The other day, we were chatting with Dadonthebrink about our holiday packing; what we’ve taken with us that’s needed and what’s been redundant. (All this bought on by the holiday packing infographic at the bottom of my car travel post) We got talking about one of our investments – the LittleLife Arc 2.
Is a travel cot a baby travel essential? Over the past couple of years our ultra-portable, lightweight travel cot has proven extremely useful in keeping our little ones safe and contained when we are inside less familiar places and outside. There are so many benefits to having a travel cot with us, that by far outweigh the cost, weight and extra item to pack and carry.
We bought our LittleLife Arc 2 just over 3 years ago.
We were headed to Barcelona, staying with friends and then in a hotel. During our previous stay at a hotel in Barcelona we got a really dodgy travel cot and I was reluctant to risk getting one like that again. We took the plunge and invested in one of these little travel essentials.
We have not regretted the money spent, even though it was over £100 when we bought ours.
Over the years this compact little modified tent has come in so handy, because that’s what it essentially is, a dome tent with ultra-light but very sturdy aluminium poles.
What features to look for in a travel cot?
The LittleLife Arc has highlighted the features of an ideal travel cot that have proven super helpful for us in our travels
It is lightweight
At 2.5 kilograms it is light enough to stop you contemplating whether to take it with you in your limited holiday luggage allowance.
It is compact
The Arc 2 comes well-packaged. Everything has it’s neat place in the bag that you can sling over your shoulder. Tent, poles and a nice mattress that stops your little one feeling all but the biggest of lumps and bumps on the ground under them.
It is multi-purpose
It’s both a sleeping pod and a play pen. The top mesh zips away and tucks into a handy little pocket to allow Max to stand up and peer over the side. It was very sweet when he was doing this and not very secure on his feet yet. He kept on bopping up and down.
It is safe
The Arc has always made me feel that we have provided a safe sleeping place for, first, Hugo, and now, Max.
Insect nets make up the majority of it’s side panels. It protects the baby for stinging, bighting, blood sucking, flying, creeping and crawling little buggers, yet it is well ventilated. When I get devoured, Max is happily unharmed.
It’s also a playpen (aka the baby jail at those times) for when we’re busy lighting a fire, cooking dinner or doing other things which are bit more risky with a little explorer roaming under your feet or out of your sight.
Probably the only drawback is that the structure can topple over. It is very light afterall! So you do need to be sensible about securing it: the travelcot comes with some peg holes (for pegging it into the ground) and with some elastic bands (for securing it to the leg of sturdy furniture).
It is relatively robust
The sturdy asymmetrical frame stands up to a fair bit of bashing. Hugo, now 4, loves joining his brother in the playpen; climbing in and out over the top, putting his weight on the poles. They’ve stood up to the battering so far, though we try to pay attention and stop him climbing over. (Problem mostly solved!)
It is quick to set up
Putting the Arc 2 up or taking it down takes less than 5 minutes.
The blue pole goes in where the blue tabs are and the silver pole where the grey tabs are. Simples!
We’ve recently started camping again (…I know! Camping with a baby!!!) and, for now, I wouldn’t dream of not having this with us! It serves as Max’s sleeping pod. With the side panel down (…once we are bug-free inside) I sleep next to him knowing that he has his own space and I can’t impinge on that.
In the cold, I threw a fleece blanket over the top of the Arc and while I was freezing my butt off, he was snug in his own little microclimate without the risk of overheating.
This past weekend, Max has had some very peaceful nap under the trees in his LittleLife Arc, while those of us sunbathing nearby were flicking ants and all sorts of tickling bugs off ourselves. In the heat, he enjoyed the breeze that passes through the mesh sides and had a very good nap indeed.
Based on our experience, I’d class the LittleLife Arc 2 as a definite baby travel essential.
What are your must-have baby travel essentials?
Disclosure: I have NOT been paid or any other way compensated for this post, I bought the product and am reviewing it based on our own experiences.
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