The Best Travel Crib

A lightweight portable travel crib can be an invaluable addition to your travel gear. We started traveling with our daughter when she was five months old and we were never without one. The right portable crib provides a safe, comfortable place for your baby or toddler to sleep without adding too much weight or bulk to your luggage. Whether you are just going across town or around the world we are going to help you choose the best travel crib for you.

Note that the phrase travel crib, portable crib and travel cot all the mean more or less the same thing so we are going to use them interchangeably. Don't let the varied terminology throw you 🙂

tent style lightweight travel crib by the window in Bangkok

Our tent style lightweight travel crib by the window in Bangkok

Should You Travel With A Portable Crib?

Before we get into choosing the best travel crib for you, there is an important question that needs to be answered. Is it even worth getting one?

Personally, we have always traveled with a lightweight travel crib for our daughter Zoe. She has been traveling since she was five months old and has already amassed quite a collection of passport stamps. She has had her own little bed every step of the way.

Our theory is that she will sleep better if she has a familiar environment to sleep in. She is only little and new to the world so providing some familiar sights, textures and smells is the least we can do to help her get all the sleep she needs.

Bringing our own portable crib also means that we can make sure that the bed she sleeps in meets all of the relevant safety standards. Hotels and short term apartments will often provide a cot of some sort but it is frequently old, rickety and not something that we would be comfortable putting our child in.

Our daughter Zoe is also quite a skilled escape artist so we were never comfortable putting her on an adult bed then trying to wall her in with pillows. Until she was actually capable enough to get down off a bed in a controlled fashion her being on her own anywhere near an adult bed was out of the question.

Given our desire to avoid relying on provided cots and our inability to use an adult bed we really did not have much choice except to bring a travel crib with us.

A Travel Crib Vs A Pack 'N Play

Particularly if you already own a Pack 'N Play you might be tempted to bring that on your vacation or trip. That could be OK if you are traveling by car and have plenty of room to spare. However, while Pack 'N Plays are technically portable they are much heavier and much bulkier than a true travel crib.

A Pack 'N Play weighs in somewhere over 20 pounds. That is way WAY heavier than any of the suggestions we have made here. If you are going to have to carry your crib at any point and especially if you are going to be flying with it you really want something much lighter than even the best travel Pack 'N Play.

 

The following table gives you a way to quickly compare all of the portable cribs that we think are worth considering. There is more information and a detailed review of each travel crib below the table.

Note the age column. Some are specifically travel cribs for babies and are not suitable for toddlers. Travel beds for infants tend to be extremely light weight but not very rugged or stable. That means they work fine for immobile infants but not once your child starts moving around.

Best Portable Crib Comparison Chart

Price Guide: $ = under $100, $$$ = over $200

 NameWeightAgePriceRating
BRICA Fold N’ Go Travel Bassinet2.4 lbs0-1$4.4
Delta Children Viaggi Playard11 lbs0-1$4.3
Koo di Pop-Up Travel Bassinette1.8 lbs0-1$4.0
Koo-di Baby Bubble Travel Cot3.1 lbs0-1$4.0
Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light11 lbs0-3$$$4.6
Lotus Travel Crib & Portable Baby Playard11 lbs0-3$$4.8
Phil & Teds Portable Traveler Crib7 lbs0-3$$4.1
KidCo Peapod2.4 lbs0-3$4.3
Valco Baby Zephyr Travel Crib14 lbs0-3$$4.1
Parentlab JourneyBee Portable Crib16 lbs0-3$4.3
KidCo TravelPod Portable Play Yard10.5 lbs0-3$$4.5

Now that you have an idea of what is available...

How Do You Choose The Best Travel Cot?

Weight

Pretty simple. Lighter is better. The only caveat is that some extremely lightweight portable cribs can be easy to tip over. Generally however you want to get something as light as possible.

Size When Folded Up

Of course you want a small travel crib but this is a little more complicated than that. Do you have a backpack or suitcase that your cot is going to have to fit inside? Does it just need to be able to fit into the trunk of your car? Does it need to fit into the overhead bin on a plane? Smaller is usually better of course but how small do you need it to be.

Units that fold flat are great for storing under a bed but are no good for getting through a crowded airport so the shape it packs into is also important.

Age Range

Hopefully you will get a lot of use out of your portable crib. To make sure, ensure that there is plenty of time before your child leaves the recommended age range. You will also need to factor in your child's size, their height in particular. It is impossible to predict how fast they will grow but if your baby is long/tall and shows signs of staying that way you will want to steer clear of anything too cozy if you plan to keep your travel cot for a few years.

On the flip side if you do not mind having to replace your travel crib there are some specifically designed for babies that are extremely lightweight. If you do not mind paying for something that you will only use for six to twelve months they are worth considering.

Comfort

If your child is going to sleep well they need to be comfortable. Pay particular attention to the thickness and softness of the base or mattress. Lightweight travel cots tend to have very lightweight mattresses, meaning very thin mattresses. With our Phil & Ted Portable Traveler Crib we found ourselves having to put folded up blankets under the crib, especially on the tile floors which are very common in south east Asia.

one of the fantastic travel cribs for babies

Our Phil & Ted Traveler in Penang. Note the thin mattress and green yoga mat under it.

Safety

Last but very much not least is safety. This trumps everything else. Check that anything you buy meets your country's safety standards. Plus, use some common sense. If your child is able to stand then steer away from anything easy to tip over. Getting a portable crib built for travel does not means compromising on safety.

