Do you always bring your pup with you no matter where you go? Do you need a special crate that will let you easily transport your four-legged friend? If your answers to these questions are affirmative, consider getting a soft and comfortable pet kennel.
There are a lot of benefits to using a soft-sided dog crate over a typical hard-sided one. Also called dog carriers, they made out of flexible fabrics and are, therefore, much lighter and easier to carry around. When they’re not in use, they can be easily folded down and stored away. These advantages turn them into ideal travel crates for canines.
However, purchasing one is not that easy. How exactly do you know which model is actually worth your money? There’s quite a lot of clutter on the market and finding the perfect soft dog carrier can be extremely difficult. Make to see our 11 best crates for 2020 overall.
5 Highest Rated Portable Soft Crates for Dogs Reviews
|Product||Main Feature||Price Range|
Best Overall Value
|Great construction quality|
Ease of use
Pet Gear 3-Door
Durable steel frame
Great for traveling
|Can be used outdoors|
Those looking for a quality mesh dog crate should definitely take EliteField 3-Door into consideration. It’s a very popular model and a great alternative to metal cage. Let’s take a look at the features that turned it into the company’s bestseller:
This model packs quite a punch with its traits. Setting it up and folding it down can be done within seconds thanks to its lightweight internal frame. The model’s cover, made of sturdy mesh and thick canvas, is very easy to remove and wash, while the rounded and reinforced corners give it a very durable look.
One thing we really appreciate about EliteField 3-Door is that it has side and front-entry doors, as well as the partial mesh window on the rear side and the full-length one on the opposite long side. The high amount of mesh means that the model is well-ventilated which makes it a suitable choice for the pooch owners living in warmer climates.
The company has thrown in a couple of additional features, such as the carrying case, a free mat, and a couple of storage pockets. When we combine the included carrying case with the multiple built-in handles, we can safely say that the manufacturer went overboard with the carrying options – transporting this soft kennel for dogs is as easy as it gets.
The only downside is that the pet owner can’t secure its zippers when they’re in a closed position. Clever dogs know to exploit this error by using their toenails.
- Great construction quality
- Ease of use
- Multiple doors and windows
- Useful additional features
- Zippers could be more secure
Pet Gear 3-Door
The next model comes from a company called Pet Gear, which, as the name suggests, manufactures all sorts of pet-related equipment. We’ll be taking a look at their 3-Door model, which features a pretty good construction quality, easy access, and a couple of additional features. Let’s check it out!
Even though it looks very soft and comfortable from the outside, the heart of this model is its durable steel frame. It’s an internal steel tube frame that’s sturdy enough to withstand wear and tear during bumpy rides, but which can still be easily collapsed for storage in just a couple of seconds.
The easy push-button folding mechanism deserves special words of praise, as it makes the crate even more convenient for the traveling pet owners.
As the name suggests, there are three doors – one on the top, one on the front, and one on the side. The side door is the largest and provides an easy access, and each door is covered with mesh to provide good ventilation. Even though it can be purchased in several different sizes, the Pet Gear 3-Door is very compact and doesn’t take much space no matter where you decide to put it.
We were quite pleased to see a waterproof mat, a fleece pad, and the storage bag in the package – these accessories certainly raise the crate’s value for the money. Furthermore, it can be purchased in seven different color combinations, allowing a degree of personalization.
When it comes to downsides, we have to mention that the mesh material in the windows is somewhat flimsy – aggressive canines might easily tear it apart.
- Lightweight & portable
- Durable steel frame
- Collapsible design
- Comes with accessories
- Low-quality mesh on the windows
Noz2Noz product is not only good for short trips to the vet but also for the longer outings. Opening and closing it is extremely easy, and it can be kept both indoors and outdoors. Due to its high popularity on online retail websites, we’ve decided to take a closer look at its characteristics.
Although it comes with a steel frame, Noz2Noz is covered from all sides and won’t make your canine friend feel like he’s in a cage. Due to its portable design, it is very convenient for use inside vehicles, whether you’re just visiting a vet or going on a camping trip. It can be purchased in several different sizes and can accommodate pups from 15 to 90 pounds of weight.
