Travel Crib Vs Pack N Play: Which One is Best for You? [2022]

Travel Crib Vs Pack N Play: Which One is Best for You? [2022]

If you’ve ever traveled with a baby, you know that finding suitable bedding on the road can be a challenge.

Luckily, there are some portable options to choose from, but which one will best suit your needs?

Travel cribs are made to be convenient collapsible bedding options for your baby while you’re on the go with a soft mattress and secure mesh sides.

Pack N Plays are another option for portable baby bedding that doubles as a contained play area as well. 

In this article, we will compare and review the different features of travel cribs and Pack N Plays, ultimately deciding which one is the best to use when traveling with your little one. 

Travel Crib vs. Pack N Play – How We’ll Compare Them

When comparing travel cribs and Pack N Plays side by side, the two products may look very similar, but they do have important differences.

We’ll be using the following metrics to find a clear winner in the competition for best baby bedding on the go:

  • Portability
  • Price
  • Set up
  • Comfortability
  • Extra features
  • Maintenance

Travel Crib vs. Pack N Play – Portability

Travel Crib

Just as its name suggests, the travel crib was designed to be portable.

The frame and all of its associated parts are extremely lightweight, making it perfect to carry around, even if you are going camping.

Additionally, most travel cribs will fold up to form a backpack or some sort of easy carrier to aid in portability. 

Overall, the travel crib receives a 9/10 for portability

Pack N Play

While the Pack N Play can be used for travel and has the ability to neatly collapse, it tends to be on the heavy side.

The frame is typically more heavy-duty since it is primarily used as a play area and supports additional structures such as the changing table and bassinet. 

Pack N Plays usually come with a convenient storage bag to fit everything into, but the end result is a large bulky contraption that weighs twice as much as your baby. 

Overall, the Pack N Play receives a 4/10 for portability.

How They Compare

When it comes to portability, the travel crib takes the cake. The frame is lightweight, collapses into an easy-to-carry bundle or backpack, and only weighs about ten pounds.

On the other hand, the Pack N Play has lots of extras that make it bulkier to manage and cause it to weigh as much as twenty-five pounds.

Travel Crib vs. Pack N Play – Price

Travel Crib

Travel cribs can be pretty expensive, especially if you want to ensure that you choose a trusted brand.

Your baby’s safety during sleep is essential so it’s important to choose a brand that has safety-approved features.

Most travel cribs cost between $150 and $250 or more. 

Lesser known brands can be less expensive; however, they may not have safety-certified features which could put your baby at risk.

Overall, the travel crib receives a 5/10 for price

Pack N Play

The Pack N Play is an excellent bargain for the money you will spend.

Brand new Pack N Plays usually cost less than $100 and can be used for playing, napping, changing diapers, and more.

With all of the extra features and trusted sturdiness of the structure, you are getting a great piece at a great price. 

Overall, the Pack N Play receives an 8/10 for price.

How They Compare

The Pack N Play is by far the winner when it comes to price.

You can purchase two Pack N Plays for the price of one travel crib and the Pack N Play has extra features while the travel crib is really only meant for sleeping. 

Travel Crib vs. Pack N Play – Set-Up

Travel Crib

Setting up a travel crib the first few times can be a bit frustrating, trying to get all the poles to fit together and snap into place.

Over time, the setup becomes easier once you learn the little tricks that help put it together easier. 

Additionally, travel cribs tend to be larger than Pack N Plays, taking up space which could be a problem if your travel accommodations don’t leave much room to work with.

Overall, the travel crib receives a 5/10 for set up

Pack N Play

The Pack N Play is large and cumbersome but is fairly straightforward to set up.

The main body of the structure is all held together and simply expands out until the poles lock into place. 

The extra features snap securely onto the railings. When you are done, taking the Pack N Play apart is as easy as unlocking the joints and pulling up the bottom to collapse in the sides. 

There is a convenient bag to store everything in once it has been completely taken down as well. Overall, the Pack N Play receives a 7/10 for setup

How They Compare

Although both travel cribs and Pack N Plays can take some getting used to for the setup, the Pack N Play is far more user-friendly with its collapsible frame and locking joints.

Pack N Plays are also typically smaller than travel cribs and can be more flexible in terms of the spaces they can fit in. 

Travel Crib vs. Pack N Play – Comfortability

Travel Crib

Travel crib mattresses are soft and made for sleeping. Babies can easily fall asleep on the bedding and breathe easily with mesh walls that allow your baby to see you at all times.

Most travel crib mattresses are also rated for safety to prevent SIDS. The sides of the travel crib are flexible so there is little chance of your little one hurting themselves. 

The only downside that a travel crib may have is your ease of comfort.

Since the mattress sits on the floor if you have back issues or other problems bending over, retrieving your child from the travel crib may not be convenient. 

Overall, the travel crib receives an 8/10 for comfortability.

Pack N Play

The Pack N Play was mainly designed for playing so the bottom of the structure is a thin, hard mattress that provides lots of support but little comfort.

