Best soft dog crates for travel and everyday use

A dog crate can help in providing a safe, secluded and comfortable habitat to your pet and also help in handling some behavioral issues. Dog crates become especially important if you and your pet tend to travel a lot – be it air or car travel, long vacations with the pet or simply trips to a campground or the vet.

There are different types of dog crates available in the market, each type with their own advantages and disadvantages. Of all the different types, the soft dog crates are the lightest, most portable and travel-friendly. And most of them can also be used as cabin carriers during flights with small pets.

But which are the best soft dog crates and kennels available in the market?

In this article, we will look at answering exactly the same question and share some of the best soft dog crates available in the market. Our primary focus would be on the best soft-sided dog crates that can be used indoors, outdoors or vacations and travel. We will also list the factors to consider before picking the best soft dog crate for travel or everyday use and share our top picks.

Do check out our article on the best plastic dog crates, best wire dog crates and wooden dog crates if you are looking for alternative types of dog crates for everyday use and travel.

Best soft dog crates list

Some of the best soft-sided dog crates for travel as well as everyday indoor or outdoor use are listed below:
PictureProductSize 

EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog CrateS: 20" x 14" x 14"
M: 24" x 18" x 21"
L: 30" x 21" x 24"
XL: 36" x 24" x 28"
XXL: 42" x 28" x 32"
Triple Door



AmazonBasics Premium Soft Dog CrateS: 21" x 15" x 15"
M: 26" x 18" x 18"
L: 30" x 21" x 21"
XL: 36" x 23" x 24"
XXL: 42" x 31" x 31"
Double Door

FirstTrax Noz2Noz Soft-Krater Dog CrateS: 21" x 15" x 15"
M: 26" x 18" x 21"
L: 30" x 21" x 23"
XL: 36" x 24" x 27"
XXL: 42" x 28" x 31"
Double Door


2PET Foldable Soft Dog CrateS: 20" x 14" x 13"
M: 24" x 17" x 17"
L: 28" x 20" x 20"
XL: 32" x 23" x 23"
XXL: 36" x 25" x 25"
Double Door
FirstTrax Petnation Port-A-Crate Soft Dog CrateS: 20" x 13" x 13"
M: 24" x 16" x 16"
L: 28" x 20" x 20"
XL: 32" x 23" x 23"
XXL: 36" x 25" x 25"
Double Door


Arf Pets Dog Soft Crate KennelM: 28" x 21" x 21"
L: 36" x 27" x 24"
Triple Door


Go Pet Club Soft Dog CrateS: 18" x 17" x 17"
M: 26" x 19" x 24"
L: 32" x 22" x 24"
XL: 43" x 28" x 32"
XXL: 48" x 32" x 39"
Single Door


Petsfit Soft Portable Dog CrateS: 20" x 19" x 20"
M: 30" x 24" x 25"
L: 35" x 29" x 30"
Double Door
Midwest Pet Products Canine Camper Sportable CrateS: 24" x 18" x 20"
M: 31" x 22" x 24"
L: 36" x 26" x 28"
XL: 42" x 36" x 32"
Single Door


topPets Portable Soft Pet Crate or CarrierS: 20" x 14" x 14"
M: 24" x 16" x 16"
L: 28" x 20" x 20"
Double Door

** The size mentioned above are based on exterior dimensions. Interior dimensions would be about 1-3 inches less. Check the product details for exact interior dimensions.

What are soft dog crates and why do you need one?

Soft dog crates are specially designed, portable dog kennels which have a soft fabric exterior generally mounted on a metal frame.  Such crates are extremely lightweight and portable – they collapse to about 4-6” high carrying size. Because of this, such crates are perfect for travel and also as a vacation home for pets.

The soft dog crates are one of the many canine containment products that include plastic dog crates, wire dog crates, wooden dog crates and outdoor dog kennels. Soft dog crates are also sometimes referred to as “soft-sided dog crates”, “fabric dog carriers” or “fabric dog crates” based on their construction material, design and purpose.

Like other such products, soft-sided dog crates cater well to the natural instincts of canines as their primitive natural habitat was essentially dens. These soft-sided dog kennels provide a safe and secure private space to the pet even during outdoor trips and travel. Some of them can also double up as pet carriers for use during car or air travel (cabin carry-on only) and work with other pets such as cats, hamsters and guinea pigs as well.

Soft-sided dog crates are different from other types of dog crates in many ways.  They are lighter, more portable and generally cheaper than plastic and wooden dog crates (most of them are almost the same price range or in some cases, costlier than wire dog crates). They are also available in a variety of fabric colors and sizes, giving you a lot of options to choose from.

