Is it worth investing in a travelling high chair?

Helping feed your infants when you’re on the move

I think any parent knows how critical a piece of equipment a high chair is at mealtimes for your weaning baby or toddler at home. But just how essential is a high chair when you are travelling?

We used to make do with sharing the holding duties if a high chair wasn’t available away from home. However, once you have multiple children this can become extremely challenging and impractical.

Not all destinations are built the same when it comes to kiddy gear such as high chairs (and safety standards vary considerably around the world!). So is it worth bringing your own portable high chair? Will it reduce your mealtime stresses or is it just another piece of baby kit to lug around when you travel?

We have a comprehensive guide here on how to feed your baby on the move, but in this post, we are going to specifically look at portable travel high chairs and which might suit you & your baby best. We will cover:

  • Different styles of portable high chairs
  • Features to look for in a good travel high chair
  • Best portable high chairs on the market

This post is part of our tried & tested family travel product reviews

Baby in a high chair
Will you need to bring a portable high chair with you when you travel?

What to look for in a portable high chair

Styles of portable highchairs

There are four different styles of portable high chair perfect for travel:

  • Clamp-on chairs – a foldable high chair with a metal frame and cloth seat with a harness that can clamp on to the actual table.
  • Booster seats – usually made of plastic and designed to sit on top of an existing dining chair to bring your baby up to table height, or can be used on the ground with their own tray.
  • Cloth High Chair – a lightweight material wrap around a dining chair to keep babies and toddlers secure at the table but does not increase their height.
  • Foldable chair for toddlers – these are complete chairs with their own tray but varying heights that can fold away.

Features to look for in a portable high chair

It’s a question of how much do you want to spend – and at what point does portability outweigh practicality? What sort of travel will you be undertaking with your baby or toddler – short day trips to the park or big city adventures?

Portable high chair features – Portability

For me, this is really number 1 when looking at travel high chairs. If I am going to bring an extra item for the baby (after already no doubt packing a diaper bag, a stroller, a carrier, a portacot) do I really need ANOTHER separate piece of kit? Will it fit neatly in my diaper bag or under my stroller? Does it come with its own carry bag? How much does it weigh?

Portable high chair features – Weight capacity

Generally speaking, high chairs are used from around 6 months to 3-years of age, but this can vary vastly by child. Many are very happy to sit independently as soon as they can, others love the comfort of their own chair bringing them to your height. Portable high chairs whilst safe, may not be as sturdy for a heavier child.

Portable high chair features – safety

It goes without saying how incredibly important this is. The whole point of having them in a chair is that they are secure. Just how small or wriggly is your child? Will a 3-point harness suffice? Or do you need a 5-point harness (that straps over the shoulders as well)?

Portable high chair features Functionality

How easy is it to set up the high chair up on the go? How easy is it to clean? Does it have a washable cover? Can food get inside any small holes? How does it store away?

Portable high chair features – value for money

Are you going to be needing a portable high chair on many occasions or just a one-off trip? Is this a “just in case”back up or will it get used daily?

Research your destination as best as possible to see what might be supplied and what the norm is for cafe’s and restaurants if you are dining out. On the rare occasion you cannot get a high chair, would feeding your baby in their stroller suffice?

Best Binoculars For Your Little Explorers
2 red high chairs
Not all cafe’s and restaurants when you travel will have high chairs available

Still think you might get a good bit of use our of a portable high chair? Great, read on!!!

The best travelling high chairs

See all of our favourites compared here, then read on for more details for when we think these portable high chair options may suit your travel needs:

