One of the lightest travel cots on the market
The Samsonite bubble is something of a cult baby product. It was the first bubble shaped travel crib to appear on the market back in the early noughties and was groundbreaking for its ultra-lightness, portability and ease of assembly.
In 2009 the Samsonite bubble was bought by and rebranded as Koo-di, but is still being searched for on Google as the ‘Samsonite bubble’, testament to its word of mouth stock. But apart from the name change, the current Koo-di bubble cot is exactly the same as the original Samsonite bubble.
The bubble revelation
The first time I came across the bubble cot my mind was blown. It was at a big gathering of the clan one Christmas at the in-laws. I had just left our bedroom having wrestled with our playard for half an hour trying to get it up and all the bits in place. I popped in to my sister’s room to blow off some steam. She was serenely erecting what at first looked like a tent, except it was shaped like an oblong bubble. I had to ask her what it was. Wide-eyed I watched as she removed something colorful from a long, flat bag and it immediately popped up in to this 3 dimensional bubble. She then inserted 2 skinny poles in to the roof and a mattress in the base and that was it, done. In like… a minute!
Here’s a short video showing how ridiculously easy it is:
Up to that point I had no idea that such a travel crib existed – a travel crib that was actually EASY to travel with, as opposed to a crib that was just POSSIBLE to travel with (i.e. you could fold it up). Of course the very first thing I did after Christmas was get me one of these puppies!
For me, the Samsonite bubble was a revelation because of three things:
1. Firstly, it’s a complete cinch to assemble. No instructions, no half an hour set aside, no effort, no cursing… nothing.
3. Its simplicity. It recognized the fact that if you’re bedding down somewhere just for the night, you don’t care about bringing along all the bits. You don’t need the napper, changer, musical mobile, any of that, you don’t even need the option to use it as a playpen. You simply want somewhere safe you can place your baby to sleep.
In fact the bubble cot opened up a world of possibilities for us. Up to that point with our first baby, we had shied away from over-nights at friends or family mostly because of the headache of packing up and re-assembling the playard. The bubble changed all that.
The bubble bursts
But inevitably… the downsides. Yes, there’s a few.
Unfortunately the bubble won’t see your child through to the transition to a bed. It’s for small babies only. There’s 2 models: the bubble bassinet and the bubble cot, according to the manufacturer suitable from 0 – 6 months and 6 – 18 months respectively.
The frame is very light so you’ll not want a bigger or very active infant in this as they could topple it over or roll around the room in it like a hamster in a wheel. I know because this is exactly what our son did with his, though I have to say it didn’t do him any harm as the room was completely child-proofed, and he had an absolute riot. He was coming up on a year and a half at that stage and that was his last outing in the bubble.
Another thing is comfort. There’s no denying the mattress is extremely thin, so you will need to place it on a carpeted floor and/or supplement it with extra padding underneath. But if you’re going to friends or family or even a hotel this is no biggie, just lay down a folded blanket underneath and your baby will be snug as a bug.
Or you could get the Koo-di inflatable mattress to place inside the bubble. It also fits inside the carry bag with the pump once deflated. It will add to the weight a little though (bassinet mattress, 750g; bubble mattress, 1.2kg).
And admittedly it is a little trickier to put back in the bag than it is to assemble. I could never get the knack of folding the bubble back the right way and always had to ask my husband to do it. Though he would always roll his eyes and twist it down and in to the bag while still reading the newspaper, so I think this says more about me than the cot. Here’s the process illustrated. No this isn’t my husband 🙁 I found this image on the internet.
What did bug me about this cot though was the sheet issue. If you buy a mattress, you get a sheet with it, but you can’t get one separately. Not surprisingly it was impossible to find a sheet for the unusually shaped mattress so I used the smallest fitted one I could find, but it bunched up awkwardly in the corners – not in any way that would bother a baby but it looked messy.
I did love my bubble though
Wow, a lot of negative points there once I started writing them out, but oh how I loved our bubble! Yes it only lasted a year and a half, but then we only paid $60 at the time (now it’s $85). Still, a helluva lot cheaper than some of the other light travel cots.
But for what we wanted it for – a travel cot that would make overnights with a small baby doable rather than more hassle than they were worth – it couldn’t be beaten. It was super light, packed up so small you could slip it in your suitcase and hardly notice it and of course it’s just ridiculously easy to assemble, even for a manually dexterous idiot like myself.
After the hamster wheel incident, we put the bubble out to pasture in the garden where my son used it as a play house. With a scarf draped over the mosquito net roof, it also worked as a shady little den when smaller babies were visiting. In fact, it is still part of our family – our daughters drag it out occasionally for tea parties with their dolls.
Koo-di have since added the new Koo-di Sleep & Sun Pop Up Travel Bassinette to their range which has an integrated zip-up black out / sun blind that blocks out 93% of harmful UVA and UVB rays. The only other update to the bubble cot is they’ve added velcro straps at each corner if you want to anchor it to bed legs or other furniture.
All models have a built-in mosquito net on the sides and top.
Weight: 4.8 lbs (2.2kg)
Dimensions: 40 x 24 x 27 inches
Packed: 60 x 30 x 18 inches
Price: $85 – $92
Colour options: Café crème, aubergine & white, lemon & lime, polka dot
Super light travel cot for a small baby that’s easy to assemble and disassemble and folds up small. Perfect for car trips and air travel, will easily fit in checked luggage.
Alternatively, other cribs I recommend
|Also brilliant for air travel but more stable and durable…Phil & Teds Traveller Crib$150||Doesn’t pack up as small but is more comfortable and durable…Baby Bjorn Travel crib$239.99||That’s bigger, has add-ons and can also work as a playard…Any Graco Pack ‘n Play$95-$200|