However, because of their fabric construction with meshed windows, soft dog crates are easy for a pet to get out of and are not chew-proof. Because of this, soft crates can only be used for mild-mannered dogs weighing less than 100 lbs. Furthermore, soft dog crates require more care, and frequent cleaning, although most of them have machine washable covers and crate pads.

To summarize, the major pros and cons of soft dog crates over other types of dog crates, especially hard plastic or wire dog crates, are listed below:

Pros
  • Soft dog crates are the most portable and lightweight types of crates. Most of them weigh 40-60% less than the lightest wire or plastic dog crates of the same size.
  • Soft dog crates are extremely easy to set up, disassemble and assemble again – most of them do not require any tools. They also pack flat when disassembled, and hence are suitable for camping trips, car and air travels or as a vacation home for the pets.
  • Because of meshed windows and removable zippered covers, soft dog crates provide ample ventilation and easy access to the pet to move in and out.
  • Some soft-sided dog crates which have a hard plastic bottom and carrying straps can also be used as shoulder pet carriers.
  • Standard soft-sided dog crates tend to be cheaper than most other dog crates. Only the cheapest wire dog crate models are in the same price range.
  • Soft dog crates also work well with other pets – cats, kittens, hamsters etc. and are available in a variety of sizes and stylish color combinations.
Cons
  • Soft dog crates are only suitable for gentle, mild-mannered dogs that weigh not more than 100 lbs. Moreover, they should only be used with dogs which have already been crate trained. Aggressive and bigger dogs can chew through the fabric and easily break through.
  • Soft dog crates tend to be more difficult to clean-up after an accident. You would have to remove the crate cover, bed and wash them separately from the frame, otherwise, the fabric can absorb the odor and moisture.
  • Open design means that soft dog crates provide less insulation during the winter season. They are also not as durable or weather-proof than hard-sided dog crates.
  • Soft dog crates cannot be used as airline pet carriers and can only be used as carry-on pet carriers in the cabin, that too for small pets. They are also not the safest option for long-distance car travel.

To summarize. soft dog crates serve a distinctive purpose and can be extremely useful in traveling and outdoor adventures such as camping with dogs.

In the next sections, we will look at some of the best soft dog crates available in the market and buying advice on how to pick the best soft dog crate for your pooch.

Which are the best soft dog crates for travel and everyday use?

EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog CrateEliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate, Indoor & Outdoor Pet Home, Multiple Sizes and Colors Available (42

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Material: 600D Oxford Canvas fabric mounted on a tubular steel frame. Fleece crate pad. Nylon mesh windows.
Design: Three zippered doors – top, side and front. Full-sized, hexagonal nylon mesh with curtains on all doors and windows. Collapsible to 3” carrying height.
Size:

  • S: 20″ x 14″ x 14″
  • M: 24″ x 18″ x 21″
  • L: 30″ x 21″ x 24″
  • XL: 36″ x 24″ x 28″
  • XXL: 42″ x 28″ x 32″

Price: $$ to $$$ depending on the size.
Features:

  • Premium folding soft-sided dog crate made of 600D water-resistant canvas fabric mounted on a tubular steel frame. Designed in the US and made in China.
  • Double reinforced stitching on top and bottom and additional reinforcement on corners to provide more durability. The cover is removable and machine washable.
  • Features three zippered doors with full-sized nylon mesh windows for 360-degree ventilation.
  • Collapsible to a small 3-inch high carrying size. Tool-free assembly/disassembly. Equipped with hand carrying straps and a padded shoulder strap for easy transportation and securing the crate while traveling.
  • Comes with a crate pad, two accessory pockets and a decent-quality carrying case.
  • Available in five sizes and over 10 color combinations, suitable for dogs weighing up to 100 lbs. Backed by a two-year EliteField warranty and 100% satisfaction guaranteed commitment.

Detail Review:

If you are looking for a premium portable soft-sided dog crate that you can use for long vacations, travel or at home in your backyard, then look no further than the best-selling EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate. The EliteField dog crates have been one of the most popular portable soft dog crate brands in the market for years and their latest folding soft dog crate is a perfect choice for pets of almost all ages and sizes – from 10 lbs. up to 100 lbs.

The best-selling EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate features 600D water-resistant canvas fabric mounted on a tubular, powder-steel frame. The crate has double reinforced stitching on the top and bottom and additional reinforcement on the rounded corners to provide more durability. The crate canvas cover is removable and machine washable. The crate is designed in the US and manufactured in China under strict quality control measures. All the materials used in manufacturing the crate are non-toxic.

The EliteField crate features three full-sized zippered doors (four if you consider the opening on the back side as a door), all supported by industrial-strength zippers and full-sized canvas covers. This design means that your canine can get full ventilation in warm weather and also have secluded cage whenever required.

