The BabyBjorn travel crib (officially known as the Travel Crib Light) is one of the best and most popular travel cribs you can buy. Super light weight, and super easy to set up and fold and get back in the bag when you’re done with it, it comes with a known brand and a ton of positive customer reviews.
Including our family!
I’ve used the BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light in 6 different countries when my daughter was a baby. We tested it out traveling on planes, trains, and in automobiles (seriously!).
Below, I share my Babybjorn travel crib light review, including the pros, cons, and how it compares to some other leading travel pack and play options. All of this is based on my personal experience using this crib, plus testing it against my “travel crib criteria” which I also used to evaluate the Guava Lotus Travel Crib and the Bugaboo Stardust playard.
BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light Review Key Takeaways
- Lightweight and compact, with its own easy to carry bag.
- Easy to setup and takedown quickly.
- Sturdy construction that sits well, without tipping or wobbling.
- Comfy mattress that is comparable to the Guava Lotus and better than many other pack and play mattresses.
- Breathable, with mesh fabric around the sides to allow airflow.
- From a known brand with a strong history of safety and quality.
- Machine washable, including the mattress cover.
- OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified textiles.
- No zipper opening on the side. The only way to get baby in and out is through the top opening.
- Tough for short caregivers to place a baby in the crib due to a taller frame
- Doesn't come with a bassinet option.
- Not Greenguard Gold Certified.
- It's not carry-on compliant for most airlines.
What is the BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light (& How is it Different from Other Travel Cribs?)
The Babybjörn travel crib light is a super lightweight pack and play or play yard that’s great for using at home, toting across town to a friend’s house or the park, or on a big trip across the country or across the world.
Along with the Guava Family Lotus, it’s probably one of the most popular travel cribs on the market currently. And with good reason.
There’s a lot to love about this crib, including super easy set up and fold up, a strong and sturdy carry bag, and a soft and comfy mattress.
In a lot of ways, it’s very similar to other travel pack and plays in that it’s easy to use and transport.
At 13 pounds, however, it’s lighter than what I consider its closest competitor: the Guava Lotus. It’s also easier to set up and tear down, has faster drying fabric after a wash, and it fits into the carry bag better – it’s a great fit with no squishing required.
However, you do give up two key features of the Lotus when you choose Baby Bjorn.
First: the side zipper opening. I’d say this is one of the key differences between these two products, and is worth pointing out that the BabyBjorn doesn’t have a side opening. This is especially important to shorter people, such as myself (I’m 5 foot, and find it slightly challenging to lean all the way over and down to reach the mattress on the BabyBjorn).
Second, it doesn’t have a “converts to a backpack” carry bag like the Guava does, meaning you have to carry it with your hands, rather than a hands-free option on your back. This is fine for most trips, and the carry bag overall is excellent. But you might prefer the backpack feature of the Guava if you’re off on a months-long adventure or longer trip across multiple countries.
For a trip to a resort, I’d take our BabyBjorn travel crib lite. For a 3-month family backpacking trip across SE Asia, I’d take the Guava Lotus. If I was planning a 2-week Europe trip with a few different countries, it’s a toss up as to which I’d take. The Babybjorn is a bit easier to set up and tear down when changing hotels, but the Guava is a bit more compact for taking on trains, and the backpack carry bag is also extremely convenient.
Why Buy a Travel Crib such as the BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light?
For me, a lightweight travel crib is a no brainer when traveling with a baby or toddler under 3. I say this as someone who first travelled with our baby without a travel pack and play, and then immediately went out and bought one to rectify the mistake. Here’s why I think investing in a travel crib makes sense:
- It gives you more flexibility in terms of the type of accommodation you book. While many hotels have a limited number of cribs for guests to use, many short term apartment rentals do not. If you become a BYOTC (bring your own travel crib) family, you can book those short term apartments, which also gives you access to the other things families with babies often need: fridges, microwaves, etc.
- You can take nap time on the go. When we were in Spain, we went to visit some friends during our daughter’s nap time by taking our BabyBjorn travel pack and play with us. She snoozed in their spare bedroom while we visited our buddies, and it was easy for us since it’s such a lightweight travel crib!
- It removes “first come, first serve” stress at hotels. If you’re traveling to a resort or hotel, most have a first come, first serve policy for baby products such as cribs. There’s a chance you’ll show up and someone else has taking the last available crib, leaving you to figure out a panicked Plan B instead of enjoying your vacation.
- Some hotels charge A LOT to use one of their baby cribs. When we were in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, some hotels wanted to charge us the equivalent of 30 Euros…PER NIGHT to rent their crib. Thankfully we had our BabyBjorn play yard on that trip.
- Hygiene, cleaning and maintenance are an unknown with hotel cribs, but it’s something you can easily control for if you BYO. I’d rather have my own pack and play vs a crib I have no control over.
Detailed BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light Review
Portability and Ease When Traveling With It
After a few years experience traveling with a baby, then toddler, and now preschooler, this is my top criteria against which I evaluate all “travel stuff for kids” – travel crib included.
Travel with a baby involves lugging around more stuff than I expected…plus you have to carry the baby, too.
Bringing a travel crib with you shouldn’t feel like a huge chore or downer. Quite the opposite, it should make your trip better by reducing uncertainty related to first-come, first-serve hotel crib rental policies, and help your baby feel they’re in a familiar place, even if you’re country hopping.
We travelled with and used the Babybjorn travel crib light with our baby in 6 countries (Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Spain, Austria, and Hungary), taking it on planes, trains, and in cars (rentals and taxis). Even though we already owned a travel crib (the Phil & Teds) we wanted to test out the BabyBjorn for this blog, so bought it before this trip so we could give it a proper 6-country test for this review!
I’m confident when I say the Travel Crib Light is very portable…I’ve tested it to make sure!
The slim profile of the carry bag means it’s easy to fit it into narrow spaces on luggage racks if you’re traveling by bus (even if it’s just an airport bus) or train. But, that slim profile means the overall footprint of the case (a rectangle that’s about 5.75″ thick and about 23.5″ x 18.5″) is bigger than the Lotus travel crib, for example.
Likely, you’ll need to check this as an extra piece of luggage when traveling – that’s what we did when we flew with it.
Setting It Up and Using It
In theory, a lightweight travel cot should improve your vacation. But that theory only holds true if it’s easy to use.
No one wants to arrive at their hotel after a long overseas flight with a screaming baby, only to struggle with the very baby gear they brought that was intended to make life easier.
Thankfully, the BabyBjorn travel crib light is so, so easy to set up, and you can get that jet lagged, over tired baby to bed in mere minutes.
To see exactly how long it took me to set-up our BabyBjorn travel play yard, I asked my Google Home to time me with a stopwatch. This included everything you need to get it ready for your kiddo (except the sheet), from removing it from the bag to putting the mattress in and attaching it.
It took me 2 minutes and 9 seconds to set it up. That includes 41 seconds to unzip the bag and set up the crib with the mattress placed inside, and then another 1 minute and 28 seconds to attach the mattress with the hook and loop system.
While 2 minutes is fast on a “first try in a long time,” with a few practice tries I was able to get my setup much, much faster: 1 minute and 16 seconds on my second try.
In particular, I realized that if I push the crib over onto its side, I can get the hook and loop system used to secure the crib mattress to the frame way faster: I went from 1 minute 28 seconds on my first try, down to 17 seconds on my second try (with the crib on its side as pictured below).
Overall, this travel crib unfolds and sets up with incredible ease, as evidenced by how quickly I’m able to do it myself. The legs click in place easily, too.
My super fast set up is encouraging…but what about take down? And wrestling it back into the carry bag when vacation is over (or you’re on to your next destination)?
I again used my Google Home as a stop watch to time exactly how long it took me to collapse the play yard and put it all away (including getting it back into the carry bag).
The results of this test? It took 1 minute and 14 seconds. It took 12 seconds to unclip the mattress, 36 seconds to collapse the crib and tuck it into the folded mattress, and 26 seconds to get it all into the carry bag, and get that zipped up.
Collapsing the crib itself requires you to pull up from the middle of the base (with the mattress removed). To release the legs so they can fold, you simply give them a little tug downward, and they un-click and fold in easily. I was easily able to do all this by myself, and it doesn’t take any particular finesse or strength to do so. When I pulled on the legs, I immediately felt them release.
Getting it back into the bag was easy, and didn’t require any wrestling at all.
Based on my personal experience, the BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light fits back into its carry bag easier than the Guava Lotus does – it’s all a bit more smooth with less squishing down and holding to zip the zipper closed.
BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light Mattress Review
When it comes to travel crib mattresses and pack and play mattresses, Babybjorn has long been the king of the “soft and comfy mattress” market.
However, I feel though this common comment about this travel crib may actually refer to a previous version of the travel crib (the Travel Crib Light 2, which is no longer available).
I know this because we’ve personally owned both an old version of this travel crib (2019) and a newer, current version. And if memory serves me, the mattress on the old version was much thicker than in this new version.
With currently available versions of the products I own or have recently tested, I feel like mattress thickness is actually a tie between the Guava Lotus mattress (which I measure to be 1.5″ thick) and the Babybjorn mattress (which I measure to be 1.25″ thick).
In my opinion, this is an improvement, as super thick, soft mattresses and babies aren’t a good combo, safety wise.
However, the fabric mattress cover on the BabyBjorn feels softer when I touch it.
The mattress is made of polyurethane foam. This is what it looks like when I pull away the mattress cover:
The mattress cover is waterproof (this is pretty standard in the travel cribs I’ve reviewed), so there’s no need to buy a separate mattress protector or cover. It’s made of a combination of polyester and polyurethane, as you can see on the mattress tag on our crib, shown below.
In the old version of the Babybjorn Travel Crib Light, I don’t remember having to attach the mattress to the frame. In this new version, however, there’s a hook and loop system.
The bottom of the mattress has a loop attached to each corner (the red things in the picture below).
You then hook the loops onto a hook attached to each corner of the travel crib frame to ensure the mattress doesn’t shift or lift, and generally stays in place as it should.
Once you get the hang of this, it’s pretty easy. As mentioned above, I find it easiest when I tip the crib onto its side.
If you’re worried your baby may be cold sleeping on a floor mattress, we tried to make it more comfortable by adding a folded blanket underneath the bottom of the crib (don’t put it in the crib!). It still needs to be a firm flat surface to place the crib on, and please don’t consider this a recommendation – simply something we tried.
Washing the Babybjorn Travel Crib Light
Traditional pack and plays are notoriously tough to clean, and can only be spot cleaned safely.
Not this BabyBjorn.
The fabric portion of the Babybjorn travel crib is machine washable on warm or cold (not hot), using a gentle or mild detergent. We use True Earth fragrance free detergent strips, and they work great.
To wash the BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light, unclip the mattress from the frame, and remove the detachable feet from each of the four legs of the frame. They pull out very easily. In a side-by-side comparison, the feet of the BabyBjorn pulled out much easier for me than the Guava Lotus feet.
Then unzip the fabric along the top railing to remove the fabric unit completely from the frame. There’s a separate zipper on each of the four sides.
I like to wash pack and play fabric in a large mesh laundry bag, with a few towels thrown in. This helps protect it against snags. When I washed it, the fabric came out looking great, with no snags or signs of wear.
To dry, it’s hang to dry only: no tumble drier, please!
Out of curiosity, I timed how long it took the fabric to dry after washing. This is important if you’re on a trip and your baby has an accident in the crib, and you need to get it clean before the next nap or sleep. In my experience, huge amounts of vomit while on vacation is standard operating procedure for many babies, so ease of washing and speed to dry is key!
At the 2 hour mark, I felt the fabric and the side mesh and base fabric was dry enough that I’d feel okay temporarily putting it back on the frame for a nap. At the stage, the zippered sides which sit around the top of the frame still felt wet, but they were far dryer at this stage than the Guava Lotus padded sides were when I ran the same test on that crib.
After 3 hours of hanging to dry, the fabric felt almost completely dry, other than few lightly damp corners. If I wasn’t going to pack it away, I would have reassembled at this point and let me kid sleep.
Five hours after washing, the fabric felt totally dry and ready to be zipped back onto the frame. This was much faster than the same test I did with the Guava Lotus, which took 9 hours to dry completely under very similar climate conditions and just a few days apart. The padding that goes over the top frame of the Guava Lotus feels a bit thicker, and is possibly a different type of technical fabric. Whatever the reason, the Guava is much slower to dry – more than double the time of the BabyBjorn based on my testing.
(I did my time to dry test for the BabyBjorn and the Guava in the dead of winter, drying it inside my house on a drying rack. If you could hang outdoors in the summer, I expect both would dry faster than in my testing).
I also wondered how long it would take to put the fabric back on the crib frame, after machine washing. Once again, I set a timer and timed myself getting the fabric back on. It only took 1 minute 39 seconds to reassemble.
Everything about this travel crib (setup, take down, re-assembling after washing) is just so, so fast…under 2 minutes for each.
Worth noting, the mattress cover can also be machine washed. I appreciate this, as the mattress cover on the Lotus travel crib isn’t removable or washable.
BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light Frame Review
The Babybjorn travel crib light has a sturdy frame, with an angled set up whereby the top is a bit narrower than the base for stability (the Guava Lotus travel crib has the same general shape to it). There’s a difference of roughly 10″ from top (narrower) to bottom (wider) on both the length and the width.
When I shake the frame on the BabyBjorn travel crib, I can feel and see the legs wobble somewhat from the upper joints, but it’s very sturdy and not tippy. Because the mattress sits on the floor, there is no upper weight limit for use, unlike more traditional pack and plays, such as the 4moms Breeze. My daughter would stand in our travel crib and it was fine, but stop using a pack and play once they start to try climbing out.
Once setup, the frame stands about 25 inches tall. I am exactly 5 foot tall, and I think anyone shorter than 5 foot will likely have trouble bending all the way over to reach the mattress in the crib.
I can bend over the crib and reach the mattress – and I just make it – but it’s not the most comfortable to be honest, and if I had an infant in my arms I would be a bit nervous.
You can see me reaching into the BabyBjorn crib in the photo below, and how the top rail of the crib touches me right below the bottom of my rib cage.
If both caregivers are on the shorter side, or you are short and expect to use this on your own with a newborn who can’t yet sit up or doesn’t have neck control yet, this might not be the best choice for you.
If you are super short like me, and have a baby that can’t sit or stand yet, I recommend either the Guava Lotus or the Phil & Teds Traveller. They are both around the same height as the BabyBjorn travel cot (25.5″ for the Guava and 25″ for the Phil & Teds) but both have a side zip door which you can use to place your baby or get them out. We used the Phil & Teds for a few months starting when my daughter was 5 months, and that’s how I got her in and out every time. It worked great, and the Guava has the same system. Overall, the Guava would be my choice between Phil and Teds vs Guava Lotus, as its much easier to setup.
Once my daughter was older, I didn’t have any problem lifting her out of the crib from sitting or standing, or placing her standing, into the BabyBjorn crib.
Unlike some of its closest competitors, the Babybjorn travel crib light comes in a few color choices. Silver and black are most common and most widely available, and we really liked the light and airy design and look of our silver one.
However, if you’re really stuck on getting it in a bolder color, BabyBjorn sells it in a dark green color on their website (although, at the time of writing it was unfortunately listed as out of stock).
What About Safety?
All cribs, travel cribs, and play yards sold in the United States have to meet federal safety standards. The trick is to looking for any “over and above” safety features companies offer.
The BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light is JMPA certified, which is an optional certification requiring the product be independently tested to meet ASTM standards.
“To become certified, each product is sample-tested at an independent laboratory to verify it meets the highest standards for safety, performance and functionality.
JPMA Certification is voluntary, and based on adherence to ASTM standards, federal and state laws and some retail requirements. The program is designed to provide peace of mind to parents that these products have been independently tested to the most stringent standards.”
It also uses OEKO TEX Standard 100 fabric. This means the fabric components of the travel crib have been tested to be free from harmful substances and chemicals.
There are few design aspects that also appear to lend themselves to safety, including:
- Mesh sides, which allow a good amount of airflow through the crib, and may help to keep your baby cool in hotter climates.
- A floor standing mattress, which helps ensure stability while also allowing the product to be ultra lightweight (most pack n plays have a built in platform the mattress sits on, but that adds a lot to weight).
- The “triangular” shape to the frame, with the wider base and narrower top. Again, this should add to the stability of the design.
Unfortunately, this travel crib isn’t Greenguard Gold Certified. To be fair, most travel cribs and pack and plays aren’t. But, the Guava Lotus travel crib is, which is a nice to have (although, the Lotus doesn’t use Oeko TEX certified fabrics, so it’s a trade-off.
We loved our BabyBjorn travel crib for our own family, and were so happy to have it on a trip of a lifetime when our daughter was a baby.
These days, there are more options available, but the BabyBjorn still stands out as one of the best choices for ease of use, portability, quality, and safety .
The price is one of the huge drawbacks to this product, and it’s certainly not a budget choice.
However, if you’re looking for a high quality travel crib, the BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light was a great choice for our family, and think it will be for many other families as well. I do recommend you buy the bundle with the fitted sheet, as crib sheets are too large to use with this, and you want a proper, snug fit for safety.