 ProductStyleWeightKey features
phil&teds Lobster Clip-On HighchairClamp-onProduct 3.8lbs
Max load 37lbs
folds small 14"x13"x3"
Easy wash
Inglesina Fast Table ChairClamp-onProduct 4.2 lbs
Max load 37lbs
Fits tables up to 3.5"
Easy to wash
Folds flat
Mountain Buggy Pod Clip-On HighchairClamp-onProduct 2.2 lbs
Max load 33lbs
ultralight & small
easy clean
Chicco Caddy Hook-On ChairClamp-onProduct 5.8lbs
Max load
easy clean
fits more table types
beep seat
The First Years On-The-Go BoosterBoosterProduct 15.8oz
Max load 50lbs
Self inflates
Very light
Ingenuity SmartClean Toddler Booster SeatBoosterProduct 3lbs
Max load 110lbs
easy clean
lasts until toddler
Bumbo Multi SeatBoosterProduct 4.17lbs
Max load not specified
Solid plastic
3-point harness
Use from young age
Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster SeatBoosterProduct 2.5lbs
Max age 24mths
Easy clean
Waist strap
My Little Seat Travel Highchair WrapProduct 5.6oz
Max load 35lbs
5-point harness
Easy Seat Portable Travel High ChairWrapProduct 8oz
Max load unspecified
Extra shoulder straps
ciao! Baby Portable High Chair for TravelChairProduct 7lbs
max load 50lbs
5-point harness
Nylon material
Cup holder
Summer Infant Pop N'Sit BoosterChairProduct 4.5lbs
Max load unspecified
3-point harness
easy fold

Best Clamp-on Portable High Chairs

We love how these work in theory, but execution can be very variable depending on where to are dining. They are a safe and secure option though and see your baby right up close to the action: Our favourites are:

phil&teds Lobster Clip-On Highchair

This is our favourite of the table clip-on variety. Despite its size, it’s really super light to carry and folds down pretty flat when not in use into its own carry bag (It can fit in the bottom of your stroller or if your lucky, into a backpack/diaper bag).

The lining is machine washable and it includes a 5-point safety harness suitable to 37lbs and a removable tray table. This one’s pretty durable and works surprisingly well still even with a wiggly little one (and it looks good!)

It’s downfall – which is common to all the clip-on varieties we’re going to mention here – is finding the right table to connect it to. The clamps need the table to have a wide enough “lip” (it can handle table thickness from 0.8″ to 3.75″ to grab on to). Sadly it didn’t work on our table at home and we eventually sold ours, as cool and practical as it looked.

See also: Our review of the phil&teds Traveller carry cot – one of the lightest portable cots on the market.

Inglesina Fast Table chair

Also using the clamp-on style, this fancy number has a little pouch in the back of its washable cover which easily removes after use. Coming with its own travel bag and available in a variety of colours it is good from around 6 months until 37lbs and provides a 3-point safety harness.

There is little separating it in our option from the phil&teds, we do like the colour range but for practical purposes, it does the same job. We don’t like that you need to pay separately for the tray, and it is a little bigger, dimensions and weight (14″ x 17″ x 4″ folded).

Mountain Buggy Pod Clip-On High Chair

This is the absolute smallest and lightest in the clamp-on range we could find, weighing in at just 2.2lbs. Clamps to tables with a thickness of 0.8″ to 2″ (slightly more restrictive than the previous two) with rubber pads to avoid table damage.

If you want something super small but sturdy this will do the job, though better for your smaller infants with a max weight of 33lbs. Comes in three colours and with a carry bag and is washable.

See also: Love your lightweight but sturdy Mountain Buggy gear? See our review of the Mountain Buggy Nano ultra-compact stroller

Chicco Caddy Hook-On Chair

This is the biggest and heaviest of the clamp on variety but still folds quite flat and includes a 3-point safety harness, washable, but no carry bag.

The larger clamps on this one undoubtedly add weight but do make it more versatile as it can fit around tables that have skirts (that beam of wood underneath). They recommend between 0.75″ and table skirts up to 5.5″ including tabletop).

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Best Booster Portable High Chairs

We start to see slightly higher weight capacity as we move into the booster seat range which attaches to the dining chair rather than the table. They also tend to be a little bulkier than the clamp-on variety of high chair, so bear this in mind for when you’re transiting with your baby gear.

Here are our top picks for portable boosters:

The First Years On-The-Go Booster Seat

A self-inflating booster! This one actually weighs in super light for a full booster and has a single strap under the chair. Suitable from 9 months and up to 50lbs this is better for your larger infants.

The product zips back up inside itself and is less than a 1lbs making it excellent for frequent travellers, no compromises on safety with a 3-point harness and easy wipe surface. No tray or other accessories included.

