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Crash Tested Confidence: Thule Dog Crate Review

Updated: 6 days ago

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Thule's credentials need no introduction - the iconic brand behind roof rack systems for anything from bikes to canoes, tow bar mounted carriers and even rooftop tents, they are renowned for their high-quality products to help you enjoy your adventures


As so many of us are choosing to take our dogs along for the ride, they've turned their sights on dog car crates, which offer a secure place for your dog to travel letting you concentrate on the road ahead.


Thule dog crate for the car

Launched January 2024, their Allax dog crates offer a super safe alternative to a dog guard, it has the benefit of leaving additional boot space for luggage and packs some nifty features.


Ultimately the Thule Allax dog crate range has been designed with a SUV in mind, and we couldn't wait to put it through it's paces.

Thule Allax Dog Crate : At a Glance The ultimate in car safety for your dog. Designed to protect your dog and yourself with superior safety features, it's easy to use and offers peace of mind.


Safe dog travel crate

 TABLE OF CONTENTS



Thule Allax dog crate


Thule Allax Dog Crate Review



1. Thule Allax Dog Crate : Basics


The crème de la crème of car dog crates, the Thule Allax is uniquely designed and well built.


The truth is that it provides unrivalled peace of mind when you're on the move for both your dog and your passengers.


What's more, if you have a dog that has the habit of leaping out of the car boot as soon as you open it, the lockable crate offers an additional layer of security when you reach your destination.


Easy open door of dog crate in car boot

Choosing a Size


The Allax dog crate is available in a range of ten sizes. When it comes to selecting the best crate size for your dog and your car, our first bit of advice is to take some time and several accurate measurements.


Don't fall for the "I have a medium-sized car and dog so I'll chose a medium sized crate" - like we did!

We chose the medium sized crate and whilst it was perfect for our dog, it was slightly too big for a Porsche Macan (mid-sized SUV) with it's sloping rear seats and boot, but it was ideal for a Land Rover Defender as shown below.


Thule dog crate in car boot with man and dog

As the Allax crate doesn't slope at the same angle as many car boots do, it's vitally important that you take the measurements correctly.


Here's out top tip for choosing the right crate for your car and dog.


Depth: Measure from the top of the rear seats to the furthest point in the boot. Be careful to only measure to where the boot door begins to slope (at the top) - otherwise your chosen crate may not fit under a sharply sloping rear door.


There is some wiggle room here as cleverly there's a lever on both sides of the crate so you can alter your crate depth to fit perfectly in your boot.


Depth extenders on Thule Allax dog crate

Taking a look at our Size Guide below and you'll see that the Compact models have a reduced depth but the height and width measurements are the same as the standard versions. These Compact models are suited to cars with shallower boots.


Thule Allax Dog Crate Size Guidelines

Once you've taken your car boot measurements, you'll need to measure your dog. Grab a tape measure and find the height from the top of your dog's shoulders to the floor. You can then match wither height to crate size.


Top Tip - If your dog struggles to keep still, use a piece of string and then place it alongside a tape measure afterwards - seriously so much easier than trying to use a metal tape measure.



Fitting


The first thing to say is that your chosen dog crate arrives flat packed so there is a small amount of assembly to do before you can attach it to your car. We're talking - 20 minutes tops, it's not an Ikea furniture project!


As you'd expect from Thule, the instruction booklet is simple to follow and all the parts are precision engineered to fit together perfectly.


Dog Crate in car boot with dog

If you prefer there is also a video on their website which you could follow. Although it shows one person with a small crate, we assembled a medium size crate and would strongly suggest it's a two person job!



Once assembled, it slides straight in your car boot and you can fine-tune the depth to fit your available space.



dog paw graphic


2. Thule Allax Dog Crate : Design 


Crash Tested


Let's talk about that all important crash testing !


As you'd expect from Thule, the Allax dog crate has been rigorously crash tested in their Thule Test Center where they recreated rear-end collisions, front collisions and even roll-over scenarios.


It's also certified by TÜV SÜD, a brand synonymous with quality and safety. Their independent certification instils confidence as it demonstrates Thule's commitment to quality, safety and sustainability.


The innovative crumple zone is designed to provide superior protection for both passengers and your dog in the case of an accident.


But their testing didn't end there! They evaluated the crate over time, to assess durability and long-term performance. They recreated rough and uneven terrain, sharp turns, evasive manoeuvres, and brake tests.


So it's fair to say that this dog crate ensures that both you and your dog are as safe as possible.


Emergency exit door in Thule Allax dog crate

If you were involved in a collision, and you can't open the car boot, don't worry. The Thule Allax has been designed with a smaller emergency door. By lowering the back seats to access the crate, the rear door can be opened so your dog can jump out. They really have thought of everything !


It's worth mentioning that for safety reasons, Thule suggest that you don't have a lead attached while the dog is inside the crate.


The Door


One of the best things about the Allax crate for us was the door. It had a really premium look and feel.


