We think that a travel cot or crib is an essential piece of kit to take with you when travelling with a baby.
Whether you are planning an around the world trip with your baby or you are visiting friends or relatives for the weekend, having a baby travel bed is something that will come in super handy for all parents.
In this post, we will review the best travel cribs (2020 update – so bang up to date) showing you which features we think are the most important and help you pick the right cot for your travels.
Why take your own Travel Cot?
It is often possible to find accommodation that provides a crib or cot for your baby or toddler. But if you are planning a trip where you move around a lot, you can’t always be sure that there will be one available.
It is also common for hotels to charge for use of their cribs. By having your own you can save this cost whilst also knowing that you do not have to worry about the quality and cleanliness of the hotel owned cribs.
If you are travelling around a lot, your baby will appreciate the familiarity of having their own cot every night, and this will help them to settle more easily, even though the rest of their surroundings have changed.
This post is one of our travel gear reviews.
We aim to help you find the perfect equipment to make your travels go smoothly.
Head over here to check out everything from lightweight travel strollers to baby carriers and tablets for toddlers
What to look for when Choosing a Travel Crib
Portability – Size, Weight and Shape
One of the primary considerations will be the size of the baby cot. You will be carting it around with you everywhere so will want to find one that fits your travel style.
If you are planning lots of travel by public transport, or lots of flights, you will want to look for a lightweight and compact crib.
If you are putting it in the boot of your car for a few weeks or just staying in one or two locations, these may not be such important considerations, but do think ahead to what other trips you might take with your babies and toddlers.
It will obviously need to be big enough for your child, and you will want to think about how long they might be able to use it for, but if your baby is very young a small cosy one is likely to be your best option.
The shape of the cot when packaged up can make a big difference to how easy it is travel with as does the type of carry bag that they come in.
Cot Design and Materials
One of the main reasons we still use a travel crib rather than a toddler travel bed is because they can provide protection from mosquitos.
For this reason, we prefer the tent style cots when travelling in places where mosquitos are a problem as this gives us a bit of extra peace of mind and saves us from having to try and rig up a separate mosquito net.
Tent style travel cots are a bit less spacious on the inside than some other designs but are often amongst the most compact options for carrying about.
When it comes to materials the thing that we really want to know is whether it can be washed or not? And if so, how can it be washed?
Ease of Assembling
Sometimes putting up a travel crib can feel a bit like putting together a logic puzzle and you end up struggling for ages pulling bits here and pushing bits there until you magically and inexplicably get everything done in the right order and the cot is suddenly done.
It seems so simple but is often a trick that can’t be repeated.
You can get pop-up cots, fold out cots and tent style poled cots that all require a different amount of time and effort to put up.
If you are moving around a lot (or even if you aren’t) you will truly appreciate a simple design and rapid construction time.
You will obviously want your baby to sleep as well as possible in their travel crib so part of that comes down to how comfy it is and what type of mattress they have.
You will generally get either a fold up or blow up mattress but the thickness and materials will affect the overall comfort level as well as the size of the product.
The Best Travel Crib Reviews
Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light Review
Size: 32 x 44 x 24 in/82 x 112 x 64cm| Weight: 13lbs| Age Range 0-3 years (or when they can climb out – no weight limit)
The Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light is a classic rectangular cot shape with an open top.
This means that it is a bit more spacious than a tent style crib and your child will be better able to stand up in this. In fact, they are often used as daytime playpens for young babies.
This cot is very easy to set up and fold in one simple movement, the legs fold automatically and then you simply add the folding mattress to make it sturdy. With a little bit of practice, this should mean that the whole set-up takes just 15 seconds.
The side panels are a see-through airy mesh that allows you to keep an eye on your baby and allows air to flow in freely.
The lack of any netting on top means that there is no insect protection so if that is something important to you it is worth looking elsewhere, or you could suspend a net over the crib.
The cot folds away again very easily and packs away into a stylish briefcase style carry bag.
The fabrics used on the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light are tested and approved in accordance with the Oeko-Tex Standard 100, class 1 for baby products. This guarantees that the fabrics are free from harmful and allergenic substances, meaning they are safe for baby to sleep and chew on.
