This article about the Best Alternatives to the SlumberPod was written by baby travel expert Celine Brewer and may contain affiliate links.
Like many parents, I went to great lengths to make sure my baby’s nursery was a cozy and dark environment. Unfortunately, I discovered that all goes right out of the window when we are traveling as a family! Everything changes in your baby’s sleep environment when you travel, whether it’s sharing a hotel room, or simply a lack of blackout curtains in an Airbnb, there are just too many things that affect our baby’s sleep. I’ve learned through experience that there are many great products, like the SlumberPod, which can help replicate your baby’s at-home sleep experience.
If the SlumberPod is so great, why did I write an article on the best SlumberPod alternatives? The only problem with the SlumberPod is how expensive they can be, especially if you don’t plan on traveling with your baby frequently! But worry not, because that’s where my handy list of SlumberPod alternatives comes in.
My Top Picks for SlumberPod Alternatives
I know you don’t always have time to read the full article, so here are my top picks for the best alternatives to SlumberPod:
What You’ll Find in This Article on the SlumberPod Alternatives
Best SlumberPod Alternatives
Only use these crib tents and blackout canopies as the manufacturer intended. Be sure to read any specifics on where and how it can be used (i.e. only indoors in a climate controlled room).
Here are the best alternatives to the popular SlumberPod. While I still think the SlumberPod is the best option to create a dark sleep environment for your child, I understand that it might be the right travel sleep solution for everyone.
Don't worry, you're still reading the right article! I just think it's best to start with a review of the SlumberPod itself before getting into all the SlumberPod alternatives below. SlumberPod is a revolutionary addition to the world of baby travel accessories that was first pitched on Shark Tank.
It's essentially a privacy pod that sits around your baby’s travel crib to make their sleeping space dark and cozy.
Its bottomless construction comes with a front zip-up opening so you can monitor your tiny tot, 4 flaps to optimize airflow, and two extra pockets for a baby monitor for travel and a portable fan.
The pod also comes with a handy carry bag that accommodates everything you need to assemble it; a complete lifesaver when you are on-the-go.
The SlumberPod has 100% blackout capacity. It is one of the only products out there that guarantees total darkness.
It's easy to assemble. The packaging even comes with detailed instructions on how to build and dismantle the product.
The pod is made from breathable polyester fabric that has gone through multiple levels of safety testing.
The SlumberPod works on the most popular toddler travel beds as well! Ensuring you get a TON of use out of it!
100% light blocking can be unnerving to some babies who prefer dim lighting to complete darkness. Though you can always start with the SlumberPod left partially open.
The SlumberPod is a product with a hefty price tag. Having said that, its quality and limited warranty make it well worth the money for many parents looking for a straightforward solution to their baby's sleep troubles.
Some parents complain that the pod itself is big and bulky. This can be a problem when you stay in a small hotel room.
The Travel Crib Canopy by the Snooze Shade store is the closest you can get to a SlumberPod at half the price.
Boasting a blackout capacity of 94%, the cover is specifically designed in tandem with the Pack N Play dimensions. At 41” x 30”, it has a short, light, and compact design that even has a smaller footprint than the SlumberPod.
The snooze shade also comes with adjustable side panels to control the brightness and ventilation inside.
The canopy offers 94% light-blocking capacity, perfect for babies who need complete darkness for a sound sleep.
Weighing just 2 pounds, its lightweight build makes it extremely travel-friendly.
The fasteners for this sleep pod are made of velcro instead of ties, which opens the way for added troubles due to wear and tear.
Costing a fraction of the price of the SlumberPod, this travel crib shade is a great crib tent alternative. It's lightweight and made from high-quality, breathable fabric that blocks out about 80% of external light, as well as mosquitoes and other pests.
The Minnie Baby sleep pod is compatible with most rectangular cribs and baby travel beds in the market that measure up to 37.5" x 25.5".
Another amazing feature of this product is its adjustable panels. Depending on the brightness and temperature of your surroundings, you can customize the side panels by lifting them slightly or all the way. This not only adjusts the light but also ensures optimum airing out of the enclosure to prevent overheating.
Weighing less than 2 pounds, the pod is extremely compact in its collapsed form, making it a great travel-friendly option.
The Minnie Baby crib shade offers only 80% blackout. However, unless your child is extremely sensitive, this shouldn't be much of a problem.
Some parents have complained about the straps of the product being a little flimsy, so handle it with care.
The Travel Crib Canopy by LLYWCM is made from high-quality materials and durable fabric and is yet one of the most affordable products on this list.
