Let me tell you, the market is flooded with baby travelling products stating they are the lightest, best quality, most functional and most necessary. But when you have just two packs on your back most of these are not practical for nomadic travel. And who wants to be that family carrying lots of luggage through an airport!
So apart from the obvious nappies, clothes, food and entertainment what else does a toddler need for the open road? After much research here are the bare essentials we are going with and we will give you our verdict along the way.
1. Kinder Kot (now called Peuter Luxe Travel Dome)
This was the smallest travel cot we could find that fits into our pack (well Chris’ pack). This tent-like structure has a thin inflatable mattress and just pops up as you take it out of the bag. It has built in mosquito netting which is also good for ventilation. The downside of this product is the mattress is a little thin, but we pop a blanket or doona on the floor to lift it off the ground. Also the sheet doesn’t stay on the mattress, so I sewed a couple of elastic cotton sheets to take on the trip.
This product always has rave reviews so we purchased one of the Ergobaby travel collection. I tried it twice in Melbourne without much success, but hoping if we are in amongst a bustling street with a tired boy, he might just want to get in. However, so far the thought of carrying a 12kg baby in 30degree heat doesn’t look that appealing!
I cringe when I see harness’ being used as I am sure most of you do, but it was a ‘just in case’ purchase. Jack is in the Mr. Independent phase and loves to walk, but when you are in a busy market or walking on the road amongst bikes, this has to be a useful thing right? It is yet to come out of the bag, and I’m not sure I can bring myself to use it!
We have prepared for the worst with our first aid kit, particularly as we don’t have a fixed itinerary. Stay tuned for a ‘what’s in our kit’ post soon.
It was always the plan to purchase an inexpensive stroller in Ho Chi Minh City when we arrived, and so after carrying Jack around for most of the first day, the mission was on to find a baby shop. After a 30min search we found our first store and the perfect inexpensive looking stroller – lightweight, compact, recline position and quick to fold. But the love affair ended when we were told the stroller cost approx $500 AUD. We thought we had calculated the exchange rate incorrectly, but then decided it was just a very expensive store. Not everything is cheap in Vietnam!
Next stop, the second store just down the street. Jack quickly found his place in a very realistic mini car whilst we inspected the strollers. The shop assistant seemed to find it strange we came in asking for the cheapest stroller they had, but soon presented us with two options. We settled on the Seebaby, which looks like a wheelchair crossed with a shopping trolley. It has all the functions we were looking for and for the small cost of $32 AUD.
We are not sure how long it is going to last on the streets of Vietnam, and I have considered putting a stack hat on Jack as a safety precaution, but it is exactly what we need for the short term.
We will review the products along the way. Some might stay with us for the journey, others might be left behind or traded in for something better.