Travel Crib vs Pack N Play: Which One Should You Get?


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.

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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 vs pack n play_3
pic from Lotus website

Travel Crib

Works Best For:

  • Families who often travel

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. 

What’s The Downside:

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

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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

travel crib vs pack n play_2
pic from Graco website

Pack n Play/ Play Yard 

Works Best For: 

  • Families who want to save up on space
  • For those who want a cheaper crib alternative

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.

What’s The Downside:

  • 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

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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 and highly recommended pack n plays/ playards online:

Travel Crib vs Pack N Play: Comparison Features

Age

Both can be used until your kid turns 3 years old or can start climbing out/ getting out of it.

Size

A pack n play is heavier and usually bigger than a travel crib, especially with all the extra accessories that can come with it.

Mattress

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.

Durability

Both are very sturdy but pack n plays are more trusted to be more durable than a travel crib.

Portability

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.

Maintenance

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.

Extra Features

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.

Price

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.

This best viewed on a desktop. Here’s the feature comparison of a travel crib vs pack n play at a glance.

FeaturesTravel CribPack N Play
AgeCan last until the kid is 3 years old/ can get out of itCan last until the kid is 3 years old/ can climb out of it
SizeLighter than a pack n playHeavier and bulkier than a travel crib
MattressLonger and sometimes bigger than a regular cribSame size as a standard regular crib
AssemblyEasy to assemble and collapseHarder to assemble and fold than a travel crib
DurabilityVery sturdyVery sturdy, more durable than a travel crib
PortabilityLightweight and easier to carry• Heavier than a travel crib
• Some can come with wheels to move around easily
MaintenanceWipe to cleanWipe to clean
Extra FeaturesTravel bagCan come with diaper changing table, storage, toy mobile, etc.
PriceMore 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: 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!


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