This article Reviewing the KidCo PeaPod Plus Pop Up Tent was written by toddler travel gear expert Celine Brewer and may contain affiliate links.
I discovered the KidCo PeaPod Plus travel bed after a friend recommended it to me for a family trip to Japan. I loved it so much, that we continued to travel with a KidCo PeaPod Plus travel tent on our family trips for many years. A popular toddler travel bed, I loved its compact size and how easy it was to fold. My kids loved their PeaPod travel bed and based on my years of traveling with one, I would recommend it to any family looking for a good toddler travel bed.
The KidCo PeaPod Plus is a travel tent that can be folded up into a travel bag. It’s extremely lightweight, making it easy to carry and a great option if you are moving around a lot while traveling. In this KidCo PeaPod Plus review, I share what I loved about it on the numerous trips we used it on. I also share how to introduce it to your little one and my best tips for using the KidCo PeaPod Plus travel tent.
What You’ll Find in This KidCo PeaPod Plus Review:
My Experiences using a KidCo PeaPod Plus
In the past, I either depended on finding a baby-friendly hotel to provide a baby crib, or rented from a baby equipment rental company when we traveled with a toddler, but I ran into issues planning our trip to Japan with toddlers.
As you can see above, our vacation rental apartments had traditional mats that rolled out on the floor, but our toddler was used to sleeping in a crib at home. My son is a busy sleeper and I knew he wouldn’t sleep well on the mats. Not only that, but I couldn’t find any baby equipment rental companies. This is when a good friend introduced us to the KidCo PeaPod Plus toddler tent.
I instantly fell in love with the PeaPod travel tent and it became one of my favorite toddler travel essentials. The KidCo PeaPod tent easily fit in my suitcase or, I simply attached it to the back of my backpack, depending on how I was traveling. For flying, if we were traveling with backpacks (instead of suitcases) we just brought the KidCo PeaPod Plus travel bed as a separate carry-on and put it in the overhead bin on the airplane.
Do you have a long haul flight for your family vacation? A toddler airplane bed will make the experience so much better for everyone!
I loved that the KidCo PeaPod Plus travel bed was lightweight enough to pack on all our trips. Another big benefit is that it gave our toddler a consistent, familiar sleep environment over the course of many family vacations. Having a familiar sleep environment is key to getting toddlers sleeping well on vacation.
On top of all that, it’s so easy to fold and unfold the KidCo PeaPod Plus travel tent. Even if we arrived at a hotel late, we could set up the bed for our toddler in minutes and have him down for sleep.
You just take the PeaPod tent out of the bag, remove the safety strap and it pops open. Folding the KidCo PeaPod travel bed isn’t much harder and takes under a minute.
Uses for a KidCo PeaPod Plus Travel Bed
One of the reasons why I like the KidCo PeaPod Plus toddler travel tent so much is how versatile it is. The PeaPod tent can be used in various scenarios:
- When flying with toddlers, you can’t use it on the plane but if you bring your KidCo PeaPod Plus travel bed as a carry-on, you can easily set it up in a quiet spot in the airport for a nap before boarding. This would be ideal for extra-long layovers.
- The KidCo PeaPod tent makes an excellent toddler bed for camping with a toddler. As you can imagine, having a good toddler bed is essential toddler camping gear.
- Does your baby need a nap at the beach? The KidCo PeaPod travel bed is lightweight enough to carry to the beach and set up as a beach tent for your baby.
- If you don’t love the idea of using a pack n’ play of unknown quality from the hotel, a KidCo PeaPod Plus travel bed will fit in a medium size suitcase.
- If your vacation apartment rental doesn’t have a small toddler bed or portable crib to use, packing the PeaPod Plus tent is easy.
KidCo PeaPod Plus Specs
The KidCo PeaPod Plus travel bed is a pop-up tent that folds small enough to fit in a suitcase. It has flaps on all four sides that roll up to allow for airflow while still acting as an insect screen.
For outdoor use, the lightweight mesh works as an insect screen. The sleeping pad snaps on the outside of the travel tent and is removable for cleaning.
Just be aware, if using the KidCo PeaPod Plus on the beach that it does not offer full sun protection.
