You do? In that case, you need a Pack’n’Play travel crib. Seriously.
Pack’n’Play cribs are a relatively new development in the crib department, and I can’t recommend them enough. Mini cribs are great, but they’re still fairly heavy and can be a pain in the butt to travel with. The portable travel cribs provide your baby with a safe place to hang out and play, and they’re so compact it’s amazing. Some of the travel cribs even have built-in mobiles!
Of course, the size and quality of these cribs can very greatly. That’s why we created this guide: to help navigate you through the process and make the best choice for your baby. Because being a parent is stressful enough without having to read a million reviews on Amazon.
If you want a quick guide to the best play yards crib on the market, you’ve come to the right place.
Things to Consider
Pack’n’Play travel cribs are an excellent choice for families on the go who don’t have nearby relatives or who don’t want to leave their kids in the care of a babysitter. Here are some things to consider while you shop for the best travel cribs.
Travel cribs vary in size more than regular cribs. That means that some smaller travel cribs may not be a comfortable fit for bigger babies.
Regular cribs are almost always made out of wood. That’s not necessarily the case with travel cribs. Most of them will be made out of breathable mesh, but some might use other materials. One of the things to watch out for here is potential baby allergies.
One of the points of the Pack’n’Play cribs is that they’re not just cribs but playpens. After all, a baby doesn’t have access to their whole home when they’re traveling. Some cribs will have mobiles or other included toys. Others will include a portable changing station and other fun features.
One of the big appeals of having a travel crib is that its light enough to carry around easily when the baby isn’t in it. Weight doesn’t matter too much for most standard cribs, but it’s pretty important to keep in mind for a Pack’n’Play.
It pretty much goes without saying that you’ll get a nicer travel crib if you pay a little bit more for it. Of course, a bigger price tag doesn’t necessarily guarantee a better product. Price should never be the primary concern for any purchase.
BabyBjorn is known primarily for their baby slings and baby carriers, but they also make a competent travel crib.
Packs up into suitcase for easy transport.
Picking out a favorite from this lineup was like searching for a needle in a haystack. It wasn’t quite as futile an exercise, however. Finally, we decided on the Lotus Travel Crib. Although it lacked some of the extra features found in other Pack’n’Plays, we felt it best exemplified everything to look for in a travel crib.
- Sets up in just fifteen seconds
- Packs up easily to be carried as a backpack
- Soft, comfortable 42 x 24 mattress is perfect for sleeping
- Big enough for babies and toddlers to play in
- Mesh siding lets babies breath while making it easy to watch them
Best Portable Travel Baby Crib Under $50
10. Graco Pack N Play Playard
If you are looking for quality, affordable Pack N Play Playard, Graco is the name to beat. Graco is the original designer of the new portable baby travel crib, and as such, they have a wide selection of great play yards.
The original Pack in Play, this particular model has a lot going for it, even if it is cheap. Breathing mesh sides are supported by a durable frame. The crib has two locking wheels that make it easy to transport, as well as two legs that provide added support when it is set up. The whole thing folds at the push of a button, and a handy carrying case is also included.
Honestly, even though this is among the cheapest and simplest models available, it’s easy to see why the Pack’n Play became so popular. The design is simple and intuitive, and the product is quite simply essential for the traveling parent(s) of young children. For many of you, this simple playard will be all you need.
Best Portable Travel Baby Crib Under $100
9. Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard with Reversible Napper and Changer
There are three basic additions that set this playard crib apart from its predecessor. The first is a simple mobile to entertain your one one while they lay. The second is a reversible bassinet napper so tired baby can sleep easy. Finally, it has a built-in changing table, so you don’t have some gross, uncomfortable changing station in a nearby gas station.
There’s obviously a lot to like about this playard, but my favorite is the price. This is never going to replace your stationary crib at home, but its cheap enough that you’re not going to break the bank. Buy this. You won’t regret it.
Best Portable Travel Baby Crib Under $150
8. Disney Sweet Wonder Play Yard
There are two different versions of this very nice crib playard, although the differences are mainly aesthetic. There is a Minnie Mouse theme and a Mickey Mouse theme. Both of them have a mini mobile, though they feature different characters. The color scheme is also different, and there are some different decorations. They’re otherwise the same.
Like the last playard, this also has a bassinet for newborns, as well as a changing table that simply wipes clean. It also has a little organizing pouch on the outside for parents to store their little one’s toys. It has two wheels, four legs, and the sides are made of breathable mesh.
There isn’t a lot of difference between this playard and the last one. However, I like this one better just because the theme is so cute. The only thing I don’t like about it is that it’s not as easy to put away as the Graco models.
7. Graco Pack N’ Play Playard Jetsetter
Throughout my childhood, my dad took me and the rest of the family on camping trips. Mainly we went to California and Nevada, although we went to Utah once and possibly Oregon. (Dad and I did camp in Oregon when I was an adult.) They didn’t have playards back then, but if they did, Dad probably would have had this one.
If you are hiking, camping or just having a picnic by the creek, this is a great playard and crib. It packs up easily and folds into a little backpack that’s easy to carry, making it very convenient for a hike. It also includes a portable changing station, which packs up into a little pouch you can carry over your shoulder or on your belt. Also convenient.
