When Griffin, my 5-year-old, outgrew his travel crib, I felt confused. Abandoned, even. Now what? I hadn’t considered what a luxury it was to travel somewhere and not worry about where he would sleep. He has never slept in bed with my husband and I, and I certainly didn’t want to start testing those hazardous-sounding waters on a trip. Sleep is hard enough in an unfamiliar bed that’s usually smaller and less comfortable than my own; the last thing I need is a gangly 5-year-old kicking me in the night.
It seems I’m not the only parent to ever wish for a travel bed for older kids, as Stokke — beloved makers of the rightly-raved about Tripp Trapp chair — recently debuted the CloudSleeper. Soft, comfy, and so easy-to-use, the CloudSleeper is a simply a really high-quality, inflatable mattress for kids 3 and up that has solved my post-travel crib what now dilemma beautifully.
- Price: $129
- Sizes: One size, 59.1 inches x 29.5 inches x 6.7 inches
- Colors: Standard white or a Mickey Mouse pattern
- Who it’s for: Stokke is clear that this bed is meant only for children 36 months old and up.
- When to use: Anytime your child, or one coming to visit, needs a comfy bed on-the-go. Think camping trips, sleepovers, and travel of all kinds.
- Pro-tip: Play with the bed at home before you travel, so that your kid is already familiar with it when it’s time to actually sleep in it.
How we use the Stokke CloudSleeper mattress
I have yet to meet a Stokke product that’s poorly designed or disappointing in any way. We adore our Tripp Trapp chairs — even I like sitting in them — and our Stokke crib is going on five years of consistent use without showing any signs of wear or tear. Still, it surprised me how much intention and thoughtfulness went into the CloudSleeper, and how many uses we’ve found for it. While we obviously inflated it and starting playing with it immediately — it makes a great Nugget or Nook play couch accessory — I wasn’t sure how we’d use it. Then, along came summer and our first-ever camping trip as parents. Having the CloudSleeper meant that our 5-year-old had by far the comfiest bed of all, and the slightly raised edges helped keep him from rolling too far afield on the rather uneven slope where we (rookie mistake) chose to set up our tent.
A few weeks later, house guests came to visit with their two small kids. We’re just settling into a new house ourselves, so I felt underprepared. The CloudSleeper made a super cozy bed for their 3-year-old, and she felt super excited to help inflate and deflate it. Meanwhile, I felt like having a special, just-for-kids bed helped her feel welcome and cozy. In a few weeks, we’re bringing it on a big family trip. It’s not clear exactly what the sleeping arrangements are, and I realized that as long as the bedroom our family is offered has one bed for the grown ups, the CloudSleeper will be to our big kid what our travel crib is to our toddler. (In other words, it’s saving me from having to pester our hosts about exact sleeping arrangements.) I can be a little more go-with-the flow — have beds, will travel. No biggie. In fact, it’s almost nicer to be bringing our own, because our 5-year-old will know what to expect when bed time in a new place — often a fraught travel moment — rolls around.
The inflating and deflating process
Brilliantly simple to unfold and inflate, and equally easy to deflate and stash away, this bed is a really good example of sneakily sharp design that solves problems you didn’t quite realize you had. We’ve surely all struggled with wrangling an air mattress in our time, and who has not spent a hot summer day nearly passed out after manually inflating a few inner tubes. This inflatable bed comes with a big — yet somehow not cumbersome — built-in hand pump. You can’t lose the pump, because it’s built in, and it’s big enough that the bed inflates quickly.
And when it’s time to deflate, just pop the deflation valve at the top of the mattress and all the air rushes out of it quickly. Then, you’ll use the big pump, as well as the handy dotted lines that run along the bottom of the mattress, as a structures to guide you as you fold the mattress up and squeeze it back into the handy carrying bag it comes with. It’s easy enough for little kids to help with, and even for older kids to do by themselves.
Cleaning is a breeze, too, as you would probably assume. The breathable, soft mesh cover sheet zips off and you simply toss that in the washer (we always wash on cold, but you can wash it in water that’s up to 86 degrees Fahrenheit) and then hang it up to dry. As for the mattress itself, you can just wipe it clean with a damp cloth as needed.
Pros & cons
- Really comfortable. My son loves to snuggle down into this thoughtfully-designed travel bed.
- Easy to inflate. You won’t get winded because it has a clever hand pump, which also means you won’t have to replace its batteries or find an electrical outlet.
- Quick to inflate. Again, the inflation system is super smart and functional.
- Easy to deflate and fold away. While it will take up some space in your luggage, it’s pretty compact, and certainly a lot easier than packing a travel crib. For most parents, it’ll lighten your load.
- It’s not the cheapest kid’s air mattress.
- It’s an air mattress, so it could pop.
The final verdict
For $129, we have an easy place for house guests who arrive with kids in tow (which most of them do these days) to sleep. We have a cozy bed for future camping trips and a familiar place for my big kid to lay his head when we go on family vacations. In our every day life, it comes out often to take a pillow or Nugget fort to the next level, and just all around earns its keep in a way that far exceeds my expectations.
Having a CloudSleeper on hand has made life easier in some crucial moments, and I’m really glad the folks at Stokke put this much thought into making the very best travel bed for kids. They nailed it.
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