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The Phil and Teds travel crib (the Traveller) is one of the lightest travel cribs on the market. Weighing in at only 6 Ibs, we had to wonder if the company sacrificed usability to keep the weight down. This review is based on 6 months of personally testing it – keep reading to find out what we think.
We’ve been using the Traveller for about 6 months now. During that time, we’ve used it in 5 different countries, taken it on 8 flights, 1 road trip, and used it as a crib in 3 Airbnbs and 2 hotels, as well as a play yard at our house.
This review of the phil & teds Traveller is based on our personal experiences.
Introducing the Traveller Crib
Frame & Fabric
The Traveller has an aluminum frame that’s super lightweight. This is a key factor in making this one of the lightest travel cribs around, making it great for packing and travel.
The aluminum legs have sturdy plastic feet which attach to the Traveller’s side panels with thick elastic loops. This construction ensures the Traveller is quite sturdy when assembled and standing.
Polyester and nylon make up the sides. Thick nylon wraps the top crib edge (frame) and synthetic mesh forms the breathable side panels.
Mesh Side Panels
The mesh is a great feature in all climates, as it allows ventilation and airflow throughout the crib (ventilation may be a factor in preventing SIDS). In hot weather, in particular, it helps keep baby cool. It certainly gave us some extra peace of mind when we used it with a 4.5-month baby in Mexico.
Another awesome feature is the zip down side panel. On one side of the crib, the mesh panel zips fully open, giving easier access to mattress level when you placing your baby in the crib (or taking him or her out).
Mattress & Bedding
The mattress itself is quite unique. It’s “self-inflating,” which means no messing around with air pumps (or blowing it up yourself). It also meets all safety regulations and is quite firm once inflated.
According to phil & teds, the mattress is “free from health-hazardous substances.” Unfortunately, they don’t tell you what it is made from, which is a shame.
The mattress sheet also has a lot to love. To start with, it’s a slip-on design, so you know it’s going to fit tight with no loose (and hazardous) fabric around your baby. It’s made from an “oeko-tex approved” polyester. OEKO-TEX® has multiple certifications, so the language used on phil & ted’s website isn’t particularly helpful in understanding how toxin-free the crib sheet is.
Using the phil & teds Traveller Crib
The Traveller feels sturdy and well-made, and I feel pretty confident it’s going to outlast our baby’s ability to use it (when she’s two or three years old). If we have another baby, or pass it on to another family, I expect it will last for their kids too – it’s a well-made piece of nursery furniture.
Setting it Up
There are plenty of reviews out there criticizing the Traveller for being difficult to set up. We haven’t found that to be the case. phil & teds have released multiple versions of the Traveller, and we have to wonder if reviews complaining about usability relate to previous versions of the crib.
To be sure, it took a few times before we got the hang of set-up and take down. Also, it’s a bit more complicated than setting up a pack n’ play – it’s more like setting up a tent.
Nowadays, however, we can get the traveller set up in just a few minutes. The mattress requires about 4 minutes to inflate most of the way, but you need to give it 30 minutes or longer for it to fill completely.
Using It With Your Baby
We use the Traveller for day and nighttime sleep, and as a play yard.
One of the most practical features of the Traveller is the zippered side panel. As a short mom (I’m 5’0″), the crib is too tall for me. When the side panel is zipped up, I can’t bend over the crib and reach all the way down to mattress-level. As such, the zip-down panel is a favorite feature.
Now that our baby is 10-months, it’s easier to set her down in the Traveller. We keep the panel unzipped when she’s sitting and playing during the day, which gives her the freedom to practice moving around, but also keeps her a bit protected when she tumbles over. It’s also great for lifting her out of the crib when she wakes-up: if you have back problems, especially, it makes a huge difference.
One of the most surprising things about the Traveller is how darn comfortable it appears to be.
When you first inflate the Traveller’s crib mattress, it’s hard to imagine it could provide enough support for a baby. After 4 or 5 minutes of inflation, you can easily push from the top of the mattress through to the hard floor below. Yikes!