Bumbo Multi Seat

Now I’ll admit be LOVED our Bumbo at home on the floor, however, we are dubiously putting it here in the portable category as we have used it on the move too! It’s great for in the garden, picnics and camping and as it’s quite supportive can be used before 6-months.

It comes with a 3-point harness to keep baby snug and secure and a detachable tray that can store on the bag when not in use. Retractable straps allow it to be strapped on to a chair and it has an easy-to-clean plastic surface. It comes in a variety of fun colours to suit your decor!

Yep, it’s a little bulkier than some and doesn’t have a carry bag or shoulder strap. However if you want something practical for at home, and a booster for when you’re on the move for the littlest ones, this is my value-for-money pick.

Ingenuity SmartClean Toddler Booster Seat

A straight forward strap on booster that can work stand-alone on the floor much like the Bumbo, or strapped to a dining chair with a 3-point harness and a base and back strap. The seat part easily detaches from the base for easy cleaning.

Again, this isn’t entirely designed for the travel market. but it is super light for what you get so does classify as being portable, at a slightly cheaper pricing point than Bumbo too.

Fisher-Price Healthy Care Booster Seat

A little bit bulky but easy to clean, dishwasher safe tray and can connect to a standard dining chair with straps. It is light, it is cheap – is it really that portable though?

It attaches to just about any chair and is secured with a bottom strap and a back strap, with a third strap around the child’s waist. We like the built-in sippy cup feature, and the fact it has a shoulder strap for carrying but is the heaviest of this variety of portable seat. Good if you are leaving it at a relatives house for occasional use, for example.

Best Cloth High Chair

My Little Seat Travel Highchair

A durable fabric that wraps around a standard chair. It comes with a 5-point harness and is suitable from approximately 6 months (must be able to sit unaided) through to 35lbs.

It comes in a good range of colourful unisex designs and folds down to about the same size as a diaper so highly portable! (in fact, we even fit one of these inside our baby sling for big city travel days!)

Easy Seat Portable Travel High Chair

An incredibly sturdy fabric that fits over most chair types and includes a harness to wear over the shoulders for extra security. Fits chairs to a max height 16″ and 19″ width. It’s a “one click” secure then adjust the fasteners to tighten to your child’s size.

The product is machine washable and folds back into a tiny bag making it one of the best here for portability, yet sturdy. At a top value price point too so no big investment needed for a little extra convenience.

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Foldable High Chair

This sort of chair is best for your outdoor adventures nearer to home. They are not as light and compact as the above-mentioned brands for overseas travel, but they work for safety and sturdiness that you can still easily move away from the kitchen at home.

Ciao! Baby Portable High Chair for Travel

This is an easy fold-out model that still gives your child some height to join you at the table when you’re away from home. It is a little weighty coming out at 7lbs and its quite long when its folded up (32″)

The parts don’t come apart for cleaning so you will need to sponge (or hose) this type of portable high chair down, but a great outdoorsy option with durable fabric. We like the built-in cup holder but note its not a hard surface tray.

Summer Infant Pop N’Sit Portable booster

Another portable high chair best suited for picnics, the beach and camping, it sits lower to the ground. It comes with its own hard tray and available in three colours.

A 3-point harness keeps your infant secure – but I can hardly see you pulling this one out in a city cafe? great for day excursion nearer to home though.

Globetrotters Recommend – Best Portable High Chair

So are portable high chairs worth the investment? Yes and no!

Sorry to leave you in the lurch, we have invested in three different designs and each had their pros and cons at every stage. The clamp-on in our mind is the best portable model, but it is so dependent on the table type you will get.

We really didn’t get as much use out of the cloth wrap style of high chair as we thought we would but I certainly kept it in our diaper bag for many years “just in case” – worthy of an investment as a backup.

If you are a regularly outdoorsy and camping family, it’s very much worth considering the fold-out variety while you’re infants are still very small.

So over to you, which travel high chair do you think works best for you and your family, or will you stick with improvising and carrying less gear? 

Further family travel product reviews

You may also find these family travel product reviews helpful in preparing you for next trip with kids:

All our Tried and tested product reviews live here – let us know if there are any products you don’t see and we’ll get these reviewed for you!

Want to see your product reviewed? See our Work with Us page.

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Portable High Chairs with several varieties of high chair

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