Lizzie PopeSee other accessory reviews written by Lizzie Pope
The Practical Caravan review team tests the Gelert ABD099 to find out if this inflatable camping chair is as comfortable as it looks
Everyone needs camping chairs on their caravan holidays – and if you're looking to upgrade your current kit, have you considered inflatable furniture? If not, read on to discover why the Practical Caravan team think these are worth considering.
Of course you want to be comfortable when you're on tour. And here at Practical Caravan, we believe that just because you're in your caravan you don't have to compromise on comfort – and inflatable furniture could be the answer. Nothing you can pack in your van will match the comfort of your three-piece suite, but you may be surprised by what today's blow up furniture can achieve. Many modern airbeds provide levels of support close to that offered by conventional mattresses and although inflatable furniture isn't quite that good, we think you might be impressed. Creating inflatable chairs with supportive backrests has been one of the industry's biggest challenges and the slightly wobbly feeling you get with blow up items hasn't entirely been overcome, but we still think that these are options that are well worth considering.
So, what are the advantages of inflatable furniture? Other than being comfortable, these pieces are light and they fold away very small. On the other hand, when inflated these camping chairs can be quite bulky and being light, they can't be left outside as they'll get blown away, so you might need an awning to store them in. Care is needed with using inflatable chairs as they can be punctured and remember that you will need to top the chair up with air every couple of days.
The Practical Caravan team tested a number of inflatable chairs, reviewing them all in the same way for a fair test. The chairs were ranked in terms of their inflation and deflation times, using the same pump every time for consistency. We also took comfort and value for money into account, as well as how large the chair is once inflated. So how did this bright, Gelert ABD099 fare?
Well, who would have thought that making an inflatable look like Granny’s favourite armchair, complete with a psychedelic makeover, would prove so popular? Comments on camping forums, such as “want one now”, demonstrate that Gelert was on to a winner when it came up with this design.
Sorry, though. Looks aside, this is not a comfortable or practical seat. At this price, we’d expect wide bore valves, instead of the two narrow ones provided and the five-minute fill time. However, the real disappointment came once the product was inflated. The chair is incredibly unstable, rocking unnervingly in any direction. We only felt safe perched at the front. At 30cm, the sitting height feels low for the design, too.
The Practical Caravan test team also reviewed the Intex Beanless Bag, the Bestway Nestair, the Bestway Moda, the Vango armchair, the SunnCamp single flocked sofa, the Easy Camp Movie Seat Double, the Bestway Comfi Cube and the Intex Café Chaise, the latter an innovative chair and footstool combination. However, at the end of our exhaustive group product test, the winner was the SunnCamp 5 in 1 sofa bed, which received a glowing, five-star review.
The Practical Caravan reviewers were not fans of this chair. It looks fun and we applaud Gelert for the imaginative aesthetics, but it disappointed in terms of comfort.
- It's fun looking and quirky
- It is uncomfortable and unstable