Lizzie PopeSee other accessory reviews written by Lizzie Pope
Inflatable furniture can make excellent and affordable caravan accessories as this Intex Café Chaise proves, following Practical Caravan's in depth review
When pondering your options for camping chairs on your caravan holidays, have you considered an inflatable chair? And with this product, the Intex Café Chaise, you get a chair as well as a footstool.
Inflatable furniture technology has come a long way since the days of squidgy airbeds you bounce or roll off, now producing items that are credible options for your next tour. No longer is inflatable furniture just for the children's playroom. While nothing you're going to pack in your caravan will quite rival the comfort found in your living room, we don't think you should suffer on your caravan holidays – comfort should not be compromised.
Today's airbeds often do a convincing impression of a domestic mattress and while inflatable furniture isn't quite up there, it isn't far off. Due to their height, inflatable chairs can still be a little bit wobbly, and engineering supportive backrests can be a challenge, however in the Practical Caravan inflatable furniture group test, designed to help you figure out if these are options you'd like to consider for your next tour, our expert team was impressed. Indeed, in terms of lounging, many of these products are a better proposition than metal-frame camping chairs.
So, other than comfort, why else do we think these products are worthy of consideration? Why else might they be good caravan accessories? Well, they're pretty cheap. They are also light, and when deflated, they fold away very small – perfect when you're packing for your caravan holidays, where storage space is precious.
On the other hand, they can be quite bulky once inflated, and you can't leave them outside as they'll blow away, so you really need an awning in which to store them. They're also susceptible to being punctured, so they demand a degree of care, plus you'll need to pump them up a little every few days.
We put each of these inflatable camping chairs through the same rigorous test. We wanted to see how quickly we could inflate and deflate each chair, and we tested them for comfort, taking into account how easy they are to get in to and out of, what they're like for lounging in and what support they offer when you're sitting upright in them. The size of the item once inflated, how much seating space is available and value for money were also taken into consideration during this extensive group test.
How did the Intex Café Chaise perform in the Practical Caravan review? Its manufacturer outdoes itself in a variety of ways with this stylish and ultra-inviting seat and footstool combo. On the bright side, comfort is great. This is easily the most restful seat in the group. In fact, lie back, shut your eyes and it isn’t hard to imagine you’re ensconced in a well-padded hammock.
A good seating height of around 40cm makes it easy to exit from Intex's Café Chaise, too. However, this is a leviathan. The footprint creeps up to 1.04m x 1.09m just for the chair itself. Meanwhile, the six minutes and 15 seconds needed to inflate the chair – and just the chair – is a reminder of the massive air volume required for this chair and footstool combo.
We gave the Café Chaise three stars and another Intex item, the Beanless Bag, also received the same star rating – but how did the other items in the Practical Caravan inflatable furniture group test fare? Our winner, securing a five-star rating, was the SunnCamp 5 in 1 sofa bed. The Vango armchair and also the SunnCamp single flocked sofa scored four out of five, while the bright Bestway Comfi Cube and the Bestway Moda demonstrated that they are both capable and small options, each receiving a three-star rating – as did another Bestway product, the quirky Nestair. The Easy Camp Movie Seat Double got two out of five, the Gelert ABD099 was awarded a single star.
|Chair inflated size||104 x 109 x 71 cm|
|Footstool inflated size||64 x 28 cm|
The Practical Caravan Intex Café Chaise review proved that this is a comfortable proposition – if you have the space for it and the patience to inflate it. Three out of five is a commendable score – and remember, it only costs £20.
- This is a very comfortable option
- It is slow to inflate
- The chair is quite bulky, even before you consider the footstool