The gas dampened mechanism means that it's as light as a feather to use. It makes no noise (always a plus if you have an anxious dog) and you can be confident that once opened it wouldn't accidentally swing shut on your dog.


Easy open crate door for dogs

Thule have designed the crate to ensure an almost unobstructed view so your dog can relax and watch the world go by whilst you're left to concentrate on the road ahead.


Plus increased ventilation has been proven to help deal with dogs suffering from car sickness, so the design allows the air to flow through the crate door and sides.


The built-in door lock adds an extra layer of security for any budding Houdinis !


Dog in crash-tested Thule dog crate

Straps


In testing we felt that the crate was very stable in the boot, nevertheless, the Allax crate comes with 4 adjustable restraining straps.


These simply thread through the top side bar and then through your car's cargo loops. The straps are can then be tightened to fit. Once in place, the crate and your dog are going nowhere in the event of a crash.


Thule dog crate in car boot with cockapoo

It's also worth noting that all crates come with a 2 Year Thule Guarantee. More details are available here.



dog paw graphic


3. Thule Allax Dog Crate : Accessories


You can choose from a selection of accessories to accompany your crate :-


Bumper Protect - We loved the Bumper Protector. It folds out to cover your bumper avoiding those nasty (and costly) scratches from paws. Made from a durable and water-resistant material, it does the job well and is easy to fold up and store in front of the crate.


A great investment if your dog jumps into the boot like ours and we noticed that it doesn't slide about like fabric protectors have the habit of doing. Thule offer both a standard and wide version of the boot protector.


If your dog loves mud, simply brush off the dried mud then wipe with a damp cloth.


Landrover Defender with Thule dog crate in boot


Storage Bag - Attaching by strong velcro straps to the side of the crate, their zipped storage bag is an optional extra.


Is it essential ? Not really, but it's a great idea for all those dog bits that we're likely to forget - poo bags, treats, ball, paw wipes, small towel even an emergency lead (yes, I have lost a lead mid-walk before, it's amazing what you can fashion out of a scarf 😂)


Thule Allax dog crate storage bag

Dog Mat - Made of non-slip silicone, this mat has been designed specifically for the Allax crate.


It slides into the base of the crate, offering a stable grip for your dog whilst the car's in motion. There are two sizes available - standard or wide and you simply follow the pre-made cutting lines to cut it to size (please note - we hadn't cut ours to size)


Non-slip dog crate mat

Thule Leash Hook - Also on offer is a simple hook to hold your dog's lead and collar whilst they are in the crate. You can attach the hook anywhere on the side of the crate.

You may be interested in taking a closer look at our other popular dog travel product reviews including - Best Boot Liners, Best Car Seat Covers, Best Car Seats & Best Portable Dog Washers



dog paw graphic


Our Verdict


After reading this review, it will come as no surprise to you that we fell head-over-heels in love with the Thule crate.


The only downside we found was purchasing the correct size. In the future, we would love to see Thule testing their crates on a range of make and models of car so they could recommend the best sizes for you. Then you could select from this list based on your dog.


Other than that, it's exceptionally well built and nicely designed by people that know dogs.


In addition to it's crash-tested credentials, it includes some nifty features. From the gas dampened door, adjustable depth to make the most of your boot space, emergency rear door, excellent ventilation and all-round views, Thule also offer a range of well thought-out accessories.


Yes it's pricey, but what's undeniable is that the Thule Allax dog crate is probably the safest way for you and your dog to travel in the car.



Dog in crate in car trunk


dog paw graphic


Alternatives


If the Thule Allax crate is a little out of your reach, what other crate options are available to you ?


Pet World Travel Crates


Offering an extensive range of designs suitable for SUVs, hatchbacks and Estate cars, Pet World based in Newcastle offer a cheaper option.


Pet World travel crate

Their folding crates are strong and lightweight, crafted from high carbon steel and finished in a powder coating. With sloping backs and fronts designed uniquely to make the most of your boot space and offer plenty of ventilation.


Importantly they're designed with an emergency access door in the top and sliding front doors plus Pet World have recently improved the design by adding a waterproof removable base tray.


So lots of great design features, but remember they haven't been through the same rigorous testing regime as the Thule crate.



Henry Wag Air Kennel


Suitable for small dogs and puppies, the Henry Wag Air Kennel is an option for the car boot. Definitely the most transportable of the options we feature, it's designed to be used in your car or a plane or boat and has a carry handle.


Henry Wag Air Kennel - crate for dogs

Made from a hard plastic shell, it features a front and top opening door for easy access. Considerably cheaper than the other options, we think that it has more limited view and ventilation although both access doors help.


Importantly, the Air Kennel does come with addition straps to secure it to your boot and is available in three sizes.


Again, we need to point out that it's not crash-tested like the Thule Allax.


dog paw graphic

We really hope you've enjoyed reading our review of the Thule Dog Crate

as much as we enjoyed testing it


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