Infants: 0-2 • Little Kids: 3-6

How Does the BabyBjörn Travel Crib Stack Up Against the Best Travel Cribs?

BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light; Courtesy BABYBJORN

One of the best travel cribs on the market, the BabyBjörn Travel Crib (also called the BabyBjörn Travel Crib Light—they’re the same thing) has set the gold standard as the travel crib to bring wherever you wander. But if you’re in the market for a travel crib and are looking for options, it’s helpful to know how the BabyBjörn stacks up against some of the other most popular travel cribs.

Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light; Courtesy Amazon

BabyBjörn Travel Crib Specs

  • Price: $279.99 – $299.99
  • Weight: 13 pounds, including carrying bag
  • Assembled Dimensions: 32 x 44 x 24 inches
  • Dimensions in Carry Bag: 19 x 23.5 x 5.5 inches
  • Can You Carry It Aboard a Plane: No, it’s too big.
  • Ages Recommended: Up to age 3, approximately
  • Mattress Included: Yes
  • Bag Included/Type: Hand-carry tote

Pros for BabyBjörn Travel Crib

  • Lightweight
  • Lays flat in a car trunk to take up minimal space
  • Slanted poles make it hard to climb out of

Cons for BabyBjörn Travel Crib

  • Cannot be carried on a plane

BabyBjörn Travel Crib User Reviews

A commenter from St. Louis in a popular Facebook travel group says the BabyBjörn has extra room inside, too, and she’s been impressed with its durability. “There’s room inside the package for a blanket and small pillow for when you start using them. We’ve had (the BabyBjörn travel crib) through four kids for eight years and it has held up really well.”

BabyBjörn Travel Crib vs. Guava Lotus

Weighing exactly the same (just 13 pounds), the real difference between these two popular travel cribs comes when you see them assembled and also in how you carry them. While the rectangular-shaped BabyBjörn Travel Crib is carried briefcase-style in your hand (and must be checked in the plane’s belly due to its larger unassembled footprint), the Guava Lotus is worn backpack-style, and is small enough to be carried on a plane, saving you on those extra luggage fees. Remember—car seats can be checked for free, but travel cribs will run you the same as an extra suitcase.

Both of these come with thick-enough mattresses that fold up for transport. And while narrower than the BabyBjörn once assembled, the Lotus is substantially longer—something to consider if your kids are on the taller side of the percentiles. Both of these cribs are easy to assemble and require little more than taking them out of their bags, unfolding them and laying the mattress down inside. They’re slightly trickier to fold back down, although having an extra hand (someone to hold the bag open while you slide the package inside) makes things easiest.

The Guava Lotus has one feature that sets it apart—an easy access zipper door on the side that lets you lay down alongside a trying-to-sleep baby to hold them and also lets the baby crawl in and out when open.

Guava Lotus Travel Crib; Courtesy Amazon

Guava Lotus Travel Crib Specs

  • Price: $199.95 – $219
  • Weight: 13 pounds, including carrying bag
  • Assembled Dimensions: 46 x 31 x 25.5 inches
  • Dimensions in Carry Bag: 24 x 8 x 12 inches
  • Can You Carry It Aboard a Plane: Yes
  • Ages Recommended: Up to age 3, approximately
  • Mattress Included: Yes
  • Bag Included/Type: Yes, backpack-style

Pros for Guava Lotus Travel Crib

  • Can be carried on a plane as a backpack
  • Lightweight and low-profile design
  • Side-zip access

Cons for Guava Lotus Travel Crib

  • Takes some practice to master packing into the backpack

Guava Lotus Travel Crib User Reviews

One Tampa Facebook user says she particularly likes being able to take the Lotus inside the plane with her on travels with her toddler. “You can fit it in the overhead bin and not worry about lost luggage and having no place for the kiddo to sleep. We usually pack diapers, a change of clothes and the baby monitor in the backpack with it since there’s enough room.”

BabyBjörn Travel Crib vs. Pack ’n Play Portable Playard

You’re looking at two quite different beasts when it comes to comparing these two popular cribs—with a substantial price difference (we’re talking hundreds of dollars), too, between the BabyBjörn Travel Crib and the Pack ’n Play Portable Playard.

For starters, the Pack ’n Play is far heavier due to its wheels, as well as a thicker mattress that’s raised off the floor. It’s a far more substantial sleeping space for parents who require that, and feels sturdier as a result, but it’s also much heavier to lug around. That said, it can work well for a road trip if all you have to do is pop it in and out of your rental car’s trunk once or twice.