Pack N Plays are recommended for short naps but are not rated for overnight sleeping. 

They can be used for longer sleeping durations; however, if your child is particular about the softness of their bed, they may have trouble falling asleep.

The bassinet features can also be used for sleeping but can only accommodate small babies who cannot yet roll. 

The frame of the Pack N Play features hard metal poles that can be uncomfortable to fall on or accidentally hit.

Overall, the Pack N Play receives a 4/10 for comfortability

How They Compare

When it comes to sleeping, the travel crib is a better setup for your little one with a soft mattress meant for overnight use.

On the other hand, the Pack N Play’s hard mattress may be suitable for naps but can be very uncomfortable for longer periods of rest. 

Travel Crib vs. Pack N Play – Extra Features

Travel Crib

The travel crib’s sole function is to serve as a place for your baby to sleep. You could also use the travel crib as a playpen; however, the soft mattress makes it hard to stand and play on. 

The most notable extra features the travel crib has is the ability to fold up into a convenient carrying backpack and a zipper to open the mesh wall of the crib for easy access.

Overall, the travel crib receives a 5/10 for extra features

Pack N Play

The Pack N Play is designed for more than just naps. The supportive bottom allows your child to safely play or sleep within the confines of the playpen.

Pack N Plays can come with a detachable changing station for easy diaper changes along with a side storage pouch to keep extra diapers, wipes, clothes, and diaper cream. 

Most Pack N Plays have an attached bassinet that can be used with the Pack N Play or separately on another surface.

They also come with a mobile to keep the baby entertained during play.

Overall, the Pack N Play receives a 9/10 for all of the extra features that it offers. 

How They Compare

The Pack N Play comes out on top for extra features with different places to play, sleep, and change diapers.

On the other hand, the travel crib is a one-trick pony that is only meant for sleeping and does not have any bonus accessories or attachments. 

Travel Crib vs. Pack N Play – Maintenance

Travel Crib

Let’s face it, you will need to clean that travel crib at some point because babies can be messy.

It’s a good thing that travel cribs are made for easy maintenance.

All of the parts can be removed and are machine washable from the mattress to the mesh walls to the sheets. 

There is no need to unnecessarily scrub, just throw everything in the washing machine and dryer, then put it back together once it is clean.

Overall, the travel crib receives a 9/10 when it comes to maintenance.

Pack N Play

Pack N Play can be a bit tricky to clean. Since the frame is already sewn into the walls of the Pack N Play, you will need to scrub them if they get dirty.

The outer covering of the mattress can be put in the washing machine once it is removed from the inner boards.

Likewise, the bassinet covering can sometimes be removed from its frame to be washed.

All other parts of the bassinet need to be hand scrubbed; however, sometimes all of the nooks and crannies can be hard to reach.

Overall, the Pack N Play receives a 4/10 for maintenance.

How They Compare 

Travel cribs are much easier to maintain and clean since all of the parts can be thrown into the washing machine if dirty.

On the other hand, most parts of the Pack N Play require hand scrubbing and since there are many different parts with plastic attachments, they are more likely to break. 

Travel Crib vs. Pack N Play – The Breakdown

Now that we’ve gone into detail about the different features that the travel crib and Pack N Play have, let’s look at them all together to decide which one is best for you.

 Travel CribPack N Play
Portability9/10 Lightweight, carries as a backpack4/10 Heavy, bulky with all the associated parts
Price5/10 Typically costs between $150 and $2508/10 Priced at less than $100
Set-Up5/10 Can be tricky to set up7/10 Fairly easy to set up
Comfortability8/10 Soft mattress excellent for sleeping4/10 Hard thin mattress, may not be good for overnight
Extra Features5/10 Carries as a backpack and has a front wall zipper9/10 Comes with bassinet, diaper changing station, storage, and mobile
Maintenance9/10 All parts are removable and machine washable4/10 Most parts need to be hand scrubbed and are hard to reach
Overall Scores4136

When all of the individual scores are added up, the travel crib is the clear winner with a final score of 41/60 compared to the Pack N Play with 36/60.

Travel Crib vs. Pack N Play – Final Thoughts

Travel cribs and Pack N Plays both offer viable options for your baby to sleep in while on the go.

Travel cribs offer the advantage of being extremely lightweight and easy to carry, providing a soft comfortable mattress to sleep on, and easy-to-clean features.

Some of the disadvantages of travel cribs are their price, tricky setup, and lack of extra features. 

Pack N Plays are great because they are inexpensive, easy to set up, and offer options like a changing station and bassinet.

However, the hard mattress isn’t ideal for overnight sleeping, they are bulky and heavy to transport, and can be difficult to clean. 

Overall, if you are looking for the ideal place for your little one to sleep while you are traveling, the travel crib is going to be your best option.

Your baby will get a good night’s rest while you can sleep assured that they are safe and comfortable in their portable bed.

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