A portacot was high on my list of things to purchase when my son was born. Freedom and flexibility was my motto when it came to fitting this little bundle of joy into my life. But when taking a look at the portacot options, most of them actually didn’t seem that portable. In fact, most of them were bigger than my son’s actual cot. Sure they folded down, and sure they’d probably fit in my car, but they were heavy and cumbersome and just didn’t fit my idea of portable. As well as something I could take to a friend’s house for the night, I wanted something I could take on a plane or camping and would fit into small spaces.
So, searching for other options, I came across a portatent. It’s a portable tent made especially for babies and children up until around the age of three. There’s a couple of brands available, and I went with the Travel Dome made by Childcare. You can buy it online from The Sleepstore for AU$159.
The Travel Dome fits every one of my requirements and now lives permanently in the boot of my car. With a folded size of 47 x 44 x 15cm, I don’t even notice it’s there, and at its full size of 136cm length x 84cm width x 62cm high, I haven’t found a place yet that I haven’t been able to set it up. My son has camped with me in it and we’ve travelled through hotels all over Japan with it (and if you’ve been to Japan, you know how compact their hotel rooms are).
The thing I love most about the Travel Dome though is that it fits into a large suitcase with plenty of room left for my clothes and toiletries (and shoes!) as well as my son’s, and at 3.8kg when packed into its handy carry bag, is much lighter and easier to carry around than any other portacot I’ve found.
It also comes with a removable self-inflatable mattress, a sleeping bag that attaches to the base of the tent with Velcro (which is only recommended for use once bub is out of the newborn swaddling stage), and it folds down in less than ten seconds… once you get the trick to folding it, which did take me a few goes to get.
In terms of stability, I’m not going to guarantee anything, but my son slept in his Travel Dome on the night of his first birthday party, only hours after he’d had his first taste of sugar in the form of a piece of birthday cake. Needless to say, it took him a little while to fall asleep that night, and even with the very active play-time that was happening inside, he still couldn’t manage to roll it over.
Another added safety feature is the 10cm high (approx) strip of meshing around the base, so if your little tot does manage to smoosh his or her face against the side of the tent while sleeping, there’s no concerns with breathing safety.
But the Travel Dome isn’t only a snug sleeping environment, if you take out the mattress and sleeping bag and throw in a towel, it makes a great sun-shade at the park or beach too.
Other than my Macpac Child Carrier, it’s the baby purchase I’ve used the most over the past 19 months, and I’m sure I’ll be using it just as much over the next 19 months too.
If you’ve found a product that’s made your life easier or more organised or quicker or even happier, let us know and we’ll review it to share the solo mum love.
About the author
Naomi is the editor of Lift e-Magazine and single mum to 19 month old Jim. For the last 12 months she’s documented her journey of single motherhood in her award winning daily blog ‘365 Days, a Diary of a Newly Single Mum’. When she’s not experimenting with new cookie recipes or planning her next trekking, climbing or snowboarding adventure, you can find her at her desk in the picturesque city of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, weaving together solo mum stories… whether it be handy tips, triumphs, tragedies, exotic tales of travel or other tidbits to publish here. And before you ask, no, she doesn’t mind the freezing cold Tasmanian winters and yes, she had her second head removed years ago in an unfortunate accident involving a curtain rod and a drunk moose (and no, she’s not interested in hearing from anyone who doesn’t believe that drunk mooses exist in Tasmania… or those who may suppose that ‘mooses’ is not really a word).