Another smart design feature of the EliteField Soft Dog Crate is its height. All the crates are high enough to provide ample headroom to the pet to sit without altering its normal head position (the 42” crate is 28” high).

The crate is extremely easy to assemble and disassemble without tools and comes semi-assembled. It is fully collapsible to a 3-inch high suit-case style carrying size. Furthermore, the crate comes with securing latches, hand carrying straps and a padded shoulder strap for easy transportation in a variety of ways.

To further sweeten the deal, the EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate comes with a fleece crate pad for additional comfort to the pet, two detachable accessory pockets to store some essentials and treats and a decent-quality carrying case – a big bonus indeed!

One of the best things about the EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate is that it is available in five sizes and over 10 color combinations, suitable for all pets weighing up to 100 lbs. The manufacturer also offers all the accessories and replacement parts, well supported by a two-year warranty and award-winning customer support service.

For its high-quality construction, superior design and performance, the EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate is our Editor’s pick for the best soft dog crate for travel and everyday use. Available in five sizes and over ten color combinations, the EliteField crate is a perfect choice for pet owners who are looking for a portable, lightweight yet durable soft-sided dog crate.
Pros
  • Best-selling soft dog crate made of high-quality powdered steel frame with a 600D oxford fabric cover mounted on it. Additional reinforcements on corners and top and bottom of the crate provide maximum durability.
  • Best-in-class crate dimensions with comfortable headroom to all pets weighing up to 100 lbs.
  • Three full-sized crate doors with zippered curtains provide ample ventilation and seclusion whenever required.
  • Collapsible to a 3-inch high suitcase carrying size. Included secure latches, carrying straps and padded shoulder strap make transportation easy in multiple ways.
  • Comes with a fleece crate bed, two removable accessory pockets and a carrying case.
  • Available in five sizes, over 10 colors and backed by a two-year manufacturer warranty.
Cons
  • Costlier than most other soft-sided dog crates, though you get what you pay for.

AmazonBasics Premium Soft Dog Crate – Value Pick for the best soft dog crateAmazonBasics Premium Folding Portable Soft Pet Crate - 30

Material: Water-resistant polyester fabric cover mounted on a PVC frame. Nylon mesh windows. Synthetic fleece crate bed.
Design: Two-door design – front and top with zippers. Small mesh windows on the three sides. Collapsible to a flat-size with a handle for easy transportation.
Size:

  • S: 21″ x 15″ x 15″
  • M: 26″ x 18″ x 18″
  • L: 30″ x 21″ x 21″
  • XL: 36″ x 23″ x 24″
  • XXL: 42″ x 31″ x 31″

Price: $.
Features:

  • Lightweight, folding dog crate featuring a PVC-pipe frame with a mounted polyester fabric cover. Made in China under AmazonBasics quality control measures.
  • Rounded corners with additional fabric reinforcement stitching for maximum durability. The crate cover is removable and machine washable.
  • Features two doors – front and top with secure zipper closures. Small mesh windows on three sides provide ample ventilation while providing requisite privacy.
  • Collapsible design with tool-free assembly/disassembly. Comes with a securing latch and handles for easy transportation.
  • The latest models also include a synthetic fleece crate pad. Also includes accessory pockets on the top and sides for storing treats, toys, and more.
  • Available in five color combinations and five sizes suitable for dogs weighing up to 80 lbs. Backed by a one-year AmazonBasics warranty.
  • Competitively priced at under 70 dollars for the biggest model but does not include the crate bed or pad.

Detail Review:

If you are looking for a cheap value-for-money soft dog crate for travel and both indoor and outdoor use, then the AmazonBasics Premium Soft Dog Crate is the best option to consider. Priced well under 75 dollars (for the biggest 42″ model), this soft-sided dog crate offers an excellent return on investment. The crate is made in China under the AmazonBasics quality control restrictions and manufacturing processes.

The AmazonBasics Premium Soft Dog Crate is made of high-quality polyester blend canvas cover mounted on a lightweight yet durable PVC-pipe frame. The hollow PVC-pipe frame helps in keeping the weight of the crate quite manageable – the largest 42” crate weighs a mere 13 lbs. The corner stress points are double reinforced for extra durability. The cover is water resistant, though not fully waterproof – not a major drawback as this is also the case with most other soft-sided dog crates. The cover is removable and machine washable in cold water and gentle cycle.

The AmazonBasics Premium Soft Dog Crate is extremely easy to assemble and disassemble without tools. It comes semi-assembled with detailed instructions on how to configure the crate properly. Its folding suitcase-style design means that the frame folds securely to a small 3-inch high carrying size. The crate comes with a securing latch, shoulder straps and a handle to make transportation easy. In fact, it can also be used as a pet carrier for small pets – both cats and dogs.

