Kidco PeaPod Plus

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The PeaPod is a travel bed for kids. My kids have outgrown it now, but this was the best thing when they were little and we were on the road a lot.

It replaces the traditional travel crib (sometimes called a pack-and-play). We had one of those, and it was huge and heavy. When my daughter was young, I think we flew 14 times her first year of life. The first few times we checked the old travel crib. It was heavy, bulky, and difficult to deal with when we had her as well. Impossible if it was one of us traveling with her.

The PeaPod folds up and is no bigger/heavier than a large diaper bag. It will pack right in with a car seat when traveling by air. When traveling on the road or even just across town, it packs and unpacks easily. It afforded us a much more convenient and easy way to travel with kids. It’s usable by one person with no hassle, and the footprint is less than a traditional travel crib. We’ve even taken it camping and set it up inside our tent.

The whole thing is self-contained like those hoop style sun shades. There’s an elastic strap that goes across the diameter of the hoop. When you take the strap off, it pops right open like a self-opening tent because it actually is a self-opening mini tent. It’s just as easy to break down. Two-to-three minutes max to put it up and break it down. You can check out this video to see what’s involved.

It also comes with a sleeping bag that fits perfectly. Depending on the model, it may come with an inflatable mattress. The lower end ones don’t have a mattress (the P201 does). The middle tier come with an inflatable mattress and a manual pump (which is what I use). The higher end units come with a self-inflatable mattress like a Therm-a-rest.

I’m not kidding when I say that it changed the way we travel. I’ll even go so far as to say that we made several international trips with small children that made their sleeping arrangements an afterthought rather than a major concern simply because we had a peapod.

I know baby gear isn’t a typical cool tool kind of post, but it is pretty cool. Overall, it’s just a better solution to the issue of having a safe place for your child to sleep when you’re away from home.

-- Chuck Balog  

Kidco PeaPod Plus P201
$75

Available from Amazon

Manufactured by Kidco