We think that this is a great travel crib for people that are planning vacations in one location, weekends away or are looking for something to use when staying with family or friends. It also makes a great playpen, but we wouldn’t want to take it on a long trip simply because it is quite bulky.
Lotus Travel Crib Review
Size: 42 x 32 x 25 in | Weight: 13lbs| Age Range 0-3 years
The Lotus Travel Crib is another traditional style rectangular crib that shares many of the benefits of the Baby Bjorn crib described above.
It is a similar size, has meshed sides, is lightweight and opens and folds very quickly.
It comes with a lower price tag and some distinctive features of its own.
Some of the things that we like about this one include:
- There is a zip-up door at the side that an adult or child can crawl through. This is handy if you have a child that likes you to lie down and sleep next to them (like ours!)
- The Lotus folds up much smaller than the Baby Bjorn cot and comes in a handy backpack style carry bag.
- The sides are a bit lower than on the Baby Bjorn so it is slightly easier for shorter people to lower the baby in through the top (and there is the door).
What we didn’t like so much
- The mattress is awkward to install, it has 6 Velcro tabs that you have to feed through little holes in the bottom of the crib, it is a bit of a pain and it takes a while to get it all in place.
- It is hard to get the mattress properly flat, it often ends up with a few contours along it. It is also a bit thinner than the Baby Bjorn
- It is harder to open and close than the Baby Bjorn. It one of the logic puzzle type designs where you have to fold out the legs individually to get them in the right position.
- To pack it up you have to match up the stars and moons to make sure you are doing it the right way (but at least they have this easy symbol system rather than leaving it down to luck). Still, the Baby Bjorn is easier to put up and down.
The Baby Bjorn and Lotus travel cribs are both great and you will probably be pleased with whichever one you go for.
Overall we feel that the Baby Bjorn is slightly better quality and feels a bit more durable. It is quicker to put up and down and slightly more comfy for the baby.
But if you are looking for a travel cot to actually take travelling the Lotus crib is the better bet as it folds ups smaller and is easier to carry around in its backpack carrier. It is also the better option if you value having a door on the side.
Phil & Teds Portable Traveller Crib Review
Size: 54 x 33 x 26 in | Weight: 7lbs| Age Range 0-3 years
If weight is an important factor for you then you should definitely consider the Phil & Teds portable traveller crib as it weighs just 7lbs making it a very portable crib.
Despite the low weight, this is a decent sized crib so your child will have plenty of space to move around. The mesh sides are seethrough so you can keep an eye on them at all times.
This folds down really small into a bag that you can easily carry around thanks to the shoulder strap. It also comes with a nice soft 100% cotton sheet and a self-inflating mattress for added comfort.
As we move around a lot we appreciate how quickly this tent goes up and down and also like the fact that you can get a top for it that offers protection from the sun and will also keep the bugs out.
The side panel opens up offering a way in and out for toddlers or can save parents from hurting their back straining over the top.
This is a great choice for anyone that is looking for a lightweight travel cot that is extremely portable.
Dream On Me Travel Light Play Yard Review
Size: 24 x 22 x 7 in | Weight: 13lbs| Age Range 0-4 years
If you are looking for a cheap compact travel cot then this crib from Dream On Me is worth looking at.
This is a similar design to the BabyBjorn travel crib and Lotus travel crib but it comes with a much lower price tag.
For the bargain price, you make a couple of small compromises. the main one is that it is harder to set it up and it takes a bit longer to do this.
It also lacks a bit of the quality feel of the premium brands, for example, you can’t easily remove the mesh or mattress for washing.
Other than that you get a perfectly good travel crib that is really well reviewed by owners on Amazon.
Tent Style Travel Cribs
Deryan Travel Cot Baby Luxe Review
Size: 47.2 x 29.5 x 18.1 inche| Weight: 4.4 lbs| Age Range 0-4 years
This is the pop-up travel cot we use with at the moment. The set-up is amazing you just take it out of the bag and undo the strap and it pops up in an instant.