The AmazonBasics soft crate features two door options – the crate has a door on the front and one on the top of the crate. Both the doors are equipped with industrial-quality zippers for securing them properly. The crate has small meshed panels on the three sides for proper ventilation while still providing enough seclusion to the pet.

The AmazonBasics Premium Soft Dog Crate comes with a removable synthetic fleece crate pad for comfort while on the road. The crate also comes with accessory pockets on the top and sides for storing treats, toys, and more – a big bonus if you are using the crate for outdoor trips.

The crate is available in five color combinations and five sizes and suitable for dogs weighing from 10 lbs. to as much as 80 lbs. Just make sure you size-up your dog before picking the best size of crate for your pet. Like all other AmazonBasics pet gear, the AmazonBasics Folding Metal Dog Crate is backed by a one-year manufacturer warranty.

For its decent quality, design and great value-for-money, the AmazonBasics Premium Soft Dog Crate is our value pick for the best soft dog crate. If you are looking for a decent quality, easy-to-assemble and convenient-to-maintain soft dog crate for travel and do not want to spend a fortune, then you should definitely check out the AmazonBasics Premium Soft Dog Crate.
Pros
  • Smartly-designed, lightweight soft dog crate made of canvas cover mounted on a PVC-pipe frame. The largest 42” crate weighs a mere 13 lbs.
  • Equipped with two doors – top and front with industrial-grade zippers for safety. Mesh windows on three sides provide ample ventilation.
  • Compact and collapsible to a 3-inch high suitcase-style carrying size, with shoulder straps, securing latch and handle for easy transportation.
  • Comes with a fleece crate pad and two accessory pockets for additional storage.
  • Available in five color combinations and five sizes, suitable for pets up to 80 lbs.
  • Competitively priced and backed by a one-year manufacturer warranty.
Cons
  • Not as sturdy or durable as some other steel-frame soft dog crates.
  • Only available in size suitable for pets weighing up to 80 lbs.

FirstTrax Noz2Noz Soft-Krater Dog CrateNoz2Noz Soft-Krater Indoor and Outdoor Crate for Pets

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Material: Water-resistant canvas fabric mounted on a tubular steel frame. Additional reinforcements on the corners for durability. Nylon mesh windows.
Design: Triple-door design – top, front, and side entry doors. Mesh windows with Curtain-type roll-up zipper covers with door latches for extra security. Collapsible to a 3-inch packing size
Size:

  • S: 21″ x 15″ x 15″
  • M: 26″ x 18″ x 21″
  • L: 30″ x 21″ x 23″
  • XL: 36″ x 24″ x 27″
  • XXL: 42″ x 28″ x 31″

Price: $$ to $$$ depending on the size.
Features:

  • High-quality and durable soft-sided dog crate from Firstrax featuring a water-resistant canvas cover mounted on a powder-steel tubular frame. Made in China.
  • Improved design with three access doors having zippered covers that can be rolled up and secured open with fastening straps. Additional window meshes for ventilation.
  • Collapsible to a small packing size within seconds. Tool-free assembly and disassembly.
  • The crate cover is removable and machine washable. Replacement cover is also available, but the crate does not come with a crate pad or additional accessory pockets.
  • Available in a single standard military green color and five sizes suitable for dogs weighing up to 100 lbs. Backed by a one-year manufacturer warranty.

2PET Foldable Soft Dog Crate2PET Foldable Dog Crate - Soft, Easy to Fold & Carry Dog Crate for Indoor & Outdoor Use - Comfy Dog Home & Dog Travel Crate - Strong Steel Frame, Washable Fabric Cover, Frontal Zipper Medium Beige

Material: 600D Oxford Canvas fabric mounted on a tubular steel frame. Fleece crate pad. Nylon mesh windows.
Design: Double doors – top and front with roll-up zippered mesh. Bone-shaped nylon mesh windows on the sides. Collapsible with seat-belt and carrier straps.
Size:

  • S: 20″ x 14″ x 13″
  • M: 24″ x 17″ x 17″
  • L: 28″ x 20″ x 20″
  • XL: 32″ x 23″ x 23″
  • XXL: 36″ x 25″ x 25″

Price: $ to $$ depending on the size.
Features:

  • A stylish foldable soft dog crate that can double up as a pet carrier. Features a steel frame with reinforced-corner, 600D nylon canvas cover mounted on it. Made in China for a socially responsible manufacturer that donates a part of each product proceeds to pet care organizations.
  • Improved design with large, bone-shaped windows on all sides and two doors provide ample ventilation. The front door has a rolled-up zipper mesh for privacy.
  • Collapsible to the size of a suitcase. Equipped with shoulder straps and carrying handle for easy transportation.
  • Easy to clean. Removable cover is machine washable and replacements are also available from the manufacturer.
  • Comes with a waterproof floor mat and a reversible, machine-washable fleece crate pad.
  • Available in a four colors color and five sizes suitable for dogs weighing up to 70 lbs. Backed by a one-year manufacturer warranty.

