5 Best Traveling Dog Beds for Your Next Trip – The Dog Clinic

5 Best Traveling Dog Beds for Your Next Trip

These portable beds are great for trips and vacations

Are you planning a trip with your pup? If so, it's important to bring a comfortable bed that doesn't take up too much space. Here are five of the best traveling dog beds that your pet will love.

A guide to travel dog beds

Our #1 Pick

Kurgo Loft Wander

Kurgo Wander Loft

Brilliant travel bed with a roll-up design

If you're looking for a roll-up travel dog bed, the Kurgo Wander Loft is a great choice. With relatively thick padding (for a travel bed), durable design and Velcro straps, it's perfect for trips with your pet.

Traveling can be stressful for your dog. Most dogs thrive on daily routines and familiarity, which is the opposite of most trips.

That doesn't mean dogs can't enjoy traveling though - and there are plenty of ways to make it a positive experience.

One of the most important is to bring a high-quality and comfortable bed - especially if your pet's normal bed is too big to pack. This means your pet always has a familiar place to rest, which can reduce stress and anxiety.

Unfortunately, many so-called "travel" beds are either too thin to provide real comfort or made with poor-quality materials. The right travel bed should provide a safe and comfortable sleeping spot for your pet, while being durable and highly portable.

With this in mind, I've put together a list of five of the best traveling dog beds. Each provides a comfortable sleeping spot and offers great value for money - so they are worth considering for your next trip.

What Makes a Great Travel Bed for a Dog?

Before we get to the top recommendations, what makes a good dog bed for traveling? And is there anything you should avoid? Some of the most important considerations include:

  • Portable Design. It's not easy to travel with a memory foam or elevated dog bed. Look for a portable option with a collapsible or roll-up design - especially if you're traveling with a large canine companion! Velcro straps and a compressible filling can also be useful.
  • Comfort. A travel bed might not have the same thickness or support as a regular bed, but it still needs to be comfortable. The loft (or thickness) is one way to judge how much protection it provides against a hard floor, although the type of stuffing and density are also factors.
  • Correct Size. There's no point buying an expensive travel bed if it's too small for your pet to use, but it also needs to be portable. Look for a bed that provides enough space for your pet to rest without their joints touching the hard ground.
  • Tough & Durable. All dog beds need to be strong, but those for travel take even more of a beating. It's easy to snag the cover on a tent post or zip, so rip-stop covers can be useful. Water resistance is a bonus - especially if the bed is going to be used when hiking or camping.
  • Washable. Portable dog beds need to be washed on a regular basis. For this reason, it should be made with high-quality materials that can withstand regular washing.
  • Suitable for Your Trip. Are you driving to a dog-friendly hotel and need a thick bed for maximum comfort? Are you flying with your pet? Or are you going hiking and just need a lightweight bed for the occasional rest? Think carefully about your requirements (and your dog's) so you can get a bed that's suitable.

Keep in mind that traveling can be stressful for a dog - especially if it's a new experience. Make sure your dog has slept on the bed a few time before leaving, so it feels and smells like home. Bringing a few favourite toys can also help a dog to relax.

5 Best Travelling Pet Beds (Including Mini Reviews)

Listed below are five of the best dog beds for traveling. I've included several different types, such as camping mats and elevated beds, so make sure you read each mini-review to find the best option for your pet.

Quick Picks:

RankNameRatingKey FeaturesPrice
#1Kurgo Wander Loft BedGreat all-round travel bed with 2"-3" loft$$$$
#2Lightspeed Self-Inflating TravelSelf-inflating mattress with 1.5" loft and soft top$$$$
#3Ruffwear Highlands Backpacking BedBackpacking bed with a 1" loft and easy to roll up$$$$
#4Chuckit! Pet Travel BedCheaper alternative that provides great value$$
#5Carlson Elevated Folding PetElevated bed with a folding design$$

Scroll down for more information and mini-reviews of each of our top picks.

Kurgo Loft Wander

1. Kurgo Wander Loft

If you're looking for a bed that's suitable for everything from camping to road trips, the Kurgo Loft Wander is my top pick. It has a 2"-3" loft (depending on the size you buy) and rolls up neatly for easy transport. While it's not cheap, the Kurgo is durable, comfortable and lightweight, so it ticks all the boxes for a travel bed.

One of the best things about the Wander Loft is the quality materials. The quilted top layer is made from water resistant rip-stop material, so the stuffing remains dry even if your dog is damp. The bottom is fully waterproof and designed to be non-slip (which is useful for cars), while the poly-fill provides a comfortable sleep.

As you would expect from a travel dog bed, the Kurgo rolls up for easier transportation. It's secured with Velcro straps, so you don't need to worry about stuffing it into a separate bag. There's also a small zippered pocket for storing hidden items that smell like home.

