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Dog Crates For Travel -- what do you like?

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In answer to Ruth's question in the other topic, I have three Midwest Day Tripper soft crates that I use for indoors when leaving the dogs crated in the car is unsafe due to weather or locale. They are pretty cheaply made but I love how flat they fold (about 1-1 1/2" wide), and am disappointed that they were discontinued. Midwest's "replacement" product, the Canine Camper Sportable, and any others with similar frames fold up at least twice as wide as the Day Tripper, and when I bought a Sportable to try, the frame got stuck on my very first test set up and bent as I tried to disengage it. Perhaps I just happened to get a poorly-assembled one, but it didn't make me keen to buy anything else with a similar design, especially knowing how much more space they take up when folded.

 

I currently use Vari-Kennel Ultra models in the car and have often thought about replacing them with more durable crates, though steel crates are out of my price range. I feel as Diane does and though I understand the a dog may be somewhat safer in a smaller space, I also can't bring myself to squash my dog into a too-small crate for (more or less) the duration of a weekend if I expect him to be capable of working well. As it is, my cargo space is maxed with two 300/Intermediate sized Vari-Kennels and two 200/Mediums. My adult male (who is not large) really needs a 400 and has to be curled the whole time in a 300, as do the (retired) girls who have to ride in the 200s. The information on the Gunner kennels made them very tempting until Jovi posted the inside dimensions; I'm glad you did as I didn't catch that on the size chart! I was paying more attention to the outside dimensions and whether I could fit them in my car.

 

The Ruff Tough are also a bit more narrow than the V-Ks, but don't appear to lose as much interior space as the Gunner does. I like that ventilation can be added, either by having them add more vent holes or by ordering one of the double-door models or both, but then I wonder whether there is any compromise to the structural integrity of the crate? If the solid-body construction is mainly what makes the crate strong, how is that impacted by an additional door and additional vent holes?

 

Thanks, Chan, for posting the testing links.

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None of the well performing crates except the Variocage would fit well in my car (wagon style Prius). The double Variocage would fit, but its out of my budget and also I would not feel comfortable with a small dog in the bigger crate (which sometimes happens on shorter trips) because of the bar spacing.

 

I also don't see small dog sized Rough Toughs.

 

I wish someone would make a not so cheesily welded wire crate with a side door. My 400 Midwest 2 door works great as far as its size and visibility and is plenty of room for my big dog on a long day or all my dogs for a short trip. I am just pretty sure it would provide zero protection in an accident.

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I think small dogs are fine in crates that aren't quite as tough since they would generate a lot less force if thrown in an accident.

 

I'm probably going to just go with the intermediate rough tuff after reading all this and measuring my car. Though looking at the Cabelas site I see a Kennebec crate that looks intriguing. Kenzi is currently in a wire crate and I really need to get something sturdier.

 

Thanks so much for all the input!!

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I got into a head on at 55 plus with a guard rail,avoiding a squirrel. I had my ruff tuff with me....no dog...2014 subaru forrester was mangled and everything inside was flung around and ruined. I had internal injuries etc..but the ruff ruff did not have a mark and hardly moved at all...

 

Two intermediate will fit in the back of the Forrester . I replaced all the crates in my travel trailer with ruff tiffs

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Bumping this up to say that the large size Ruff Tough is currently on sale at Cabela's. They also have the most reasonable price that I've seen on the Intermediate size. With free shipping if you can pick up at a store!

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Two intermediates (double-doors) will fit in the back of a Subaru Forrester - but only if you don't need a passenger to ride on the back seat.

 

Sorry I didn't spot your question earlier Maralynn - yes, the double-doors are a touch longer than the single doored Ruff Tough crates. I just the other day deleted a voicemail message I'd gotten from them with the specifics - my bad!

 

I've seen the videos - there may be crates that perform better than Ruff Tough crates, but for the number of dogs I need to transport, they seem the best compromise between safety and affordability. And I've found they work OK even in a mid-Atlantic summer, with a fan in the car (and shade cloth over it) at a sheepdog trial.