FirstTrax Petnation Port-A-Crate Soft Dog CratePetnation Port-A-Crate Indoor and Outdoor Home for Pets

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Material: Water-resistant canvas fabric mounted on an all-steel tubular frame. Additional reinforcements on the corners for durability. Nylon mesh windows.
Design: Two-door design – front and top with zippers and door latches. Small mesh windows on the sides. Collapsible to a flat-size.
Size:

  • S: 20″ x 13″ x 13″
  • M: 24″ x 16″ x 16″
  • L: 28″ x 20″ x 20″
  • XL: 32″ x 23″ x 23″
  • XXL: 36″ x 25″ x 25″

Price: $.
Features:

  • Budget, portable soft-sided dog crate from Firstrax featuring a water-resistant canvas cover mounted on a solid-steel tubular frame. Made in China.
  • Second-generation design (E2 series) that features two-doors – top and front, with industrial-strength zippers and door latches for securing the pet in the crate.
  • Equipped with small bone-shaped honeycomb mesh windows on the sides for a well-ventilated yet restricted view.
  • Extremely portable and collapses to a flat 2-inch carrying size. No tools required to assemble or disassemble.
  • Easy to clean with machine washable cover. But does not come with a crate pad.
  • Available in a single standard tan color and five sizes suitable for dogs weighing up to 70 lbs. Backed by a one-year manufacturer warranty.

Arf Pets Dog Soft Crate KennelDog Soft Crate 27 Inch Kennel for Pet Indoor Home & Outdoor Use - Soft Sided 3 Door Folding Travel Carrier with Straps - Arf Pets

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Material: 600D, water-resistant oxford canvas fabric mounted on an all-steel tubular steel frame. Nylon mesh windows.
Design: Triple doors. Collapsible, Interlocking frame with retractable springs. Nylon meshes on all sides. Carrying case and crate pad are NOT included.
Size:

  • M: 28″ x 21″ x 21″
  • L: 36″ x 27″ x 24″

Price: $$ to $$$ depending upon the size.
Features:

  • High-quality soft-sided dog crate made of water-resistant oxford canvas mounted on an all-steel internal frame. Made in China.
  • 360-degree ventilation with three doors – front, side and top with zippered mesh covers. Additional reinforcements on the corners provide extra durability.
  • Easy to assemble and disassemble with retractable springs, slip-on cover, and heavy-duty zipper for security. Also includes straps for carrying and seat belts. But carrying case is not included.
  • Comes with a water-resistant base and machine washable cover. However, does not come with a crate pad.
  • Available in single color combination – blue-grey and two sizes. Suitable for pets weighing up to 70 lbs. Backed by a one-year manufacturer warranty.

Go Pet Club Soft Dog CrateGo Pet Club AB43 Soft Dog Crate, Brown - 48 inches L x 28 inches W x 32 inches H

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Material: Heavy-duty polyester fabric with PVC backing. Nylon mesh windows. Faux lamb wool crate pad.
Design: Single door with meshed windows on all four sized. Zippered roll-up covers for each window. An Arch-type design is also available in some colors.
Size:

  • S: 18″ x 17″ x 17″
  • M: 26″ x 19″ x 24″
  • L: 32″ x 22″ x 24″
  • XL: 43″ x 28″ x 32″
  • XXL: 48″ x 32″ x 39″

Price: $ to $$ depending upon the size.
Features:

  • Full-fabric soft-sided dog crate made of water-resistant polyester fabric with PVC (steel tube for XL and XXL crates) frame. Made in China.
  • 360-degree ventilation with meshed windows on all sides. The door and windows have a roll-up cover for complete privacy when desired.
  • Extremely portable and lightweight – lighter than metal frame soft crates. Collapses to less than 2-inches thick carrying size that takes 90% less space and weighs 40% lighter than wire dog crates. Comes with a carrying case for easy transportation.
  • Features a washable fleece pad and waterproof floor for easy cleanup. A couple of zipper pockets are also included (one removable and one on the top).
  • Available in five sizes and three colors. Both arch-type and rectangular designs are available. Suitable for dogs weighing up to 100 lbs. 30-day money back guarantee.

