Buying a travel cot can be a daunting experience. With many products on offer, very little you can do once you are on holiday if the travel cot is no good, and no way of telling how your little one will take to the travel cot in question, it is not an easy buying decision!
For me, having spent some time researching the options available (well, as many of them as I could given the vast array of options out there!), I decided to go for one that is perhaps less of a traditional cot and more of a tent: the Little Life Arc 2.
With the travel cot weighing in at under 3kgs, you can take it on a plane as hand luggage (if you put the cot poles in your main luggage) and the cot is also suitable from birth. You carry it like a rucksack on your back and it really is light when you have it on. All in all, there seemed to be no downside in choosing the Little Life Arc 2.
Looking like a tent, rather than a standard four poster construction travel cot, the Little Life is relatively simple to assemble. It comes with a main tent and two pole arcs as well as a mattress and sheet. There are only a few parts required for construction indoors.
For me, the tent poles were a little fiddly, although the instructions that came with the travel cot were clear, and the only real issue here was having enough space to put the poles together whilst not poking anyone walking by! Once constructed and put into their appropriate holes, the tent feels very secure and forms the arc that you can see below.
Using it on our most recent holiday, our 3 month old baby had no issues at all sleeping on a relatively hard floor on the mattress the cot came with. This is despite the fact that the mattress does not at first glance appear to be thick enough to be suitable for a little baby. The mattress actually comes with a little sheet as well to help you keep it nice and clean over the course of a holiday.
The only negative point I have to mention with the mattress is that it has velcro to attach it to the tent structure. This is rather fiddly and the hardest part of the cot to assemble in my opinion. As well as this, it doesn’t seem to fit too snugly inside the tent; it curls over slightly at the corners but this is an aesthetic concern rather than a safety one.
With regards to access into the tent for adults, the top opening was highly useful as a back saver and helped us to get our little one out in a very narrow area beside our bed.
For more spacious areas, and when your little one might be getting in and out of the cot themselves (I have heard of these being suitable for children up to two years old and perhaps even older), there are easy to use side entrances.
All in all, this product offers good value for money, easy construction and avoids the real notion of having to feel like you are taking an enormous travel cot that weighs a lot with you on holiday. The downside is that it doesn’t really double up as a play pen, which some travel cots do, and you have to be aware that the cot itself may be usable outdoors but you’d would need a waterproof cover and a bit of bravery to do this!