Travel Crib Reviews

BRICA Fold N Go Travel Bassinet review

BRICA Fold N’ Go Travel Bassinet review

Weighing in at only 2.4 pounds the Brica is very lightweight. It is only suitable for very young children as its low sides will not contain a mobile child. It is extremely simple to set up but is only really suitable for a completely immobile infant. Click here to get the latest price

Delta Children Viaggi Playard review

Delta Children Viaggi Playard review

This comes in at a relatively hefty 11 lbs. It is only recommend for children up to 35 pounds which effectively limits it to babies and lighter toddlers. High sides mean than a precocious toddler can be safely contained. Click here to get the latest price

Koo di Pop-Up Travel Bassinette review

Koo di Pop-Up Travel Bassinette Review

We bought on of these but Zoe got too big before we had a chance to use it. It weighs in at a super light 1.8 pounds. Owing to its extremely light construction it is only suitable for immobile infants. We bought it from someone whose child also starting crawling before they got to use it. We then had to sell it as Zoe started crawling before we got to use it. Click here to get the latest price

Koo-di Baby Bubble Travel Cot review

Koo-di Baby Bubble Travel Cot Review

Another Koodi. We also bought this one then, again, sold it unused. It weight 3.1 pounds. As with the other Koodi it is really only suitable for an immobile infant as it is so easy to tip over. Think of it as less of a crib and more of a self contained mosquito net. It could be handy if you will be traveling with an infant to somewhere where mosquitoes are a concern. Click here to get the latest price

BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light review

Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light Review

Weighs 11 pounds. Suitable from birth until approximately three years. Baby Bjorn has a great reputation for quality. The Baby Bjorn Travel Crib folds flat, imagine a large pizza box, so it is fine to drive with or to stick under a bed but it is not so great for air travel. Click here to get the latest price

Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib and Portable Baby Playard review

Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib & Portable Baby Playard Review

Weighs 11 pounds. Extremely fast to set up. A little too large when packed to easily fit inside another bag which means carrying another back. Not a problem if you are traveling by car but if you are flying then another bag is kind of a pain. Click here to get the latest price

phil and teds Portable Traveller Crib review

Phil & Teds Portable Traveler Crib Review

Weighs 7 pounds. We own one of these (and love it). We stopped using this at just over 18 months old because Zoe was on the brink of being able to clamber out of it. She still fit comfortably when lying down and we will possibly return to using it with one side zipped down when she is a little older. Although we typically put it in our checked luggage it fits in the overhead compartment on a plane. Click here to get the latest price

KidCo Peapod review

KidCo Peapod Review

Weighs a mere 2.4 pounds. A super lightweight tent suitable for newborns right through to toddlers.

We used something very similar to this. It was fantastic until Zoe started trying to stand up in there and trying to roll it over. Our tent might make a comeback when she is little older.

The only other downside to a tent style travel crib is that you need to lower your sleeping child down to ground level then put them into the tent from the side. By comparison you can lower your child down into an open topped cot. This means you need to kneel next to the tent to put your sleeping angel to bed.

Click here to get the latest price

Valco Baby Zephyr Travel Crib review

Valco Baby Zephyr Travel Crib Review

Weighs 14 pounds. Includes a mosquito net.

The sides do not unzip so you have no choice but to get them in and out through the open top. It is nice to have the option to either lower your child through the top or to put them in through the side depending on which is easier on your back that day. Not being able to unzip the side also means you cannot leave it open for your child to play in during the day.

Click here to get the latest price

Parentlab JourneyBee Portable Crib review

Parentlab JourneyBee Portable Crib Review

Weighs 16 pounds. Folds flat so it is easy to tuck behind a sofa or under a bed. Also reasonably easy to get into a car but being large and flat makes it impractical to fly with unless you are taking a very large suitcase. There are better options if you will be flying regularly.

Click here to get the latest price

KidCo TravelPod Portable Play Yard review

KidCo TravelPod Portable Play Yard Review

Weighs 10.5 pounds. A good affordable option. Some reports of this being possible to tip over so be a bit careful if you have a particularly energetic toddler. Looks like a really great option.

Click here to get the latest price

Bonus Tip!

If you will be traveling with a baby or traveling with a toddler and you will all be sleeping in a single room at any point, for example all sleeping in a single hotel room or while going on a cruise with your baby, consider getting something like the SnoozeShade. If you get a lightweight travel crib with an open top this covers it to help block out light.

Snoozeshade on a travel bed for 1 year old

The Phil & Teds Traveler covered by a Snoozeshade in Barcelona

Having this meant Zoe could nap without requiring the adults to sit in darkness. We still needed to keep the lights low but would could at least move around, read or work on our laptops. Click here for our review of the SnoozeShade.

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2 comments

  1. Christina 30 December, 2016 at 12:39 Reply

    What have you switched to from the travel crib? We currently have the P&T traveler, but are hitting the max height (35″) at 18 months and need something that is more crib like than bed like for plane travels. We also put daughter to bed awake and have her fall asleep on her own.

    • Andrew 26 February, 2017 at 13:20 Reply

      We actually did away with the travel crib entirely and went to a mattress on the floor when possible. If we can’t arrange that we put Zoe in a regular bed and heavily fortify the edge with pillows, ideally with more pillows below on the ground just in case. If there is a double bed and a single she will share the double with an adult and we will move it so the other side of the double is against the wall. Thus far, no incidents.

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