Petsfit Soft Portable Dog CratePetsfit 35

Material: 600D Oxford Canvas fabric body with 230D polyester lining. Zippered polyester mesh roll-ups.
Design: Two doors. Unique arch-type design with three open sides. One side window act as full-sized door with rolled-up hexagonal mesh.  Collapsible with carrying case.
Size:

  • S: 20″ x 19″ x 20″
  • M: 30″ x 24″ x 25″
  • L: 35″ x 29″ x 30″

Price: $ to $$ depending upon the size.
Features:

  • Unique, arch-shaped soft dog crate made of 600D oxford canvas with 230D double stitched, polyester lining on the rims. Made in China.
  • Three-sided ventilation and two doors with meshed roll-up windows. Additional side pockets on the back side provide some storage space.
  • Suitable to use as a travel crate or car carrier. Not suitable to use as pet carriers because of full-fabric construction.
  • Easy to assemble and disassemble without tools. Collapses to a small 3-4-inch high carrying size. Comes with a carrying case.
  • Comes with a removable and machine washable soft fleece crate pad.
  • Available in three sizes and standard gray/green color. Backed by a 30-day money back guarantee. Suitable for dogs weighing up to 80 lbs.
  • A more durable, metal-frame soft dog crate – PetsFit Indoor/Outdoor collapsible dog crate is also available from the same manufacturer

Midwest Pet Products Canine Camper Sportable CrateMidWest Portable Tent Crate, 36 by 25.5 by 28-Inch

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Material: High-quality, water-resistant polyester fabric mounted on top of the steel frame with U-shaped wires.  Synthetic sheepskin dog pad.
Design: Single door with full meshed windows. No zippered roll-up curtains. Buckle latch & handle for easy portability.
Size:

  • S: 24″ x 18″ x 20″
  • M: 31″ x 22″ x 24″
  • L: 36″ x 26″ x 28″
  • XL: 42″ x 36″ x 32″

Price: $$ to $$$ depending upon the size.
Features:

  • Portable, tent-style “pop-up” crate by the best-selling manufacturer of wire dog crates. Made in China.
  • Features a high-quality polyester cover mounted on top of the steel frame with reinforced edges for extra durability. The frame has U-shaped wires for an sturdy, upright arrangement.
  • Enhanced design with better folding mechanism compared to the earlier model. Equipped with snap-lock straps and in-built handle for suitcase-style transportation.
  • Features a single zippered mesh door and full mesh side windows for ventilation. Also comes with a synthetic sheepskin crate pad.
  • Available in four sizes and a single color combination. Suitable for dogs weighing up to 90 lbs.
  • Backed by a one-year warranty by the manufacturer.

topPets Portable Soft Pet Crate or CarriertopPets Portable Soft Pet Carrier - Medium: 24

Material: 600D Oxford Canvas fabric mounted on a tubular steel frame. Fleece crate pad. Nylon mesh windows.
Design: Injection Mold Interlocking steel frame with rolling zippered meshes. Soft fabric base. Two side windows act as full-sized doors with meshes rolled-up.  Collapsible, suitcase-style.
Size:

  • S: 20″ x 14″ x 14″
  • M: 24″ x 16″ x 16″
  • L: 28″ x 20″ x 20″

Price: $.
Features:

  • Budget soft pet crate made of water-resistant 600D Oxford canvas fabric mounted on a tubular steel frame. Made in China.
  • Features rolling zippered mesh openings on all sides for ventilation. There is no steel frame on the windows, keeping the crate lightweight.
  • Easy to install and assemble/disassemble with injection mold interlocking frame. No tools required. Collapses to a 4” high frame for easy transportation.
  • Suitable to use as a car carrier and travel crate. Comes with shoulder straps/seat belt adapters. Not suitable to use as pet carriers because of frame-less windows and soft fabric base.
  • Easy cleaning with removable fleece crate pad and fabric cover. Both are machine washable.
  • Available in three sizes and four color combinations.

How to pick the best soft dog crate for travel and everyday use?

Whether you are looking for a portable dog crate for travel or for everyday use, you need a soft-sided dog crate that is comfortable to the pet, lightweight, portable and still be reasonably durable to last more than a few trips. But with so many different options available in the market, including different models from the same manufacturer, picking the best soft dog crate can be a challenging task.

Before picking the best soft dog crate for your pooch, you need to look at the following major factors:

  • Construction material
  • Crate design features
  • Crate size
  • Cleaning and Maintenance
  • Additional Factors and Considerations

Construction material

You should also look at the manufacturing material of the dog crate to ascertain its build quality and durability. After all you must be looking for a soft dog crates that are durable, reliable and portable and can last more than a couple of trips.

The soft dog crates are generally made of water-resistant Oxford canvas or polyester cover mounted on a powder-coated steel or PVC plastic frame. PVC-pipe plastic frames tend to be lighter, but steel frames are generally more durable and such crates can survive some abuse from the dog. Irrespective of the frame type, the soft dog crates are collapsible and extremely easy to assemble and disassemble.

The cloth cover has a thickness of 600D or more and can survive some clawing and chewing but is not totally chew-proof. To provide additional durability, the corners are reinforced with additional cloth stitching. The soft crate cover is generally removable and machine washable.

