Top critical review
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Great carrier, bought for rabbits, but not a Rucksack
on 3 August 2012
I bought this carry case to take my rabbits to the vet on the bus, but from the product description "Product Description- Comfortable Rucksack for Cat Transport This Rucksack is ideal for Cats" I thought it was also a rucksack which it is very definitely not. I need a rucksack carrier so am returning it, but if I needed a trolley carrier I'd keep it but make some modifications (see further down). In fairness, my rating and review is based in it being a handled-carrier that converts to a trolley carrier.
It is a large padded carrier, with a strong carrying handle on top, and a concealed extendable handle to use it as a trolley. It is quite heavy in itself and there is no means by which you could reasonably attach a shoulder strap as there is nowhere that you could attach it. It is NOT a rucksack. It has 2 hard (not rubber) wheels with around a half inch clearance from the ground, meaning you have to tilt it to use at as a pull-along-trolley (my animals wouldn't be happy at being carried with the floor at an angle). I'd only recommend doing this on good smooth surfaces. From experience of using similar wheeled trollies that aren't pet carriers, there would be no way that this would be suitable for use on the badly surfaced pavements in my local area (South Manchester) with a pet inside.
The overall build quality is good and the fabrics used are seem tough and up to the job. The fabric is a smart black textured pattern fabric.
It has a very solid hard base and a reasonably solid back. The side panels have strong, well encapsulated wire frame around the edges which allow the carrier to hold its shape when these are fastened shut. Both side panels can be unzipped to the floor acting as a bottom hinged door, but I would avoid this method of opening as the front and top are not held rigid this way. The right side panel (treating the side in the pic with the dog poking out as the front) has an additional zip-down door (again bottom hinged)that is positioned inside the wiring that allows you to open it whilst keeping the carrier rigid ; this is the method I would use for putting my pets inside. This door is shaped to match the shape of the side panel but has a margin of just over an inch outside, making it around 2 inches narrower and just over an inch shorter than the size of the side panel. This door isn't at all visible in the pictures currently on Amazon.
The mesh panel on front also can also be unzipped down (where the dog poke out in the pic). This is hinged at the bottom of the mesh window and cannot be removed; It doesn't go down as far as the floor so can't be used as a walk-in door. There are no ties that would secure this in a partially open position - in the picture the dog must be sat on part of it.
Inside is a removable rectangular fleece mat which isn't very thick, that is secured by velcro strips underneath. This doesn't cover the entire base of the case as the wheel wells cut into the shape - rather than shaping the mat to match they've just cut it short across the back edge. Under the mat there is a central zipper that fastens the thin but tough fabric covering the base and the back of the case on the inside. Unzipping this, you can see 2 solid metal bars that hold the back and base together and rigid, along with the metal tubing forming the base of the trolley handle mechanism. Notably there is no internal padding covering these, so on a bumpy ride, it might be possible that your pet could get bruised on these. When using as a trolley this would be the side you pet would be likely to lean against or fall against, so to my mind these should have padding and this is the major reason why I've only given it 3 stars.
If I were keeping this case it would be an easy matter to pad these; I'd buy some expanded foam pipe lagging (or even a thin sheet of foam) and cut down to fit the metal tubing, and over the wheel arches, tape in place, then zip the fabric back in place. I do think that for a carrier in this price bracket these should already be padded, but if you need something this size, it's still probably the best you'll get. I'd also use "vetbed" fleece or similar to make a thicker mat to velcro to the base.
There is an elastic mini leash inside with a spring-clip to attach to your pets collar; the length is adjustable approx 15cm-25cm un-stretched. I don't like the fact this is elastic and could see this being a strangulation hazard at it's longest, but it could easily be cut off or zipped outside the trolley.
On the back there is:
- a mesh pocket with a draw-string fasting wit toggle, designed to hold a drinks bottle.
- A square zipped pocket, big enough for a paper note book or small medicine bottles or a leash.
- on the back of the zip pocket is a small mesh pocket you could slide things into
You'd have to be careful if using these as if you were pulling the trolley at a steep angle they might scuff along the ground, but you'd probably not want to pull at a sttep angle with a pet inside any how.
The size, is plenty large enough to hold my 2 rabbits (one slightly larger than average at 3.5kg, and one dwarf 1.2kg). It's just about big enough to hold the largest rabbit I've come across, but as it is considerably more narrow than it is wide, 2 medium size rabbits would be a tight fit.
To get 5 stars from me it would need:
- padding on the inside to protect animals from hard, slightly protruding trolley mechanism
- to have a way of attaching a shoulder strap as it's far too heavy to carry by hand with animals inside over rough ground or steps