Whether you’re going to your parents for the weekend or for a fortnight in the sun, anyone with a baby or toddler is likely to need a travel cot. But with models ranging from under £50 to over £200, how do you know which one to choose? We’ve tested models across all price ranges to bring you the best of them.
Don’t even think about buying one, however, until you’ve checked it against the age of your cherub because age suitability varies from model to model. Weight and size when folded is significant too, especially if you’re going to need to carry it far or pack it in an already over-filled boot or on a plane. Does it need an extra mattress or does it come with a decent one? Is it easy to assemble and fold down? And once it’s up, does it feel stable enough to cope when your little one tries to stand up in it (they will)?
1. Babybjörn Travel Cot; £189, Amazon
This costs a small fortune, but if you travel a lot and want something that isn’t going to weigh you down or take up lots of space, it will do you proud. It slips into your car boot as easily as a suitcase (and looks a bit like a suitcase), while other advantages include the washable cover, high comfort value of the mattress and good air flow at the sides. It can be tricky to put together the first time but you soon get the hang of it. It also comes in black.
2. Red Kite Sleeptight Travel Cot: £39.99, Mothercare
If you’re after a budget buy that you can both put together and collapse within seconds, then look no further. This cot is compact once packed down and fits easily into the travel bag. It’s also sturdy – a godsend for restless babies. But as the mattress isn’t well padded, we’d suggest only buying this for occasional use or otherwise splash out on a padded mattress enhancer to put on top. Also be warned, it’s quite heavy.
3. BabyHub SleepSpace Travel Cot: £194.99, Amazon
This multifunctional bit of travel kit is particularly useful in hotter countries, where an insect-free zone becomes a must-have. And as well as being a comfy place for young kids to sleep, it can also be used as a children’s play tepee. We found it ticked all the right boxes in terms of being lightweight and quick and easy to work, once you get used to the spring clips. But be warned the tepee kit is an extra thirty quid on top of an already expensive cot. It also comes in silver and orange.
4. Hauck Dream ‘N’ Play Travel Cot Winnie The Pooh Forever Friends: £39.99, Mothercare
Here’s another basic option with an affordable price tag. Once you get the knack of locking the sides and ends, it’s possible to put up in just a few seconds and it’s easy to fold down too. Like the Red Kite Sleeptight cot, it’s on the heavy side and the mattress is a bit hard (although handily, it does fold). But you can buy a deeper padded one for an extra cost and it’s also longer than most cots, which means it’s good for toddlers.
5. Chicco Lullago Zip Crib: £164.99, Littlewoods
We’ve reviewed the original version of this compact cot in the past and felt it was a great option for parents of newborns, for whom normal-sized travel cots can seem vast and uncosy. New for this year, the “zip” version has an expandable section allowing it to act as a crib from 0-6 months and a first baby bed from 6-18 months (that can also double up as a play area). It’s compact, lightweight and folds easily, making it a great travelling companion for those always on the move.
6. LittleLife Arc 2 Travel Cot: £99.99, John Lewis
Babies do not always make happy campers but this tent-friendly cot (which doubles up as a playpen) should get them settling into an outdoorsy lifestyle, thanks to its roomy interior and stable feel (provided by the two-pole frame). There’ a big opening through the zip-down front panel and parents will like the fact that it packs away into a 2.5kg easy-to-carry rucksack, making it one of the most portable travel cots available. But it does take a good few minutes to assemble it. A sunshade can be bought separately.
7. Phil & Teds Traveller Travel Cot: £139, Amazon
This is extremely light, weighing just 3.2kg, and it packs down so small that you can fit it into a suitcase. We love the comfy, self-inflating mattress and the sides of the cot unzip, which makes it kind on your back – although watch out for escapee toddlers unzipping it themselves. It comes with a sheet and you can get a UV sun mesh for use outdoors but it’s awkward to set up and put down, so best for people who will only need to do so right at the beginning and end of their trip. Also available in black.
8. Graco Nimble Nook Travel Cot, £89.99, Mothercare
This is smaller than the other cots we tried, making it a good option for those short on space. The mattress is comfortable and the removable bassinet with built-in vibration and a mobile with two toys on are a great addition, benefiting both parent and child. It’s a doddle to put up and collapse afterwards and it’s compact when folded. The only downside is it’s not the lightest.
9. Tutti Bambini CoZee Bedside Crib: £179, Tutti Bambini
Most travel cots are designed exclusively for going away and don’t exactly look stylish. Not so with this one though, most parents would be only too pleased to make this part of their nursery furniture. Tutti Bambini’s idea is not only to save you buying two cots – this one can fold flat for trips away - but to ensure your baby never has to get used to a new bed, wherever they are. There’s a drop down side for co-sleeping and it’s easy to put up and take down, as well as having an inner cover you can wash. It’s also available in several colours.
10. Joie Excursion Change & Rock Travel Cot: £129.99, Argos
This is so much more than a travel cot. It has wheels to make it easily manoeuvrable and masses of extra features including a rocker, changing unit, light-and-sounds unit and bassinet. As you might imagine, this combined makes a pretty cumbersome and heavy cot but if you want an all-singing, all-dancing, unusually roomy cot, it’s great. Be prepared to put some time aside to assemble and secure it though.
11. Baby Dan Travel Cot: £59, John Lewis
This might look like a bog-standard cot but it has two features that we think make it stand out, particularly for the price. First, it’s much longer than most, which means it can accommodate kids up to 34 inches tall. And second, it’s got wheels and a brake - handy if you need to shift it around once erected. The mattress is waterproof – great for accidents – although it’s thinner than most. And while it’s not hard to collapse, you have to unlock it twice to do so. It’s also rather weighty.
12. Nuna Sena Travel Cot: £150, Mothercare
This smart-looking travel cot is extremely sturdy and well-made, making it a great hand-me-down. It’s light, easy to put up and fold down and it comes with a bassinet. The mattress is a touch on the hard side though and it’s heavy and big, which means it’s not great if you have limited travelling space. That said, there is a mini version available, although that will only see your child up to 18 months. You can buy an insect net and cot-changer separately.
13. Koo-di Sun and Sleep Pop-Up Travel Cot; £60, JoJo Maman Bébé
This is a pop-up travel cot bassinette aimed at kids aged six to 18 months. The first thing it has going for it is that it’s extremely light, at just 1kg, as well as folding up very small. It is effortless to put up when you reach your destination and the black-out blinds mean you might get an extra hour’s sleep in the morning, while the mosquito net may prove a blessing in hotter countries.
14. SpaceCot: £140, JoJo Maman Bébé
This lightweight cot claims to open and close in one movement taking just three seconds and thanks to engineering by an Oxford University professor, it really does work, making it brilliant for parents in a hurry. We also like the movable base, which makes it back-friendly when picking up newborns from the higher level, and there’s a hypoallergenic mattress. It packs away into a neat, zip-up bag that you can carry on your shoulder too.
The Verdict: Travel cots
Here at IndyBest we take value for money seriously but in this case our top vote goes to one of the most expensive products on our list – the Babybörn Travel Cot Light. It ticks every box when it comes to seasoned travellers. At the budget end, we recommend Red Kite Sleeptight and if you’re off camping, you won’t be sorry if you invest in the LittleLife Arc 2. Finally, if you want something really innovative, do check out the Chicco Lullago Zip, Tutti Bambini CoZee Bedside Crib or the BabyHub SleepSpace.
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