Aesthetically, it resembles a little tent, and it even closes at the top. Breathable mesh walls keep your baby safe, and there’s plenty of room for them to crawl around and play in. There’s also a little nest bassinet for baby to sleep in.
If you’re the sort of person who likes the outdoors, this is definitely a playard to consider.
6. Graco Pack ‘N Play Playard Smart Stations
Graco strikes again with another great playard. This crib closely resembles another model, but with even more improvements.
Like many of the others, this playard includes a changing station that easily wipes clean when you’re done. Like the Disney Sweet Wonder, it also has a handy storage chamber with three different pouches, making it easy to store essentials and keep them separated. It has a removable hamper and a little baby bed with a cute star-spangled mobile to comfort baby as he falls asleep.
While this is ideal for travel, it’s also convenient for when you’re working around the house. Using this, you can always keep your infant close at hand and in your line of sight, even while you’re running errands around the house. This is a great playard and highly recommended.
5. Graco Oasis with Soothe Surround Technology Playard
The fifth and final Graco product in this guide, the Graco Oasis crib just might be my favorite. It is very much like the Smart Stations in design and accessories, but it adds just one more amazing feature. The playard actually vibrates and plays soothing sounds such as raindrops, bells, and heartbeats, combining the two to lull your baby into a peaceful sleep.
In other respects, there are minor changes to the Smart Stations. The bassinet has been redesigned. The starry mobile is gone, replaced by a carriage-style bassinet cover that shields your little one from the light. The changing station and storage hamper were modified slightly but functionally unchanged. This is also a pretty large crib, more than big enough to handle your terrible two-year-old. I actually sent my son to time out in this playard.
I don’t want you to think that I’m product-pushing Graco because I’m not. I don’t work for Graco, and they haven’t paid for any endorsements. Simply put, their products are good enough that I can’t help but recommend them.
Best Portable Travel Baby Crib Under $200
4. Lotus Travel Crib and Portable Baby Playard
In some ways, the Lotus Travel Crib feels like a step back from the last couple of Graco models, but that isn’t really fair. After all, though I failed to mention it, the last two playards weren’t particularly portable.
The Lotus does away with all the fancy accouterments and delivers a simple, portable playard experience. A true travel crib, this playard is layered with a soft foam mattress that offers toddlers a safe and comfortable place to lay down and sleep. It is also large enough for babies to crawl around and play in while you are busy with other activities. It can zip up fully closed, so your little one can’t crawl away, but clear mesh keeps their air fresh and lets you keep one eye on them at all times.
Sometimes more is less, and the Lotus Travel Crib is a fine example of that. It lacks the accessories of some of the other playards, but it doesn’t lack in essentials, and that’s what makes it a good product.
Best Portable Travel Baby Crib Under $300
3. BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light
BabyBjorn is known primarily for their baby slings and baby carriers, but they also make a competent travel crib.
This travel crib is perfect for the living room, hotel room or anywhere else you have to travel. It’s nearly four feet long, so it’s big enough for babies and toddlers alike. It has a completely open top and stands just two feet high. It is made of clear mesh and supported by metal poles, so you can always keep an eye on your child and make sure he’s safe.
This is a very nice travel crib, and it’s also lightweight, weighing only 13 pounds. If you can carry a screaming toddler up a flight of stairs, you can carry this to the car. It folds up into a simple travel suitcase, making it ideal for car rides to Grandma’s house.
2. Chicco Lullaby Glow Playard
The Chicco Lullaby crib is more or less an adaptation of the Graco Oasis. In fact, the design is so similar that the inspiration is obvious.
Like the Oasis, this includes a changing station, bassinet and portable hamper as well as a playard, and it also sports wheels for easy mobility. Like the Graco Smart Stations, it has a mobile, and like the Oasis again it produces soothing sounds.
There’s one big difference here. The mobile uses color-changing LED lights to project starry skies onto the ceiling, and it plays nature sounds and lullabies to guide the baby to sleep.
As far as technology is concerned, this one takes the cake. As far as price is concerned, you’re paying a lot for only slight enhancements over another model. To be sure, this is a very nice playard, but it’s also expensive enough that many parents will think twice.
1. 4Moms Play Yard
4Moms is another company that specializes in selling high-end baby crib products for smart mothers (and fathers). The result is a large playard and bassinet that provides babies and toddlers with lots of room to grow and play.
Made from polyurethane with polyester mesh sides, this is a nice playard that lets you keep an eagle eye on your young ones while they frolic and play carefree. It is large enough to let your baby grow and durable enough to serve successive children.
Perhaps the best thing about this playard is how simple it is. You simply open the travel bag and unfold it, and it opens, ready to go. Apply pressure (when your kids aren’t in it), and it closes. It really is as simple as that.
This is not a cheap option. It is as expensive as many regular cribs, which is probably more than some families want or need. But if you can afford it, this is an excellent choice in a playard for your children.
Well, that’s a wrap. I know there’s a lot of options here, and some of them look very similar to the others. Hopefully, this guide helped you make some sense out of all the confusion and find the right travel crib for your baby. Whether you embraced the comfortable Lotus travel crib or opted to go high-tech with the Graco Oasis or Chicco Lullaby, you’ve made an excellent investment in your child.