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We are a family that’s obsessed with good sleep. The moment we realized we needed to spend a night away from home with our baby we knew we needed something to keep him on his schedule. And that’s when we found out about the darkening sleep tents for babies.
These life saving pack n’ play covers are designed to give your baby a safe and dark space to go to sleep in without the distractions of what’s going on around him.
If you’re ever in any situation where you will need to room-share with your baby or just want to remove the distractions from being away from home, the sleep tents are here to save you and your precious sleep.
Both the SlumberPod and the SnoozeShade try to solve the same problem, however they do it in slightly different ways.
The SlumberPod is an actual tent that is built on a simple frame with two tent poles like any standard camping tent out there. It stands around your pack n play with plenty of space to spare above and around it.
On the other hand, we have the SnoozeShade. The SnoozeShade is a rectangular piece of breathable mesh material that lays over a standard pack n play or travel crib. It’s small, light and easy to bring around anywhere you go.
We couldn’t decide on which one to get so we got both. And after multiple outings with each of them, it turns out that they both have their place in the life of an active family that values their sleep.
The SlumberPod and the SnoozeShade both do their job well but both are better in some aspects. From our experience with each of them, we broke our comparison down into the categories below to help you make the best choice when it comes to your sleep tent.
Both the SlumberPod and the SnoozeShade come with a carry case to make travelling with them pretty simple.
When packed up, SlumberPod is a larger and heavier than the SnoozeShade but not by much. They both fit in a standard carry-on luggage and can be brought through airport security without any issues.
The main difference is that the SlumberPod has the tent pole which make it slightly less portable since they add on some weight and can’t be compressed as small as the SnoozeShade which is just material.
Even though they are very different in styles, both the SnoozeShade and the SlumberPod are very easy to assemble. The difference lies in les than one minute of assembly time between the two with the longest one taking just over one minute to assemble.
The SlumberPod comes with a cleverly located assembly instructions in the form of a large tag inside its carry case.
The instructions tell you to assemble the tent over your pack n play, but it can just as easily be done flat on the floor. Here is a video of me doing it without a play yard in about 2 minutes.
The SnoozeShade is even simpler. Simply lay the material over your play yard and tie each of the Velcro ties to the four feet and you’re done! Here is a video of me doing the assembly:
Even though the SnoozeShade is quicker to assemble, the difference in difficulty is actually none. They are both extremely simple to put together and take down.
Size and Space
When it comes to size, the SlumberPod and the SnoozeShade are slightly different.
The SnoozeShade is the exact size of your standard rectangular Pack n’ Play or travel crib. It fits all standard rectangular playards, pack’n’plays, travel and portable travel cribs that take up to a 37.5 inch x 25.5 inch mattress.
The SlumberPod on the other hand extends beyond the length, width and height of a standard playard. It’s tall enough for most three-year-olds to stand up inside and it measures 56 inches tall, 50 inches long, 36 inches wide.
The extra space inside the SlumberPod gives baby more room to breathe, more around and even stand up as he wishes. It also allows your baby to grow with it. We found that the SnoozeShade was no longer the best option once our son was able to easily stand up in the pack n play. He felt trapped and wasn’t able to fall back asleep once he was up.
The added bonus of the SlumberPod is that even though it’s larger and takes more space in the room, it can be closed flat when you’re not using it so it takes no space at all.
The whole point of a baby sleep tent is to provide a safe and DARK environment for your baby to sleep in, but how do these two stand up to each other when it comes to darkness?
Let’s start with the SnoozeShade. The SnoozeShade material is a slightly rough to the touch, 100% polyester perforated mesh. The mesh is somewhat coarse and actually lets in a lot more light that we expected. Not only does it let a good amount of light in, but you are also able to make out what’s happening outside of the SnoozeShade if the lights are on in the room.
The following picture shows what it looks like inside the SnoozeShade when located in a brightly lit room:
Even though our baby was able to fall asleep inside the SnoozeShade we felt a lot more exposed and we could see him looking at us from inside the closed shade. We generally felt the need to dim the lights and not move around too much until he fell asleep.
The SlumberPod on the other hand is a full blackout tent. The material is thick, soft and it lets absolutely no light in. The bottom of the SlumberPod has extended flaps that easily mold to the floor and block out any light that could come in from where the pod meets the ground.