 

Today's collapsible wire crates scare the bejabbers out of me.

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Bumping this up to say that the large size Ruff Tough is currently on sale at Cabela's. They also have the most reasonable price that I've seen on the Intermediate size. With free shipping if you can pick up at a store!

Aahh! Thanks for reminding me to order one to replace the wire crate in the back of my car. Unfortunately, Cabela's is only selling the single door crate so will have to go to the Ruff Tough website (which worked very well before).

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There's a group on facebook called Dog Sport Vehicle ideas & set-ups that has some useful information about all these crates.

 

I'm waiting until I win the lottery, because 6-8 of ANY of these crates is way out of my budget. Mine travel in Varikennels because that's what I have.

 

 

RDM

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Hank and I had a small incident travelling last week but it was enough to make me want to replace our wire crate ASAP. The crate flipped and collapsed and his foot got stuck between the bars. He came out with a limp and was absolutely terrified. :( It wasn't tied down but it was pretty secure in the car. After that I let him ride loose. Not sure if that's any better.

 

But variocages are way out of my price range right now. Ruff Tuff looks like a good option and we just got a new Cabelas in town... but I have smallish and tiny dogs. Hmm...

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Bumping this up to say that the large size Ruff Tough is currently on sale at Cabela's. They also have the most reasonable price that I've seen on the Intermediate size. With free shipping if you can pick up at a store!

 

I didn't see this post right away, but I'm glad you mentioned it Maralynn!

 

I noticed that the dimensions of same-style RTK crates varied depending on what webpage I was looking at, so I emailed Ruff Tough for clarity, and here is what one of the sales/customer service folks replied:

 

"...it appears that the dimensions listed on our website are a bit off. Our apologies for that and we will get it corrected. I just measured the two [large] in my office and the large double door exterior is 35 x 22 x 26, interior is 31 1/4 x 22 x 25. The large exterior is 34 1/4 x 22 x 26, interior is 33 1/4 x 22 x 25. You lose some interior space on the double door units to accommodate the added door, but the rim adds about 1/2” to the exterior."

 

My interest in the double door was strictly about ventilation, but since the single door has more room inside and takes up less space in the car, I decided to order one from Cabela's and simply have someone add vent holes for me. The total for my order of the Large at Cabela's with the current sale price plus the promo code discount added up to $207.99 (including an $18 handling surcharge because of size and weight).Just wanted to pass that along if anyone is thinking about ordering the RTK.

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Figured that I'd bump this up to share what I ended up with. I ended up going with the large as I heard many conflicting opinions. And the large was just $10 more. Looking at it now, an intermediate would have worked fine but I'm not disappointed that I got the large. I've got a 2005 Saturn Vue and the large RT fits well alongside a Marchiaro 5 Clipper. I added the slight platform because the back seats fold down at an angle. I'd be able to fit an additional intermediate in there as well if the need arose

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Marilynn,

 

How tall and long is your BC who is going in the RTK? I keep going back and forth myself. Rook is just 35# but he is long, and I think about 20.5" tall. The other thing I'm considering is if I have two (I am getting a golden puppy next week) would it be better to have the same size so I can hook them together. The golden I'm almost positive will eventually need the large.

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Here's Kenzi in the RT. She's about 20.5" and 21.5 from the top of her shoulder blades to her butt. Weight of 37-38#. Kolt will be riding in the crate and is about 1" taller and longer than her and 44-45#. Kolt has been riding in the Marchiaro without issue (and Kenzi will now use it) but it looked like the sizing on the RT was a hair smaller than the Marchiaro. So I went larger as I couldn't try it before ordering. If he was Kenzi size then I would have stuck with intermediate.

 

When I went to pick it up at Cabela's today I saw that they had both sizes in store. So if you have one nearby you might be able to go see them before buying. And also see if they'd attach easily or not. I do agree that I'd go with a large for all but the smallest Goldens.

