If you have small kids, I don’t need to explain to you how quickly they grow up. One day, you’re holding a precious little bundle of joy, and seemingly in no time at all, that bundle of joy is wreaking havoc across your house. The second you take your eye off a toddler is the second they find the absolute most dangerous thing within reach. Insert you full-on sprinting to block their fingers from an outlet or other perilous situation.
For my one year old, the dog’s food and water dishes seem to be a huge hit. As careful as I am monitoring her every being, there are times when I need to set her down, usually to grab a bottle from the fridge or wipe up the disaster scene she left wherever she was eating. The second I set her on the carpet, she has one mission: dunking her hands in the dog’s water bowl, which to her seems to be the most amusing thing she’s capable of doing. I’ll admit that once or twice, she flipped the entire thing over. Not ideal.
If both parents are home, it’s a lot easier to take care of your daily tasks while someone else entertains the little human; when you’re at home by yourself though, that’s a whole different ballgame.
There’s a reason why people spend money baby proofing their homes. Kids, especially toddlers are constantly on the move! Parents have been known to install gates, build makeshift walls out of toys and pillows, and many other creative means of keeping your child safe for even a brief moment. There’s even this thing called a baby box that our hospital sent us home with. Primitive, but useful. But again, not a long-term solution. Let’s also be honest: while pack n’ plays and activity centers are great, sometimes your little one just wants to move around, and despises feeling overly contained in a single position.
Isn’t it time you had something that you felt confident in, that your child also absolutely loved? Something that didn’t require 20 minutes to set up, take down, and store again? Thankfully, there’s finally a solution. Parents, you’re welcome for this one.
WHAT IS IT, EXACTLY?
The quick and easy way to describe the Pop N’ Go is this: it’s a rapid-deploy playpen for kids, pets, and even yourself. When set up, it resembles a small tent. Your kids might even call it a “fort”, but regardless of your specific use case, this handy device is nearly essential.
At its most basic, the Pop N’ Go is a portable playpen for your child – but there are so many other potential situations you’ll find to make use of it.
You might be thinking, “Okay.. so it’s basically a small tent? That’s not exactly revolutionary.” Until you use it, you just won’t understand. The magic behind the Pop N’ Go is just how quickly you can set it up. In a matter of seconds, you can create a safe, fun, inviting area for your child to roam around freely in. Of course, it’s not a substitute for actual parenting, but it’ll give you a brief reprieve and you won’t have to stress out if you need to vacuum the floor, clean up a mess, or send a quick email without miniature you crawling all over you (or worse, the floor).
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention as well just how portable this thing is. It takes up almost no space, and it’s as convenient as transporting a foldable lawn chair. About that same size, too.
UNBOXING THE POP N’ GO
Let’s get to the fun part. The Pop N’ Go arrived in a reasonably sized package. After removing a little bit of tape and packaging inserts, I had everything out on the floor.
Within minutes, I had the entire thing set-up. Instructions were included albeit brief, and for good reason. It’s literally the easiest thing in the world to set up.
From a design perspective, the tent is gorgeous. We opted for the orange tent, but it comes in all black as well. I just happened to think that the orange added a little bit of “pop” to the whole thing, and I don’t regret it one bit. There is actually a limited edition pink version as well; the choice is yours!
- Size: The playpen measures 52” x 41” – big enough for your child to crawl around in, and yet small enough that it doesn’t overtake an entire room
- Incredibly lightweight: only 7.2 lbs means anyone can set-up, transport, deploy, or even move the tent
- Material: Tightly-woven durable weave mesh. Since it’s mesh, it’s seethrough which is great for both looking out and looking in
- Frame: Reinforced fiberglass framing all the way around – safe, secure, and solid (And yet somehow, flexible at the same time. The whole set-up kind of blew my mind).
WHAT COMES IN THE BOX?
- The Pop N’ Go (portable playpen)
- Optional stakes for securing it in-ground (I haven’t needed these yet)
- The UV Cover (more on that later)
Worth noting: I opted for the optional self-inflating mattress. More on that front later.
Outside of the actual device itself, there’s not a whole lot you need to get started. No tools required, no traditional “set-up” or installation. The instructions are self-explanatory, and you’ll definitely appreciate the simplicity behind the design.
Actual Unboxing Time: 3 minutes
HANDS-ON: OPENING THE POP N’ GO
- Take the Pop N’ Go out of the travel bag
- Set the base on the floor, and lift up the middle section – holding the top of the playpen in your hand
- Pull up. Wow, you now have a playpen. Yep, that easy. Literally, you’re done!