The fabric looks and feels quite sturdy, which, when combined with zippered door locks, provides the pet with sufficient safety during the car rides. There are also corner protectors that prevent the fabric from tearing, as well as the push-button tabs and couplers that allow the owner to collapse the kennel and store it flat. This accordion-like design is a real space saver and one of the most remarkable features.
The base of this collapsible soft dog crate is water-resistant, which leads to easy clean-ups in case your four-legged companion has an “accident”. All you’ll have to do is disconnect the fabric from the frame and wash it in your washing machine.
Our only complaint about Noz2Noz is that it emits a strong odor once unpacked. We advise keeping it outside for a couple of days before the first use.
- Great for traveling
- 3 zip-open doors
- Collapsible frame
- Water-resistant base
- Strong odor upon unpacking
When it comes to transporting our furry companions, opting for a soft dog carrier that provides safety and comfort is undoubtedly the best option. Precision Pet’s soft-side model is a good choice – it’s a convenient piece of pet equipment that looks and works just as advertised.
Available in several different sizes and color combinations, the Precision Pet crate can contain dogs up to 70 pounds of weight. It’s a well-constructed, comfortable carrier with four reinforced doors, each of which has heavy-duty zippers and provides your pet with an easy access.
Since it has built-in handles, moving it from one place to another is exceptionally easy, especially if you own a pooch of a smaller breed.
Just like many other products of this type we’ve tested, this model also takes shape via the metal frame. Assembling this foldable crate is somewhat lengthy – you have to remove the crossbars and swing them into position along the back and front sides.
After that, you’ll have to align the model’s twist handles with the holes on the corners and turn them until they’re secure. Doing all of this is not difficult, but it will probably feel time-consuming to those who were spoiled by the fast setups of some other fabric dog crates.
Other things worth mentioning are the water-resistant fabric, plastic-flooring that keeps the moisture at bay, as well as the side pockets for the daily necessities. The package also includes four simple ground stakes that allow outdoor use.
- Very comfortable
- Can be used outdoors
- Foldable design
- Lengthy assembly
For a pet crate that can be used both inside and outside the house, the PetNation’s Port-A-Crate is a pretty solid choice. Even though this is a large soft dog crate, it is still durable enough to be used outdoors. Let’s take a look at it!
It comes in several different sizes, from 16″ to 36″ and can house the canines up to 70 pounds of weight. Its primary parts are the strong woven mesh fabric and an inner steel frame. The frame deserves special words of praise – it is extremely tough and can easily withstand abuse coming from rowdier canines.
The fabric, on the other hand, is as equally durable and waterproof – you won’t have to worry about the wet dog smell. The zippers of Port-A-Crate have been made to last, which is very important when it comes to soft pet carriers. The rounded corners are there to make sure that your furry companion doesn’t get scratched or cut – extra safety features are always welcome. The model has two doors (frontal and on the roof), giving the pooch an easy access to his new home.
It provides solid ventilation. Its mesh windows are perforated in a honeycomb-like shape, providing the interior with sufficient airflow. As you can already guess, something like this is extremely important if you live in a hotter climate.
As far as we’re concerned, the only downside of Port-A-Crate is that it’s, like most carriers of this type, unsuitable for the really determined breeds – they are bound to tear through the mesh windows.
- Tough frame
- Solid ventilation
- Industrial-strength zippers
- Very affordable
- Not for determined canines
Why Choose a Soft Crate?
There are several reasons because you would want to purchase this kind of a pet enclosure. First of all, a quality soft dog carrier can become your pup’s comfy den – it will be his comfortable, portable, and easy-to-store place that he can retreat to in times of stress and anxiety.
It can be especially useful if you’re an owner of a smaller canine. Small breeds weigh just a couple of pounds and most owners find it quite convenient to carry their small canines in these types of products. Another benefit is socialization – getting the pooch out of a kennel is hassle-free and easy to do.
The fact that these enclosures require no panels, hinges, locks, and screws makes them extremely convenient for transport and storage. When it comes to vacations and camping, they are the only viable choice.
