The best travel cot 2018

Attempting travel with a baby? Make sure you’re suitably armed, and they’re suitably snuggly, with our round-up of the best travel cots

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When it first fully dawns on new mums and dads how extensive the perils of parenting are, it can be a harrowing moment. Can you just sort of...plonk them down somewhere while you go to the toilet? Is that face they’re making normal? What’s an appropriate age to start them on Game of Thrones? And that’s just at home, so travelling with a baby? Forget about it. 

Well luckily, with the wealth of baby products on the market these days, you needn’t forget about it, because when you’re armed with the right gear, hitting the road with your littlest buddy can be surprisingly easy. Well, not easy exactly, but it needn’t be as hard as you might think, and when it comes to parenting, that’s a big bonus. 

That’s why we’re paying testament to the power of the portable crib, and rounding up the shops’ best travel cots right here, so you have one less thing to worry about.

How to buy the best travel cot

First off, you might be surprised to find out that travel cots aren’t just for travel. If you’re stuck for space at home, regularly splitting time between two places, want a safe place to keep them corralled while you pop off for a second (see above), or like to have a spare for friends’ babies when they pop round for a coffee (the friend, that is, not the baby), a travel cot is a sensible solution.

But when it does come to travel, having your own portable cot means that you needn’t worry about whether that Airbnb has all the necessaries or that hotel webpage is up to date, and it also gives baby a familiar place to sleep, eliminating one more reason for them to get lairy while you’re on the road.

And it’s what you’ll be using it for that’ll mostly dictate the type of travel crib you want. 

Compact foldable cots or bassinets are best for chucking in a suitcase or luggage locker on the plane, while trips by car simply call for something that can fit in the boot. The more lightweight they are, the more you might question the fact that they’re deemed suitably sturdy for a human child, but between rigorous manufacturer testing and great reviews across the board, you can rest assured each of our picks will keep them safe as houses, even if you’re a long way away from yours. 

Finally, for maximum mileage when it comes to the initial spend, look for a model that comes with an included mattress, adjustable levels for rapidly growing babes, and more.

A blue mesh travel cot by BabyBjorn

1. Travel Cot Light BabyBjorn

This comfortable cot is our best all-rounder

Specifications
Best for: Ergonomic
Age: Birth to three years
Weight: 6kg
Extra features: Mattress, carry bag
Reasons to buy
+Supportive mattress+Fully featured travel bag
Reasons to avoid
-Floor level is a bit of a stretch

Praise be to Björn Jakobson, granddaddy of all things baby-related — his brainchild BabyBjorn still leads the pack when it comes to travel cots, with this one getting our top spot for its practical, paediatrician-approved design. The foldable travel cot packs down into a neat carry case with padded shoulder straps and a waist belt for easy transportation, and reviewers loved how compact it was, not to mention easy to set up, which is a real bonus when there’s unpacking to be done. The mattress has been designed in conjunction with paediatric specialists to provide the best support possible, but the only problem is that it’s at floor level, so if you have shorter arms, bear in mind it might take some effort, or the help of a taller family member.
 

Phil & Teds Traveller Travel Cot

2. Phil & Teds Traveller Travel Cot

With a name like that, this cot was always going to be set up for excellent adventures

Specifications
Best for: Compact
Age: Birth to three years
Weight: 3.2kg
Extra features: Collapsable to suitcase size
Reasons to buy
+Ultra light+Packs down really small
Reasons to avoid
-Set up is a bit awkward

Like the BabyBjorn travel cot, this Phil & Teds option is suitable for use from birth to three years, making it a good option if you’re after a longer-term solution. The big difference between the two is that this little number is more suited to long-haul travel, with a weight of just 3.2 kilograms and an ultra-compact design that’s formulated to fit in a suitcase, luggage locker, or even the storage space of your buggy. Reviewers found it was a bit awkward to set up, but that it was light, sturdy and comfy enough to make up for it, so we reckon it sounds just fine if you’re setting up camp for a while.
 