The KidCo PeaPod Plus weighs only 3.5 lbs and folds into its own bag to a circle with folded dimensions of 19” x 19” x 3.5”.
Precautions: The sleeping pad should remain attached by the snaps under the floor of the tent only and should never be put inside. KidCo further states that you should never add a pillow, comforter or another mattress for padding.
KidCo PeaPod vs PeaPod Plus
The KidCo PeaPod and PeaPod Plus are both similar shaped collapsible travel tents that fold up into a circle.
While they are similar in shape, the KidCo PeaPod Plus has flaps that can be rolled up to allow more airflow, where the KidCo PeaPod does not. They both have lightweight mesh that acts as an insect screen, making the PeaPod tents good for outdoor use.
Other differences between the KidCo PeaPod vs PeaPod Plus come in their size and weight.
- The KidCo PeaPod travel bed folds into a circle with a diameter of approximately 16.5 inches, compared to the PeaPod Plus that has a folded size with a diameter of 19 inches.
- Both KidCo PeaPod tents can be used starting at the age of 6 months old, but the PeaPod Plus can be used up to 5 years old, where the PeaPod tent can only be used up to 3 years old.
- As for weight, the KidCo PeaPod weighs 2.45 lbs where the KidCo PeaPod Plus weighs 3.65 lbs.
While the PeaPod Plus costs slightly more than the KidCo PeaPod, I think it’s worth it to get the larger tent that can be used for longer. Not only that, but I like the ability to have the flaps that can be lifted for more airflow or lowered to reduce the light, as desired. The flaps are also useful when sharing rooms and you don’t want your baby or toddler seeing you or another sibling.
Pros of the KidCo PeaPod Plus Travel Bed
I traveled with a PeaPod Plus travel bed for many years, so it’s not surprising that I can list quite a few benefits for the KidCo tent:
- We own a S-M-L suitcase set. The KidCo PeaPod Plus fits easily in both our medium and large suitcases. Alternatively, the PeaPod Plus can be brought on the airplane as a carry-on.
- The KidCo PeaPod Plus travel tent is really fast & easy to fold and pack. (Folding it up the first time was a bit confusing, but once you get it, it’s super easy).
- The PeaPod Plus is super lightweight at 3.5 lbs. By comparison, many baby travel cribs can weigh around 7-13 lbs.
- I like the value you get for your money with the PeaPod Plus. With an age range from 1 to 5 years old, toddlers can use it for quite some time.
- The cost of the PeaPod Plus is considerably less than the $200+ US for some travel cribs.
- I think the roll-up side flaps are a nice feature. I would open them and use a fan pointed at the KidCo PeaPod Plus tent if it was too hot.
- The flaps rolled down on the KidCo PeaPod Plus also work to help eliminate distractions when sharing a room.
- Zippers keep toddlers safely in their portable travel tent. My little guy was not able to open the zipper, so I knew he couldn’t escape and didn’t have to worry about him trying to climb out of the travel tent.
- I like the safety feature of having the mattress attached underneath the tent.
- Being great for both indoors and outdoors, the KidCo PeaPod can go everywhere with parents!
Cons of the KidCo PeaPod Plus Travel Bed
While I really loved the KidCo PeaPod Plus portable travel bed, it wasn’t perfect. Here are some of the things I didn’t love about the KidCo PeaPod Plus:
- It can get warm in the tent, especially with all the flaps down. I resolved this by using a fan or turning up the air conditioner. I also opened the flaps after he was sleeping, if we were keeping them down to keep him from being distracted.
- After some time, your toddler may figure out how to open the zipper. This can be mitigated by closing the zippers such that all the zipper pulls are on the outside of the tent.
- The attached sleeping pad is great, but if the floor underneath is tile, the pad may not be enough. Most hotels and Airbnbs have extra blankets, so while we know it’s not recommended, we typically place a folded blanket underneath to add a little extra padding on really hard surfaces.
- Our biggest complaint was that the sleeping surface was made of polyester, which would get our toddler very sweaty. He didn’t seem to mind, but I would have loved a sheet that could be zipped on and off for cleaning.
- The KidCo PeaPod Plus isn’t supposed to be used with any blankets or pillows. This worked fine for us when our toddler was sleeping in a sleepsack without a pillow.
