UPDATE: 12/11/2012: The PeaPod and PeaPod Plus have been recalled after a tragic entrapment and suffocation death. Recall kits with replacement mattresses are being offered by manufacturer KidCo. We haven't used the PeaPod with non-mobile infants, and we don't recommend it for that developmental stage. We also feel the PeaPod should only be used as instructed (make sure to zip the mattress in its own pocket) with any age group.
We like to travel and started going on the road with BabyGeek in his first months of life. Initially we took along his travel Pack N' Play because he normally slept in the bassinet in our room at home. Between the stroller and the bulky Pack N' Play there wasn't much room left in our Honda Accord wagon for family luggage or passengers. We ended up borrowing a mini-van for extended trips.Once BabyGeek adjusted to a crib in a private room at home and neared the bassinet's upper weight limit, the Pack N' Play would no longer suffice. If we used the bassinet attachment, the whole playyard would sway whenever he moved, and if we tried to use it without the bassinet, he would often wake when we leaned down to set him on the floor.
One night at his Aunt Julie's house he was upset from the Pack N' Play's movement and Jim ended up staying up much of the night with him so he wouldn't wake our hostess who had to work the next day. That LONG night convinced me that better options must be available.
I first saw KidCo's PeaPod on a recommended products list in one of those help-bankrupt-mommy magazines ubiquitous to obstetrician's offices. It looked interesting despite its close proximity to overpriced infant hair care products and floofy $40 onesies. Of course, I couldn't remember the name, so after a number of google queries I found the PeaPod at a number of major online retailers. There weren't any at bricks and mortar locations in my region, so I bought one from Target.com because they had the best price with some email coupons. Target.com no longer carries the PeaPod, but I can currently find them locally at Burlington Coat Factory. It was around $50 before discounts.
When we finally zipped him in the PeaPod he was nonplussed and settled down easily for the night. Our first trip went so well that he slept quite peacefully in a separate room at Aunt Julie's. The PeaPod has been a travel essential ever since and helps us all sleep easier at hotels and the homes of friends and family.
BabyGeek is a tall boy (97th percentile for his age group) and shows no signs of crowding the pod at 15 months. There is enough room in the travel bag with the folded tent for a foot pump, so we quickly replaced the ergonomically unfriendly hand-pump with a cheapo bellows foot pump. The mattress inflates SO quickly with little effort. The foot pump is definitely worth the added expense (about $8 unless you score one on end of summer clearance).
The PeaPod fits so easily into our little station wagon that on one trip we didn't notice that it hadn't been packed and left it at home. We realized our mistake and after futilely searching Indianapolis for a PeaPod, we resorted to find a zipping pop-up anything for the baby to sleep in. We settled on a pop up sun dome with a zipper door instead. It cost $20 less than a PeaPod and lacked the mattress and sleeping pad. We folded a blanket under the tent and congratulated ourselves for thrift and inventiveness. It was awful. The floor of the dome, designed for sand or wet grass rather than interiors had a hideous "new tarp" plastic smell. It seemed that a smaller infant with less mobility might have a suffocation risk if they ended up face down in the tent. BabyGeek got cold during the night and managed to flip over the whole tent and slept on the door. The floor of the tent, because of its rigidity had not traveled well folded and was already cracking along the creases. We returned the sun dome on day two of our trip because it was such a miserable failure.
We no longer have problems remembering to pack the PeaPod. I learned today that the PeaPod is now also available in RED and that KidCo has made a second version for toddlers and little kids called PeaPod Plus. This is definitely going on our Christmas list.
UPDATE: 6/11/07 Check out our review of the PeaPod Plus.