Most Important Features
When searching for an ideal model, one has to take a lot of factors into account if he doesn’t want to end up with a flimsy and uncomfortable one. These factors include things like the appropriate size, good ventilation, comfortable cushioning, ease of assembly, and other things. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at these considerations and help you find a soft pet crate that your furry companion will love spending time in.
The next important factor that you should take into consideration is the quality of the frame. We advise you to look for a model whose frame is well-built but lightweight at the same time. This pop-up frame has a look that’s similar to that of the child’s parachute tunnel or the tent poles.
A frame that’s too heavy is bound to decrease the crate’s portability – moving it from one place to another will become a real chore, especially with the pup inside. On the other hand, a frame of flimsy quality can easily break and hurt your pooch. Like with all other things, finding a perfect balance is the key.
Ventilation & Windows
A soft-sided crate of good quality will have windows made of mesh fabric. As you can already guess, this kind of material provides sufficient ventilation of the crate’s interior. This is extremely important if you live in a hotter climate – you don’t want to see your pooch experiencing a heatstroke in his completely-enclosed soft-sided kennel.
In an ideal kind of situation, your dog’s brand new portable pet carrier will come with a mat. If it doesn’t, or if it has a mat that’s not comfortable enough, you will have to go and purchase one that will be sufficiently soft and well-cushioned.
You will have to consider what your four-legged friend needs when it comes to crate pads. For example, senior and sick canines need more orthopedic materials, while the dogs prone to “accidents” need a mat that’s water-resistant and easy to keep clean.
When buying a soft-sided kennel, you will also have to decide on the amount of visibility you would like for your pooch to have. Some canines behave best when they’re in a cage with low visibility – a dark, quiet, and a safe space gives them comfort and keeps them calm. On the other hand, some dogs are a lot more active and just have to see what’s going on around them at all times; otherwise, they start whining or acting aggressively.
Fortunately, a lot of modern models come with adjustable covers and zippered portions, allowing the owner to easily control the amount of visibility. Depending on your pup’s current mood, you can provide him with more or less visibility.
Ease of Assembly
Even though the vast majority of these products are very easy to set up, some models require more assembly than the other ones. While some don’t even require any sorts of tools for the assembly, some will require you to use special tools and thoroughly read the user manual.
In case you travel often and need to frequently assemble and disassemble the kennel, we recommend getting a model that can be set up and broken down in a matter of seconds.
Ease of Storage
Since you probably won’t be using your mesh cage at all times (many people use it as a secondary cage, along with their plastic or metal ones), you will need to store it away when it’s not in use. This is where collapsible design comes into play – models with this functionality have an accordion-like structure that allows you to decrease their height and make them very easy to store away. If you have a large yard check playpens for dogs.
Fortunately, most modern mesh carriers feature foldable design and are real space savers, so getting one with this functionality shouldn’t be an issue.
Those who often bring their pups with them to picnics or camping trips should consider getting a soft carrier with storage pockets. There are usually a couple of pockets, in different sizes, allowing the owner to store the necessities such as toys, water bottles, treats, and similar things. Although this feature might sound as unimportant, it’s actually quite handy to have the pet’s stuff right there on his enclosure – you won’t have to dig through your handbag or backpack.
Before buying a soft pet kennel, it is of crucial importance to note that the priciest brand isn’t necessarily the best one out there, and vice versa. However, some brands, such as EliteField or ProSelect, are well-known for the quality of their pet equipment and buying one of their products is a pretty safe bet. Fortunately, there are also some affordable models that offer a great value for the money and are absolutely worth checking out.
Obviously, you have a budget you want to stick to when purchasing a mesh crate for your pooch, and should, therefore, check out which models are available in your price range.
What Are They Good For?
Conveniently portable, lightweight, space-saving, and flexible, the soft-sided dog kennels come with a plethora of impressive qualities that makes them ideal for any home. While very versatile, these cages also exhibit ease of use and are more than capable of providing your furry companion with a cozy spot for sleeping and relaxing. Let’s check out what makes them so good:
- They Are Extremely Comfortable
Unlike the wire and plastic-made crates, these enclosures are made out of soft fabrics and are therefore extremely cozy. Most models are well-cushioned and are bound to become your pet’s favorite place that he can always retreat to.