This is definitely a case of “patience is a virtue.”
If leave the mattress air valve open for the recommended 30 minutes (we always try to give it a bit longer), the mattress transforms into a pretty comfy little sleeping platform.
When it’s fully inflated, the mattress measures roughly 1.25″ from the floor to the top of the mattress. If you apply even force to the fully inflated mattress, it feels plush. It doesn’t sink down too much, and you can’t feel the floor below. A baby’s crib mattress should be firm, and it’s kind of astonishing how well the Traveller’s mattress performs. Thin but mighty!
We also love the slip on mattress sheet. It fits perfectly, with no loose fabric, and is very soft to the touch.
Packing & Portability
When we were shopping for a travel pack n’ play, packability (along with weight) was one of our main deciding factors.
We travel a lot on discount airlines in Europe. Often, the cost of our luggage is more than the price of our tickets. Because of this, it’s worth it to keep our luggage to a minimum, which is of course a challenge when you’re bringing a baby along.
The phil & teds Traveller is awesome for packing. It weighs only 6 pounds, and takes up roughly the same amount of space as a thick yoga mat.
Safety & Green Score
The Traveller meets the government safety standards in the countries where it’s sold. What that means really depends on where you live, unfortunately.
Use of Fire Retardants
Whether phil & teds adds flame retardants to the Traveller depends on where you buy it.
As the company isn’t clear about its use of flame retardants online, we reached out to them to ask.
In Europe, “we can confirm that the fire retardant is only a requirement in UK and Ireland.” We interpreted this to mean if you buy a Traveller in continental EU, it won’t have fire retardant added. If you buy a Traveller in the UK/Ireland, it will have fire retardant added.
The company has yet to respond to my query about Traveller cribs sold in the USA and Canada.
Mattress & Bedding Safety
Here’s what the phil & teds website has to say about the mattress and sheet:
baby can rest easy too on the thermally insulated self-inflating mattress, which is covered with an oeko-tex approved fitted sheet & is free from health-hazardous substances for peace of mind.
The wording here is a bit confusing. Is it the sheet that’s “free from health-hazardous substances”? Or the mattress?
The phrase “oeko-tex approved” is equally problematic. The STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® certification is an awesome way to confirm textiles are free from harmful chemicals. The problem is, phil & teds hasn’t actually said the sheet has achieved the OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 certification. The wording is vague, and could refer to one of OEKO-TEX® other certifications. Or it could mean they are using fabric that meets OEKO-TEX® standards, but they haven’t actually gotten the certification.
I looked in the OEKO-TEX® database for phil & teds, and couldn’t find anything listed. It’s possible I used the database incorrectly, and have reached out to both phil & teds and OEKO-TEX® for confirmation. Neither have responded to date.
Overall, we really like our phil & teds traveller. However, we’re also pretty disappointed with the information the company provides online. We still have a lot of question marks about the chemicals and materials used in the Traveller, and it seems like it should be easier to get answers.
Phil and Teds Travel Crib Summary
What’s to Love
- Super lightweight and easy to pack in both checked luggage and carry-on.
- The zip-down side panel is practical for all parents, but it’s especially great if you have a bad back or are short.
- Easy to put together and take apart, making it a good choice for short stays or moving locations every few days (like on a multi-city vacation, for example).
- OEKO-TEX® approved fitted sheet and a mattress that’s free from health-hazardous substances – despite the problems with transparency, it seems phil & teds is moving in the right direction when it comes to harmful chemicals.
- Mid-range pricing – this isn’t the cheapest travel crib out there, but it’s also not the most expensive. If you plan to use it a lot (as we have), it’s easy to see the value and justify the expense.
What We’d Change
- The mattress seems too thin to provide adequate support for a baby, especially older and heavier babies.
- Your Traveller crib may or may not have flame retardants added, depending on where you buy it.
- The company really isn’t very forthcoming about the chemicals used in the crib’s manufacture. We’re still left with a lot of questions about whether this crib is non-toxic.