Top positive review
Good backup carrier: portable, featherweight, and easy to store.
November 16, 2016
I have two other pet carriers: a very expensive SleepyPod carrier, and a heavy Pet Life folding carrier. This carrier is not as heavy duty as the others, but it fills a gap---its super-portable, super-lightweight, and easy to store away. However, there are some drawbacks you'll want to be aware of.
1.) Although it's not difficult to put together, it's still slightly inconvenient because you have to maneuver the pieces in an unwieldy way to get them to zip together. It's not hard, it's just unwieldy to hold the pieces in the right orientation for the zippers to align.
2.) There's only one mesh panel for good visibility, and it only measures 6"x8". The little oval cutout pattern on the walls doesn't give much visibility at all. (Each hole is 1 1/8" across.)
3.) If you have an escape artist animal who doesn't like going in the carrier, just be aware that it takes a lot of time (relatively speaking) to zip the door shut. Let's say you take 4 seconds to struggle wth the zipper and get it around the corners ---that's about 3 seconds longer than it would take to shut a hinged door, and speaking from experience, 3 seconds is enough time for your cat (or dog) to elbow past you and say sayonara. If you think you'll be able to do the load-from-the-top method by zipping open the top of the structure, you *can*......but it's also going to take you a long time to get that zipper all the way back around the perimeter again.
4.) The top and bottom shell of the carrier are made out of that extremely lightweight molded foam material---its very innovative, since they're each one continuous smooth piece---it's the material that a lot of lightweight eyewear cases are made from. However, the feet of this carrier are just molded bumps in the foam, which is great for weight-savings, but not necessarily durable in the long term. Mine got dirty just from sitting on my living room floor as I was assembling it.
5.) The included black fleece pad is very soft, but not padded. It feels like you took your fleece pullover out of your closet and put it in the carrier. Also, since the floor of the carrier shell has those molded bumps, thats what the interior looks like too. When you put that thin piece of fleece down, you can still feel the molded bumps. (Since they're very rounded bumps, it's not painful or uncomfortable. If I could fit in there, I'd have no trouble sleeping, even with the unevenness... However, it still would have been nice to have a thicker pad. This is easily remedied by adding your own crate blanket or crate pad...I have a ton of them.
6.) Finally, since the walls come folded up inside the shell, they don't exactly spring back into shape easily. So from a bird's eye view looking down, the carrier still looks a little potato-y when it's all zipped together, rather than a perfect oval.
In spite of all that, there's a lot to love about this carrier. It's featherweight, it can slide into the tightest storage space, and the design is ingenious. If you add your own pad, this is a great carrier, especially for city dwellers who don't have extra storage. This won't replace my other 2 carriers, but it's an ideal backup. At the risk of sounding like a crazy cat person (guilty as charged), this is exactly the type of thing you need for your earthquake kit or disaster go-bag. The luckiest few of the Fukushima disaster or San Bruno gas pipeline survivors had only a few seconds to grab their animal and go; they ended up in temporary shelters wth no carriers for their pet or supplies to take care of them. After seeing that, I made sure that I not only had an earthquake kit for myself, but one for my cat. In the event that I only have 10 seconds to get her and get out the door, you can bet I'm going to grab her, stuff her in my shirt, (probably losing one of my eyes in the process), grab our nearest earthquake bags and scram out of there. I should probably add a stylish eyepatch to my emergency supplies, I'll need it.