perfect for the outdoors. It has an attached floor mat to make sure no sharp pines, branches, or needles poke through the floor, and it’s water-resistant.
This roomy dog crate has an 8-panel design that will give your pet plenty of room to stretch out before its time for bed. Plus, this crate has a removable roof, so you can decide to let your dog feel the elements a little during your weekend getaway in the woods. This tent-like crate has mesh windows on all sides to let your dog breathe easily and feel included, as they’ll be able to see you clearly and know they’re not alone.
The Ruff ‘n Ruffus Foldable Pet Playpen comes in three sizes and has clear instructions on how to set it up and fold it back when you’re done with it. A huge plus of this playpen crate is that there are no extra parts needed, and it’s incredibly easy to set up. It also falls into the same affordable price range as the other crates on our list, and as a bonus, it even comes with a convenient carrying case.
Reviewers absolutely loved this soft dog crate, and one customer even mentioned that both of their chihuahuas were able to fit inside at the same time. If you want to show your dog how much you really care, give them a space of their own that they can run around a bit in. Just remember, you won’t be getting any traveling done once this crate is set up. If you need to go through a train or bus station or an airport, this is not the dog crate for you.
If you’re looking for something cheaper, and the Aivituvin Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier wasn’t for you, don’t worry. We’ve added an entire section of budget dog crates so nobody has to feel left out. No matter how much or how little you’re willing to spend, we’ll help you find the dog crate you’re looking for.
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If the Petmate Two-Door Top Load Dog Crate caught your eye but cost a bit more than you’d planned on spending, this AmazonBasics two-door travel crate might just be exactly what you’re looking for. It has the same basic design, with a similar top-side door, the same slotted plastic sides, and the same steel wire front door.
The biggest difference between this crate and the Petmate crate is that the AmazonBasics travel crate’s top door is made of solid plastic with a few air slots, while the Petmate’s top door is a steel frame. This means that, with the Petmate travel crate, you’ll be able to check on your dog just by peeking through the top door, and you won’t have to bend down to look through the front door. It also means that the AmazonBasics crate might have slightly worse ventilation than the Petsmart crate. But this may seem worth it to you for the money you’ll be saving, and if you want to keep it cheap while bringing your smaller dog through the airport, this is an amazing option for you.
#2 Budget: Henkelien Pet Carrier
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Our second budget crate is similar in design to the Aivituvin soft crate, and though the Henkelien Pet Carrier is a little more expensive, both can definitely be described as budget products. The Henkelien Pet Carrier has a machine-washable mat lining the inside, so your dog will stay nice and cozy during your travels. This soft travel case has side pockets to store treats and dog food. Just like the Aivituvin product, it has a top door and meshes windows on three different sides, which gives your dog fantastic visibility and gives this crate plenty of ventilation.
The biggest difference between the Henkelien and Aivituvin soft crates is that the Henkelien soft crate has a sleeve to turn the four arm straps into a padded shoulder strap. In comparison, the Aivituvin has arms straps and a separate shoulder strap. You might like the option of having both at the same time, but you also might find that it’s nice to be able to easily bunch the arm straps together and have less material getting in the way. Whichever design you like more will probably determine which crate is best for you.
#3 Budget: Love’s Cabin Pop-Up Kennell
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The Love’s Cabin Pop-Up Kennel is the cheapest dog crate on our list, and while it has a pretty basic design and aesthetic that doesn’t offer a lot in terms of convenient straps or extra doors, it’s not without its useful features. This budget dog crate has mesh windows on three sides, giving great ventilation and visibility, and it folds up into an easy-to-carry handbag shape.
The Love’s Cabin travel crate also has slots on the corners, so it can be pinned down with tent stakes. It can be conveniently held in place by the seatbelts of a car, which is a great feature to have if your dog gets a little restless in the back. This soft dog crate is an amazing budget option if you want to bring your dog with you to outside destinations like a camping trip.
Verdict: Your Best Portable Dog Crate
There you have it, we just gave you nine fantastic travel dog crates to choose from. I’m sure that was a lot of information to take in all at once, so we’ve provided a quick recap of our standout dog crates to help you make your final decision.
If you want the best value for money, pick the Life Stages LS-1648DD Double Door Folding Crate.
Our number one dog crate comes in 6 different sizes, has a 4-sided steel frame that offers the best when it comes to visibility and ventilation, and collapses to a small size that will fit right into your suitcase or the trunk of your car. Plus, it has anti-scratch rollers on the bottom, and you have the option of paying for a second door. This all comes in at an affordable price – especially if you have a smaller dog – and this price-to-quality ratio made the Life Stages crate our number one dog crate for traveling.
If you need wheels on your crate, pick the SportPet Designs Plastic Kennels Rolling Plastic Wire Door Travel Dog Crate.
While our smaller soft crates and top-door crates are all great for going through airports, the SportPet Plastic Kennel is the only crate that has wheels on the bottom to help you get around the airport with your dog as quickly as possible. If you plan on bringing your pet on a lot of flights, this is the clear choice for you.
If you want to keep the spending cheap, pick the Aivituvin Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier.
The cheapest crate on our main list, and the second-to-cheapest product overall, the Avitivunin Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier may be the best deal for its price out of our cheaper options. With four arm straps and a shoulder strap, this soft crate is incredibly easy to carry around any which way, and it’s approved for air travel. Plus, it has mesh windows on three sides so your dog can see you’re right there with him, and they’ll be able to breathe easily. Finally, it has an extra door on the top which is great for getting more skittish dogs into their crates before a trip. This all comes in at an amazing price that’s hard to beat, even from worse dog crates.
When choosing your travel crate for your dog, it’s important to keep in mind what kind of traveling you’ll be doing. For example, while the Life Stages crate earned our number one spot as the best travel dog crate, it’s not ideal for public transit and probably not approved by most airlines. It’s best if you’re frequently driving from one home to another.
The SportPet crate is probably best for frequent flyers, while the Petmate travel crate is best for small dogs, though the soft crates on our list are also good for smaller breeds. You also might go with the luxurious Ruff ‘n Ruffus Portable Foldable Pet Playpen. Finally, remember to think about your dog’s size and personality just as much as your travel habits when making your purchase.