Art Vandelay is a gearhead, a lover of all things travel and outdoor, and a recent new father.
What is it?
The Joovy Gloo is a small collapsible tent meant to provide babies and young children a contained area for sleeping or playing, protecting them from bugs, sun, and suffocation hazards. Coming in two sizes, the tent is marketed for children ages six months to five years old, but we started using it with our daughter when she was just under two months old. As a new parent with an active lifestyle, I love the Gloo’s packability, its pop-up-style set up, and its ability to isolate my daughter from things we don’t want her playing or sleeping with like choking hazards or bedding materials. It has a padded bottom and is entirely bug-proof, plus it is small enough to bring along with us many places we go. As an added bonus, it comes with UPF 50 Sun protection on any non-mesh materials.
We took our little one with us to spend a morning with friends at a state park beach. The Gloo provided a quick set up for the multiple naps she took and protected her from the biting flies that were present. To protect her from the sun and provide some cooler temps, we put the Gloo under a larger beach sun shelter, but we have also used breathable blankets to block out the sun. The sleeping tent also prevented her from rolling out of the spot where we lay her to sleep and provided a barrier between her and the curious toddlers we were with. Beyond a shady sleeping area free from bugs, it also packs down very small and is much easier than lugging a pack and play or other alternative to a beach or anywhere where the car may not be close.
Small Packed Size and Packing Demonstration
Camping and Limiting Risk of SIDS
My wife and I are avid campers and backpackers, and when we had our little one we knew that we wouldn’t be taking a step away from our hobbies, but would instead be sharing them with our daughter. While we knew we would be using our chest carrier with her most of the day and into the evenings, planning her sleeping situation presented an initial challenge.
In its safe sleep guidelines, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends placing your baby on his or her back on a firm flat surface and away from bedding and soft objects in order to decrease the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) that claims the lives of 3,600 US babies a year. If you are considering camping with your baby, I highly recommend visiting the AAP’s detailed guidelines on limiting the risk of suffocation and SIDS.
These guidelines made it clear to us that we would not be sharing our sleeping bag with our daughter, wrapping her in blankets, or even having her sleep unprotected next to us in case she rolled into our sleeping bags or we rolled into her.
For us, the Gloo not only represented a firm flat sleeping surface, but also served as a means to ensure our sleeping bags and clothing were kept away from our daughter to limit the risk of suffocating. We took her camping for three nights over two successive weekends when she was two months old, and she slept great. She wore appropriate non-hooded sleep clothing and stayed securely in the Gloo all night. The mesh barrier provided the separation between her and our sleeping bags that we were looking for. We woke up many times to check on her, but that was just the worried new parents in us. She certainly slept better than we did!
Specs and What's Included
Regular size (3.9 lbs) for 6 months- 3 years old
- weighs 3.9 lbs
- packed dimensions 14” L x 5” W x 14” H
- open dimensions 44” L x 25” W x 18” H
Large size for 6 months - 5 year old
- weighs 5.5 lbs
- packed dimensions 18” L x 4.5” W x 17” H
- open dimensions 51.5” L x 28” W x 24.5” H
- comes with an additional roll down UPF sun shade
UPF 50 sun protection
No assembly or external poles to deal with
Washable cotton cover
Includes self-inflating sleeping pad to protect from hard ground or unseen items under the tent, much like open cell foam pads used for adult camping sleeping mats