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Blackout curtains definitely do well in blocking out light that would otherwise stream in through the windows, but they can keep air from flowing, making the room feel stagnant. The same goes for traditional bed canopies, which are often more decorative than functional. Now, there’s a better way to achieve total darkness, not to mention a lot more privacy — but are you sacrificing too much in looks to make it work? This “bed tent” by Privacy Pop probably isn’t going to win any design awards for aesthetic achievements any time soon, but it has lots of practicality to offer.

Have you ever looked longingly at a child’s fort and wished you could close yourself up into a similarly dark, cozy, comforting space and spend the whole day reading, writing, drawing or daydreaming? Did you share a room with siblings as a teenager, finding that privacy was only ever possible when you locked yourself in the bathroom? Maybe you had the classic college dorm experience where your bed was in full view of your roommates at all times.

bed tent laptop

bed tent dorm room

The Bed Tent by Privacy Pop provides a solution for all of these problems for minimal expense and almost no effort at all. It comes in toddler, twin, twin XL, full, queen and king sizes as well as twin bunks and full bunks, so it works with virtually any kind of bed. The base of the tent fits under your mattress to keep it secure, and it’s up to 53 inches tall for adult-sized beds, so there’s plenty of room to sit up or climb in and out.

It’s created specifically for portability, folding flat and storing away in a compact carrying bag, making it a great option for budget travelers staying in multi-bed rooms at hostels or hotels. It basically creates an instant room-within-a-room, offering some solitude and seclusion for a better night’s sleep, as well as a convenient and private place to change. The lightweight, water-resistant nylon shell blocks out almost all outside light when zipped closed and keeps out insects, too.

privacy pop carry case

When you want to open it up to the room, it’s easy to unzip the doors on either side and tie them up out of the way. Mesh windows on either end enable airflow and light when you want it. Like most tents, it has zippers on both sides for accessibility. Plus, it can be set up outside of a bed as a sun shade or a play space for kids.

bed tent play pen

Fans of the bed tent concept note that it’s particularly useful for people who have trouble falling asleep or suffer from anxiety (assuming you’re not claustrophobic) and can help soothe children with autism. Is it cute? Not really, though you can get it in an array of colors, including teal, pink, gray and basic black. But sometimes, that’s just not what’s really important. Maybe someday Privacy Pop — which also offers a translucent mosquito net “bug tent” — will update the design to be more fashion-forward. Both tents are currently 25 percent off in all sizes.