PeaPod pop-up portable kid-bed -- tensegrity for your toddler

When Alice and I were planning our honeymoon on Roatan, Honduras (more on this later!), we knew we'd need something for the baby to sleep in -- a mosquito net to go over the crib? Something else?

I happened on KidCo's PeaPod Travel Bed on Amazon and was intrigued. It's a tensegrity-based pop-up bed/net that also works as a sunshade on the beach, and best of all, it folds up tiny, not much bigger than a toilet-bag.

I took a chance and ordered it, and I was delighted with the thing. It was comfortable, airy, bug-proof, and incredibly cool. You extract this little disc of nylon and coiled wired struts out of the case and it literally springs open in your hand, instantly turning into a perfect kid-bed with an audible whomp. It kept out the sand-fleas and sun on the beach and the mosquitos at night. It let in the breeze, and it provided shade by the pool.

Some of the reviewers have complained that the thing was hard to get back in the case, but I got it on the second try and never had trouble with it afterwards. The "quilt" that comes with it is a little junky, but we didn't need it in the tropics. Highly recommended.

The last thing you need while you're traveling with a baby is to lug a lot of extra luggage around. Rather than packing a Pack'n'Play or a folding bassinet, which are cumbersome and heavy, simply pack the ultra-light, super-compact PeaPod away in your suitcase. At 14 x 5 x 14 inches (LxWxH) when closed, it takes up little space, and it comes with a carrying case for easy portability. And at 48 x 30 x 18 inches (LxWxH) when open, the PeaPod will take up little space once you reach your destination.

The PeaPod is also designed to open and fold shut quickly and easily. Other than the included air pump for quickly inflating the small mattress, no tools are needed: simply follow the directions to "snap" it into its standing position, and fold it back down quickly when finished. So whether you're traveling across the country, making a weekend trip to the beach, or simply spending the day at a friend's house, the PeaPod Portable Travel Bed makes it super-easy and convenient for baby to sleep comfortably and safely while on the go.

KidCo Peapod Portable Travel Bed