- Wild One
- The new Wild One Air Travel Carrier ($125) meets all the needs of your four-legged frequent flier – and yours too.
- It’s a soft-sided airline-approved pet carrier that’s lightweight, durable, and keeps its shape as well as a heavy hard-sided carrier.
- It’s also loaded with extras like a canopy bed and shoulder strap that converts to a leash. And while it was designed for small dogs, I’d even recommend it for cats.
Finding a pet carrier that meets all the needs of your four-legged frequent flier, and yours, too, is a challenge. What you want is lightweight, durable, loaded with pockets for pet gear and your own items, as comfortable inside as your dog’s bed, easy to get your dog into, and attractive – while meeting airline and train travel regulations and size.
I found dog carriers that were too heavy, too cramped, and lacking added storage, which meant toting an extra bag for dog essentials along with my luggage. I would arrive at my destination with a body that needed a chiropractic adjustment, and a dog who could use one too.
Then I was sent the new Wild One Air Travel Carrier to test. It’s a sleek and elegant bag that is loaded with extras.
Wild One is a New York City-based startup that was founded in September 2018 by a group of pet lovers with a clean, modern design aesthetic. The company’s mission is to “make living the ‘pet life’ easier and more joyful.” To that end, they produce high-quality, functional gear and toys with a classic appeal. They also give back by donating a portion of their proceeds to Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue, a nonprofit rescue organization that helps find homes for dogs from high-kill shelters in the rural South.
Wild One designed a TSA-approved dog carrier that is comfortable for dogs and convenient for their owners
The Air Travel Carrier is available in black and tan. I was sent the black version to test. Made from lightweight neoprene blended with polyester and spandex, it’s soft-sided but with the shape retention of a hard-sided carrier.
Designed to meet airline regulations, it measures 17.5 inches long, 11 inches wide, and 10 inches high and is recommended for dogs up to 16 pounds. My 4.5 pound Yorkie, Buster, can actually stand up in it, let alone turn around per regulations.
Mesh panels cover the sides and the top. They provide plenty of ventilation yet are discreet enough that some might not even notice you’re traveling with your dog. Each side panel also has a privacy screen that can be retracted by zipper, and you can partly unzip the sides or the top so your dog can pop their head out. Inside, there’s a quilted cushioned mat to keep them comfortable.
There are two carry handles, a removable adjustable shoulder strap that doubles as a leash, and a trolley sleeve. The sleeve fits easily over a luggage handle, and thanks to the carrier’s rigid bottom, even with a tiny dog like Buster, the bag balances nicely on top of luggage. But if you’ve checked your bags and will be wearing the carrier on your shoulder or holding it by the carry handles, don’t worry – it is actually surprisingly light.
The Wild One Air Travel Carrier is loaded with extras
- Wild One
The zippered outside pocket on the front spans the entire width of the carrier. On a recent trip, it held everything I needed for my dog, including treats, food, waste bags, and a travel water bowl. There are also two small open pockets on the backside where you can fit a cell phone, boarding pass, or passport.
But the most brilliant part of this carrier is the removable shoulder strap that actually doubles as a leash – at about 4 feet long fully extended, it’s perfect for walking your dog before a flight or for keeping them close while waiting at the gate. When it’s not needed, it can be stored inside a flap in the cushioned interior mat.
It gets even better though. When you arrive at your destination, you can unzip the carrier, fold down the front panel, and turn it into a canopy bed that functions as a comfy den.
While the carrier is hand wash only, when the quilted cushioned mat needs to be cleaned, you can toss it into a washing machine and dryer. To store the carrier, you can unzip the top and the sides, and it folds up flat and compact to fit on a shelf or in a drawer.
My dog happily traveled first-class in this carrier and got a good night’s sleep in it, too
- Wild One
A couple of weekends ago, I made my first trek upstate with the travel carrier. With Buster, my Yorkie, snug in a sling lined with fleece, and Roxy, my 8-pound Pomeranian traveling first-class in the Wild One, I set off for the train from New York City going upstate.
The carrier was light enough to stay on my shoulder while I changed trains midway to get to Grand Central. This is more impressive than it sounds as I’m a petite person who does not bear up well under weight on my shoulders.
On the subway, I zipped down the side panel so Roxy could pop her adorable head out and do what she does best – make friends. If she had hands, she would have signed a dozen autographs by the time we arrived at Grand Central.
I carried Roxy to her first “mountain” adventure without being encumbered by a bulky, heavy bag. She curled up for a nap inside the Wild One and stayed asleep for the entire 90-minute train ride. My friend met us at the station, and we set out on the road to the park where we could hike. It was about 2 miles, mostly uphill, and I turned the shoulder strap into a dog leash so Roxy could walk.
Later that night at my friend’s house, Roxy again snoozed happily in her canopy bed dreaming of more adventures. The Wild One Air Travel Carrier delivered on all fronts.
I found a few minor inconveniences with this carrier. The top zipper feels a bit flimsy. It opens completely like a zipper on a jacket, but it can be difficult to reconnect the two sides. After a few uses, the zipper still works, so it remains to be seen how it will hold up over the long term.
The privacy screen can only be fully zipped up or down, when I would prefer double-sided zippers so I can unzip the top half and leave the screen in place on the lower half.
The bottom line
The Wild One Air Travel Carrier is elegant and lightweight, and Wild One not only mastered the basics but also added thoughtful and useful extras like a leash, spacious pockets, and a convertible bed. Your dog (or cat) will travel comfortably, and you will too.
The price tag may be too high for some. If it isn’t in your budget, we recommend the Prodigen Airline-Approved Pet Carrier ($22.99).
But if you can pay a little more, we highly recommend this airline-compliant pet carrier. It will give you a great excuse to take a vacation and bring your best friend along for the ride.
Pros: Clean, modern design; lightweight; rigid frame keeps its shape; plenty of pockets; converts to a bed
Cons: Expensive, zipper at the top is tricky, privacy side panels can’t be partially retracted
The Wild One Air Travel Carrier is currently backordered and will resume shipping on December 16. For delivery by December 25 with free shipping, your order must be placed before December 19, 11:59 p.m.