Once he moved to a toddler bed at home, he got used to having a pillow and blanket for sleeping. As he got older (3+ years old) we started using a small pillow and blanket in the PeaPod Plus to keep him comfortable.
KidCo PeaPod Folding Instructions
Let’s be honest, getting things folded and back in the carrying case they came in is usually an exercise in frustration. Thankfully, that’s not the case with folding the KidCo PeaPod Plus.
The KidCo PeaPod folding instructions are simple and easy to follow. In addition, the storage bag included with the PeaPod tents is large enough that the folded KidCo PeaPod Plus easily fits in, without a struggle!
Here are the KidCo PeaPod Folding Instructions:
- Unzip the safety strap pocket and take the safety strap out.
- Take the top two short sides of the frame and bring them to the center.
- While holding the two sides together, do the same with the bottom frame. Grabbing the bottom frame on the two short sides, bring them to the center.
- While holding the sides together in the center, grab the long side and fold it down and in. Keep tucking and folding it in to create three circles on top of each other.
- Put the elastic safety strap over the entire PeaPod Plus to hold it together.
- Slip it into the bag. That’s it!
My other tips for folding the KidCo PeaPod Plus:
- Close all flaps and zippers.
- Remove the safety strap before beginning to fold.
- Remove everything from inside the KidCo PeaPod tent.
- Leave the sleeping pad on. It easily folds up along with travel tent.
Tips for Getting Your Toddler to Love the KidCo PeaPod Plus As Much as You Do
Toddlers being toddlers, not all of them will love the KidCo PeaPod Plus travel tent. Some toddlers are never going to love it, but here are some tips for introducing the travel tent that might help.
- Introduce your toddler to the KidCo PeaPod in a play setting.
Set it up in the living room and let your toddler explore it.
- Never use the KidCo PeaPod Plus tent on a trip for the first time.
Do a few practice runs with your PeaPod tent prior to traveling with a toddler.
- Start with naps.
Don’t immediately start with an overnight sleep using the KidCo PeaPod. Use it for a nap the first time. In fact, use it for naps over the course of week before using it at night.
- Make it fun.
We always made it sound exciting before putting him to sleep in it – “Are you excited about sleeping in your tent??” or “Here we go, you get to sleep in your tent again!”.
Our toddler would ask to sleep in his tent even when we arrived home!
- Place the PeaPod Plus tent inside the crib.
If your crib is large enough place it inside the crib for the first time trying it. This will keep the sleeping environment similar. You could even leave the front flap unzipped and rolled up.
- Take a break.
If your toddler doesn’t love it, put it away for a few weeks, then try again.
When the KidCo PeaPod Plus arrived, I set it up in the living room and let our two kids play inside it (supervised). They were pretty excited about it.
I waited until the following day, then planned a nap in the tent. I put it in his crib, since this was where he did all his naps. We talked to him about it and kept it fun.
After doing naps successfully a few days in a row, we tried a night sleep.
Even though he had used it in Japan, before leaving for Rome with our toddler, we had our son sleeping in it for all his naps and night sleeps for two entire weeks. Though this was probably overkill, this gave us confidence that he would be comfortable in it throughout our trip.
We didn’t go to this extreme before any other subsequent trips, but we never had any issues each time we pulled it out for a trip.
KidCo PeaPod vs Joovy Gloo
While we love Amazon for baby travel products, it’s not unusual to find that a product is unavailable temporarily. In that instance, there is an alternative to the KidCo PeaPod and that’s the Joovy Gloo.
The Joovy Gloo travel tent is very similar to the Kidco PeaPod. The Joovy Gloo tent also comes in two sizes: regular and large. Similar to the KidCo PeaPod Plus, only the Joovy Gloo large size has the 4 flaps that can be rolled up for extra airflow.
The Joovy Gloo also has lightweight mesh panels that act as an insect screen and folds back up in the same way.
Comparing the KidCo PeaPod vs the Joovy Gloo, here are some of the main differences:
The Joovy Gloo is heavier compared to the KidCo PeaPod.
The weight is 3.9 lbs for the Regular Joovy Gloo vs KidCo PeaPod at 2.45 lbs.