​Like all the best travel beds, the Kurgo is machine washable and stands up well to repeated washes. It also comes with Kurgo's Lifetime Warranty against manufacturer defects and is available in two sizes.

Are there any drawbacks though?

The most obvious is the price. This is an expensive product, so if you're on a tight budget it's probably not the best option.​ There are also reports of the exterior "shedding" some of its fluff, which can be frustrating.

This also isn't the right option for dogs the chew. While the Kurgo is a durable bed for everyday use, it can't withstand a determined chewer or digger. The Velcro straps, in particular, are the perfect target - especially for a puppy going through the teething stage!​

With that said, the Kurgo Wander Loft is an excellent travel bed for most dogs. If you're not sure which to get, it's my #1 recommendation.​

Why We Recommend It: The Kurgo Wander Loft Bed is the perfect option for travelling with your pet. It rolls up into a tight cylinder for travelling, but when unrolled provides a comfortable sleeping surface with greater loft than the Ruffwear below. The bed is also built with high-quality materials and is machine washable.

  • Material: Microtomic Ripstop
  • Sizes Available: 36" x 27"
  • Price Range: $$$$
  • High-quality bed with ripstop top and waterproof bottom
  • Easily rolls up when not in use
  • Machine washable and two sizes available
  • Expensive
  • Not suitable for chewers
Ruffwear Highlands

2. Ruffwear Highlands Backpacking

Another recommendation for a backpacking bed is the Ruffwear Highlands. It's a lightweight bed with a compressible design and stuff sack, so it's great for storing in your pack. While it's not the thickest bed on the market, it provides comfortable protection from the cold floor.

Ruffwear has designed this bed specifically for hiking. The included sack provides plenty of compression, despite the one inch loft and 35x26 inch size. It's also lighter than average dog beds.

One of the great things about this product is the synthetic cushioning. This does a good job of insulating your dog from the cold floor, so sleeping outside or in a tent is much more comfortable. It also has a durable polyester shell, tabs for staking on windy days, and is machine washable (cold water and gentle cycles only).

​There are a few drawbacks though. As I mentioned, the one inch loft may be fine for short naps or the odd night, but it's not as comfortable as thicker beds (especially for heavy dogs). It's also not suitable for machine drying and is relatively expensive.

​With that said, Ruffwear sells an additional pad which can be used in combination with this bed. If you love the insulating and lightweight design, but want more cushioning for your pet, this is a worthwhile addition. It adds to the total cost though.

Why We Recommend It: The Ruffwear Highlands Backpacking bed is an excellent choice for hiking with your pet. The insulating stuffing protects your pet from the cold floor, while the compressible design makes it easy to pack and store. If you regularly go on long walks with your pup, this is a great bed to take with you.

  • Material: Synthetic Insulation & Polyester Shell
  • Sizes Available: 35" x 26"
  • Price Range: $$$$
  • Insulating stuffing & 1" loft
  • Compresses into a stuff sack
  • Durable polyester exterior
  • Relatively expensive
  • Not suitable for machine drying
Chuckit Travel

3. Chuckit! Pet Travel Bed

If you're looking for a cheaper bed for backpacking or camping, the Chuckit! could be a great option. It doesn't provide as much padding as the Kurgo and remains relatively bulky even when rolled up, but for the price it provides excellent value for money.

The Chuckit has two sides. The bottom is a water resistant, rip-stop liner that's strong enough to use outside. The top is a softer quilted poly-suede cover, which is warmer and more comfortable for your pet. There's also the option of turning the bed upside down on warm days - but most of the time you'll want the rip-stop on the bottom.

Like all travel beds (aside from elevated options), the Chuckit can be rolled up to save space. It doesn't have Velcro straps, but comes with a nylon stuff sack instead. The Chuckit is also machine washable and lightweight for backpacking.

The obvious benefit of this bed is the price. It's considerably cheaper than the Kurgo or Ruffwear, yet is still made from durable materials and provides a comfortable sleeping spot.

​It's not perfect though. I don't think there's as much padding as the Kurgo, so it might not be suitable for heavier dogs or those with joint pain. The stuff stack is also a bit too big to be considered ultra-portable, which could be an issue for hikers.

Even so, it's a great travel bed for the money.​

Why We Recommend It: The Chuckit! Pet Travel Bed might not be the most padded option, but it provides a decent amount of filling - especially for the low price. It's also lightweight, has a rip-stop liner and rolls up into a nylon stuff stack. It's s a great choice if you're on a tight budget.

  • Material: Polysuede Surface & Ripstop Liner
  • Sizes Available: 39" x 30"
  • Price Range: $$
  • Great value
  • Comfortable sleeping surface
  • Machine washable and lightweight
  • Stuff sack is a bit bigger than I would like
Carlson Elevated

4. Carlson Elevated Folding Pet

All the beds so far have been variations on the collapsible/roll-up mat design. For medium or large breeds, however, an elevated bed may be a better option - and the Carlson is a great choice.