The windows and doors are made of Nylon mesh having honeycomb or square mesh patterns. The best soft-sided dog crates have industrial-grade zippers on the doors and windows to secure the pet within the crate.

The crate bottom is generally made of waterproof or water-resistant fabric. Most soft dog crates also include a synthetic faux-fleece crate pad for extra comfort and padding.

Check the construction material of the crate frame, cover, window meshes and door zippers before picking the best soft dog crate for your pet. Our top picks – the EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate and FirstTrax Noz2Noz Soft-Krater Dog Crate have probably the most durable construction among soft-sided dog crates, so if you have the budget, you should look at these two options before considering other models.

Crate design features

In addition to a sturdy build and proper size, there are quite a few design features that can make a specific soft dog crate a better choice over other models.

An important design feature that you will have to think about is the number of doors – single, double or triple doors that you should opt for. Double and triple door crates are generally easier to clean and maintain and suitable for other small pets such as cats and kittens and rabbits as well. However, they provide another escape route to the pet that you would have to secure. Still, our recommendation would be to go with a double door wire dog crate, especially if you have a medium to large dog, which is not aggressive enough to look for a way out of the crate.

Depending upon your requirements, you can opt for a crate which has full-sized windows for a lot of ventilation or a crate which provides a somewhat restricted view (example 2PET Foldable Soft Dog Crate and AmazonBasics Premium Soft Dog Crate). Some crates even provide roll-up mesh covers to give you the best of both worlds. FirstTrax Noz2Noz Soft-Krater Dog Crate is one such option.

Finally, since you are going to use a soft dog crate for travel as well, you would need a model that is collapsible and easy to assemble and disassemble without using tools. We found our top pick – the EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate as having the best collapsing design as it is extremely easy to collapse and expand.

Keep these design features in mind before picking the best soft-sided dog crate or kennel for your pet.

Crate Size

Once you have zeroed in on a specific model, it is important that you pick the dog crate of the right size. Most of the options that we listed are available in multiple sizes, so you can pick one as per your dog’s breed, measured size and weight. Most soft dog crates are designed for sitting pet only weighing up to 80-90 lbs. Only a few models provide plenty of headroom through an arch-type top.

In order to pick the right size of crate, you would need to measure the length and height of your pet. Based on your pet’s length and height, you would need to add 3-4 inches of additional space to give enough wriggle room to the pet.

Most manufacturers provide their own sizing charts like the one below, to help you pick the best soft dog crate size. It is important to remember that the interior dimensions of the crate would be at least a couple of inches less than the advertised exterior dimensions.

Typical soft dog crate sizing (Source: Amazon.com)
Typical soft dog crate sizing (Source: Amazon.com)

Always measure up your pet and pick the crate of the most appropriate size. When in doubt, pick a crate that is one size up. You can also check the following small video on how to find the right crate size for your beloved pet.

Cleaning and maintenance

To prevent any soiling or odor build-up due to an “accident”, you would need to clean the dog crate from time to time. For daily cleaning, you can simply wipe the crate with a wet cloth. Almost all the options that we listed have easily removable covers and crate pads that are machine washable. Just make sure you wash them in cold water and gentle cycle.

For more thorough cleaning you would need to disassemble the crate. Therefore, it is important to pick an option that is easy to disassemble, clean and put together, especially if you are going to have the dog crate for everyday use. Most soft dog crates allow tool-free assembly and disassembly, though some of them may require more skills to set them back up.

Based on your preferences, pick a soft dog crate that is easy to assemble/disassemble, clean and maintain and has a removable cover and crate pad or bottom.

Additional factors and miscellaneous considerations

In addition to the major factors discussed above, there are some other miscellaneous considerations that can make a particular soft dog crate a better choice over other products.

One such consideration is the crate pad and any accessories, if any, that come with the crate. You would almost always need a crate pad or bed for your pooch, so any crate that includes a removable fleece crate pad is going to be a preferable option. In addition to crate pads, some crates even include items like accessory pockets and crate carrying cases to further sweeten the deal. Our top pick – the EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate scores big in this category as it comes with a crate pad, accessory pocket and even a carrying case.

Another additional factor is the color combination in which the crate is available.  While it does not affect the usability in any way, some of the options that we listed are available in multiple color combinations, so you can pick one as per your preference.  The EliteField and AmazonBasics dog crates are our favorites in this regard, because they are available in multiple fashionable colors, so you can pick one as per your preference.

Finally, one of the most important additional consideration is the warranty and post-purchase customer service support offered on the crate by the manufacturer.  While there is nothing like an indestructible soft dog crate, the longer the warranty period, the more durable the dog crate would be.  Most travel dog crates that we listed are backed by excellent post-purchase support and warranties ranging from 30-days to over two years, so you can use such products for a long time without worrying about their durability. Just make sure you make your purchase only from authorized re-sellers and register your product after purchasing if required.

