Littlelife Arc 2
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Travel cots need to be portable, and LittleLife’s Arc 2 is an ultra-lightweight, tent style product that is geared towards parents who want something compact and easy to transport. Parent company Lifeventure specialise in outdoor technical gear and this is a cot that openly states that you’re a traveller who happens to have a baby, not a parent lugging an entire nursery around whenever you leave the house.
What’s in the box?
- The Arc 2 travel cot doesn’t come in a box, it comes in a handy rucksack.
Any additional extras?
There’s a separate sunshade available for £14.99 which provides protection from UV rays at SPF30, although Catherine was more impressed with how dark it made her secret house. I found it also made the cot ultra dark for summer sleeping – really good if you’re travelling without blackout blinds or camping and you don’t want to be up at sunrise.
I was immediately struck by how lightweight it is – just 2.5kg. I’ve used a Graco Pack N Play travel cot in the past that weighs a whopping 12.1kg. The Arc 2 is compact, with the rucksack measuring around 25cmx40cmx32cm – and with a bit of squeezing it would squash down further. It’s the size of a standard daypack and has comfortable padded straps for carrying.
How was it to assemble?
It was quite easy, the instructions are straight-forward. I am not a tent expert and it only took me four minutes to assemble the framework. The poles are folded into sections and joined with an elastic cord, measuring 2.6m when fully extended. That meant I needed quite a bit of room to assemble the cot and had to ensure my curious three-year-old Catherine was safely out of the way first.
Once both poles are threaded through you have to bend them into arcs to give the cot its unique structure. At first I worried I was forcing the poles – the instructions tell you to use ‘gentle pressure’ which is difficult to gauge. But the cot feels robustly made and the poles went into place smoothly.
There are tension straps on two of the four corners that are tightened to ensure the cot is rigidly put up. According to the instructions these should be marked ‘Pull to Tighten’ but they aren’t – luckily they are easy to identify
What was the mattress like?
The foam mattress is fixed down with three strips of heavy duty Velcro and this stayed in place even with my energetic toddler and wriggling 13-month-old Hannah playing in it. It felt quite thin – similar to an adult’s camping mat – but Hannah slept happily and I had to remind myself that small children don’t need thick mattresses like heavier adults.
The mattress sits on the floor which means the Arc 2 has no weight limit and will therefore last you a long time – until your toddler is too tall to fit in. Catherine is 97cm tall and still fitted comfortably onto the 70cmx120cm mattress.
Can children get in and out of the cot by themselves?
No, I was concerned my children would be able to unzip the front panel and escape their sleeping quarters but there’s a very secure safety toggle to the outside of the zip. Catherine was particularly amused when my husband got trapped in the cot in a game of hide and seek and had to be rescued by me.
The top panel zips undone and folds away so little fingers can’t play with it, and the front panel also zips right down. My children loved playing inside the cot, crawling in and out using it as a den. This feature would also be great for parents used to sleeping with their children to the side of them – you can lie on the floor next to the Arc 2 with the front panel down and soothe an upset baby.
Can the cot be used indoors and out?
Yes, there are four tether straps on the corners of the cot, which I used around the legs of a bed to keep the cot secure. There are also tent pegs supplied so the Arc 2 can be used outdoors.
I was really impressed with the mesh panels to the sides and top of the cot. They gave me good visibility and when fully zipped up they would provide complete protection against mosquitoes and other undesirable bugs out in the wilds.
What do you think of the style of the cot?
The cot itself is made from green tent-style material with grey mesh sides and a fully zipped grey mesh top panel. The asymmetric design is formed when two poles are slotted through long pole sleeves across the top of the cot and although that sounds complicated it is quite easy.
Did it take up a lot of room?
No, the Arc 2’s floorprint is 85cmx133cm although if you were pegging it down you’d need slightly more space with the tether straps. The poles don’t stick out far from the edge of the tent – in the past I’ve used an older model Phil and Ted’s and tripped over the legs on my way out of the room – waking baby.
The Arc 2 is great for seasoned travellers who need a lightweight travel cot which won’t take up half the carboot or weigh you down on the train or plane. It’s excellent value because it doubles as a playtent and sunshade for summer fun. The grey and green colour scheme suits LittleLife’s outdoorsy ethos and looks good in the garden – the neighbours will be suitably impressed.