Okay well not quite, but still. After you “pop” it into place the tent is fully deployed. You do want to lock the tent into place using the grey plastic snap-on piece at the top, but that’s it.
As you can now see, thanks to their patented “pop-up and release” technology, the Pop N’ Go is an absolute breeze to work with.
Actual Set-Up Time: 8 seconds (if you move slow)
UV SHADE COVER
They thought of everything, didn’t they? The UV shade cover comes with the playpen, and is capable of blocking potentially harmful UV sun rays, or even mild protection against bugs.
Without the UV shade cover, the Pop N’ Go has more of an “open air” type feel, which honestly my daughter prefers. When the shade is on, it does feel a bit more claustrophobic (at least from an adult’s perspective) and it’s not entirely see-through. You can of course still see out of the side mesh, but it’s a pretty different experience.
There’s obviously a reason why you’d want the UV shade cover though, especially when using it outdoors, at the pool, or beach. Children have sensitive skin that really isn’t designed for prolonged exposure to the sun (adults too) and in combination with sunscreen, the UV shade cover provides even more protection.
Key takeaway: if you’re using the Pop N’ Go outside and it’s sunny, the UV shade cover is a pretty clutch addition.
The self-inflating mattress is an optional accessory for the Pop N’ Go, but I’m here to tell you that you might as well consider it mandatory. Honestly, it comes down to a matter of personal preference, but if you’re using the playpen on a harder floor, it adds a level of comfort to the entire play area.
The only time I’d consider not putting the mattress in the base of the Pop N’ Go is if I actually wanted to feel the texture of the ground – sand on the beach might be a perfect place to leave the mattress behind, otherwise for my family it’s considered an essential component of the product.
The mattress is designed to fit perfectly the base of the playpen, with a similar hexagon shape.
The best part about the mattress is the self-inflating design. Simply twist the little black cap to fill the mattress, which takes almost no time at all to inflate.
Thickness of the mattress: ~1 inch once inflated
WAYS TO USE THE POP N’ GO
As mentioned before, there’s a million ways that you’ll find to use the Pop N’ Go. Here’s just a few ways that you might use it — trust me, this is just scratching the surface.
TAKE IT TO THE BEACH
The Pop N’ Go is the perfect edition to your beach-going experience. Why mess around with sandy towels and annoying beach shades? The portability means the Pop N’ Go is quick and easy, and you can set up a shady, safe spot in a matter of seconds.
Most kids love going to the beach; there’s something utterly blissful about the blue ocean and sand beneath your feet. Parents love going to the beach too, right? Eventually, kids tire themselves out and need a break. Whether it’s time for a quick snack, or even just a quick break, the Pop N’ Go is ideal.
THE PERFECT BACKYARD KID PLAYPEN
This one requires very little explanation; if you have a yard or area for your children to play in, this is a pretty sweet thing to have in your back pocket. Kids need time outdoors, and with the Pop N’ Go you both can enjoy a little fresh air (or maybe even a picnic?) while the dog runs around aimlessly. This is the American dream, after all!
WORKS GREAT INSIDE TOO
I’d make the argument that the Pop N’ Go is most useful indoors. Like I said before, kids are prone to finding the most dangerous thing in their vicinity, and sometimes mom and dad are juggling a million different things. Need a few minutes to cut up some fruit? You already know the answer.
Your pet might just love it too!
California Beach Co. is often asked the question, “Will this work for my pet?” The answer is of course, obviously! But it certainly depends on your particular animal. Some dogs (okay most dogs) can’t stand being “locked up”, but this is a whole different experience.
Especially if you have a dog that likes to lounge around, or sit outside with you while you read a book, the Pop N’ Go provides a fenced-in solution for your furry little friend. Throw a couple treats in through the top and they’ll quickly learn to love their newfound luxury gated community.
ABOUT THE COMPANY
The California Beach Co. was launched by two parents who struggled for years to find a great, portable, lightweight playpen that was well built. They teamed up with a top outdoor-goods manufacturer and in 2018 launched a successful Kickstarter campaign raising over $450,000 in just the first 60-days. The Pop N’ Go is widely considered the world’s best playpen and is now available to everyone!
SO, SHOULD YOU BUY ONE?
You already know the answer. Yes.
If you have small children, you need this. It’s just that simple. Since getting one, I can confidently say it’s used on a near-daily basis. The ease of use and set-up are second to none; this is a product parents have needed forever, and we couldn’t be happier with it.