If you have a baby or small kids, you know as soon as they are mobile, it’s a near-impossible task keeping them contained in any way while keeping them safe. As a full-time-working-from-home mom, I can’t be sprinting around my house constantly rescuing my curious and determined 11-month-old from every dangerous predicament he gets himself into. For one, it’s EXHAUSTING having to race across the room (it’s a wonder I don’t spill more drinks or break my computer as I chuck it aside) and two, it seems like nothing ever gets done when all I’m doing is baby wrangling.
Since my husband works outside of the home, I am alone with my baby all day. Before my baby was mobile, I was anti-baby gates and playpens as they aren’t fun to set-up/take-down and they just aren’t cute to leave up all the time. But, sitting on my perpetually filthy floors one morning, trying to work and inevitably spending all my time rescuing my baby from harm, I started shopping for playpens. I scrolled through Facebook marketplace and Amazon and was seeing giant, pastel fortresses that looked like a nightmare to set-up and take-down every day and to store. (We are a family of three with a cat and dog living in a 1,100 sq ft house, so our living room is transformed into the playroom daily, and back to a living room when the babe goes to bed.) I wasn’t excited about what I saw as my options, but then I remembered this tent thing my dad had bought (after seeing a Facebook ad) when my baby was a newborn. It was the California Beach Co. Pop N’ Go Playpen.
What is the California Beach Co. playpen (Pop N’ Go)?
The portable California Beach Co. Pop N’ Go playpen, we just call it ‘the tent’, is a lightweight, easy setup solution to safely contain a little one (or pet or adult, or toys, or whatever!) It compacts down to a size comparable to a pack n’ play but weighs significantly less. Let’s look at the specs.
Size: The California Beach Co. Pop N’ Go weighs 7.2 lbs and it’s 49″ inches tall from the floor to the top of the netting and about 51″ inches wide inside. It has plenty of space for one, two or even three small kids to play in. My husband and I will sit in there together with the baby comfortably. When it is collapsed it shrinks down to 36″ inches tall and 8″ inches wide, super convenient for travel and storage!
Setup/takedown: You can set the California Beach Co. playpen up with one hand in less than 20 seconds. I often am setting it up with my baby in the other arm. You simply unlatch the outside strap and pull up on the top, the tent opens up and you just push the top town to lock it in place. There also is an extra locking mechanism to ensure your tent doesn’t collapse when using it. Check out the California Beach Co. video below if you want to see this process in action:
Materials: The California Beach Co. playpen‘s frame is made up of reinforced fiberglass and the sides are mesh. My 11-month-old (~24lbs) hangs on the sides and leans against the thin walls and it’s totally flexible and strong at the same time.
When you order your California Beach Co. playpen, it comes with the playpen itself, stakes for securing it in-ground (I haven’t done this yet), and a UV cover (more on that later). It does NOT come with the self-inflating mattress.
The mattress must be purchased separately, however, I see it as pretty necessary when using the tent. My little one is constantly falling on his head and face, and if there isn’t something to soften the landing, he ends up getting hurt. The mattress is pretty stinkin’ cool though. It’s self-inflating and offers a ton of protection for being so thin. While it is an expensive addition to the California Beach Co. playpen, I can’t imagine using the tent without it. Besides the safety it offers, it also makes it comfortable.
Buy your Pop n’ Go Playpen using our link! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B087SDS9Z5/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B087SDS9Z5&linkCode=as2&tag=katieandkrist-20&linkId=2e0bcd998d039aeeec2e954938c9f313
You can buy the mattress here: https://thecaliforniabeachco.com/collections/all-products/products/pop-n-go%C2%AE-self-inflating-mattress
OR Amazon sells one off-brand compatible mattress for only $40: https://amzn.to/3vlXxUC
(THIS POST MAY CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. We may earn a commission if you purchase from our links, at no extra cost to you!)
UV Cover: The UV cover is easy to attach to the top of the tent and protects your little one from harmful rays if you are using this outside. It is a very neat feature but does eliminate the open-air feel of the tent. The UV cover still does not close up the California Beach Co. playpen entirely, so the bugs could fly in, however, it does protect from bugs fairly well.
Where can you use your California Beach Co. playpen playpen?
Anywhere! I started using it in place of my pack n’ play when traveling because it’s lightweight, easy, and comfortable to use. You can use it outside in your yard, inside, on-the-go, when traveling, at the beach…wherever!
What does it cost?
The California Beach Co. playpen is on sale right now for half-off! It still is a bit of a hefty price-tag, but depending on how often you will use it, it could be worth it to you. The normal price is $270*, but is on sale for $135 currently. That price is just for the tent, UV cover and stakes. If you want the mattress as well (you do!) it’s on sale for $65 (originally $130). ***The price is constantly changing, but I consistently see sales!
The cons: We have covered all the details and the product is pretty perfect, but there is always going to be something small that I wish was different. While these cons are pretty minor when I look at how much I love this product and how much use it has gotten, I have a few things I don’t love about the California Beach Co. playpen:
- The overall price – although, my dad purchased this for the grandbabies to play at his house and I have borrowed indefinitely. The price tag, especially when not on sale, is pretty high for a baby product that they will outgrow eventually. It is however, comparable to other playpens on the market.
- The fact that the mattress isn’t included. You may not agree, but I see the mattress as a necessity when using the tent. It seems silly to not include it with the purchase of the playpen.
Would I recommend this product?
The answer is yes. It has been a game-changer as a mom working from home who needed a safe place to have my child when I can’t be 100% momming. It is hard to beat how compact it is, how lightweight it is and how easy it is to put away at the end of the day. This product exceeded my expectations in way of quality, usability, compactness, weight, and overall play size.
BONUS: They make a pet version! Check it out on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/3t6NK2J