Until I joined my family, my parents hadn’t given much thought to how I would travel with them safely in their car. When I came home they quickly realized that it is unsafe for a dog to be loose in the car, and that certain crates on the market may stop me moving around in the car, but needed to also keep me safe in the event of an accident.
This Gunner Kennels review covers why my parents chose to use a Gunner Kennel as my travel crate for the car, the crate’s safety features, the advantages of using it during our car journeys, and whether it’s worth the money.
Gunner Kennels Review – Table of Contents
- About Gunner Kennels
- What makes them safe dog travel crates
- Working out what size is best for your dog
- How much do these travel crates weigh?
- What is the safest place for a dog in your car?
- Will a Gunner Kennel fit in your car?
- Are Gunner Kennels insulated?
- Other features
- Cost and where to buy
- Review summary
About Gunner Kennels
Gunner Kennels are US-made, heavy-duty, crash-tested dog travel crates designed to keep your dog safe and withstand the damage that may be caused by a vehicle accident when traveling with your dog in your car.
Their dog travel crates are Crash Test Certified by the Center for Pet Safety and have 5-star crash test ratings. This means, officially, that the Gunner Kennels G1 crate is one of, if not THE safest travel crate for containing a dog in a vehicle. It even comes with a lifetime guarantee, which gives added confidence that this travel crate means business when it comes to being solid and able to resist significant impact, if we were involved in a car accident.
What makes a Gunner Kennel a safe travel crate option for your dog
When you see a Gunner Kennels crate for the first time, you can see that it speaks quality. This crate is SOLID. The construction is double-wall rotomoulded, the only dog travel crate currently on the market that is made in this way.
There are some crazy crash-test videos online showing this dog crate withstanding being crushed from all sides, crash-tested on a sled, thrown off a cliff and shot at – all providing evidence that supports how safe this crate is, especially when compared to the other single-walled crates that are tested in the same way.
Truth be told I got a little bit freaked out when I saw that Gunner Kennels G1 crate, just like mine, go flying off a cliff in the video below. I hope my humans don’t let that happen to me, the crate might be indestructible, but I’m not.
Here’s a video of some of these tests:
This is another video I found recorded at the Center for Pet Safety – have a watch (and feel sorry for the poor stuffed pooches who are in the other crates). The Gunner Kennels G1 is crash-tested from 3m30:
What size Gunner Kennel should you choose for your dog?
This is a tricky one as it depends on a number of factors. Gunner Kennels currently come in four size options, G1 Small, G1 Medium, G1 Intermediate, and G1 Large, and the measurements are all clearly stated on the product pages on their website.
My parents did a lot of research before deciding to go for the G1 Medium size. As I am a growing pup, it’s hard for them to know exactly how big I will become, and how much I prefer a more snug, den-like crate vs. a more spacious doggy pad. They could have gone for the G1 Intermediate and be pretty much guaranteed I will fit in it forever, but hopefully, I’ll still fit in the G1 Medium comfortably when I’m fully grown.
The best way to find a Gunner Kennel that will fit your dog is to check out their website. Make sure you check the interior dimensions as well as exterior, as due to the thick walls the interior is a fair bit smaller than when measured outside.
They also have a super-useful crowd-sourced sizing guide, and a feed of photos showing other dogs and their parents, stating what size crate they’re rocking and how cozy it is for the dogs. My parents found this very helpful when assessing which crate they would get for me, as well as reading the Gunner Kennels reviews on their site.
For reference, my Gunner Kennels (G1 Medium crate) measures (in inches):
- Interior: 25L x 18W x 19.75H. It gets wider in the middle so it’s 19W at the widest point
- Exterior: 29.5L x 20.5W x 23.5H. It’s 25H if you include the carry handles, which can be removed if you don’t need to use them.
How much does the Gunner Kennel weigh?
Weight is the cost of quality. My G1 Medium weighs 38lb when empty. Unless you’re big and strong, you’ll need two people to move it, and that’s when it’s still empty, because it’s also large! I’ll weigh that much myself before long, so this crate is going to weigh around 80lb when loaded full of a big Border Collie 🙂
What is the safest place for a dog in your car?
All my parents’ research led them to one option: the safest place for a dog in a vehicle is in a crate in the cargo area or back seat.
Although it would be nice to be able to scamper around the back seat watching the world go by, and maybe even sticking my head out the window, or giving my Dad a wet-willy (aka ear lick) every so often, I actually like being snug in my crate, and it’s great for naps on the way home after a long morning or day of adventuring, and when we go on road trips.
When I first started going in my Gunner Kennels crate for trips, I did try to obtain attention by having a little puppy whine in my crate, but I was only trying it on, and eventually, I just got bored of whining and enjoyed the peace and white-noise of being on the road.
Will a Gunner Dog Kennel fit in my car?
Hmm, another tricky question – so many variables! My parents measured all the internal dimensions of our car’s cargo area and back seats. The car is a mini-SUV and my Gunner JUST fits in the cargo area.
Otherwise, it would have just fitted across the back seat – only just, as it needs to fit through the door opening. The G1 Intermediate would most likely not fit in the car unless two out of three of the back seats were folded down. This would still be fine, if they don’t have guests or lots of bags to fit in the car, too.
To work out if the crate will fit in your vehicle, you can contact Gunner and also try their vehicle fit finder on their website.
Are Gunner Kennels insulated?
These crates are so solid that the double-wall construction provides good protection against rain/wind and snow compared to a thinner-walled alternative. I am very excited to see snow one day. My first winter is coming up and I can’t wait to get my dig on and bound around in the white stuff.
Fortunately my parents have my crate stowed in the trunk of our car, but if I was outside, say on the back of a pickup truck then it would be important to have some insulation to keep me warm enough, and to help with this, Gunner sells an all-weather insulation kit that covers the side windows and helps keep rain/snow and wind out.
The insulation also helps keep heat out, in the summer, and there is ventilation via the front, rear and sides. I haven’t sat in it in the heat of summer yet – so I’d want to make sure it doesn’t get too hot, as that’s when bad things happen to us dogs, we can’t just sweat to cool down, so also great that Gunner sells an air-cooling fan kit for their customers to use with the crates in the summer.
Other features of the Gunner G1 Dog Crate
- Locking mechanisms – solid central latch, lockable with a key, and two additional bolts for securing the door at the top and bottom
- Metal bars at the top for attaching tie-down straps
- Ventilation on all sides
- Adventure-friendly colors (although I’d love a bright color option)
- Other extras available – rubber mat, Orthopedic bed which adds a much needed extra layer of comfort (shown in our video and photo below), additional lock to secure the crate to your vehicle, tie-down straps (recommended).
We have the tie-down straps (although we didn’t have them when we filmed our videos). The kennel is so wedged in once the trunk is closed that it can hardly move, but it would be much safer to also strap it down so it can’t move around at all (and the crash-test rating assumes the straps are used).
How much does a Gunner Kennel cost?
Double-check Gunner’s website for the latest prices, but our crate’s selling price was $499.
Gunner Kennels review summary
I’d be pretty upset if my parents didn’t think the safest available crash-tested travel crate was worth the money for the price of protecting their furry adventure buddy when traveling in the car.
It also protects them, because if I’m properly secured then I won’t go flying around the car if we have to stop suddenly or have an accident. Compared to the typical vet’s bill, the cost of a solid, well-made dog crate isn’t too much, especially given the crate should last a lifetime (and is guaranteed to do so).
My Gunner Kennels crate is the G1 Medium: