SpaceCot travel cot

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In a nutshell

A sturdy travel cot with a nifty open-and-close function, making it ideal for regular use around the house, and as a playpen - but not suited to regular travel without a car.

  • Pros

    Easy and fast to put up and down, includes bassinet, doubles as playpen, machine washable fabrics, comfortable mattress, suitable from newborn to 30 months.

  • Cons

    Bulky when collapsed, unsuitable for carrying any distance, too big to take on public transport and planes.

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Our review

Key features of the SpaceCot travel cot

  • Age suitability: Newborn to 15kg
  • Weight: 6.7kg
  • Features: 3 second folding; newborn bassinet
  • Accessories: Carry bag; mattress (included)
  • Colours: Biscuit; Silver; Grey

Designed by a team of engineers from Oxford University, the SpaceCot’s unique selling point is a folding mechanism inspired by satellites (hence the name) that takes three seconds. An impressive boast!

The SpaceCot is now being sold under the Hippychick brand, a British family firm which prides itself on creating and selling good quality and innovative parenting products. It started with the back-saving Hipseat and the SpaceCot is the newest addition to the range, designed to have the comfort and strength of a permanent cot but portability.

Price-wise it is in the higher bracket at £139.99, similar to a Nuna Sena (£120), Joie Excursion (£149.99) and BabyHub SleepSpace (£169) but significantly cheaper than the BabyBjorn Travel Cot Light (£214.99). All have similar age ranges but offer different additional functions.

You can buy the SpaceCot from Hippychick, John Lewis and Amazon.      

First impressions?

I had two contrasting feelings when I got our SpaceCot arrived.

The first was relief that it was ready to go out of the box, looked a doddle to operate and incredibly sturdy and comfortable, with the sleeping level raised off the ground.

The second was disappointment at the size when folded. I’d planned to road test the cot on a short trip to see a friend in Cheshire but I was travelling by train.

SpaceCot is large when folded

There was no way I could carry it while pushing the buggy and lugging a bag, nor would it fit in an overhead or luggage rack. I had to leave it at home and borrow my friend’s one instead.

Not a great start for a product marketed at travel…

Buyer’s guide to travel cots

What’s in the box?

  • Travel cot
  • Bassinet attachment
  • Carry bag

Any added accessories to buy?

It’s not essential, but Hippychick sell a cot sheet and mattress protector made from tencel, a soft and breathable fibre made from biodegradable wood pulp, that costs £19.

How easy is it to put up and down?

I don’t think you could find an easier option. The process is idiot-proof, with little instruction needed. You simply unzip the carry bag, take it out and pull the two ends away from each other. The cot unfolds itself, like the space satellites it is modelled on. The foldable mattress is in the bottom already, so your baby could go from car seat to cot within seconds (and hopefully stay asleep during the transition).

Putting it back down is equally smooth. You press clips on the top hinges on either side, pop a foot under a bottom hinge and push the ends together. It slips back into the bag easily.

This speedy function really came into its own staying at my parents’ static caravan. It fitted perfectly between the double bed and wardrobes in the master bedroom, and we could collapse it between uses so the room had space for getting dressed.

Watch how to fold and unfold the SpaceCot

How portable is it?

This depends on what you are looking for.

The ease and speed of use, along with the handy carry bag, make it ideal for moving around the house and garden. We also popped it in the car boot when going to a friend’s barbecue, allowing Ralph to have a comfortable afternoon nap. Normally we’d have to put him in the buggy and walk around the block until he dropped off.

Both sets of grandparents keep travel cots at their houses for when we visit but they often stay erected in the spare rooms year-round because they are awkward to put up and down. This cot would allow them to free up that space between visits – indeed, between naps.

On the downside, it is very big when collapsed – 81cm x 12cm x 60cm.

For me, this makes it a little unworthy of the ‘travel’ tag. It’s only suitable for travellers using a car – and a larger one at that. While it fitted in the boot of our two-door Seat Ibiza, it took up almost the entire base and everything else had to be packed on top – not ideal if you arrive at your destination late and want to get baby in bed before unpacking the car.

SpaceCot fits in car boot

While our Red Kite Push Me Cube lightweight buggy was compact enough to fit on top, our Stokke Scoot would not. We had a similar boot issue with my mum’s larger four-door Peugeot 208.

Taking it by train is pretty much out of the question. Aside from the awkwardness of carrying the folded cot, it’s too big to easily store on the journey. The handles of the carry bag are also surprisingly short so it cannot be slung over a shoulder.

If you are flying, the SpaceCot wouldn’t fit in anything other than a very large suitcase. You’d have to check it into the hold (although many airlines do allow travel cots as a free piece of luggage when travelling with a little one). It’s far too big for hand luggage.

10 of the best travel cots

How heavy is it?

The Spacecot is 6kg, about the same as the BabyBjorn Travel Cot Light. In comparison, the Nuna Sena is 10kg and the Joie Excursion a whopping 15kg.

But the shape when folded and the short carry bag strap make it awkward for transporting, meaning a heavier cot may actually be easy to travel with. The bassinet attachment adds extra weight if you are taking that too.

If you are after a super light travel cot, the tent style LittleLife Arc2 (£99.99) weighs just 2.5kg, while the Phil & Teds Traveller travel cot (£139) is 2.8kg.

Is it compact?

Yes and no. The 81cm x 96cm x 60cm size when up is roomy and sturdy enough for comfortable sleeping without being intrusive – ideal if you are staying in a spare room, caravan or even a decent sized tent.

SpaceCot is compact when upright

Plus the quick fold means you can close it up between naps and night time – a real plus if space is at a premium.

But the 81cm x 12cm x 60cm when collapsed is far too big. It was also impossible to find a place to store it out of the way in our cosy two-bedroom flat. The only options would be under a bed or normal cot, or on top of wardrobes, but ours are already in use.

In a bigger house, this wouldn’t be so much of a problem. You’d likely leave it in a living room for naptimes when you have a newborn and later as a playpen, with the quick fold making this incredibly convenient.

How does the bassinet work with the travel cot?

The bassinet is suitable for up to 6 months old and simply slips over the top frame of the cot. It’s great because you don’t have to bend right over to reach baby.

We used bassinet fittings on bigger travel cots while staying with family when Ralph was younger and would use our Sleepyhead in them. While this cot is more compact, it would still house a Sleepyhead or similar bed nest.

How comfortable is it for your little one?

SpaceCot is very comfortable

Very. We had a test run at home when we had guests staying in Ralph’s room and he went down in it happily. Although he awoke at 4.30am, I think that was due to the disruption rather than the cot.

Our next outing was staying at a caravan in West Wales for a couple of days. He slept well on both nights and napped happily too. The mattress is a little firm but that’s standard in travel cots.

Does it double as a playpen?

Yes, albeit a little compact for children 12 months and older. Ralph started walking around the time we took ownership of the SpaceCot, so didn’t take too kindly to being restrained and we didn’t use that function much.

SpaceCot doubles as a playpen

But it would have been a Godsend in the months prior, for leaving him to play while making a loo stop or cooking. The sides are high enough and the structure solid enough that you don’t feel worried about a standing or heavy baby toppling it.

Who would the product be most useful for?

Parents or grandparents looking for a convenient second cot and playpen option, rather than regular travellers. It’s best for those who value convenience of use over ease of transportation. Also people with a car – I would not recommend it if you don’t and have to travel by public transport.

Is it value for money?

At £139.99, it’s on the expensive side and would only be worth investing in if you want that easy second cot or playpen at home, or a spare cot to leave at a grandparent’s house for regular sleeping. Admittedly you can get cheaper options but these generally need to be left up if you are using them regularly and that can take up valuable space.

If you want a light and compact cot for travelling with, you’d be better investing in a BabyBjorn or LittleLife Arc 2. But even the Red Kite Sleeptight folds smaller, isn’t much heavier and mums report it being pretty easy to put together.

MadeForMums verdict:

The SpaceCot is easy to use, light and sturdy, with good longevity and both bassinet and playpen functions. It’s also pretty comfortable for regular sleeping and has machine washable fabrics for hygiene.

But it was not the travel cot for us. What you gain from ease of use, you lose in portability. Given the price tag, it’s a shame this was not considered in the design process. Something as simple as a longer strap on the carry bag could make a huge difference.

To my mind, the novelty of putting it up in three seconds as opposed to a couple of minutes at most for a bargain basement Red Kite or smaller fold BabyBjorn (the carrybag is almost half as long) is not worth the lack of travel versatility.

We’ve got more on travel with a baby here…

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