Sherpa “Ultimate Pet Carrier”

Best suited for: In-cabin airplane carrier (Small and Medium sizes), car carrier
Also works for: Over the shoulder carrier
Quality: ★★★★★
Price: $$$$
Overall rating: ★★★★★

Sherpa makes several lines of pet carriers. So far, I’ve looked at the “Ultimate Pet Carrier” and the “Ultimate Bag on Wheels.” The Ultimate Pet Carrier comes in Small, Medium and Large; the Ultimate Bag on Wheels only comes in Medium and Large. Both bags have built-in straps through which a seatbelt can be passed, allowing the bags to work well as car carriers.

The Small size (8.5Hx15Lx10W) will satisfy all the U.S. airlines; the Medium (10.5Hx18Lx11W) is officially too large for all of them except Alaska/Horizon and Midwest. Although Sherpa suggests that their Large size is acceptable for some airlines, at 11.5Hx20Wx11.75W it’s even larger than Chloe’s SturdiBag.

I’ve bought the Medium and Large sizes, and returned the Large right away (if I’m going to break the rules, I’ll do it with the SturdiBag, which is better-designed and better-made). I hesitated over the Medium, because I’d bought the rolling version and on the trip I used it I loved being able to wheel Chloe behind me. If she were slightly smaller I would have kept it (I gave it to a friend with Papillons). Since then, however, I’ve seen (and bought!) rolling carriers that are better-designed — the Sherpa bag is pulled by its shoulder strap, clipped onto a couple of rings on the front end of the bag, which makes the bag hard to maneuver and tippy.

I just can’t like this carrier, even though I love its inventor’s ground-breaking work in getting soft-sided carriers accepted for in-cabin use. The only mesh openings are on the sides and end, so you can’t see into the bag when it’s in its usual spot under your feet. The privacy panels roll up, but where they’re secured in the SturdiBag with velcro straps, the Sherpa panels are secured with fiddly clips. Though the Sherpa and SturdiProducts carriers are in the same price range, the Sherpa bags feel cheesy. They’re also heavy. The Ultimate Pet Carrier weighs 3.75 lbs. and 4.26 lbs. in Small and Medium, respectively, and the Ultimate Bag on Wheels weighs 7.27 lbs. in Medium. Several airlines impose a maximum weight on in-cabin pets — Northwest, for example, requires in-cabin pets to weigh less than 15 lbs., including their bag — so a heavy bag limits your options.

Amazon links:
The Ultimate Sherpa Bag – Black / Small
Sherpa Legacy Ultimate Pet Bag – Medium
Ultimate Sherpa Bag Pet Dog Cat Carrier Large Red Airline

2 Comments »

  • Rebeca says:

    Hi again! You wrote, “Since then, however, I’ve seen (and bought!) rolling carriers that are better-designed —” and I’m curious which of the rolling carrier you really like. I’ve been struggling with this.

  • m-a says:

    Hello, Rebeca! As I recall, your pup weighs 16 lbs., so my favorite wheeled carrier won’t work — it’s the Creature Leisure Pet Pilot XL (reviewed on this blog), and it’s a thing of beauty BUT it’s just barely too small for Chloe, and she weighs 13 lbs. The other one I’m tempted to buy is one that Outward Hound sent for me to review and give away — the Outward Hound Roll Along Pet Carrier & Backpack (also reviewed on this blog). It’s not as beautifully made as the Pet Pilot XL, but it’s pretty good — and it’s plenty large enough. In fact, it’s really too large for in-cabin use BUT the woman I first heard about it from has traveled with world with it for her Schipperke and never met resistance, and I think someone else left a comment on my review to the same effect — either on this site or on my other blog (Dog Jaunt), where I also posted the review. Now that I’ve stopped using the Pet Pilot XL, I’m seriously thinking of buying the Outward Hound bag.

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