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I saw the sale earlier this evening and am seriously thinking about purchasing a couple for my two collies. They are both around 20" (I think, they are really difficult to measure) and 30 lbs. From reading this thread I think the intermediate crates would work well for them. Does that sound right?

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I saw the sale earlier this evening and am seriously thinking about purchasing a couple for my two collies. They are both around 20" (I think, they are really difficult to measure) and 30 lbs. From reading this thread I think the intermediate crates would work well for them. Does that sound right?

Yup :)

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Actually, you might even be able to get by with a "medium". One of my dogs (45 lb) rides in an "intermediate" with double doors. The second (33 lb, long) rides either in an "intermediate" or in a "medium", depending on how many passengers I need to transport in my car (two "intermediates" with double doors are long enough that both rear passenger seats have to be folded down, but one "intermediate" and one "medium" in the back of my Forester allow one rear passenger seat to latch). The "smallest" dog (a shade shorter than the 33 lb dog, but heavier-boned and shorter, weighing in at 35 lb) is perfectly fine in his "medium" crate and likes to ride curled up in it.

 

Another advantage to the Rough Tuff crates - they're a breeze to clean! One of my dogs had explosive diarrhea in his crate at a sheepdog clinic the other weekend. Took him home, put him in the bath, took the crate out of the car and hosed it out and scrubbed it with a bit of bleach and everything was good to go - no mess at all in the car itself!

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I switched from the wire crates when Ben learned how to collapse them while inside it and could get out. I really love the ruff tough crates. You can get optional couplers to connect them and tie downs. Also, the large size is plenty big enough for my two boys. Ben is 50 lbs and Pete is 23 inches at withers and they both can stretch out. But they are both comfortable in the intermediate as well. In my explorer I have two large and two intermediates that have side doors for easy access. With a suburban, you can fit larger crates if you want.

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While they are not cheap, the Gunner Kennel is what we use around our house and while traveling. My husband runs an outfitting business and he was able to nab a few of these kennels from a hunting buddy who knew the guy that designed them. They are escape proof and virtually indestructible. An amazing design and if you are willing to shuck out the big bucks, they are a great kennel.

 

If you check out the videos on the website, they compare the kennel to other kennels in a crash test, and then they proceed to knock the thing off a cliff, and even shoot it with a shotgun to prove its durability. These guys mean business.

 

https://www.gunnerkennels.com/videos/indestructible-dog-crate-testing

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http://www.centerforpetsafety.org/test-results/crates/2015-crate-study-results/

Only crate the passed was the Gunner. I was going to get Ruff Tuff too until I saw this. The weak spot is the door on most crates and I think Ruff Tuff has a brace for the door. Or you could get the door panel the have to cover the door. Variocage did not make the cut bc of the door either plus way more expensive than Gunner which is bad enough. My dog has the harness that passed their crash tests for now though I'd rather a crate.

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IF you look back at post #25 and the next few posts in this thread, the Gunner crates were discussed.

 

I viewed the website that reviewed several of the crates (Gunner, Variocage, Ruff Tough and one or two others) and came away with the opinion that I would choose the Ruff Tough. I was very impressed with the strength of the Gunner, believing it to be one of the strongest due to its double-wall construction, but it lost points (for me) due to its high price and small interior. The exterior dimensions were similar to many other crates, but the double-wall construction (which provides the strength) reduces the interior dimensions to a point that I don't think my dogs would be comfortable.

 

It is all a trade-off between available space in one's vehicle, the interior space needed for the dog, the price and the strength.

 

If I had a nice large van and significant $$, I would invest in Gunner crates - but I don't, so the Ruff Tough crate works for my situation.

 

FWIW, as an ex-research scientist, I felt the experimental design and conditions used for the crate comparisons was poor and skewed the results towards the Gunner crate. My opinion only.

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