- They Have Low Weight
Besides the overall comfort, another benefit of the soft materials is their low weight. For that matter, the soft pet kennels weigh a lot less than their plastic or wire counterparts and are a lot less tiring to carry around.
- They Provide Greater Visibility
As you can see in our reviews, most soft crates sport mesh windows on three sides, and some even on the top. As you can already guess, this gives the pet a better vision of his surroundings, which can be extremely useful if you have a canine who likes to know what’s going around him at all times.
- They Have Better Ventilation
Another benefit of the already mentioned mesh windows is ventilation. Unlike the plastic crates, these enclosures have good airflow and that’s of crucial importance if you’re lives in a warmer climate. Plastic models with little to no openings can easily lead to heat strokes during the long car rides, and that can’t happen easily with a soft-sided carrier.
- Their Design is Collapsible
Majority of popular models are collapsible (foldable). This allows the owner to fold (“collapse”) them down when they’re not needed, and then easily store them away under stairs, under the bed, or inside cupboards and drawers. This space-saving design is bound to be very useful to dog owners living in small apartments.
- They Are Great For Traveling
The greatest benefit is that they’re great when you need a portable carrier for traveling. Their lightweight design makes them very easy to carry around, while the collapsible function saves luggage space and comes in very handy when your vehicle is already filled with other items needed for the vacation.
However, it’s important to note that not all models can be used on airplanes. Only those bearing an IATA certification can be brought into the cabin.
- They Are Ideal for Smaller and Calm Dogs
These kinds of cages are your best choice if you own a small pooch, but are not exactly suitable for larger breeds. They are also ideal for calm canines that just need their own safe space for relaxing but don’t really need to be contained.
When Are They Inappropriate?
These products are not always ideal – some circumstances require the use of metal or wire kennels. Let’s see in which situations the soft-sided carriers are inappropriate for use:
- You Have a Destructive Pooch
They are not appropriate for the canines that are rough or destructive. Due to their soft construction, they are easier to rip and escape from than the regular (hard-sided) kinds of kennels, and that makes them an unsuitable choice for the owners of aggressive or really determined pups. Also, destructive pets need an indestructible bed.
- You Require a Safe Car Crate
If you’re often commuting by car and always bring your pooch with you, a soft-sided model is not the best choice, especially if the safety of your pup is very important to you. These enclosures were not designed to provide protection in case of an accident – the plastic models are far better at that. Soft carriers are great for infrequent travels, such as to a picnic or vacation, but they’re not that great if your four-legged companion travels by car too often.
- Your Pooch Is Not House-Trained
Since they’re made of fabric and other soft materials, these kennels make it hard to clean up the “accidents”. They can get quite stinky if your puppy is prone to frequently having accidents while inside the crate, especially if you purchase a model that’s not machine-washable.
- Your Dog Is an Escape Artist
If your pooch is very clever and always finds a way to escape out or his confined space, a soft-sided model may not be the best choice. This is due to the presence of zippers – determined pups can find the way to undo them with their toenails and make an escape. For such canines, a plastic or a wire-made model with secure locks is a far better choice.
- Your Dog is Outside At All Times
Even though some models of mesh-made kennels can be used outside, keeping one outdoors at all times is not a very good idea (for outside check these outdoor kennels). These can’t be compared with wire models when it comes to withstanding the elements, and are much more useful when used indoors.
In conclusion, all we can say is that the soft-sided dog carriers are not just accessories – they can become your pup’s favorite comfort zone. A soft crate doesn’t only provide comfort and coziness but also gives the owner an assurance that his beloved four-legged friend is safe and secure.
And the best thing here is that thanks to the top five picks on our list, you will not have to go through the hassle of digging through dozens and dozens of different models to find the one that suits your pup’s needs. All of the products we’ve reviewed are great in their own ways and will surely last you a long time.
However, if we would have to choose our favorite; that would undoubtedly be the EliteField’s 3-Door model. This soft-sided carrier is highly popular for a reason – it is as comfortable, functional, and easy-to-use as it gets.