The best travel cot for air travel. Compact, light and durable, also good for camping or the beach.
So first off let me say I haven’t owned a Phil & Ted’s Traveller Crib myself. With 3 children, I have gone through a few different travel cots for different purposes, but not this one. However I have reviewed it as I want this site to be informative of the best cots out there, and I believe this is one of them.
My good friend Linda has the Phil & Ted’s and she loves it. So, for the purposes of this review, I’ve spent some time at her house watching how her children use it, practised set-up and disassembling and quizzed her at length about it as well as researching loads of reviews on parenting sites.
Linda is a mom of twin 3 year old boys. She and her husband have their own business and they both travel a LOT overseas together with the children, so for them, their travel cot really needed to tick all the boxes for air travel. They researched all the options thoroughly before purchasing and the reason they went for the Phil & Ted’s was because it was the best for air travel.
The best cot for air travel
1. First up, it folds up very small, a lot smaller then the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib and smaller even than the Samsonite Koo-di bubble. It easily fits into any suitcase or large travel bag. With Linda’s twins, all their baby gear was times two, so the packed dimensions of the Phil & Ted’s really was the selling point for them – they could fit both cribs in a suitcase without any problems in terms of size.
The compactness of the Phil & Ted’s also gave them the option to carry one or both of them on to the plane as hand luggage. They didn’t do this all the time, only if there was bad weather or for any other reason they expected their flight might be delayed. That way if the twins needed a nap they had the option to pop it up discreetly in the airport lounge.
3. It has longevity. It will last your baby from birth until 3 years old and it’s really strong and durable so if you look after it, it can be handed down to younger siblings.
Also excellent for camping
The small packed dimensions, lightness and general top quality of the Phil & Ted’s also make this a great candidate for outdoor stuff like camping or a day at the beach. It’s solid and stable so you’re not going to be worried about it toppling over and the mattress is thermally insulated so provides a soft and warm base. It’s got a nice shoulder strap so is comfortable to carry plus, similar to a tent, you can secure the Traveller to the ground with stakes.
It’s got a zip-open flap at the top for lowering in a sleeping baby as well as a side flap which older children usually have fun with as it gives that tent-like feel plus it means they can get in and out by themselves. If you want extra shading you can get the snazzy sounding Slim Shadee top zipper mesh cover which gives UPF 80 UV protection from the sun.
And now to the set-up and break-down. For me – who’s been spoilt rotten with a Baby Bjorn Travel Crib and a Samsonite bubble cot, that quite literally erect themselves, you just take them out of the bag – the set-up of the Phil & Ted’s seemed quite arduous. The first time I tried it with the manual and no prompting from Linda. It wasn’t fun. I am a total moron at this type of thing at the best of times, but the instructions really seemed like an enigma. The black and white photos are really teeny tiny and bizarrely the text is on a different page. Eventually I figured it out, and it’s actually pretty simple, but I think I would have gotten to the same point much faster if I’d just gone on instinct with the pieces instead of trying to figure out the manual which just confused and frustrated me.
However after a few times doing it I could get it up and down in 15 minutes. So I would definitely recommend practicing at home first. You don’t want the headache of dealing with that instruction manual in an unfamiliar environment with a cranky tired child on your hands. Also it would be good for your child to get familiar with it at home, sleep in it a night or two, as it’s quite different in structure from a regular cot.
Here’s a short video of the set-up:
Linda can get it up in 3 minutes flat and thinks I’m crazy to moan (she’s never experienced the wonder of the Samsonite bubble though!!)
The sheet question
Her only quibble with the travel crib is the sheet conundrum. The mattress slides into a special zippered nylon sleeve in the bottom of the crib. (This is an update from the original Phil and Ted’s whose mattress lay inside the crib) This is all nice and neat but it begs the question, unless you want your baby to sleep directly on the cot’s nylon fabric, how to get a sheet on?
What Linda did was…
When her babies were newborns she used the mattress as directed, inside the zippered sleeve, and placed a flat breathable cotton sheet inside the crib for them to lay on. There was no way to attach it to the sides, but then the babies were tiny and didn’t move around much so it stayed pretty much in place. Once they became more mobile and learned to roll over, she then placed the mattress inside the crib and put a fitted cotton sheet on. Not per the manufacturer’s instructions but this is what worked for her.
Here’s another video of a (slightly annoying) mom who goes through all the features:
Weight: 7 lbs (3.2kg)
Dimensions: 54 x 33 x 26in (137 x 85 x 66cm)
Packed: 27 x 10 x 8 inches (68 x 25 x 20cm)
Colour options: Black, silver
Longevity: Newborn – 3 years
Super light and compact travel cot small enough to fit in checked luggage that can also be used as a sturdy play area. The best option for air travel, also camping and the beach.
Alternatively, other cribs I recommend
|Faster to assemble…Baby Bjorn Travel crib$239.99||Lighter…Samsonite Koo-Di cot$91.99||A complete care station…Graco Pack ‘n Play with Napper$170|