A dadcraft Favorite: The Pea Pod

  by Chris Horst

If you’re like me, you’ve unsuccessfully wrangled with one too many pack-n-plays. Do I lock the sides or push the center down first? I don’t remember, but I know I’ve spent too much of my life getting it wrong. 10 minutes and unspeakable frustrations later, I may or may not have a bed for my sleepy toddler.

Oh, and did I mention that pack-n-plays consume an inordinate amount of my car’s trunk space? I lugged this “portable bed” on a roadtrip for this?

The aim of the pack-n-play is noble. There are a lot of times when kids need beds on the road. Whether it’s because you’re visiting family or friends or vacationing, a totable bed is a parenting must.

The solution we love? The Pea Pod.

The brilliance of the Pea Pod is that it suppresses the challenges of bed/naptimes with the joys of tents. It’s a proven fact that all kids love tents. And so, with a Pea Pod, bed/naptime just got a whole lot cooler. When we first learned about the Pea Pod, we had this initial aversion to zipping our kid in a tent, but all our kids have loved it. In practice, a Pea Pod is no different from a standard pack-n-play. Small children aren’t escaping either.

Here are the other reasons we love our Pea Pod:

  1. It’s portable. It’s easy to fold and unfold and, when collapsed, it’s about the size of a standard laptop bag. At just 7 pounds, it’s easy to haul almost anywhere, even in suitcases. We’ve used ours in three countries and take it with us on just about every trip, near or far. It also doubles as a mosquito net in places where that’s helpful.
  2. It’s inexpensive. At $60, it’s easy on the wallet.
  3. It’s durable. We’ve been using ours for six years, spanning across three children. The travel case is showing its wear, no doubt, but the tent and inflatable air mattress are both in good shape.
  4. It allows for consistency. Because it’s always our kids’ bed-away-from-home, it is a sleep experience they can count on (and we can too).

Most kids don’t love bedtime. Chances are, the Pea Pod won’t revolutionize going to sleep. But going to bed is a nonnegotiable for children, so if you combine the fun of a tent with the challenge of bedtime, you end up with a workable solution.

We say this elsewhere, but it’s worth repeating: This is not a paid/sponsored post. We often use affiliate links when recommending books or products, as we have above. But, if we do publish a sponsored post (and we’re open to that!), we’ll be sure to let you know when we’ve done so.


Check out a few of our other favorites—games, activities, apps, etc. This stuff is all dadproved.

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