The following picture shows what it looks like inside the SlumberPod when located in the same brightly lit room:
As you can see, the SlumberPod is on another level when it comes to darkness.
Breathability and air flow
Breathability and good air flow are important in a sleep tent and this is one of the main reasons we chose to try out and compare the SlumberPod and the SnoozeShade. Both of them offer good breathability, but in slightly different ways.
The SoonzeShade achieves it by using a coarse polyester mesh as the material. Because of the relatively large mesh, air can easily flow through the pack n play while baby is asleep keeping the temperature inside and out pretty much the same.
The SlumberPod on the other hand uses a very different material that is still breathable but not as much. Because of the thick material used by SlumberPod to achieve full blackout darkness, air doesn’t flow though the pod as well. However, it is able to achieve good breathability through its sheer size.
The SlumberPod extends well beyond the playard and therefore it allows baby not to feel stuffy inside the tent. It also has plenty of space for a small fan to be placed near the bottom to move the air inside the pod, and that’s exactly what we did.
One of the main features that improves airflow on both of these tents is the windows, so let’s take a closer look at them.
Windows are important because they can help improve airflow in case the room or the tent get a bit too hot and stuffy for baby. Both the SlumberPod and the SnoozeShade come with windows on two opposing sides to help cool down and open up the space when needed.
The SlumberPod has two windows in the back and front of the tent. The windows are adjustable to 4 different heights by the means of a wooden dowel and a slotted strip of material. The windows are easy to open and close, and best of all they are very quiet since there is no Velcro or zipper to deal with. So you can open and close them as many times as you want without worrying about waking your baby.
You also don’t need to worry too much about light coming into the pod when the windows are open on the SlumbePod. Underneath the windows (which are full black out) you still have a dark fine mesh that keeps most of the light out but allows for better airflow.
The SnoozeShade also comes with two large windows, one on each side. They are simple and easy to open as well. The windows are designed to be rolled up manually and held up by a snap. There are only 2 settings for the windows: open or closed.
Underneath the windows you will find an even coarser mesh that allows for much more air to flow through and keeps the tent nice and cool.
Accessories, features and add-ons
Let’s start with the simplest one. The SnoozeShade doesn’t come with too many additional features. The only additional feature we would like to mention is the storage pouch on the outside. This pouch allows for storing things like diapers, wipes, toys or even spare clothes for your baby and keep it close by.
The SlumberPod does have some features and possibilities for add-ons worth mentioning.
The camera pouch
The camera pouch is a clear, plastic pocket with zipper access from the outside. This pocket is designed for parents to place a video monitor in order to watch baby as he sleeps inside the SLumberPod. This feature is extremely useful but, beware that not all video monitors perform as well as expected while in the pouch.
For a full review of the camera pouch check out our detailed SlumberPod review.
Put a fan inside
As mentioned above, the SlumberPod can feel a bit stale when the windows are closed and the room temperature is a bit elevated. If you want to improve the air quality inside the pod, simply place a small USB fan on the floor between the pod and the travel crib. This simple trick will move the air inside the pod and help keep the temperature lower.
Bring a sound machine
Our son always sleeps with a sound machine playing some white noise, so it was no surprise that we brought it along with us every time we used the SlumberPod.
Even if you don’t use white noise at home, I would still suggest considering bringing it when you go somewhere and plan to use the SlumberPod away from home. And the reason for this is simple. The SlumberPod offers the visual barrier while the white noise provides baby with a sound barrier.
You don’t need anything fancy. An iPad or old cell phone will do the trick. The white noise drowns out some of the unusual sounds that may be around while your baby sleeps away from his comfort zone. I like to place the white noise speaker (or phone) on the floor right between the pack n play and the pod wall. Always keep it plugged in and ensure the track loops without stopping to play the sound.
After using both of these sleep tents for several months and multiple outings, I can comfortably say that they both have a place in the life of a young family.
The SnoozeShade wins in simplicity, portability and breathability.
The SlumberPod gets the nod for longevity, creative design and the amazing blackout privacy it gives baby (and parents).
Both of them work perfectly fine. So, in the end it comes down to how you want to use it and for which situations.
For longer duration trips and extended room sharing while on vacation I would strongly suggest the SlumberPod. But if you simply want something to use once in a while, for a weekend trip or a nap at grandma’s, the SnoozeShade will do very well for about half the price of the SlumberPod.
On the other hand, if you’re anything like me and love baby accessories go ahead and get both!