One of the key aspects of reducing stress when parenting – either at home or while traveling – is getting your kids to sleep well.
Particularly when traveling, jet lag and unfamiliar surroundings can play havoc with kids’ sleep routine – we’ve had terrible experiences of our kids being wide awake at 4am while traveling – but we’ve found carrying a portable blackout blind in our suitcase or backpack can make a huge difference!
We’ve sometimes arrived at an AirBnB, only to discover a useless net curtain is the only thing preventing our kids waking at the crack of dawn – it ain’t gonna happen!
Finding a travel blackout curtain that’s portable enough to carry on our travels has been a challenge. Many are too big and bulky, the fabric can be flimsy and doesn’t truly block the light, or they’re just not robust enough.
So we were excited to check out a new offering on the market from Sleepout, a Canadian start-up that has recently launched to the market.
We used the same criteria to review the Sleepout blackout curtain as we have with other similar products we’ve reviewed, and here’s what we found.
Weight, portability and size
As avid travelers know, weight and size is everything in a suitcase, particularly if you’re wanting to travel carry on only or with a small suitcase.
Even if you’re packing the car for a roadtrip, the amount of stuff needed to travel with a baby or toddler can be overwhelming, so you need to look for gear that takes up minimal space.
The Sleepout blackout curtain comes packed in a convenient carry bag with handles and measures 36cm/14 inches wide x 16cm/6 inches high x 10cm/4 inches deep when packed in the bag.
The entire Sleepout kit weighs less than 2lb or just over 900g, which makes it perfect for packing into your suitcase or tucking away into the car.
If you’re even more pressed for space, you can remove the bag and fold the blackout curtain in a way that best suits you – whether it be folded flat to line your suitcase, or folded tightly into a rectangle.
You can see from the photo that the size is little more than an average paperback book!
And how it fits neatly into an average sized carry-on luggage bag.
In terms of dimensions of the blackout curtain, it measures 54 inches x 78 inches / 137cm x 198cm.
A really innovative feature is that you can use the curtain either vertically or horizontally. If you have a larger size window, you can easily use two curtains side by side.
If the window is smaller than the width of the curtain, it’s no problem, you just use the included Sleepout pads to pull the curtain taut against the wall.
The fabric of the Sleepout blackout curtain is definitely high quality. It’s thick and feels robust (but without the weight), and is not made of flimsy and lightweight cotton that some other blackout curtains are.
It’s a neutral grey colour that would work well with most interior decor.
It’s constructed from OEKO-TEX® 100 Standard, SGS®, and GREENGUARD® certified non-toxic 100% blackout material.
The OEKO-TEX® standard means the fabric is safe and certified free from harmful substances – making it perfect for placing in a child’s room.
SGS® certification means the product has been globally benchmarked for quality and integrity.
GREENGUARD® certification endorses that a product has been scientifically proven to meet some of the world’s most rigorous third-party chemical emissions standards, helping to reduce indoor air pollution and the risk of chemical exposure.
The inner lining of the Sleepout blackout blind is thermal, and you can feel from touching it that again it’s high quality and has good insulating properties. The information leaflet that accompanies the blind states savings of 25% of heating, cooling and energy costs per year.
The cooling aspect is really important if you’re traveling during the height of summer and have an infant who’s napping. It can be tricky to keep the room safely cool even with a fan, and a blackout curtain can really assist with this.
It’s easy to keep clean also – just throw it into the washing machine on a delicate cycle using mild detergent and hang on the line to dry.
Ease of use and robustness of suction cups
We found the Sleepout curtain very easy to use – it was literally hanging up on our window within a few minutes. This makes it perfect when arriving at an unfamiliar destination late at night – it definitely beats spending time sticking multiple suction cups to the window while trying to get unpacked and the kids into bed.
To hang the curtain you simply stick the two suction cups onto the top of the window (in the corners works best) with the sloping section up. Pull the lever down which locks the cup on for a strong hold.
Compared to other blinds on the market, these suction cups are great and truly stay on to the window. Many of the other blinds we’ve tried work ok to begin with, but the suction cups start to peel away after a while. We were very impressed with the robustness of the cups, it’s a super clever design.
You then press one edge of the velcro on the curtain onto a suction cup, pull the fabric taut and press onto the other suction cup. The curtain is now hanging!
Included in the kit are ‘Sleepout Pads’. These are essentially small stickers that attach to the window frame to prevent ‘light bleed’ or seeping light coming in around the sides of the curtain. They easily peel off the wall, so there are no worries about peeling off paint with it or wallpaper.
I have to admit, we were a little nervous sticking the pads to our walls, but they’re great and no chance whatsoever of taking paint or wallpaper with it as far as we could tell!
The pads are reusable – we kept the backings from the sticky portion of the pad so we can reuse over and over, however if you were constantly on the move it may pay to order a spare set of Sleepout Pads to go with your kit.
And that’s it! It was super easy – much better than fiddling about with curtain rods, window adhesives, or multiple suction cups around the whole curtain.
Here’s a before and after showing the Sleepout blind installed on one of our windows at home.
Something we really like about the Sleepout company and its curtain are the environmental and sustainability credentials.
The quality of the product means it isn’t flimsy or cheap fabric that you would throw out after a while. It uses top notch materials and is made to last.
Sleepout only use third-party manufacturers that fairly compensate their workers, which we think is really commendable. It’s a transparent supply chain model that utilised partners who have Sedex’s SMETA certification, the ICTI ethical toy program and Intertek’s BRC Global Consumer Product Standard.
There’s no plastic packaging on the product that unfortunately many competing products use – often unnecessarily.
Sleepout have also partnered with The Eden Reforestation Project and donate one tree for every curtain sold, to help mitigate climate change (that’s over 3,000 trees so far).
We think the Sleepout blackout curtain is one of the best on the market that we’ve tried so far.
A lot of thought and care has gone into designing this product, and we think it’s top-notch quality compared to a lot of the alternatives on the market.
Granted the price point is higher than competing products, but we really think this is a case of “you get what you pay for”. It’s definitely an ‘invest once and forget about it’ solution.
There are other more lightweight options on the market, but to be honest, the extra half a pound/ few hundred grams extra weight of the Sleepout curtain is a small tradeoff compared to the robust design and quality of the fabric.
It truly is 100% blackout quality, we’ve not experienced any light leakage around or through the curtain, even in the height of summer.
We highly recommend it for traveling families, or anyone who wants to make their room dark! It has so many uses – whether vacationing, in a campervan/RV/caravan situation, or simply in your home to help get a great night’s sleep (or afternoon nap!)
The curtains also have an amazing 125-night return guarantee – if you’re not happy with your purchase, you can send it back to the Sleepout team who will work with you to make it right.
The curtain also has a two-year manufacturer warranty.
Where to buy the Sleepout blackout curtain
Sleepout is a Canadian start-up run by Mark and Hannah, who have left the corporate world behind after creating the Sleepout curtain as a cure to Mark’s insomnia.
After trying many of the blackout blind products out there (including taping garbage bags to windows!) they thought they could create a much better product – and the rest is history.
We love supporting small businesses wherever possible, and it’s awesome to see a great product come from two passionate entrepreneurs rather than a massive corporate 🙂
You can read more about their story and the process that went into inventing the Sleepout curtain on their website.
Disclaimer: Our Overseas Adventures were gifted with a Sleepout blackout curtain, however all opinions in this post are our own. We are a participant in the Sleepout affiliate advertising program, meaning we receive a commission from purchases made via the links in this article, with no cost to you. Thank you for supporting our website and helping us make it the best resource on the web!