The Happy Air Sofa is one of those inflatable sofas/hammocks that have been growing in popularity for the past few summers. I see more of those popping around in parks, beaches and picnic areas around Montreal.
The concept is quite simple: a fabric tube (vaguely reminding of a folded sausage) that you fill with air. Once inflated, you roll it closed to seal the air in (like dry sacks used for nautical activities) and close the buckle. You should be good for 2-6 hours (depending on how restless you are!) before you need to reinflate it!
Happy Air Sofa: A Quick Intro…
Sandrine, the woman behind the company, went and pitched her business idea on Radio-Canada’s Dans l’oeil du Dragon (French version of The Dragons’s Den) last May and Gilbert Rozon, one of the potential investor, decided to get on board and put in $15 000 in exchange of 15% of the company. (In the same season of the TV show, Rozon also chose to invest $100,000 in Hikster, a trail and hiking map mobile app that I discovered at the Outdoor Adventure Show, last April.)
(Caption: Thanks everyone for your kind words. I didn’t let go easily and I got MY deal! I am proud to announce that my collaboration with Gilbert will go beyond the $ 15,000 offered on the show, and we are not talking only volunteering. Thank you Gilbert Rozon for believing in me!!!)
Earlier this summer, I tested the Happy Air sofa to see if this was a good pick for travelers and backpackers.
It’s easy to pack/unpack since the transport bag doesn’t require a tedious rolling and air-removal process to fit the product in. This is both good and bad; it makes the packing/unpacking process quite speedy, but it also makes the Happy Air Sofa rather bulky for travel purposes.
The company has included a tent-like picket to the transport bag to use with the headrest corner loops, to prevent the sofa from being blown away. (In a matter of seconds, this thing is taken by the wind, since it’s so light and “bulky” once inflated. I know since I have seen that happening when Sandrine demo’ed the Happy Air Sofa for me…)
That’s when the problem begins. Though the company claims they have paid particular attention to the seams, maybe they failed on the corner loops. (Or maybe the loops were not such a great idea after all.) One ripped out (the corner seam busted) as I was conducting the test. What is even more surprising is that I can’t tell at what moment it happened. I used the product under normal conditions. And the other person who sat on it was lighter than me! I only realized what happened as I folded and rolled the Happy Air sofa to put it back in its bag.
Inflating a Happy Air sofa involves some running around (if there is no wind to do the job for you). This might be an issue for people who are not comfortable running. Walking can’t do the trick in absence of wind. This could make the product less practical for people who can’t do a few sprints of 3-4 meters to inflate it.
HAPPY AIR SOFA – FAST FACTS
Price: $ 89.99 CAD ($ 71 USD / € 62)
Fabric: 210T Ripstop Nylon
Color: Seen in the pictures are Yellow Fluo (top) and pink (side); also available in black, blue, green, red, purple, orange and yellow
Weight: 2.4 lbs (1.1. kg)
Dimensions: Based on shipping size, a bit less than 12.6 x 7 x 4.5 in (32 x 18 x 12 cm)
Accessories & Features: Safety picket (to make sure the Happy Air doesn’t fly away), side pocket, transport bag & matching bottle opener
A GOOD CHOICE FOR BACKPACKING?
-Could work for a 1-day excursion
-Not recommended if you stick to a minimalist/carry-on only approach
-Can only be used on even terrain, at the risk of becoming a toboggan!
Sadly, I can’t imagine leaving with a Happy Air Sofa in my luggage. The challenge to add that to everything else is too great! If you consider the necessary sacrifice that packing one would require – giving up on (at least) a full day of clothes – it’s a choice that not so many backpackers (whatever their size) can afford, unfortunately.
The company explains its higher price by focusing on the features (seams, buckle, accessories) of its product. I still feel the price a bit excessive for what it is. I don’t feel the added accessories can justify a retail price of $90 (over $100 if you add the taxes, plus an extra $10-20 for shipping). In all honesty, for me, it’s a “no” for travels.
Happy Air Sofa – Montreal, QC