As you know, we are always happy to load up our minibus and take our family off on another adventure. The problem is that storage is limited but still, with six children under the age of five alone, there is no end of bulky items such as travel cots and buggies that we need to pack.
Another issue is that travel cots themselves are normally outgrown rather quickly. Our twins are now two-years-old and are now too tall to sleep in travel cots comfortably, but not yet used to sleeping in ‘big beds’. Larger travel cots aren’t easily found and if they are, we find ourselves once again faced with the problem of packing space.
We recently put the NSA UV Travel Centre Deluxe to the test. Not only is it a travel cot but can also be used as an outdoor play tent, as well as a convenient sun shelter offering an impressive sun protection factor (SPF) of 35.
The NSA UV Travel Centre is available is two sizes; the standard, measuring 120cm x 65cm x 50cm, which is suitable for 0-2 years, and the deluxe, measuring 130cm x 75cm x 65cm which is suitable for 0-5 years, and is currently available in blue, red, yellow, green or khaki. Lightweight and portable, both travel centres come with their own carry bag which transport not only the travel centre itself but also the included sleep mat and mattress. Despite this, they are still extremely light to carry at only 2kg for the standard and 2.7kg for the deluxe version. Ground pegs are also included for anchoring the centre outdoors. The space-saving design and considerable weightlessness means that it is convenient enough to carry around on days out or to hang over the buggy handles, making it readily available wherever you are.
With no poles to erect and no complicated set-up involved, the travel centre was terrifically easy to put up. Simply remove from its carry bag, slip off the attached band from around it and it will quickly and effortlessly pop up into shape. The included sleep mat (which is completely washable at 30 degrees, although must be air-dried), is then placed into the base using the velcro attached to keep it in place. The self-inflating mattress is very impressive, needing only a twist of the knob to enable it to suck the air in. In all, it took a mere minute or two to set up – if that.
The travel centre has zippable window flaps on each side of the structure, each of which can be rolled up and held in place with the tags secured to the top. Below these sits a fine insect mesh which can also be fully zipped from inside and out, making it a perfect bug-free haven for little ones to sleep peacefully in at night. The black mesh still allows air in and heat out, although it should be noted that this part itself does not contain UV protection.
I was a little sceptical that a travel cot would be able to comfortably meet the needs of a 5-year-old space and comfort-wise, so was keen to have the younger ones try it out so I could see for myself. Oliver, who turns five in two weeks, was a willing volunteer…
As you can see, it is certainly spacious enough width-ways, allowing him plenty of room for an active night’s sleep. What you cannot see very well in the photograph is that there is also sufficient enough space at either end of his body too.
Libby and Anna were keen to test out their ‘new bed’, as they each called it. Once more, there is plenty of space for them both to stretch out in, although probably not spacious enough that we could get away with allowing both to sleep in it…
But if it can manage two children, would it be spacious enough for three to seek cover from the sun?
Yes, it certainly can.
prising persuading the children out it was time to pack it away again. The instructions were quite basic but clear, yet still I could not do it. It took a few goes before I gave up although it must be said that patience is never my strong point with things like this. I handed it over to Mike who managed to fold it up quite effortlessly, making my attempts to pack it away seem positively embarrassing by comparison.
There were only two very small bug-bears for us with the design; one being that I couldn’t fold it very easily. That, of course, could just be down to my impatience and not reading instructions properly as Mike proved he managed it just fine. Another tiny bug-bear was that there were no ties to roll up the mesh if you wanted to. It seems that you either need to leave them open and hanging or zipped up, but I couldn’t find a way of fastening them up out of the way completely.
Despite the two bug-bears stated, we rated this product very highly indeed. It is exceedingly compact, impressively lightweight and marvelously practical. That it is multi-functional and usable indoors and out makes it even more invaluable. We have tried several travel cots over the years which claim to suitable for older or bigger children, but they often aren’t very much larger in size than standard travel cots. One of the main advantages that we loved was how much less space the NSA UV Travel Centre Deluxe took up than conventional travel cots.
We have one NSA Travel Centre Deluxe worth £89.50 to give away to a lucky winner. Click here for your chance to win!