If a quick n' easy inflatable camp couch seems too good to be true, despite the oodles of smiling folks populating those demonstration videos all over your social media feeds, your instincts might prove correct. Over the past few years, inflatable loungers have become the snuggie for outdoor-lovers: unnecessary and funny-looking, but surprisingly comfortable and zealously defended by their owners. I had the opportunity to test out one iteration of an inflatable lounger, the Fatboy Lamzac Hangout Chair, while on a weekend camping trip in the Adirondack Mountains.
Although they vary in exact size and construction, most air loungers have the same basic (but also kinda genius?) design. The Fatboy Lamzac features a dual tube of ripstop nylon with waterproof coating, with the ends rimmed in a snap-tite plastic that rolls up to seal in the air. It weighs only 1.2 kilograms (but can hold up to 200 kilograms).
The guy in the video made it look so easy. Open the flaps, a quick swing of the arms to fill the tubes with air and a swift twist to seal it in. Voila! Presto, couch-o! Although I had, once before this review, enjoyed the finished product of this seemingly simple procedure — indeed, I fell asleep nestled into some other iteration of an inflatable couch — I was unable to replicate the fully air-puffed effect. Nor was my campmate able to achieve full inflation. The slightly flaccid lounger we ended up settling for was not uncomfortable, but it certainly wasn't the cozy sleep nook I'd experienced before. Perhaps my partner and I were just too feeble. But considering this is not an adjective commonly used to describe either of us, I'd simply caution that inflating the hangout chair is not as foolproof as the marketing makes it out to be. [Editor's note: Two other Can Geo editors tried and mostly failed to inflate this thing in order to photograph it. Dear reader, what's the secret?]
If you can get them inflated properly, they're a space- and weight-efficient option for super-comfortable lounging around camp or your local park.