SturdiProducts “SturdiBag”

photo-6Best suited for: In-cabin airplane carrier (Small and Cube sizes; Large size with warning), car carrier
Also works for: Over the shoulder carrier
Quality: ★★★★★
Price: $$$$
Overall rating: ★★★★★

We bought SturdiProducts’ large-sized SturdiBag in the belief that it was just barely acceptable to most airlines. We now know that it’s too big (12Hx18Lx12W). On the bright side, its support struts are very flexible, so it does, in fact, fit under every seat we’ve encountered (and Otto the cat and Chloe the dog have both been fine — the carrier has a lot of headroom).

Also on the bright side, it’s a beautifully-made product, with great features like top ventilation panels (with privacy blinds) and a small top hatch that zips open to allow pats. It’s very light (the Large size is 2 lbs., 10 oz.; the Small size is 3 oz. lighter; and the Cube is just 1 lb., 10 oz.), which helps with the airlines’ weight limits. It also has built-in loops through which a seat belt can be buckled, making it an excellent car carrier.

The Extra Large SturdiBag (16Hx20Lx12W) is far too large for airplane use, but it’s a terrific over-the-shoulder carrier and car carrier for dogs up to the size of a Cocker Spaniel or a Sheltie.

Unusually, the SturdiBag comes with a divider in two sizes (Large and Extra Large), so you can carry two pets together, but each in their own space.

If you have a pet that fits into the small SturdiBag or the SturdiBag Cube (at 10Hx18Lx10W and 10Hx10Lx10W, they’re both pretty close to the major airlines’ maximums), I recommend them unhesitatingly. We love the Large size, and it’s fit under every seat we’ve been in, but it’s enough over the airline’s maximum sizes that you’ll have some anxious moments talking to ticket agents. So far, showing them how flexible its sides are has been effective — they’ve been willing to let the flight crew make the call, and no flight attendant has flickered an eyebrow at it.

Amazon links:
SturdiBag Large Pet Carrier – Black
SturdiBag Small Black Pet Carrier

53 Comments »

  • Ingrid says:

    I have spent so much time on so many dog carrier review sites, I thought I’d let everyone know my (great) experience with the extra-large Sturdi carrier. I have a 15 pound mini labradoodle who’s 11 inches high at the shoulder (probably 14 or 15 at the head) and 15 inches long, shoulder to tail. I took Fifi with me to the shop, and she absolutely would not get in the large carrier, though it was probably large enough to fit her. She liked the extra large, so I purchased that, assuming I’d just charm the airline attendants into letting me take it on.

    We’ve been on 4 flights now, including small commuter planes, and I’ve never had a problem. No one has questioned the size of the bag. Even on the small flights, the extra large sturdi carrier just squashes underneath the seat in front and no one has given me a hard time. Fifi is a compliant dog who loves to curl up and sleep, and she doesn’t mind at all being stuffed into the small space (I think she kind of likes it).

    I went back and forth for weeks over which bag to get. In the end I chose the extra large, and it was absolutely the right choice. I bought the all-black, but am thinking about replacing it with the navy blue. The thing with the all-black is it looks so much like a carrier — which is great for flights, but not so great for restaurants. I’m thinking the navy blue extra large might work for both — no problem on flights and incognito in restaurants.

    I know the extra large isn’t officially airline friendly, but I have not had a problem so far. I will update if I do!

  • Angela says:

    Hi there,

    I purchased this bag for a flight in two days and am very impressed with its construction and flexibility. I am wondering if anyone has some tips on how best to put my cat into it. One design flaw I see is that the end of the carrier should have a zipper, which could unzip and allow for rear door entry, so that the pet is facing forward. At more than 13 pounds, my cat is too big to go through the top part that can unzip, which is clearly designed to allow you to reach in and safely pet your dog or cat while in transit.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? I don’t want to push him in to it back first, so I will probably tilt it on its side and drop him in with his back legs first.

    This site is awesome, thanks!!

  • sina muscarina says:

    Hi angela,

    In this case I recommend the Sherpa Bags (sherpa duffle sport) with on top entry. I have both , sturdi and sherpa and love them both for various reasons.
    Sherpa is more elegant, and Sturdis are slightly lighter in weight

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