If you have trouble catching some ZZZs while traveling, a kooky-looking As Seen On TV product claims it can help. The Snazzy Napper (*Est. $15) is a blanket designed to block out light and provide privacy when you're on a train or bus. It's intended to cover your face, and an opening in the cloth allows your nose to poke through so you can breathe. A soft metal clip around the opening helps the blanket fit your face snugly, and a Velcro strap wraps around your head to hold the Snazzy Napper in place. A larger version (*Est. $25) that functions as a blanket is also available, and it's equipped with a pocket. Both sizes include a carrying case.
Because of its silly appearance (one user says it looks like "a giant bib for a giant baby"), it’s been the butt of countless jokes in the media, including spoofs on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." All jokes aside, the real question is whether this product actually works.
Reporters from CNN.com and WCIU hit the streets to see what people have to say about the Snazzy Napper. Jeanne Moos of CNN.com wears the Snazzy Napper around New York City. She gets a lot of laughs and odd looks, but no one expresses serious interest in it. A reporter for WCIU (Chicago) asks random people on a Chicago street to try on the Snazzy Napper. With the exception of one person, every tester says they would never buy the product, noting it looks ridiculous and doesn’t seem comfortable. The Snazzy Napper’s design may defeat its purpose: One girl says she would not be able to sleep with cloth covering her face.
The Snazzy Napper does earn one recommendation from Mike Barish of Gadling.com, who tests the Snazzy Napper by wearing it in a car with the air-conditioning on full blast. He says the larger version comes in handy for people who want both a sleep mask and a blanket, but he says the smaller version has no advantage over a sleep mask. Barish also makes a valid point: If you use the Snazzy Napper while you’re asleep, it doesn’t matter how you look to other people.
Clearly, the biggest disadvantage to the Snazzy Napper is that most people find it embarrassing to wear in public. Some users say it’s uncomfortable -- even claustrophobic -- and several advise against wearing it in airports because you may look suspicious to security personnel. Reviewers also warn not to store any personal items in the pockets of the larger Snazzy Napper as you’ll be vulnerable to theft. With all these hitches, a regular sleep mask -- and a blanket if needed -- seem like more practical options.
In case you haven't seen the Snazzy Napper commercial yet, we've embedded it below: