The Guava Lotus “everywhere crib” is the current darling of the travel crib world, and one of the most popular travel cribs on the market today. It’s also one of the more expensive options, putting it firmly into the awesome but pricey product category, along with other Instagrammable baby products like the Keekaroo Peanut or Lovevery blocks or play kits.
Compared to brands like Joovy, the Lotus travel crib is expensive. But compared to its peers in terms of the best travel cots out there – the BabyBjorn Light travel crib, the Phil and Teds traveller, or the Bugaboo Stardust – it’s frequently found within the same price range.
Which led me to wonder, is the Guava travel crib worth it as a “cream of the crop” in travel cribs? And is it better than its closest competitors?
This Guava Lotus travel crib review dives in that question, and I share my personal experience with this travel crib so you can decide what the best travel crib is for your family.
Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib Review Key Takeaways
- Durable carry bag with heavy duty zippers and straps
- Carrying case converts to a backpack, giving you another way to carry it when you're at the airport or transferring locations in country
- Side zipper door is great for babies who fall asleep in their parents arms or strollers, and need easy access to be transferred to their travel crib without (hopefully) waking up
- Comfy mattress for baby (a waterproof mattress, at that!) with low VOCs
- Very lightweight, weighing in at only 15 pounds (including travel bag), and manageable for many adults to carry it
- Extremely fast set-up, on par with the BabyBjorn travel crib
- 360 degree mesh sides ensure excellent airflow, a huge plus in hot destinations
- Free from harmful chemicals and materials, including no PVC, fire retardant chemicals, lead, phthalates, formaldehyde, arsenic, mercury, or cadmium.
- Greenguard Gold certified
- Bassinet compatible, although it comes at an extra charge
- Great resale value when you're done with it
- No upper weight limit, given that it's a floor resting mattress
- Takes a bit of muscle to get the crib back into the backpack carrying case
- Taking down the legs and folding them in requires some force and confidence you're not going to break it. The loud click is a bit alarming the first time
- It's expensive for a pack and play. While you could use it up until 3 years old or so, it's probably more like 2 for lots of kids
- Doesn't come with extras like a sun cover or mosquito net, so you may need to spend more money on a third-party solution depending on where you're traveling to
What is the Guava Lotus Travel Crib (& How is it Different from Other Travel Cribs?)
The Guava pack and play is a lightweight travel crib or pack and play that comes in its own sturdy carrying case, which can be used as a carry bag or a backpack. Named the “Everywhere Crib,” it’s particularly suited to families who travel with their baby – whether that’s across the world or across town to the grandparents house – and want a play yard that can travel with them.
The Guava travel crib is popular with good reason. It weighs only 15 pounds, thanks to its aluminum frame and super lightweight construction, and can be put set up in minutes. It packs up really small in its own bag, and is well designed for even petite adults to carry.
It also holds Greenguard Gold certification, which is common for cribs and mattresses, but not common for pack and play products.
Finally, since it’s a floor sitting mattress, there’s no upper weight limit on use as with a traditional play yard such as the 4moms. You can use it in the toddler years when your little one might stand in it, but I’d suggest that once they start doing their best to climb out of it, it’s time to stop using a pack and play or travel crib!
Detailed Review of Our Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib
If you’re intrigued by the Lotus travel crib, but want some more insight into what’s great about and what’s not – from someone who actually owns the product – keep reading! Below, I go into different criteria I look for in a travel crib, and evaluate the Guava travel crib based on those criteria and my own testing.
Portability, Ease and Durability When Traveling With It
For me, this is the single most important factor when considering which travel crib to buy and take on your trip.
Travel with a baby is so much different than travel before kids, and it requires lugging a lot more stuff around. In my opinion, a travel crib needs to make parents’ lives and trips easier and better, and part of that means not being a huge PITA getting to and from the airport, and in between destinations.
When it comes to portability, this is one of the areas the Lotus travel crib shines.
And it comes down to the carry bag (plus the miraculous fact that the pack and play somehow folds up into the bag). The official dimensions for the travel crib in the bag are 24″ L x 12″ W x 8″ H. When I measured my own in the bag, it came out slightly bigger, but pretty close
For one, the carry bag has good dimensions for travel. The bag itself is fairly compact, and it’s made of a durable nylon with heavy duty zippers and straps. Durable straps is very important, speaking as someone who has experience with bag straps breaking while traveling!
It is also fairly compact as a carry bag, which is handy for getting stuff into a rental car, onto a train in Europe, or into a taxi. We’ve also owned the BabyBjorn Travel Light Crib, and the Guava Lotus has a better carrying case, in my opinion, for fitting into places as you travel, and offering a “back pack straps” option.
Setting It Up and Using It
After being easy to travel with, being easy to set up is my next most important quality when evaluating a travel crib.
If you’re taking a long flight or crossing multiple time zones, you want to be able to get your baby or young toddler into a comfortable bed ASAP once you actually arrive.
The first time I set up the Guava Lotus Travel Crib, I did it “cold” – without watching any videos beforehand or reading any sort of instructions. Out of curiosity, I set my stopwatch to see how long it would take me for a full “cold” set up (unzipping the bag to ready-to-use): 1 minute and 56 seconds.
(To be fair, I was well-rested, on my own time zone, and did not have a screaming baby with me when I did this test).
I actually couldn’t believe that was right…. less than 2 minutes. So after setting it up for the first time, I double checked the instruction manual and…BAM! I had done it correctly (although I later realized I hadn’t secured the mattress with the click straps).
It’s not quite as fast as the BabyBjorn LightTravel Crib (which takes me about 1 minute and 20 seconds) or the ultra fast Bugaboo Stardust (which can set up in mere seconds), but it’s quite a bit faster than the Phil and Ted’s Traveller, which requires the frame to be pieced together.
Setting up the Guava Family Lotus is easy. What about tearing it down, either when your vacation is over or you’re moving from one location to another?
For fun, I decided to pretended I was on a European sojourn, getting ready to leave Rome and head to Florence. I again used a stop watch to measure precisely how long it took me to put it all away (it was once again a cold test – no instructions or preparing).
It took me exactly 5 minutes, and I definitely made a lot of mistakes this time. It took me ages to find the little levers you need to squeeze to release the main frames. Once I found them, the frame collapsed easily.
I was also a bit worried I was going to break the legs when I was collapsing those, as the lever where they bend makes a clicking noise when you push on the legs to fold.
But still…5 minutes for my first time? Pretty awesome, and goes to show how easy the Lotus travel crib is to use (for set up and take down).
Out of curiosity, I timed myself again for a second test tearing down the travel crib: 2 minutes and 31 seconds. (I can take down the BabyBjorn travel crib in 1 minute and 14 seconds, so again it takes a bit longer than the BabyBjorn but is still very fast).
How Long Does it Take to Set Up The Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib?
After extensive testing, I’ve gotten proper setup down to just under 2 minutes (50 seconds or so to get it setup with the mattress in the play yard, and then another 50 seconds to attach the mattress to the frame using the click in system). This doesn’t include putting a fitted sheet on, but as you can tell from my tests, it’s very fast to set up!
I have proper tear down to about 2.5 minutes – about 1 minute 10 seconds to tear down the crib, and then another 1 minute 20 seconds to get the mattress and folded crib into its carrying case and all zipped up.
I think this is a fairly reasonable estimate of how long it will take most families.
Zipper Side Door Noise Concerns: Will it Wake a Sleeping Baby?
One of the nicest features of the Guava family Lotus is the side zipper door for easy access to baby. It’s not entirely unique among travel cribs (the Phil & Teds Traveller also has it, the Baby Bjorn, Bugaboo Stardust, and the Nuna Sena do not), but it’s great.
I love the zipper door feature. My kiddo has always been a “fall asleep with a parent” kind of kid, which means rocking in our arms and then placing to sleep. At home, this is fine, because the crib height makes it possible.
But with a floor resting mattress as with the Guava lotus travel crib? It’s just too far down to successfully transfer a sleeping baby without waking them, especially if you’re a short person (like I am!).
Enter the zippered side door. When you’re ready to put a sleeping baby into the travel crib, prepare by opening the zip door, place them in through this side door, and then zip it back up….and hopefully enjoy a quiet evening in your hotel room or vacation apartment!
As your child gets older, this makes it a crawl friendly playard – you can leave it open and let them crawl in and out on their own.
This system has worked well for us in the past, but the one question most parents have about is this: won’t the sound of zipping up the side door again wake the baby?
Based on personal experience with side zip door travel cribs, I can say this didn’t happen to us. Once asleep, our baby (and in my experience, lots of babies) are pretty hard to wake with minimal noise.
The zipper door on the Lotus travel crib isn’t that loud. It’s comparable in my opinion to the Phil and Ted’s travel crib, and is about the same amount of noise as zipping up a jacket. If you go ever-so-slightly slower than normal zippering speed, it gets a lot quieter.
One additional feature the Guava Family Lotus crib has compared to the Phil & Teds (the other travel crib we’ve tried that has a zipper door), is the fact that the zippered side door can be “locked” in place by clipping the zipper pull to secure it. Great if you have an escape artist.
Pack and Play Travel Mattress Quality
One of the first “safety rules” of parenting an under one infant or baby is that comfy mattresses and safety don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. Babies need a firm mattress for safety, and this is particularly so for babies under 12 months.
So how does the Guava Family Lotus travel crib mattress stack up, from both a safety and comfort point-of-view?
First of all, it is fairly comfy while still being firm! I’d put comfort around the same as the BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light, which is more comfy than the Phil and Ted’s inflatable mattress system (which is fairly thin). There’s no need to go to great lengths to try to make it more comfortable, which is great from a safety perspective.
The Guava Family Lotus mattress is about 1.5″ thick, with a rigid bottom (which they call a “base plate” and is made from rigid polyethylene) and a padded layer on top.
On the under side of the mattress, each of the four corners has a strap and buckle system, which attaches to the main part of the crib floor to secure the mattress in place.
As I understand it, the company used to use velcro tabs to secure it in place in older versions of this crb, and the new buckle/click system is meant to be an improvement on the old velcro tabs system. I found the new system easy to use and not at all fiddly.
The padding is made from a low VOC polyurethane foam (it’s near impossible to get away from PU foam mattresses in travel cribs – the Phil & Teds Traveller uses a unique air mattress system as an alternative, but I’ve owned both and overall I prefer the Guava Lotus). It also has a waterproof cover made from polyurethane coated polyester fabric on the top side of the mattress.
Importantly, Guava doesn’t add chemical flame retardants, despite using a PU foam mattress. Additionally, this travel crib (the entire product, not just one or two components) is Greenguard Gold certified. You can check the certificate online yourself.
Also good to know? Because the mattress rests on the floor, there is no weight limit to this pack n play, unlike some other travel cribs (The bassinet does have a weight limit though).
Use the Guava Lotus with the Lotus pack and play sheets, not crib sheets, which are too large.
Washability and Cleaning
The fabric part of the crib is made from polyester (fabric and breathable mesh). And it’s machine washable, which is unique when it comes to cleaning a pack and play.
I’ll admit, I was kind of nervous to test out washing the fabric on this play yard. While it claims to be easy machine washing, anytime something is expensive, I worry about shrinking it, or not being able to get it back on properly. (I felt the same the first time I had to wash the Organic Dream crib mattress cover and the Newton crib mattress cover).
I followed the instructions I found online, but accidentally did it in the wrong order (and it still worked fine).
I removed the crib feet from the frame after already unzipping the fabric. This was the hardest part, as you have to compress the little buttons to get the feet out. I disliked this system, and comparing it to the BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light (which has very easy to remove feet), it’s a lot more challenging to do so on the Guava Lotus.
I washed on cold, on the delicate cycle, using a gentle detergent (we currently use True Earth detergent strips), and hung it to dry. Because I was nervous, I stuck the whole thing into a large mesh laundry bag we have to protect it from snags.
You can’t tumble dry it, so hanging to dry is a necessity.
Out of curiosity, I tested how long it would take to dry. While this will vary based on season, climate, and the place you hang it to dry, it’s helpful as a guideline in case you have a middle of the night vomit explosion while on your trip (this has happened to us) and need to wash it while on the road.
In my test, it took about 10 hours to dry. For point of reference, this is more than double what it took my BabyBjorn travel crib to dry when I ran the same test (you can read that review here).
At the 2-hour mark, the bottom fabric and the mesh was dry, but the padded bits that zip over the top of the frame were not. In a pinch (i.e. nap time), I think I could have used it at that point, and re-hung to dry after use. But really, the padding needs a full “overnight” hang to dry to dry properly.
Putting the fabric back on the frame was also surprisingly easy – I again timed myself the first time I did it, and I was able to get the fabric back on properly in 4 minutes and 50 seconds.
It took me 3 minutes 40 seconds to get the fabric zipped back on during re-assembly. This part is pretty easy, because the fabric stays as one unit, so there is no messing around, trying to figure out which panel goes where. It then took me an additional 1 minute 10 seconds to get the feet clicked back in. The feet were a bit finicky, but under 5 minutes for total re-assembly is pretty good I think!
Backpack and Hand-Carry Storage Bag
The first time I took down the crib and tried to get it back into its case, I was worried I’d have to do a lot of wrestling to make it fit.
As it turned out, the folded crib fit pretty well in the bag, but it did require some wrestling and squishing. If the bag was ever-so-slightly larger, I think it’d be much easier.
Overall, the case looks like the other luggage we take on a trip: durable and nondescript.
One thing I love about the travel bag is you can carry it by a normal handle, like other luggage or bags, or you can convert it into a backpack for hands free transporting! I think that makes this travel crib particularly well suited to certain types of trips, such as multi-country trips and long trips that include multiple destinations.
I’m only 5 foot tall, and can wear it comfortably.
The Lotus Travel Crib is Non Toxic
For me, the fact that the Guava is fairly “non toxic” as far as travel cribs go is also important to me!
According to the company (from email communication):
“All materials are 3rd party tested to ensure they are completely free of Lead, PVC, phthalates, flame retardants, formaldehyde, heavy metals (cadmium, arsenic, etc.), PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) that are commonly known as semi-volatile organic compounds (this includes Flourene, Pyrene, Napthalene and many more).
The Lotus Crib and Bassinet have also undergone 3rd party testing for stringent chemical emissions standards and have the GREENGUARD GOLD Certification.”
Design and Extras
My main criticism of this product is it doesn’t come with any extras, such as a sun shade or mosquito net.
This isn’t unusual when it comes to travel cribs, but I still kind of resent shelling out so much for the crib itself, and then still having to find a mosquito net and sunshade solution for some trips.
Guava Lotus vs Baby Bjorn
I have owned both the Baby Bjorn travel crib and the Guava Lotus travel crib at different times, so I feel like I’m in a good position to compare the two.
It’s also worth noting that both are great choices! We used the BabyBjorn A LOT and it was great! Here’s a gratuitous photo of it in our hotel room in Vienna:
Like the Guava, the Baby Bjorn is pretty lightweight and comes packed away in its own carrying case. The BabyBjorn is faster to set up, tear down, and re-assemble after laundering. It’s also easier to get into its carry bag, and dries faster after washing. It uses non-toxic OEKO-TEX certified textiles.
the Guava Lotus shines with the side zip door, which is particularly good for shorter parents or nursing/comforting baby to sleep, has a more convenient carry bag (smaller footprint and backpack straps option), has an optional newborn bassinet, and is Greenguard Gold certified.
I don’t have a hard preference for either, because I have tried both and feel they each have strengths and weaknesses. Rather, I think one or the other is better for certain types of trips and certain types of families (or stages of families, even).
- If you want a newborn bassinet, the Guava Lotus is the only option.
- Ease of use wise (set up, take down, and assembling after washing), the BabyBjorn is the winner, hands down. The Guava is still very good, but not as fast or easy as the BabyBjorn.
- For very short parents, the Guava is the winner. I am 5 foot tall and can use the Babybjorn comfortably with a baby who’s old enough to sit up or stand up, but would struggle to safely lean over the crib and place a newborn on the mattress due to the crib height and my height.
- If you’re going on a short trip to one destination, such as a vacation rental or resort, I would personally choose the BabyBjorn.
- For longer trips and multi-destination trips, such as backpacking through South America or SE Asia, I’d take the Guava Lotus with me due to the backpack option of the carry case, and smaller footprint of the carry bag.
- If your baby is a puker, or tends to get sick on trips, I’d choose the BabyBjorn as it dries much faster after washing than the Guava Lotus, based on my testing of both.
Shop for the Guava Lotus travel crib or the BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light on Amazon.
Guava Lotus Travel Crib Review: Is it Worth It?
For my family, a travel crib has been worth it. We’ve owned three brands – the Guava, a Baby Bjorn, and a Phil and Teds – and so far the Guava is my favorite.
Whether that makes it worth it for your family, however, is up to you.
I wanted to invest in a travel crib to give my daughter some consistency when we were traveling, knowing she’d always sleep in the same bed at night. It also reduced stress showing up to a hotel that couldn’t guarantee they’d have a crib we could rent or borrow, due to a “first come, first serve” policy. Hygiene wise, I definitely felt better knowing we were the only family that used the crib, and I was confident it was clean.
Finally, while lots of destinations tend to offer cribs to guests for free, some destinations charge a lot. When we were in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, we were thankful to have our own travel crib as most hotels charged the equivalent of between $30 and $50 per night to rent one!
I hope this review helps you understand what I think are the pros and cons of the Guava travel crib, and makes it easier for you to choose it (or another travel crib).
If you’d like to purchase, the Guava Family Everywhere crib is available on Amazon.