As the name suggests, this product features a foldable design, so it's much more portable than the average elevated bed. It also comes with a carry case for added protection.

What's the benefit of an elevated bed though?

​Heavy dogs often sink through thin travel mats, so they are effectively sleeping on the ground. Elevated beds solve this issue, albeit with less padding. This particular elevated bed is suitable for dogs up to 95lbs and has the added benefit of keeping your pet off the cold ground. You may want to add an extra blanket to soften the surface though.

​The Carlson is also highly durable. Unlike soft beds, which can be ripped apart by a determined chewer, the combination of canvas and strong frame is more difficult to destroy.

One of the drawbacks is that the cover can't be removed for washing. It's easy to wipe down, but machine washable covers are more convenient. The folding design also means the surface is less even than other elevated beds, so it might not be the best choice for pets that are anxious on unstable surfaces.

Even so, the Carlson is a great choice for camping​ or travelling with a bigger dog. It's not quite as portable, but is much easier to transport than the average elevated bed (click here for more information).

Why We Recommend It: For larger dogs or those who prefer to sleep on an elevated platform, the Carlson is a great choice for travel. It's not as portable as other options, but has a folding design and carry case for easier transportation. It also provides great value.

  • Sizes Available: 46.5" x 24"
  • Price Range: $$
  • Raised sleeping surface 
  • Folds down and fits into a carry case
  • Great value for money
  • No padding
  • Some dogs may not feel comfortable on the uneven sleeping surface
Lightspeed Outdoors

5. Lightspeed Self-Inflating Travel

Another excellent travel bed is the Lightspeed Outdoor Self-Inflating Bed. If your dog needs more support than the Kurgo can provide, but you don't want an elevated bed, it's an option to consider.

The interior of the Lightspeed self-inflates to a thickness of 1.5", so it lifts your dog off hard or cold ground. There's a fleece top for extra comfort, along with a tougher nylon bottom. It can't provide orthopedic support for your dog's joints, but is probably better for larger dogs than typical mats.

Unlike regular air beds, the Lightspeed can be inflated by twisting a nozzle. There's also the option of adding more air manually if your dog requires extra support.

​Other features include a machine washable exterior and nylon buckles to keep it rolled up. The bed also automatically deflates.

​The biggest drawback is the price. It costs more than the Carlson or Chuckit, so it may not be the right option if you're on a tight budget. Additionally, the self-inflating system works well, but be prepared to top it up manually.

Despite these minor drawbacks, the Lightspeed Outdoor is a great travel bed - particularly for hiking or camping.​

Why We Recommend It: The Lightspeed Outdoor Self-Inflating Bed is great for large dogs on camping or hiking trips. It's softer than an elevated bed, yet provides more support than a mat due to the inflatable interior.

  • Sizes Available: 42" x 32"
  • Price Range: $$$$
  • Automatically inflates (can be topped up manually)
  • Durable design
  • Soft fleece top
  • Relatively expensive
  • Often needs topping up manually

Frequently Asked Questions

Warming hands next to a camp fire with dogs

What Else Do I Need When Traveling?

This depends on the length, destination and form of transport - but there are a few essential items when traveling with your dog. These include:

  • A collapsible water and food bowl for your pet. This is an essential item on any trip - even if it's only short - as you never know when your car could break down or plane be delayed.
  • Treats for Training. Traveling is often stressful for a dog, so having treats can make a big difference. Use high-value treats to train desirable behaviours on trips.
  • Dog Food. This sounds obvious, but bringing enough dog food (and a bit extra as spare) is essential. While you can always buy more food, it may be difficult to get your dog's regular brand, which can lead to stomach upsets and additional stress.
  • Standard Equipment. You should always take your dog's collar, harness and leash on a trip. If you're going to be staying away from home, get a temporary collar tag with your accommodation details.
  • Medications. If your dog is taking any medication, make sure you stock up before you go. You should also bring medical records for longer or more distant trips, including proof of vaccinations.

Summary

Traveling with your dog can be a lot of fun - but it's important to go prepared. A high-quality traveling dog bed can make a big difference to your pet's comfort and anxiety, so make sure you choose the best option for your pet.

I hope this article has helped you find a travel dog bed for your next trip. If you have any questions or comments, let me know in the comments below!

Richard Bio

About the Author: Richard Cross

Richard is a journalist who specialises in dog behavior. He's written hundreds of articles and books related to dogs, including for the Continental Kennel Club, Dog Fest (the UK's biggest dog festival) and various veterinary surgeries. When he's not spending time with Jess and Rudy (his beloved Labrador and Golden Retrievers), he enjoys reading, hiking and watching sports.