Dark grey SpaceCot Travel Cot

3. SpaceCot Travel Cot

Sturdy to sleep in and speedy to assemble

Specifications
Best for: Quick assembly
Age: Birth to six months (as a cot)
Weight: 6kg
Extra features: Carry bag, mattress
Reasons to buy
+Very easy to set up+Use as a cot or a playpen
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most longevity as a playpen

If the combination of quick setup and sturdiness is the holy grail of travel cots, then call us Indiana Jones, because we seem to have found it in the SpaceCot Travel Cot. The makers say it opens and closes in just three seconds — a big boast, but reviewers vouch for its veracity. They found it super easy to set up, and loved the included detachable crib levels and mattress that let it work as a cot up to six months, and a playpen up to 30 months. If you frequently find yourself with your hands too full for faffing around, all signs point to this easy-up cot being a good buy.
 

Koo-Di Pop Up Bassinet

4. Pop Up Bassinet Koo-Di

Let them sleep soundly out of the sun in this multi-talented bassinet

Specifications
Best for: Holidays
Age: Birth to six months
Weight: 1kg
Extra features: Padded mattress, mosquito net, blackout/sunblock blind, carry bag
Reasons to buy
+Great sun and heat protection+Very light and portable
Reasons to avoid
-Only suitable up to six months

Designed for use in the house or out in the garden, at the beach or for trips somewhere rather sunnier, the Koo-Di Sun and Sleep Travel Bassinet looks to be a versatile option for keeping the smallest member of your group happy, cool, and out of the sun. The mesh sides are intended for ventilation and peace of mind, allowing you to check on them as they (hopefully) snooze, while the integrated zip-up mosquito net keeps nibbles at bay, and the blackout blind claims to block 93 percent of all harmful rays. That’s all pretty high tech for a travel cot, making it our best bet for travel abroad and hot summer days at home.
 

Chicco Lullago Zip Crib travel cot

5. Chicco Lullago Zip Crib

A standard-looking crib with surprising depth

Specifications
Best for: Growing babies
Age: Birth to 18 months
Weight: 8.8kg
Extra features: Padded mattress, converts from crib to bed
Reasons to buy
+Adjustable depth+Easy to set up
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy

This expandable travel crib gives the option for different depths as they grow, giving it more lasting power than some of our smaller picks, and making it, according to happy reviewers, a great transitional cot. Users loved that it was sturdy and easy to put together, but found it a bit heavy to carry — although, while the travel bag is a bit more cumbersome than its BabyBjorn equivalent, some might appreciate that it looks more like your average minimal tote bag rather than a baby-specific behemoth. Overall, it’s agreed that the quality is top-notch and the setup simple, but if you have to travel a long way, you might be better placed going for something like Phil & Ted’s travel cot.
 

Joie Excursion Travel Cot with detachable changing mat and rocker

6. Joie Excursion Change & Rock Travel Cot

Take the whole nursery on the road with this triple-whammy travel cot

Specifications
Best for: Not just a cot
Age: Birth to three years
Weight: 15.1kg
Extra features: Wheels, rocker, changing unit, light and sound, detachable toys, bassinet mattress
Reasons to buy
+Changing table, cot and rocker in one+Wheeled design
Reasons to avoid
-Very heavy, understandably

Trying to get them off to sleep isn’t the only thing that can prove tricky on the road - there’s also the small matter of changing to attend to. Luckily, some clever clogs at Joie has made a travel cot that doubles up as a changing table. Actually, make that triples up, because it also packs in a soothing rocker with soft toys. And it has wheels! With a draught-resistant base and mesh lining for a comfortable sleep, a rocker/bassinet for soothing and naps, and a changing table for you-know-what, reviewers agree this is a great portable option for when you want to streamline your stuff. Just be aware that it’s very large and very heavy, so it’s not the best for small cars and certainly won’t fit in a suitcase, but gosh darn is it versatile.