The customizable panels help you adjust the brightness and airflow within the tent. The tent itself is also stretchable, which makes it a perfect companion to all standard cribs, playards, and Pack N Plays.
Its tiny size and compact build only enhance its portability. It should, however, be mentioned that the netting, although great for making the setup highly breathable, compromises the blackout feature by blocking only 50% of the light.
The travel crib canopy has an extremely attractive price point.
Strap it onto your child’s stroller or pack it into their diaper bag and you'll all set.
With only 50% blackout capacity, the product is not ideal for summer months with longer days or even mid-day naps.
The Travel Crib Tent by the Dofilachy store is another budget-friendly product that's worth your buck, especially if you already own a Pack N’ Play crib. With ties at each corner, you can securely fasten the canopy to your child’s crib legs.
The breathable fabric blocks 75% of the external light, and the adjustable side windows and top panel give you easy control over how much light and breeze get in.
The foldable design makes it extremely handy and easy to carry while on the go. Wipeable and machine-wash friendly, this product doesn't add extra work for parents.
The inexpensive price point of this tent makes this product a great catch for first-time users.
The pod is washing-machine safe so any amount of mess can be easily dealt with.
Some parents point out that while the tent is compact, it might be a little too small and only designed for newborns. Double-check the dimensions before making your purchase as this might not be the one for you if you have a bigger toddler.
This midrange crib canopy by Brolex flaunts a unique feature that sets it apart from the rest. Its extremely stretchable fabric wraps over your baby’s crib and results in a considerably smaller footprint than the SlumberPod and other similar designs.
The playpen cover also has top and side mesh windows with a double zipper for airflow and some visibility.
The small size and compact design make it an ideal travel buddy, especially if you are staying in a small hotel room.
While it doesn’t provide 100% darkness, several parents appreciate the product for its light-blocking capacity.
The multiple zippers are susceptible to breakage, so if you buy this pod, make sure to be delicate with the zips.
The machine washable fabric is made from a good quality polyester that is wipeable as well as quick dry.
It also offers UPF50+ protection from the harmful rays of the sun. Unlike the SlumberPod, this particular canopy even works flawlessly in outdoor environments.
If your child doesn’t prefer complete darkness, this is a great alternative for you.
This sleep tent can be used outside; perfect while hiking or on a picnic in the park, and a good alternative to the SlumberPod.
The compact design fits effortlessly in backpacks or carry-ons making it an ideal travel companion.
While this sleep tent provides some amount of privacy and shade outdoors, it lacks adequate light-blocking capacity.
What to Look For in a Blackout Canopy
Whether you call it a sleep tent, a blackout canopy, or something else, this baby travel essential comes in many forms. Your mode of travel, holiday destination, as well as your baby’s sleep habits and overall temperament, will determine which baby sleeping tent is ideal for you. To make this process easier, here are certain parameters to look for before buying one.
This is paramount to make sure that anything that comes in direct contact with your child is safe and secure. Make sure that the fabric of your crib tent is made from good, durable, and especially breathable materials. This will ensure that the tent does not overheat and prevent serious mishaps like suffocation or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) from taking place.
When it comes to a baby canopy tent, size does matter. If the tent is too small, your child will probably reach out and move the tent around. This can cause accidents. On the other hand, if the tent is too big, it might create folds and crevices which can prove dangerous.
Another important factor in fit is that it will fit different travel cribs and even toddler travel beds. The real benefit of the SlumberPod is that it can also work over toddler travel beds, ensuring the longevity of use. This makes the cost much easier to bear knowing you’ll be using it for years to come!
Ease of Cleaning
You do not want to look for a laundry service while holidaying with your family, but when with babies and toddlers, messes are inevitable! So, look for a canopy that is spill-proof, easy to wipe clean, and washing machine safe.
Your child’s sleeping habits and temperament will help you determine the blackout needs of your SlumberPod alternative. While some kids need complete darkness to sleep, others just need a little privacy, shielding from pests, and dim lights. The blackout capacities of tents range from less than 50% all the way up to 100%.
The unique selling point of any travel accessory is its portability because that’s what makes it so travel-friendly! Most sleep pods are not only easy to assemble and dismantle but are also pretty lightweight, making them easy to carry them around. Many options also include a case or a pouch for attaching to your diaper bag, so keep an eye out for those.
While most sleep tent alternatives are easy to put together, care needs to be taken to secure them properly to ensure the safety of your child. These primarily include either ties or velcro strips, but some pods also use single or double zippers to open and close the panels.
Be careful when operating these as you do not want to be stuck with a broken zipper on holiday! When choosing your product, look for fasteners made with materials of superior quality to prevent any mishaps from happening.
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.