You can look at all these additional factors before finalizing the best soft-sided dog crate for your needs.

Accessories for soft dog crates

Personalized Dog Kennel Mat - Large or Small Pad, Cute Washable Bed Cushion - Cats or Dogs (Small)

The crate pad and water and food bowls are generally the most common accessories you would need with soft-sided dog crates.

If you are looking for budget dog crate pads, you can consider the following best-selling options:

For crate food and water bowls, you can check our article on the best portable dog travel bowls. We have listed all types of portable dog bowls in the article – fabric, silicone even stainless steel travel dog bowls.

You would also need to consider getting a few dog potty pads, especially if you have a long trip. Check out our article on the best puppy and dog training pads for some of the best options available in the market.

Things to remember while using soft dog crates

As discussed above, soft-sided dog crates are portable pet containment products that provide a safe, secluded and comfortable resting place to your pooch during travel or outdoor excursion.

While covering all the information and advice on crate training is beyond the scope of this article, there are a few tips you can follow. For some more detailed information and tips and tricks, you can check out some additional resources in our article on the best dog training guides. You would find The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller especially useful.

  • Do consider crate training your pet, especially if you have a multi-pet household. Most dog trainers, vets and behaviorists recommend that every pet owner must at least consider crate training for their pets. The earlier you start the better and easier it would be (but not before 6-8 weeks).
  • Keep in mind that soft dog crates are only suitable for pets which have already been crate trained. They are generally NOT suitable for pets who are still not crate-trained, even though many manufacturers mention that the crates can be used for training.
  • Soft-sided dog crates are most suitable for small to medium dog breeds because of their smaller and softer frame. A bigger dog can easily chew through the fabric and damage it. Consider a soft dog crate only if you have a pet that weighs less than 80-100 lbs.
  • Irrespective of the type of crate you opt for, the size of the crate is extremely important. Always measure your dog and pick a crate that gives ample space for the dog to move around the crate. When in doubt, size up to a bigger size. Some of the soft dog crates also have two or even three-door options available.
  • While dog crates are excellent containment options, you should not leave your dog in it unattended for long hours. Dogs are active animals who need regular exercise and interaction. The general rule of thumb is to keep a dog no more than 6-8 hours at one time during the day. Keeping the dog any longer in the crate can make it depressed or inactive. For night time, leaving the dog in the crate is ok if your pet is comfortable with it.
  • Always remove the dog’s leash and collar before placing it in the soft crate to prevent accidental choking.
  • Before putting your dog in the crate, make sure it has done “its business” and does not hold or urinate/defecate in the crate. Most dogs would give you enough indications before getting into the crates. You can also consider using a dog training pad if required.
  • Airlines do not allow carrying soft dog crates in the cargo hold and only allow them as cabin carry-on with some special restrictions. You should consider an IATA-approved plastic dog crate to use as airline carriers for checking-in your pet. The general IATA pet container requirements for cargo hold crates are listed here.
  • Before using a soft dog crate as a pet container during travel, ensure that your pet is comfortable with the environment. Start 2-3 weeks before the trip and familiarize your canine with the crate, even if your dog is already crate trained.
  • If you are using your soft dog crate as containment gear during car or vehicle travel, make sure you secure it with straps and tie-downs to avoid the movement during the drive. You would not want the dog to be uncomfortable in the crate and act as a distraction during driving.
  • Fabric-based soft dog crates require a lot of maintenance. Clean the crate regularly by removing the crate cover and pan and washing it in machine or soap and water. Spray-wash or wiping the frame with a wet disinfectant cloth.
  • If the canine shows aggression or is continuously whining in the crate despite being crate trained, consult your vet. It may be a sign of a health or behavioral problem with the pet.

Final thoughts on the best soft crates for travel and everyday use

If you are a long-time pet owner, chances are you would have thought about crate training your beloved pooch. Dog crates are an essential tool that can provide a secure and secluded personal space to the pet and help in addressing some behavioral issues. There are different types of dog crates, each type with its own set of advantages. disadvantages and utility.

In this article, we looked at one such type of dog crates – the soft dog crates (or soft-sided dog crates as they are often called). Soft dog crates help in restraining the pets during an outdoor camping trip or travel. They can also be used as carry-ons for small pets during air travel. We listed some of the best soft-sided dog crates available in the market and shared some useful buying advice.

We hope that you found this article useful and it would help you in picking the best soft crate for your next travel trip or outdoor excursion. Please provide your feedback by commenting below or contacting us. Until next time, happy traveling with your canine companion!

Image credits:Amazon.com