The self-inflating mattress blows up very quickly. It isn’t that thick (2.5cm) but seems to provide a good level of comfort for our daughter and she loves to sleep in her own little tent.
The mattress slots into a zippered pocket beneath the crib so there is no risk of your little one getting trapped under it.
We use this style of cot because it is lightweight, packs up small and offers protection from mosquitos.
This fits well with our travel style where we will generally be moving location quite frequently on any trip, and often we will be relying on public transport to get around so have to carry our own travel gear quite a lot.
The tent offers some protection from the sun with 50%UV protection but we haven’t tried it as a beach tent yet.
The crib is made from flame retardant fabrics. The cot opens from the side so toddlers can get in and out themselves when the sides are open making it into a fun den for them in the day times.
The door zips up with sturdy zips that stand up well to repeated use and they are on the outside so your little Houdini shouldn’t be able to get out without you knowing about it (if you want them to be able to get out, just leave a tiny gap for their little fingers and they should be able to pull the zip down).
We are really happy with this cot, it is the best travel cot for our travel needs and so much simpler to put up and take down than the LittleLife cot that we used before.
It only takes a few seconds to set up the cot and it is just as quick pack up into the handy shoulder carry bag.
KidCo PeaPod Review
Size: 46 x 18 x 28 in| Weight: 3.5lbs| Age Range 0-5 years
The Kidco Peapod is another pop-up tent style travel cot. The lightweight mesh surrounds your child keeping the bugs at bay, but also allows good airflow to reach your child. A large front zipped panel allows for easy access.
The baby travel crib comes with a foldable mattress rather than an inflatable one so it is a bit bulkier in this regard. The mattress is attached on the outer underside of the cot using snaps that hold it in place really well.
We like how the Peapod comes fully assembled with the sleeping pad snapped to the underside of the floor. You don’t need to do anything, and it can be folded and stored with the sleeping pad fully attached.
The Peapod is a well-designed travel crib and they have also thought to include some useful features for outdoor use including UV protection and anchor straps.
Travelling with a baby or toddler?
Check out ourguide to the most essential baby and toddler travel gear
Best Travel Cribs and Bassinets for Newborns
Brica Fold n’ Go Travel Bassinet Review
Size: 30 x 18.5 x 10 in| Weight: 2.45lbs| Age Range 0-6 months approx
This is a great portable infant bed for newborns giving them a nice small and cosy place to rest their head for the night.
It comes with a firm mattress with a fitted sheet and a really good, sturdy outer frame.
It is not a long term option as it will only last a couple of months (until they are sitting up ), but for those precious first few months this is ideal and probably the best travel bassinet you can buy.
It is only 2.4lbs and can easily fit inside a suitcase or carry-on bag so it is super easy to carry around with you. If your baby is only small this is a great short term option that will hopefully allow you to get a good night sleep too!!
Scuddles 3 in 1 Portable Bassinet Review
Size: 8 x 3 x 8 in | Weight: 1 lbs| Age Range 0-18 months approx
With this portable travel crib, you don’t just get a newborn travel cot/bassinet but also a changing mat and a diaper bag all in one.
Designed to look like a normal diaper bag, all you have to do is pull out the and to reveal the baby travel bed. Simply attach the snap-in bars to keep the sides sturdy and you have a place for your baby to sleep.
This bag comes packed with extra features and there are plenty of pockets for your things. You even get an insulated pocket on the side for keeping bottles in.
It is great for changing nappies where you don’t have a clean surface and works well as a bed for your baby too when using the mattress supplied.
If you are simply looking for an infant travel crib then this may not be the best baby travel bed to go for and you may be better off with the Brica Fold ‘n Go. But we like this as a compact solution for a few of your baby travel needs.
The Best Travel Cribs 2020
We hope that you have enjoyed reading about the best travel cribs and that we have helped you to find the perfect travel bed for a baby. There are a few great options listed above but our top picks are the Kidco Peapod and Baby Bjorn Travel Crib.
Which one is best for you really comes down to your travel style and whether size and weight is the most important consideration, or whether you just need something that you can pack up and take with you.
Either way, be sure to check out our baby travel sleep tips.