Everybody loves to travel! Exploring the globe brings new experiences with new cultures and new people to you in ways staying at home never can. And when you have a family, its important that traveling be as easy as possible, right? Today we’re going to look at two ways travel can get a little easier when you have a little one to bring along for the ride. These two travel play yards will give your tike somewhere fun to hang out while you unwind – another traveling must!
What is the best pack and play?
The two travel play yards we’ll be looking at today are the Graco Pack n Play On the Go Travel Play Yard, and the Lotus Travel Crib and Portable Baby Play Yard. Both are equip with some versatile features, but lets see how they stack up against each other in terms of durability and quality, ease of use, and style and functionality. We’ve gathered the collective opinions of Amazon.com users to provide you with their combined reviews of these two products.
The main features of the Graco Pack and Play are:
• Durable Frame, Ideal for Travel
• Automatically Folding Feet and Wheels
• Quick and Hassle Free Closing
• Handy Wheels for Convenience
The main features of the Lotus Travel Crib are:
• Easy Setup and Easy to Carry
• Breathable ClearView Mesh Exterior
• No Flame Retardants
• Large Mattress, 42”x 24”
Let’s see how these guys compare? Game on!
Durability and Quality
Ok, so I lugged this thing 400 miles to Seattle, but is it going to make it another ten days before I lug it all the way home?
Graco users reported their play yard to be top quality for such an affordable low price, which is always important. The quality must be in line with the price, or you can’t really call it quality, can you? Lotus users however felt there were a couple limitations to their product. One, they felt like stakes should have been included with the Lotus to keep it in place (it doesn’t have sturdy legs like the Graco) and two, they felt that it should have included removable mesh at the top of the playpen, to keep leaves and such from falling into it. What a mess! This would also help to keep bugs out…. Always a good thing! Additionally, although the Lotus was universally popular, some users did feel like the price was too high.
One BIG drawback for users of the Graco is that the materials used are loaded with flame-retardants. The more they learned about this, the more users limited its use with their child, to the point where they ended up ditching it altogether and buying another travel play yard that was chemical free. The Lotus on the other hand is one of those chemical free play yards, which gives it a big advantage with anxious parents.
Another draw back of the Graco that users reported was the mattress being a little to thin. A few users went out and bought an additional foam pad to make the play yard more comfortable. If your product requires buying additional products to enjoy it, that doesn’t say much about the quality of your product, does it? Although to be fair to the Graco, Lotus users also reported their mattress being to thin and going out to purchase an additional pad. Perhaps babies are just too picky?
Ease of Use
Now that I’ve got it here, how easy is this puppy to use? Chances are you aren’t going to be excited about struggling to put your toddler in play-land after a long trip. Your travel play yard should be easy to assemble and use. If not, what benefit is it really bringing you? If it takes you longer to setup then it would take you to MacGyver your own out of folding chairs and paper bags, then you know something is wrong!
Most users of the Graco reported it was incredibly easy to setup and put away. It also takes up a very small amount of storage space. One woman reported how easy it was to assemble even though she was only two days away from her due date – wow! This feedback was not universal, however. Some users did find the Graco difficult to setup. However, the majority found it easy to setup, and you can tell from its four and a half star ratings, it’s a very popular product indeed. Users of the Lotus also reported it was very easy to unpack, setup, and then put away. Users also mentioned the Lotus being incredibly lightweight – another bonus!
One Graco user also pointed out another draw back – its about ½” too large to fit through a standard door frame assembled. This to me seems like a BIG oversight by the manufacturer, who should have taken this type of information into consideration during the design process of their product.
Style and Functionality
So how do I look? Never under estimate the value of style when it comes to accessories for your little ones. You can’t have them playing in just some frumpy old thing, right?
Many people enjoyed the color of the Graco play yard, stating that it was very pretty. Personally, I think its rather pretty myself! I wasn’t able to ask any babies if they found it to also be pretty, but their parents sure did! Although users found the play yard to be attractive, they did report that it was a little simple, and that it would have been nice if there was a little more going on with the design – “no bells and whistles” as one user put it. Regardless of how many bells and whistles it may have, users felt the Graco functioned exactly as it should and provided an excellent play are for their tots. The Graco also comes in a variety of colors, which is always a benefit in terms of finding a product that matches your décor nicely.
Users also reported the Graco had a very large play space, which made it a real winner with the kids. Functionally, the Lotus also received high marks, especially because it’s impossible for children to climb out of it!
Although few users pointed it out, one thing I have to say about the Lotus – it looks strange! It’s almost shaped like some kind of insect pod, which creates a very unusual look when its setup in lets say the back yard. However if parents didn’t find it to be a problem, I can hardly fault it simply because it doesn’t meet my expectations!
Which Play Yard is the Best
Although both products have a stellar review on Amazon.com, I will have to go with the Lotus. ALTHOUGH I still find it to look like a strange insect house, there were so many five star reviews of the play yard (not to mention its overall five star rating) it was hard to argue with. Users found it the most easy to use, most pleasant to use, and the least difficult to put away. Another big advantage with the Lotus over the Graco is that it’s 100% flame retardant free – something the Graco could just not compete with. Dollar for dollar, inch for inch – the Lotus is your best bet !
(Full disclosure: Both links lead to amazon because i think they are the best when it comes to shipping baby product. Their prices are usually really competitive and i can just send stuff back if there is a problem with the item in question. I’m busy enough with my kids so this takes a load of my shoulders 🙂 )