Some parents are whizzes at setting up a Pack ’n Play while others find it frustrating. “I feel like you need two physics degrees to properly open that thing,” a friend, who watched me struggle to get my Pack ’n Play’s sides to stay locked, once told me. Once you learn to set up the Pack ’n Play, however, it’s easy—yet never quite as effortless as simply popping open the legs of the always-ready-to-go BabyBjörn.

If you’re deciding between these two for frequent travels, we’ll opt for the BabyBjörn every time. But when you’re looking for a more permanent set-up someplace you return to often, the Pack ’n Play is a great option to travel with once (say, to a grandparents’ house) and leave it there waiting for your future visits.

Graco Pack 'n Play Portable Playard; Courtesy Target

Pack ’n Play Portable Playard Specs

  • Price: $49.99 – $59.99
  • Weight: 20 pounds, including bag
  • Assembled Dimensions: 39.5 x 28.5 x 22.75 inches
  • Dimensions in Carry Bag: Same
  • Can You Carry It Aboard a Plane: No
  • Ages Recommended: Up to age 3, or until the child can climb out 
  • Mattress Included: Yes
  • Bag Included/Type: Hand-carry tote

Pros for Pack ’n Play Portable Playard

  • Elevated crib bottom raises baby off the ground
  • Super sturdy design 

Cons for Pack ’n Play Portable Playard

  • Heaviest of the bunch by far
  • Bulky to travel with
  • Can be tricky to assemble

Pack ’n Play Portable Playard User Reviews

An Amazon user says that once you learn the basics of setting up and breaking down the Playard, it’s quite easy to tote along most anywhere. “(The crib) slides right into the ‘hole’ of the secured mattress (when broken down) and then you just put it in the carrying bag. It’s not light, but not too heavy, either.”

BabyBjörn Travel Crib vs. KidCo PeaPod Travel Bed 

Both of these cribs appeal to parents who want to bring their travel cribs with them without dealing with a lot of extra bulk. But there’s no comparing them, size wise. Once you figure out how to contort it back into its bag, the KidCo PeaPod Travel Bed packs down to a disk shape that can even fit inside your carry-on suitcase (the Björn is a much larger rectangular shape that must be stowed with your checked luggage).

The biggest difference between the two is that the PeaPod is more like a mini tent with a sleeping pad inside, while the BabyBjörn is more traditionally crib-like, with slanting side poles, an open top, a cushioned mattress and an overall sturdier feel.

That said, the PeaPod can be anchored to the ground (tent style) or hooked to a piece of furniture, like the legs of a hotel room bed. It should always remain on the ground and never be elevated or placed on a soft surface, like on top of a bed. And thanks to its tent-like nature, it also functions as a built-in barrier in case you’re traveling to places where insects are an issue and air-conditioning isn’t always an option.

KidCo PeaPod Travel Bed; Courtesy Amazon

KidCo PeaPod Travel Bed Specs

  • Price: $69.95
  • Weight: 2.45 pounds
  • Assembled Dimensions: 46 x 18 x 28 inches
  • Dimensions in Carry Bag: 16.5 x 16.5 x 3 inches
  • Can You Carry It Aboard a Plane: Yes
  • Ages Recommended: 1 to 3
  • Mattress Included: Yes
  • Bag Included/Type: Hand-carry tote with straps to use backpack-style, too

Pros for KidCo PeaPod Travel Bed

  • Small and compact when packed up
  • Can be carried on a plane
  • Some kids will love tent-style enclosure

Cons for KidCo PeaPod Travel Bed

  • Some kids will hate tent-style enclosure
  • Sleeping pad only

KidCo PeaPod Travel Bed User Reviews

Kevin Wagar, of Wandering Wagars travel blog, a father to two boys, says that he purchased the PeaPod as a compact alternative to a travel crib or Pack ‘N Play when his kids were younger, and that they continue to make use of it today (even if not to sleep). “It does take a bit of practice to break down the crib,”  he warns. “The twist and roll packing style of the PeaPod can be tough to remember how to do and I was constantly having to refer to YouTube videos while folding it back up. But as a whole, the tent worked quite well. My kids are older now and still use it as a base for forts.”

Longtime travel writer and adventurer Terry Ward lives in Florida with her husband and young son and daughter. She’s constantly on the lookout for the next Scandinavia Airlines Kids Fly Free deal to save money on flights to Norway, her favorite place to visit both in the winter (Northern Lights!) and summer (Midnight Sun!). A travel writer since 2001 (read: long before the kids came along), she’s written for such publications as Endless Vacation Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler and Scuba Diving Magazine, among many others. Find Terry on her website, Terry-Ward.com.

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