The Ergohacks Verdict
Blow up furniture was a fad in the early nineties. I remember laboriously puffing up a plastic seat that was luminous purple and getting something that wasn’t very comfortable, went down overnight and didn’t last more than a couple of months. I thought it was amazing at the time – not so much now. Fast forward to the present and there’s a new type of inflatable furniture gaining increasing popularity. It’s a sausage shaped couch that’s blown up by waving it around and it’s actually supposed to be very comfortable.
The Airchair looks stylish and it seemed perfect for lightweight travel. The secret of its usability lies in getting it inflated. The first time I tried spinning around with it to get air, nothing happened. I tried running with it and I’m glad I wasn’t being videoed. I looked ridiculous and after five minutes of effort the best I was able to get was the two chambers half filled. I gave it up as a bad first try, but Cass and Lily realised that if they both sat on it they’d get back support and a surprisingly comfortable seat.
The second time I’d done my research watching Youtube videos on how to inflate it. I was ready. Hold one side of the valve in each hand, spin, open, close and repeat a few times. Twist the end several times and click in. I probably still looked stupid, but it took less than a minute to get a fairly inflated couch. It doesn’t remain inflated for ever, but it worked as a temporary seat for a few hours.
Once inflated, it’s surprisingly comfortable to sit or lie on. Cass did have problems – she was a little too small and tended to end up sliding into the middle, but she insisted that his too, was super comfortable and happily spent an afternoon lying in it reading a book. Lily and I could both sit sideways on the Airchair in reasonable comfort – although as soon as one of us got up the other tended to sink to the floor. It’s designed for one adult person and works admirably for this, but can be used as a seat for two in a pinch.
There are multiple airchairs on the market. Zuru, a toy manufacturing company, makes theirs in a range of colours. It’s compact and light when rolled away, quick to put up once you’ve invested the time to figure out how to do it and it is comfortable for a single person to sit on. We didn’t manage to get it fully inflated as shown on many retail images, however at 75%, it was comfortable and sturdy. The most difficult part of the process is rolling it up again to put it back in the bag. The plastic ends are rigid and it has to be folded tightly around to fit in a made-to-measure pocket bag.
It survived the first camping trip we put it through with no scratches or problems. It’s small footprint, quick inflation and comfort level makes it a great choice for outdoor concerts, picnics, camping or just an afternoon spent anywhere outdoors reading a book. Recommended for those who like having or need a seat when enjoying the outdoors.
Buy it from JML or +
Price: ± £ 25
JML is a British brand formed in the mid 80s and specialising in a wide range of consumer gadgets and ideas. They’re known for their in store exhibits – often a TV above the product they’re selling with an excited sounding American talking about how the product works. JML’s airchair was manufactured by Zuru, a global toy manufacturing company.
The Airchair is a huge flexible plastic tube curved back on itself with a nylon cover. The tube has a large rigid mouth and a clip to hold it closed. It comes with it’s own bag but when you’ve got it up is large enough for a single adult to recline on or a couple of people to sit next to each other on.
Colour: Black and blue or Black and Red
Waterproof: Yes but not recommended for use on water
User maximum weight: 150kg
Materials: Covering: Polyester. Lining: Polyethylene
We based our Ergohacks Verdict on three weeks of tinkering, testing and using the AirChair provided by JML during July 2017. This article was first published on 8 August 2017.