best dog crate for car travel

Top five: best dog crate for car travel

If you enjoy long road trips, a crate for car travel might make the ride easier for your dog. But, all dog crates for car travel are not equal. Like all pet supplies, there are different types for different needs and budgets.

There are so many reasons to contain your dog while driving. For an excitable pup, you may need to contain them to avoid distracted driving. For a nervous dog, having a defined space they are familiar with can make a big difference. A crate can also protect your car from scratches and dirt. If you worry about your pet’s safety while driving, a crate may help your peace of mind. In the unfortunate incidence of an accident, securing your dog can prevent injury. It’s also good to have a crate to transport your pup to and from the vet if needed.  

Always supervise your dog while they are in the crate, and ensure your pup can stand and turn around with ease. I won’t get into crate training tips here in this article. There are definitely lots of dos and don’ts, and it can be a bit of a process to crate train. Once your dog is comfortable in a crate, they may love it. Many dogs feel relaxed knowing they have a special space devoted to them. It’s also excellent to train your dog for safety reasons. If you ever need to transport Fido somewhere, it will be much easier.

For car camping, a dog crate for car travel is an excellent choice. You can feel comfortable with your dog sleeping there at night after a long day of fresh air. But, for backpacking or a paddling trip, you might have weight restrictions. Sometimes, this means you will not be able to carry a crate along with your gear. Check out my review of the best dog tents if you are looking for a lighter option for outdoor confinement.

Best pet booster seat

HIPPIH Small Dog Car Seat, Collapsible Pet Booster

For a small dog, it might only be a  dream to look out the window as you drive. A booster will allow them to enjoy the view, and breathe in the fresh air. This pet booster is suitable for dogs up to 11lbs. If your dog is not crate trained, this might be a good choice. One of the highlights is that it is waterproof. I always like to choose waterproof dog supplies when possible. An outdoor lifestyle always seems to lead to some mud getting dragged in. It would also be a good choice if your pup is prone to motion sickness. The patterns of dog paw prints and tiny bones are too cute to resist here! But for a more serious pup, the sleek all-black version is also available. Check price here.


  • Adjustable straps make it easy to install in any type of vehicle
  • Waterproof to protect your car
  • Breathable mesh
  • Zippered front compartment for snacks and toys
  • Made of durable oxford cloth
  • Wipes clean
  • Customer support team available after-sale
  • Big enough to add a blanket
  • A safety harness (not included) can buckle your dog in conjunction with this booster. If you already have one, they can work together well.


  • Must connect to a seat with a headrest

Best dog crate for minivan or SUV

A4Pet Soft Collapsible Dog Crate and Kennel

If you have a van, hatchback or an SUV, this dog crate might work for you. I like how this crate is appropriate for indoors or outdoors to allow your pup to get used to it. For dogs who are already crate trained, they will be right at home. If you are planning to work on crate training your pup, and your car would work with this, wohoo! This would be a fantastic product to crate train and travel with. I always try to look for multi-use dog equipment. Since you can use this as an all-purpose crate, it is very budget-friendly. This is a great way to save money on dog supplies when planning for a new pupper. Check price here.


  • Can use indoors, outdoors, and in your vehicle
  • Fits dogs up to 50lbs
  • Leakproof bottom
  • Rounded corners to protect car interior
  • Pops up and folds flat for easy assembly
  • Washable
  • Portable
  • Steel frame
  • Ventilated with mesh sides
  • Auto-lock zippers
  • Mesh sides provide visibility
  • Very affordable


  • Dogs who are not crate trained may need some training to use this

Best tube-shaped crate for car travel

Pet Travel Tube Car Crate Kennel

At first, I was like “why is this thing a tube?”. But, now I get it. The tube can contain a medium-sized dog in the backseat, without blocking the driver’s view. It is large enough to fit two smaller dogs, or cats. You could even fit a cat and litter box in there for a long trip. But, if you want to fit a passenger beside a smaller dog, you can adjust the size. It reduces to about half the original size, taking up half the backseat. This tube can substitute a crate for a hotel room or cottage. But, I have a feeling some dogs might be a bit weirded out by the shape if it’s not in the car. Check price here.


  • Does not block the driver’s view
  • Great for indoor use as a crate
  • Can fold in half to fit a passenger in the backseat
  • Includes carrying bag
  • Mesh for airflow
  • Safety belts to keep crate secure


  • Not waterproof
  • Mesh sides may not be very durable over time

Best dog crate for car travel alternative – barrier

Bushwhacker – Cargo Area Dog Barrier for CUV & Mid-Sized SUV

If you have an extra-large or giant breed dog, a crate for car travel might not be a possibility. If your pooch is very active or excitable, you might need some kind of confinement for them. If your dog is being training to learn to sit in the car, you might have a family member supervising them for car rides. But, if you want to drive alone, this might be a good option until your dog is ready. My pooch took some getting used to car rides. When I first adopted him, I used to always sit beside him in the backseat of the car. This is where a dog barrier or fence can come in handy. Of course, you will need a CUV or SUV to make this work. Check price here.


  • Great for larger dogs
  • Scratch and tear-resistant screen
  • Multiple ways to attach
  • No possibility for your dog to go under, over, or around the barrier
  • Secured by metal piping
  • Prevents dog from distracting driver without the need for a crate
  • Good for dogs who are not crate trained, or are in training


  • Won’t work in all types of vehicles, be sure to measure before purchasing

Best dog crate for car travel – small dogs

YEP HHO Upgrade Pet Carrier Bag

For a smaller dog, they will feel more relaxed in a smaller crate. Of course, you always want to ensure that your dog has room to stand. I love that this carrier has a top flap, so your dog can peak out. Your dog might enjoy looking out of the window if the crate is on a passenger’s lap. My favorite feature of this crate is the memory foam. If you have an older dog or one with joint issues, this will make them more comfortable. Check price here.


  • The top flap opens up for your dog to lookout
  • Memory foam floor
  • Mesh sides for airflow
  • Steel frame
  • Folds and unfolds for easy storage
  • Nylon cover is washable and is durable
  • High-quality zippers
  • Lightweight and easy to carry


  • Not waterproof

Best dog crate for car travel – my overall favorite

It’s hard to say which dog crate for in-car use is number one! Each of these crates works for different needs. Smaller dogs will need a smaller crate, and some dogs will do better with a barrier. When shopping for doggy supplies, always consider your dog’s unique training needs.

My number one favorite is the A4Pet Soft Collapsible Dog Crate and Kennel. Of course, you will need to have the vehicle for this (make sure you measure your car before buying). Its standout feature is that it is leakproof. I can see this coming in handy if you are transporting a new puppy or a dog who gets motion sickness. I also like that it has rounded corners to avoid any damage to the car. If you are renting a car or traveling with friends and family, this feature is wonderful. I would also choose this if I had a very high-end car that I worried about damaging (sigh… one day! :P). This crate is a very practical addition to your dog supplies. You can use it in place of an indoor and outdoor crate. This crate would be excellent for car camping. It would fit into your campsite, cottage, or cabin. Not to mention, it is very affordable.

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