Hammocks are the ultimate in bush comfort, but you don’t always have two trees to tie them to. That’s where the Laydle inflatable couch comes in.
I’ve seen a few similar products come on the market over the last couple of years but didn’t know of any that were available in Australia until I recently heard from Laydle. I had always wanted to give one a try, so how could I say no?
Functionality & ease of use (Rating: 70%)
Okay, so firstly I’ll say that it’s not something you’d bring with you on an overnight hike, but most of my hiking these days is short hikes or day hikes from a base camp. The Laydle is perfect for leaving at base camp. It’d also be great to bring along to the beach, a music festival, a picnic in the park, or an outdoor cinema.
It comes in a shoulder-bag that measures 13 x 35 x 27cm and weighs 1.5 kg with the Laydle inside. It’s not too heavy or large to carry around, just not ideal when you’re travelling long distances on foot.
The only thing you need to worry about, wherever you’re using it, is clearing the ground of any sharp sticks or other sharp objects before you set it up.
Here’s a video of how you set it up…
Looks easy as pie, doesn’t it? Well, it is just that easy, as long as it’s windy.
My first experience of trying to inflate the Laydle was on a very calm day, and it took a bit of getting used to. Even after I’ve been using it for a few weeks, I still can’t get it to inflate as fully when there isn’t much wind.
The trick is to drag it into whatever breeze there is in as straight a line as possible, and don’t expect it to be fully inflated before you start rolling up the end. You may need to give the end one or two more rolls than usual to tighten it up.
The result? Extreme, heavenly outdoor comfort.
There’s a trick to sitting down on it without looking completely uncoordinated, though… Start with a leg either side of the Laydle and lower your butt onto it before lying back. You can thank me for that later.
Apparently, it does slowly deflate over the space of 3 or 4 hours, but as a parent, I don’t really get the chance to lie or sit down for that long most days, so this isn’t a huge problem for me. I guess it’s the price you pay for not needing to drag a pump around with you, anyway.
When you’re ready to pack the Laydle away again, it’s easy peasy with another person to help. One person can hold the ends open while the other rolls and pushes the air out. It was a little trickier by myself since the ends kept closing up on me while I was trying to flatten it. I got there in the end, and it probably only took me an extra minute or two.
Design, comfort & durability (Rating: 85%)
Once unpacked from its bag, the Laydle is roughly 200 cm long x 68 cm wide. It obviously gets slightly shorter and narrower once inflated.
It’s essentially two giant air bladders, sewn together in the middle. They’re made from a nylon, parachute-style material, lined with plastic to keep it as air tight as possible. The end that you inflate it from is constructed like a dry-bag, so when it’s inflated you just roll it a couple of times and bend the buckles around to clip them together. It features a tether point, too… Handy if you want to leave it out at the campsite on a windy day.
The Laydle’s nylon exterior seems pretty tough, but the manufacturer does warn on their website that you need to be careful of sharp objects when setting it up. After a few weeks of use here, it still doesn’t really look used at all, and it’s fair to say I haven’t taken the manufacturer’s advice. The kids have been jumping all over it, and I haven’t felt like I needed to tell them to stop. According to the Laydle website, it can withstand up to 200kg of weight, depending on inflation.
They also claim that the material is dirt and moisture repellent. I love the idea that you don’t need to clean it too often or worry too much about it getting mouldy while in storage. So far this rings true, but time will tell. When it does need cleaning, they suggest lukewarm water and neutral soap.
As I’ve already mentioned, it’s extremely comfortable to lounge around on. The only thing missing is somewhere to put my beer. The kids are too small to lie down on it, though, as they just slide into the space between the two bladders. This is very unfortunate, indeed
What I like
- Comfortable and portable outdoor furniture
- No need to bring a pump
- Reasonably easy to inflate once you get the hang of it
- Kids can’t lie down on it (or maybe this should go in the list below?)
- Dirt and moisture repellent, and easy to clean
What I don’t like
- Not light enough for the overnight hiking bag (a hammock is still the best option)
- Not as easy to inflate as it looks
- Easier to pack up with two people
- Nowhere to put my beer
Available in black, green, orange, pink, and red.
You can buy one from the Laydle website (Laydle is no longer in business but there are plenty of other similar products. Check out Fatboy and LayBag).
Disclaimer: Laydle provided me with one of their comfy outdoor couches for review. However, this does not influence the opinions presented here in any way.
How comfy does the Laydle look? Got any questions or comments? Please let us know by commenting below.