The weight is 5.5 lbs for the Large Joovy Gloo vs KidCo PeaPod Plus at 3.65 lbs.
- Recommended Age
Both travel tents have a recommended age starting at 6 months compared and go up to 3 and 5 years based on the size of the tent.
The folded dimensions are larger by about an inch for the KidCo PeaPod vs Joovy Gloo.
KidCo PeaPod 16.5” x 16.5” x 3” vs Joovy Gloo Regular 14” x 14” x 5”.
KidCo PeaPod Plus 19” x 19” x 3.5” vs Joovy Gloo Large 18” x 17” x 4.5”.
- Cover Sheet
The Joovy Gloo has a cover sheet that can be unzipped (the zipper is covered by Velcro) and washed. This is a great feature we wish the KidCo PeaPod had.
The Joovy Gloo has a self-inflating mattress, different from the KidCo PeaPod Plus sleeping pad. It also differs in that it gets packed away separately from the travel tent and it has a zip pouch on the bottom rather than being snapped on.
The Joovy Gloo has 6 fun colors to choose from: dark blue, dark gray, and silver.
The PeaPod Plus comes in midnight or camo. The PeaPod comes in cranberry or midnight.
KidCo PeaPod – Canada
The KidCo PeaPod and PeaPod Plus are available in Canada from the popular Westcoast kids baby store.
Is the KidCo PeaPod for Babies?
According to KidCo, the KidCo PeaPod and PeaPod Plus are recommended for children aged 6 months and older.
The Joovy Gloo is also recommended for babies aged 6 months old and over.
In a supervised environment, many parents still choose to use the KidCo PeaPod Plus as a beach tent or for camping with a baby. As a parent, you need to assess the risk and make your own choice.
The Little Mo 20 Down Baby Sleeping Bag for camping is a great way to keep toddlers warm through the night. For babies from 6 to 24 months, the Morrison Outdoors sleeping bag for toddlers and babies is good for a temperature range of 20°F to 60°F.
How Long Can You Really Use the KidCo PeaPod Plus?
We started using the KidCo PeaPod Plus when our toddler was 14 months old. After our first trip, we were so pleased with it, that we decided to use it for a month in Italy.
Ever since our Japan and Italy trips, the PeaPod Plus has become an indispensable part of our toddler travel gear. We have used it for 23 nights in Norway, 28 nights in Mexico and several visits to the grandparents.
It became so easy to pack it with us and we enjoyed not having the hassle of renting a new travel crib every time we moved to a new location. The consistency of his sleeping environment ensured we had good sleeps no matter where we went.
We did find that around 4 years old our son no longer wanted to sleep in the tent. This was mainly due to the fact that his older sister got to sleep in a bed, as he still fit in the KidCo PeaPod Plus. We resolved this by purchasing him an inflatable toddler travel bed.
So while the KidCo PeaPod Plus is rated up to 5 years old, I imagine most kids will want to stop using it around 4 years old. Despite that, we still got many years of good use out of it.
Alternatives to a Toddler Travel Tent
What if your toddler really hates the KidCo PeaPod or PeaPod Plus?
Don’t worry, there are still plenty of other great toddler travel bed options. If your toddler isn’t ready to move to a regular size bed, then another great option is an inflatable toddler travel bed.
The two best options, that also have side bumpers to keep your toddler on the mattress, are the Shrunks Inflatable Toddler Bed and the hiccapop inflatable bed for toddlers.
Even as your toddler starts to outgrow the KidCo PeaPod travel tent, having an inflatable toddler travel bed is so useful. They are easy to pack and work well for kids who easily fall out of bed.
We received a PeaPod Plus from KidCo for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are our own.
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This post was written & edited by:
Celine Brewer is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's helped millions of new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade. In addition to writing on her baby travel blog, she has shared her expertise on traveling with a baby or toddler by contributing to articles about traveling with a baby with the Washington Post, USA Today, the Lonely Planet magazine and Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.
Celine also writes about family travel on the site FamilyCanTravel.com, which she co-owns with her husband. Being from the Canadian Rockies, she shares her passion about her home and travel to Banff National Park and area on their site TravelBanffCanada.com.