May 29, 2007

Graco, You Wanna Take This Outside?

Happy freakin' Father's Day to you, too, Graco.

Graco Picks Fight With The Dad Who Recommended Them

Oh, and you're welcome. My dad asked me what kind of portable crib he should get for the beach [our kid sleeps in her own bed, but my sister's 1.5yo needed a spot.] That was our family's third Graco; we bought one in Japan; and I recommended one to my father-in-law. [Actually, our first portable crib, which the kid used for almost 2 years in NYC, was bought on the recommendation of a dad friend. It was a Jeep crib by Kolcraft.]

Buy a Graco Pack 'n Play--if you're a woman. Oh wait, I mean if I am. [amazon]


Related reader inquiry: a DT reader with a 1yo who thinks the Graco Pack 'n Play is too heavy and bulky to actually qualify as a portable crib--it is, and it doesn't--asks about real options like the Phil & Ted's T2 Travel Cot and the Peapod Portable Travel Bed. Anyone have any advice or experience on an ultralight travel crib?


We got Peanut the Nomad Kids Travel Cot travelling to Bali last December. Checking in the Bugaboo as cargo (and a cheapy umbrella stroller for the airports), we need every kilo of our baggage quota. The Nomad packs as compact as an adult sleeping bag, weighing 2.5 kilos (about 5lbs) together with air mattress. It takes 5 minutes to install and pack. The air mattress is rather thin, but we just put a comforter over it and it's so comfy I feel like curling up in it myself. Providing she doesn't grow too much in the next 3 years, she should still be able to use it until she's 4.

Samsonite pop-up travel cot and bubble travel cot for bigger babies/toddlers. I haven't seen it in person, just online. Bet you can't beat the smaller one when it comes to compact size/weight when it's folded up.

I have the peapod and both my daughter and I like it, with one notable exception: the pad that goes in the bottom of the bed is slippery as is floor of the bed, so the pad gets bunched up in the floor of the bed. The upshot is that the baby can end up sleeping on the tent material in the floor of the bed, which doesn't seem too comfy to me. I have thought and thought about a good solution but haven't come up with one. I have tried putting the mattress on the floor of the bed instead of the pouch in the floor, but I'm just not completely satisfied. is extemely portable, economical, and easy to set up, dismantle, and pack.

We have the Peapod too and we're happy with it last summer for naps on the beach. I don't think I'd consider it a real portable crib. It's small. It's hard to get a sleeping child into (crouch from standing and, like a fork lift, move kid in from the side). It doesn't have any support for a kid that's rolling around. It worked well to keep the bugs and sun of sleeping kid. I doubt, however, that our 20 month old will even fit it in this summer.

I've had the Samsonite Pop-up Bubble (for one day), I couldn't use it, the baby had to lay still, or else the entire bubble would fall over... In addition I got a black eye when setting it up!?!, there are two metal rings on each side, and they really do POP-UP! So I returned it, and ordered a Phil & Teds T2 Travel Cot, a bit more expensive yes, but I love it! It's small when packed, light, the mattress is very good (air filled), and it has UV nets in the sides + a cover that can be zipped on the top, so you have mosqito protection too. We've used the Phil&Teds T2 on a couple of trips, and both my son and I love it!

We have the peapod. Our son is two. We've been using it for almost a year on trips and when a neighbor watches my son while I go to class.

Important safety note: on one trip he figured out how to roll it hamster-ball style across the floor. We had to anchor it with a belt looped around the leg of a bed and through the tent poles. Also, he learned quickly how to unzip the tent and crawl out from the inside if window or door zippers were left even a little bit open.

We had some wear and tear from the rolling - it started coming apart at the seams - but we sewed it back together and it's doing fine. Our son loves his Peapod and all his little cousins are jealous of the tent and love to wrestle in it.

It has a very small footprint. It has fit in every hotel room and small guest room we have ever tried. We've also used it inside our big tent when we go camping. It is also very small when packed so very portable. I have taken it inside my suitcase when flying. It is easy to take anywhere and easy to set up. We leave the matress mostly inflated when we have room, but it only takes about a minute to inflate.

We also had problems with the pad (the small pad inside, not the inflated pad underneath) getting bunched up. We put his blanket in the tent instead and that works better since the blanket is slightly larger than the tent bottom. He doesn't seem to mind the tent fabric against his skin and it is a nice option for when you are using it outside.

Whaddaya mean the Pack-n-Play's "not a portable crib"? It folds up into a carry case, it's got a strap, it goes on airplanes. I *heart* ours -- wouldn't trade it in for the world.

We were given a Graco Porta-Crib 2 1/2 years ago and it is just like a regular Pack-n-Play except at 2/3 the size. It doesn't work well for a child over 1 year old due to the size but it's a great bassinet and fits through a doorway without hassle.

For our newest, we were given a Pack-n-Play and it is a mobility nightmare. It's extremely heavy and doesn't fit through a doorway without going up on its side.

I haven't been able to find a picture of the Porta-crib online for some reason.

We've used a Graco and it's fine, but I agree that it's not a true portable crib for travel. So ours sits at our son's grandmother's house.

For a trip to Europe (including stays at small hotels without reliable crib availability) we took along a Phil & Ted's, which was quite good. Setting it up and taking it down is intimidating at first, but once you get the knack of it it's pretty easy. The best part is that, when packed, the cot fit pretty easily into our suitcase. That's portable.

I currently have two packnplays and a peapod...cause' I have twins. I purchased the peapod last year for a trip to Mexico with our babies when they were 5mths old...pre crawling. We used it for napping poolside. I was pleased I did get it despite husband's initial scepticism. It folds up very small and is easy to assemble. Without the peapod we would have had to return to our suite at naptimes. We didn't use it for sleep in the suite as there were better options.

In anticipation of our next vacation I actually brought the peapod out yesterday to see what kind of a reaction the twins -now 14mths-would have to it. Well they think it is wonderful- they have bounced around in it most of the day but as to whether or not one or both will sleep in it ??? They both can fit just fine in there together-still plenty of room. I have 3 months to see if I will have any luck with them understanding they should sleep in it sometimes.

In hindsight it would have been great to have the peapod from the beginning- an inexpensive item that provides a very portable protected place for a newborn baby/ies to be placed for naps when you are away from home- beach, picnicing, visiting etc but . For travels/camping maybe the Phil & Teds would be a better option in terms of providing a real "bed" and a secure place. However I will hang on to my Peapod because when my girls are a little older and hopefully able to understand what it is for, it could again be very handy -even just for quiet time.

Taking a pack n play on an overseas trip is not difficult but with twins especially, there is already a lot of stuff!! They are relatively heavy and big. The Peapod went inside my suitcase very easily.

Cherrie-I'm a bit bewildered about the decision to travel to Bali with a Bugaboo !!! How did that go? Did you use it out in the street or at a resort?

I totally rate the Samsung Bubble, it's great, really easy to use(bit trickier to fold it up again). As for the kid-having-to lie still-or-it-falls-over thing...did you insert the two support struts at the top? I have had my 8mth old and four year old in ours at the same time messing about playing and it has been fine!
My 8mth old loves hers so much now I had to put it in the normal cot on top of the normal mattress! We have the koo-di version in cotton with red/multi spots.

Not wanting to flog a dead horse or anything but last night I came across the peapod in a new version...peapod PLUS (fits up to 5/6 years old which would have been perfect for my twins!) and it comes in PINK (again- it would have been perfect for my twins-girls!). I hate it when a better version comes out after I have bought something!!!

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