Travel Cot Review
In my time of child rearing I have been the owner of several brands of travel cot as I strived to find the perfect solution so I thought I would share my experience and do a travel cot review for the ones I have including the Phil and Teds Traveller, the Baby Bjorn Travel Cot Light and the Baby Start Travel Cot Grey and Green.
Baby Bjorn Travel Cot Light
This is not a cheap bit of kit; retailing at around £165, but you can certainly see why it is more expensive than other options. This is the only travel cot that I have come across that has a proper mattress and not a bit of slightly padded board. The mattress bends so that the cot goes inside it and this forms stability within the bag. I loved that this felt like it would be comfortable for my baby especially when going away for a few weeks. The only downside is that the size of the mattress is slightly unusual and so in order to get a sheet to be total fitted I would probably recommend buying the Baby Bjorn sheets which themselves don’t come cheap at around £17 each.
This cot is very light, as the name would suggest, weighing only 6kg so is very easy to transport. I would suggest that it works best for travel by plane as when folded it looks just like a suitcase. Its folded dimensions are 49 x 60 x 14 cm which is pretty small really, but if you are trying to pack a car then this suddenly seems quite big. It is this that has made us choose to change from this cot. However, we are an unusual case as we have twins and certainly two of these would not work when packing a car up.
Using the Baby Bjorn Travel Cot Light really couldn’t be easier. You simply attach the feet and click the legs into place – job done! It honestly takes around 30 seconds to do this once you have the hand of it. I would occasionally find it hard to fold it, but that was always user error which I think just comes from the fact that you don’t use travel cots every day and so you forget how to do it. Once opened the dimensions are 112 x 82 x 64 cm which is compact, but plenty big enough for a toddler. It says it is suitable for up to 3 years old, but my 3-year-old would not be comfortable in this and would certainly be able to climb out so I think 2 is probably more realistic, but I should say my 3-year-old is tall for his age.
Phil and Teds Traveller Ultralight
We bought these as they fold so small and take up virtually no room in a car that is heavily overloaded with all the stuff you need for travelling with kids.
This travel cot is made from an extremely light weight aluminium frame which makes it lighter than the baby!! It weighs only 3.2 kg. Once folded it is so small that you could even put it under your buggy to take it with you perhaps on a train journey or take it in hand luggage and yet once it is put up it is a normal size travel cot which would be suitable for babies and toddlers. The packed dimensions are 68 x 25 x 20 cm and the assembled dimensions are 137 x 77 x 66 cm creating a sleep space of 115 x 57 x 66 cm.
Putting it up is not difficult, but it is by no stretch of the imagination a pop up option – this is assembly. It’s a bit like a tent really in that you just connect the poles correctly. It actually does have the option to use tent pegs to secure it if you were using it as a playpen or perhaps a beach shelter. This travel cot also has the option of buying a UV mesh topper which would protect from the sun during the day or from insects at night. My little ones didn’t appreciate that top as it meant they couldn’t stand up, but probably would be great for a little baby to make them a little cocoon.
One thing that I really liked about the Phil and Teds Ultralight Traveller is that the sides can be zipped open which makes getting babies in and out really easy and allows it to be used as a playpen as well without the little ones feeling trapped. I am also impressed with the self-inflating mattress as this feels really supportive and yet comfortable. I think the only downside is that because of the design where the mattress tucks into a pocket you can’t use a sheet. This doesn’t work well if anyone gets sick or has a poo incident as it would actually be on the fabric of the travel cot. I do understand that this has been rectified with the new model. We just put the mattress on top and didn’t use the pocket, but I should add my little ones were 16 months old when we started using this travel cot and so the concern of them getting wedged in any gaps around the side of a mattress doesn’t really apply. They are simply too big for any gap that may be there.
As far as sleeping goes we had no issues with getting the littles to settle in the cot and I think they liked that they could see one another. My twins used this cot until they were around 2 years old and then they started trying to climb out. They are on the 91st centile though so you may get a bit longer out of these if your little ones are not quite as tall.
A downside on this cot is potentially the price. It retails at around £160 so you would probably want to be sure you would use it more than a handful of times. We actually bought ours second hand from ebay for around £80 so that does mean that they hold their value a bit and you would have a resale option. Despite being expensive you can see why – this is well made, unbelievably lightweight, small and easy to put together. I would say that this is truly a travel cot made for travel as it is so light and small you will hardly even know you have it with you.
Baby Start Travel Cot
So this is a much cheaper option retailing at around £29. This means you don’t get the value add elements such as being super light or small, but it absolutely does the job. We bought this travel cot to leave at the grandparents’ house and we also used it as a playpen or simply a safe place to put the babies whilst the elder kids ran riot!
This travel cot is 21 x 21 x 75 cm when folded so pretty compact, but it weighs 10kg so whilst it would be easy to check in at an airport it is less ideal for travel where you need to carry it for a while or for long car journeys where is would certainly impact petrol consumption. Once opened its dimensions are 74 x 100 x 74 cm which is a brilliant size if you want to use it as a playpen too and certainly means you could use it for up to a 3-year-old. You might just need to be sure you have a sizeable hotel room as this is essentially normal cot size once it is put up. It is so big that when our twins were babies they would just share this cot.
The bad thing about this travel cot is the mattress. It is basically just a folded board with very limited padding. It would be ok for a night or two, but I certainly wouldn’t want to sleep on this for any length of time. You can buy mattresses to go with this which are much more supportive and comfortable for baby, but these would then not fit in the bag so it wouldn’t really be an option for travel.
I don’t think you can fault this travel cot considering its price, but in comparison to its more expensive counterparts it doesn’t really compare.