Aspen Times Weekly: Inflatable ‘Hammock’ Test
Leave your normal hammock at home. This summer, multiple small brands are selling so-called “inflatable hammocks,” which offer ad hoc seating any place in the outdoors.
You swipe the bag-like seat through the air. Once both sides are filled, close and roll the end tight. Snap a buckle and sit down. Sink in, and enjoy.
I tested the couch-like WindPouch product this month while camping as well as around town. It’s comfortable to sit on and easy to inflate.
Get ready for some weird looks, however, and brace for some commentary on what appear to be a set of oversize lips ready to suck you into a fold.
WindPouch Inflatable Hammocks cost $79.95. They are made of a coated nylon and rated to hold about 550 pounds before they burst.
There are a few similar products on the market, including the Lamzac, which appears to be the original; it was invented by a Dutch company and is shipping to the U.S. starting this month.
WindPouch touts its product as different because of a stronger nylon that has a polyurethane coating for water, dirt and UV resistance. It comes with a carabiner and a tent peg to stake it down.
To test it out, I set some kids loose to roll, jump, and bounce (lightly) on the WindPouch. It held up to a weekend of abuse, serving as a great camp chair as long as you avoid bonfire sparks.
Instructional videos on the WindPouch show a man “swiping” air from a standing position to fill it up. In my review, we were forced to run back and forth, scooping at air in an effort to inflate the 7-foot-long seat.
The trick is to hold one side open, run a bit, then turn back with the opposite side agape. It’s a maneuver that conjured big laughs at the campsite.
But the giggling dissolved to envy after I sat down. The plush seat lets you lie out across its expanse in “hammock mode” or sit facing forward. It’s comfy either way, and with some practice two or three adults can get cozy on the cushion of air.
The WindPouch works at the beach or at an outdoors concert. It gives a seat that’s far superior to the common towel unrolled on the ground. Unlike a folding chair, this inflatable option packs to about the size of a big loaf of bread.
Give the WindPouch — or a similar inflatable hammock — a sit this summer. I was impressed with the design and happy to discover a new way to take a load off in the outdoors.
Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at http://www.gearjunkie.com.
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