travel with kids: kidco sleep tent review

One of my main worries about traveling with a not-yet-one year old for the duration of seven weeks through five countries was how sleep would fare. T. and I decided early in our planning that we wanted to pack a bed for C. rather than rent or borrow cribs at our various destinations. Our motivations were manifold:

  • some hotels charge for a baby crib rental (so we might as well buy one and have it for future use)
  • when staying with friends and family, we didn’t want to burden them with finding a baby bed for us
  • what if we got to a hotel and none was available?
And most importantly, by packing our own travel bed for her…
  • she would have the same bed every nap and every night during a time of constant change and disruption of her routine
We did consider co-sleeping while on the trip but decided against it because having her sleep in our bed would mean having to supervise her to keep her from rolling off the bed and injuring herself. Since we wanted to be able to put her to bed and then still visit with friends and family, we needed a sleep solution that didn’t require us to be in the room with her every time she slept.

{Napping on our bed in Prague}

We chose the KidCo PeaPod travel tent because it received good reviews, it folds up to a small disc that can easily fit into a carry-on even (it fit into our Tom Bihn Aeronaut carry-on bag), and it’s completely enclosed, keeping baby from rolling off and bugs or mosquitos from sneaking in. This is how the tent folds up and here’s what ours looked like in its compressed state (item #7 in our packing list here).


The travel tent made it with us from the Smoky Mountains in Georgia to San Francisco, Romania, Prague, Munich, and Vienna. It held up well with all the use and was perfect for C. having her same familiar space each night at bedtime. During the day, we usually stowed the tent away in a corner of our room or on top of a closet, leaving it handy for naps taken indoors (opposed to in the stroller and on the go). We did not take an air pump with us as it was easy enough to inflate the matdress with the power of our lungs :)

IMG_5394 IMG_5124

{the tent, out of earshot in our room in Prague and stowed out of the way in our room in Munich}

We really had no complaints about the sleep tent. C. got used to sleeping in a tent right away and we loved how small and efficient it was for all our travel needs. We traveled by train from country to country in Europe, carrying all of our belongings between destinations, and so we needed things to be as light and manageable as possible. The sleep tent fit the bill and proved one of our favorite travel purchases this summer.

{This post was not solicited or compensated by KidCo and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.}

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12 Responses to travel with kids: kidco sleep tent review

  1. Lisa says:

    What a great review! I wish I could have read it before we went travelling with our baby this summer. She slept in travel cots for four weeks while we were visiting family, but they proved to be very uncomfortable for her and she slept worse than when we are at home – something I hadn’t anticipated. How long do you expect the KidCo will be useful for baby C? I’m wondering if we should consider getting one for future trips, as our baby is (a big) seven months old already.

  2. Some friends of mine have a tent and LOVE it! I wish we had known about them five years ago. We definitely would have invested in one of those over a pac n play, which is clunky and heavy and takes up too much room! I’ll be passing this review on to my preggers friends!

  3. Christina says:

    That is really ingenious – I wish we had thought of something like that in our earlier years. *sigh* we were the co-sleeping family which is not great during travel and unfamiliar surroundings.

  4. Tiffany says:

    I am pregnant and registering for our first child – we hope to take Baby on an interntational trip to Europe around month 5 (my leave coincides with my husband’s summer teaching break, so we feel like we have to take advantage of it, and we love travelling in Europe – we’ve gone almost every year for the past 6). I’ve been looking at which travel crib to register for – I was interested in the Peapod, but was nervous about the negative review posted on Amazon regarding potential suffocation. Since you have used this crib, do you have any thoughts on the comments on Amazon? Also, can you suggest any other registry must-haves in preparation for international travel with a little one? Thanks!!

    • simplybike says:

      Hi Tiffany,

      I did see all the comments about the risk of suffocation but as our daughter was pretty mobile by the time we used it, I didn’t think there was any higher chance of her suffocating in the tent than in a pack n play. She was 10 months old when we used it and could easily turn herself in her sleep, so it seemed unlikely that she’d get in a position she couldn’t escape. Wait, come to think of it, we also used the peapod tent when she was around 4 months old and we visited family over Xmas. I don’t want to encourage anyone to get a product that they don’t feel comfortable with, but in our case, I just didn’t see a risk when we used it.

      As for other things loved on our trip: our travel high chair! We used this one and really liked it. I also liked how it folded up into a neat little pouch that didn’t take up barely any room. We also liked using a drawstrick sack-like holder (this one from Tom Bihn) for little toys that we could always pull out and then keep neatly stowed and easy to find. The bucket also doubled as a “toy chest” for her, which she loved.

      I was planning on writing a post about this so I will continue to make a list of things loved while traveling with a little one, but those are the top ones that come to mind. Also, we really liked having a cushy, more padded umbrella stroller, which made it possible for C. to fall asleep in and to nap on the go!

      Have a wonderful trip!

      • Tiffany says:

        Thanks for the information! I’m looking forward to your future travel posts! I came to your blog about a year ago as a newbie biker (for commuting and transport and fun!) and runner, and now I am a momma-to-be who also bikes (but is missing her runs)! Needless to say, I find many of your posts super-informative and applicable. Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts!

  5. Bryna says:

    I know everyone loves the peapod – but our guy just doesn’t dig it at all! He seems to feel trapped inside…we’re going to try it again on our next trip this coming week, but also have the old pack-n-play as back up.

  6. leila@rook says:

    We have had a PeaPod for 4 years. We got the self-inflating mattress version, which is awesome.

    It’s gone through 2 kids and is in amazing shape. It’s especially great for camping. I never used our pack n play.

  7. Brandi says:

    Because of cases of suffocation (like Tiffany mentioned above) and one case of death, KidCo has issued a recall of the PeaPod and some of its other travel tents:

    Death spurs recall of 220,000 infant travel beds, Associated Press

  8. T. says:

    Like Brandi, I just read about this recall and was thinking….who did I know who had one of these?…and remembered it was you! Here is a link to the info on the CPSC website:

    Perhaps you already know this, but you can subscribe to get email alerts from the CPSC about recalled products. Here is the link to subscribe:

  9. Steve says:

    One question. How do you get a 14-month old to fall asleep in one?
    Serious question. We bought one but the first attempt failed miserably and we want to be able to put her down in it as opposed to just putting her in after she falls asleep every night.
    Any suggestions welcomed.

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