Are you thinking of a crib alternative and deciding between a travel crib vs pack n play?
Or do you want a portable crib but you’re not sure which is better of the two?
In this article, I’ve deep-dived into the pros and cons of a travel crib vs pack n play.
I’ve also noted down their differences and similarities, so it will be easier for you to decide which one is the right crib for you.
I hope you’ll love the products we recommend! Just a quick note: if you click on a product link below and decide to buy it, we may earn a small commission.
List of Contents
Feature Comparison Table: Travel Crib vs Pack n Play
This best viewed on a desktop. Here’s the feature comparison of a travel crib vs pack n play at a glance.
|Pack N Play
|Can last until the kid is 3 years old/ can get out of it
|Can last until the kid is 3 years old/ can climb out of it
|Lighter than a pack n play
|Heavier and bulkier than a travel crib
|Longer and sometimes bigger than a regular crib
|Same size as a standard regular crib
|Easy to assemble and collapse
|Harder to assemble and fold than a travel crib
|Very sturdy, more durable than a travel crib
|Lightweight and easier to carry
|• Heavier than a travel crib
• Some can come with wheels to move around easily
|Wipe to clean
|Wipe to clean
|Can come with diaper changing table, storage, toy mobile, etc.
|More expensive than a pack n play
|• Can come cheaper than travel crib
• Can be as expensive as a regular crib, depending on brand and accessories
Travel Crib vs Pack N Play: Key Differences
The main differences between a travel crib vs pack n play are their portability and price.
A pack n play can be portable but is still heavier to carry and move around than a travel crib.
A travel crib is lighter but it can be more expensive than a regular pack n play.
Below are popular recommendations of travel cribs and pack n plays.
Best Travel Cribs
Best Pack N Play
Now let’s break down the pros and cons and why you should or shouldn’t, consider a travel crib vs pack n play.
Travel Crib Works Best For:
- Families who travel often
- Weekend visits to in-laws and relatives
It’s a fantastic option for parents who love exploring with their little ones. Travel cribs are particularly handy for infants and toddlers who need a safe and familiar place to sleep while on the go.
Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway, visiting family and friends, or embarking on a grand vacation, the travel crib is your go-to buddy. So choose a travel crib wisely, as it can offer a multitude of use but it can also be a little bit pricey.
Travel Cribs: Why You Should Consider It
They are similar to a Pack n Play but lighter and easier to carry, a helpful feature to have especially if your family is always on the road.
They can also be a smart crib alternative for small spaces.
Downsides of Travel Crib
Aside from it being pricier than a Pack n Play, they are set too low on the ground.
If you regularly experience back pains or you’re an expecting mom or you just had a CS operation, it can be quite inconvenient to put in and take out your baby in a travel crib.
Pros and Cons of Travel Crib
Here’s a quick overview of the benefits and disadvantages of travel cribs:
- Some can last until your kid is 4 years old
- Lighter and easier to carry than a pack n play
- Quicker to set up and fold up than a pack n play
- Folds easily for storage
- Breathable mesh sides
- More comfortable mattress than pack n play
- Can turn into a playpen
- More active kids can outgrow it quickly
- More expensive than a pack n play
- Doesn’t have a lot of accessories compared to pack n play
Top Picks for Best Travel Cribs
Check out more of the best travel cribs here that are highly recommended by tons fo parents.
Pack n Play/ Play Yard Works Best For:
- Families who want to save up on space
- For those who want a cheaper crib alternative
Pack N Plays/ Playards: Why You Should Consider It
It’s is a great crib alternative, especially if you prefer something a little bit smaller and cheaper.
We’ve had this for our baby when I stayed with my in-laws for almost 2 months.
We used this as a temporary crib solution though.
We used it until we got back to our house (where we have a regular-sized crib), and for our baby to stay in whenever we visit my in-laws.
It was portable than a crib so it was easier to move and pack up when not needed.
It also had a standard mattress so I could just buy some extra crib sheets for it.
It also came with a diaper changing table which was super convenient. I didn’t have to bend down too low to change her diaper in the pack n play or buy another diaper changing table.
And it can also turn into a baby jail! I mean playpen, lol.
Downsides of Pack N Play
- If you want to use this as a permanent crib option, especially for an older, more mobile baby, you need to use the lowest mattress setting for safety purposes.
- If you have back pains and/or you just had a CS operation, it might not be so convenient to keep on bending over to put in and take out your baby.
Pros and Cons of Pack n Play/ Play Yard
Here’s a quick overview of the benefits and disadvantages of pack n plays/ placards:
- Can last until your kid is 3 years old (or older, depending on how mobile is your kid)
- Can fit regular standard-sized mattress sheets
- Can be folded and stored in a closet, car, etc.
- Some have wheels to move easily
- Can buy accessories separately (eg. diaper changing table, diaper stacker, toy mobile, etc.)
- Can turn into a playpen
- Some can take up some space, much like a regular crib
- Takes time to set up and fold up, compared to a travel crib
- Less portable than a travel crib
- Some have liners that are not removable for cleaning
- The mattress is thinner which might be uncomfortable for baby
Top Picks for Pack n Play/ Play Yard
Here’s some of the most popular, highly recommended best pack n plays:
Travel Crib vs Pack N Play: Comparison Features
Let’s do again comparison of the travel crib vs pack n play:
Both can be used until your kid turns 3 years old or can start climbing out/ getting out of it.
A pack n play is heavier and usually bigger than a travel crib, especially with all the extra accessories that can come with it.
Pack n play’s have a standard mattress size which means, it would be easier to find sheets for it, compared to a travel crib.
But the travel crib has a comfortable, usually thicker mattress, compared to a pack n play’s thinner one.
Ease of Assembly
Travel cribs are meant to quickly assemble and easy to collapse while a pack n play might take some time to set up and fold up again.
It’s not as convenient to keep unpacking and packing a pack n play, as compared to a travel crib.
Both are very sturdy but pack n plays are more trusted to be more durable than a travel crib.
Travel cribs are way more portable than pack n play, making it easy to bring them on trips.
Pack n plays might not be as convenient to lug around but some do come with wheels which makes it a little bit easier to move them around the house.
Although heavier than a travel crib, you can still fold up a pack n play and store them when not in use.
You can wipe clean both the travel crib and pack n play then just toss the mattress sheets in the washing machine.
Remember to buy an extra, waterproof mattress sheet for both.
Pack n play offers extra accessories that can be found in a regular crib such as a diaper changing table, toy mobiles, storage, etc.
It can also be a haven for kids to play in, as long as they can’t climb out of it yet.
Travel cribs don’t offer that many accessories but like the pack n play, it also has breathable mesh sides so you can easily see your baby.
Some pack n plays are cheaper than a regular crib but some are as expensive as one.
Travel cribs, on the other hand, are generally more expensive than a regular-priced pack n play.
Travel Crib vs Pack N Play: Which One Should You Get?
Both can be a great option for a crib alternative, especially if you need more space in your home.
However, if you travel often and you need something easy to carry and assemble and/or fold, a travel crib is more suitable for your lifestyle.
If you’re looking for a permanent crib alternative for your home, with all the bells and whistles that a regular crib has (such as mobile toys, diaper changing table, etc.), then a pack n play will be a better option for you.
Just take note of your priorities and consider your budget to make a wise decision between the travel crib vs pack n play. And good luck!
Best Travel Cribs
Best Pack N Play
If you like this guide, then check out our article on Sleep Training While Traveling Tips.