The Best SlumberPod Alternatives

Author: Celine Brewer

Last Updated:

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.

So what is a SlumberPod and why look for alternatives? A SlumberPod is an opaque cover that envelopes your baby’s crib, completely blocking out external daylight and gives your child privacy. This in turn helps in getting baby to sleep on vacation. I like the SlumberPod so much, I’ve included it in my list of essential items you need to help baby sleep when on vacation.

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. 

a toddler from the BabyCanTravel.com blog, sleeps on his inflatable toddler bed inside a SlumberPod.
My son on his toddler travel bed that fits in the SlumberPod.

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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.

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:

Overall Best SlumberPod Alternative:

SnoozeShade Pack and Play Blackout Tent – roughly half the cost of a SlumberPod, the SnoozeShade is smaller to pack and features 94% blackout capacity.

Best Budget Alternative:

Minnebaby Darkening Cover for Pack N Play – costs a fraction of a SlumberPod, yet still offers 80% blackout 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.

If a crib canopy isn’t for you, consider blackout curtains for travel. If this sounds good to you, I personally like the Sleepout Portable Blackout Curtain.

Safety

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.

Universal Fit

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!

a baby standing in travel crib in SlumberPod.

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. 

Blackout Capacity

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%.

Portability

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. 

Fasteners

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. 

toddler boy in pack n play in SlumberPod Privacy Pod.

Other Baby Travel Tips for Sleep

Best SlumberPod Alternatives

This post was written & edited by:

info@babycantravel.com | Website | + posts

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.

Read more about Celine Brewer.