Portable crates

Portable crates to protect your pup

By Ralph Stuart

When it comes to travel, you wouldn’t let a child ride in your vehicle without a seatbelt, so why would you let your four-legged best friend lurch around without protection? It would be irresponsible and downright dangerous. Luckily there are a variety of portable kennels available to house your precious cargo. With the help of former SSM staffer Jeremy Hatch and his 65-pound shorthair, Echo, we checked out four popular versions, to see whether they deserve to carry your canine.

Dakota 283 G-3 Framed Door

Editor's ChoiceThe Dakota 283 G-3 falls in the middle of the pack—and that’s a good thing. Not too heavy (37½ pounds, according to our scale) and easy to maneuver—thanks to a recessed handle in the top—the one-piece, molded-plastic kennel felt sturdy and solid. Ours had a wire-frame door with a lockable paddle latch, although an Alpha door with metal bars and additional top and bottom latches is available. Large holes on the sides provide ventilation, and a rear drain hole allows for easy cleaning. Tie-down straps can be threaded through recesses in the top. Large size external dimensions: 35” (l) x 24” (w) x 26¼” (h). Colors: Dark Granite (pictured), Desert Sand, Olive, Orange, and Coyote Tan. Price: $450.Zinger Deluxe 4000

Zinger Deluxe 4000

The Zinger Deluxe 4000 arrived in layered panels and took two people to put together (with 38 small machine screws, washers and nuts just in the frame). Once assembled, the all-aluminum kennel weighed 34 pounds and felt sturdy. The door, which can be mounted to open to the right or left, features solid, welded bars and a stainless-steel, lockable paddle latch. Unfortunately, it rattled while the vehicle was moving. Seventy holes per side and 40 in back provide plenty of ventilation but are tough on fingers when picking up the kennel. (Get the optional handles.) Cleaning the kennel also might be difficult, as detritus may slip between the frame panels. External dimensions: 36” (l) x 24” (w) x 28” (h). Color: Silver Hammertone. Price: $600.

Ruff Tough KennelsRuff Tough Kennels

The one-piece, molded-plastic Rough Tuff Kennel was the lightest of the bunch, weighing 29½ pounds. Although it did not come with the optional handles (which attach to the top), two rear finger holes made it easy to lift. The heavy-duty, plastic-frame door (a wire door is available) cannot be locked, but it can open to the right or left by pinching the appropriate metal rods. Rows of large holes on the sides provide ample ventilation. The kennel’s light weight made it feel like it could slide easily, but tie-down brackets and D-rings are available. Large size external dimensions: 35” (l) x 22” (w) x 26¼” (h). Colors: Rockstone (pictured), Orange Speckled, Lime Green Speckled and Pink Speckled. Price: $256.Gunner Kennels G1

Gunner Kennels G1

The Gunner Kennels G1 is the Humvee/Brink’s truck of dog crates. It arrived in two large boxes and was assembled easily. The plastic crate is overbuilt, with double-wall construction and a heavy-duty metal door that can be mounted to open to the right or left and that features a lockable paddle latch and two auxiliary locks. At 75 pounds, the crate strains the definition of “portable” and takes serious muscling to move around. Thankfully there are removable wheels and handles. Five large slats per side and three in the rear provide ventilation, and there is a removable drain plug for cleaning. There also are integral tie-down rods and four rubber feet that limit heat transmission and conduction as well as slippage. Large size exterior dimensions: 40¼” (l) x 28” (w) x 33¼” (h). Color: Tan. Price: $600.

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