By JASON MAGNESS
I am an active person, but sometimes I like to sit back and chill. In fact, one of the only things that keeps me from being a coach potato is that I like the outdoors too much. But what if I could take my couch with me. . . . Just imagine lounging around a campfire, marshmallow stick or a beer in hand, kicking back with a bunch of buddies on a couch and watching the sun go down in the type of full HD and surround sound that a flat-screen will never match.
A unique car-camping product called the El Grande 5, made by TravelChair Inc., was designed with just such ambitions in mind. The company sells the five-seat “outdoors couch” for family camping, backyard cook-outs, and for people on the sidelines watching their kids at a local sporting event.
The couch’s five seats, each equipped with a cup holder, support 300 pounds apiece. The accordion-like seating area stretches to 95 inches wide when open, comfortably seating five people, but it folds up small into a shoulder-bag case for transport. The couch weighs 23 pounds, making it movable even by children when heading from your car down a short path to a campsite.
We used the El Grande 5 couch during a recent four-day adventure race in the Sierra Nevada mountains. No, we did not bring the couch with us into the wilderness. But at transition areas, members of our crew who were not racing would drive ahead and set up the El Grande 5 for us to temporarily lounge out, rest, and eat for a precious few minutes before getting on the move again.
The couch boasts rugged construction compared to many of the cheaper discount store style chairs on the market. It deploys in seconds, each seat unfolding and snapping into place.
One other cool thing that TravelChair offers: Its seats can get their backrests printed on with logos, letting them double as a banner for your family or group. Ours touts a “Team YogaSlackers” motif to identify the couch and personalize our very own place to chill outside.
Sure, you could use logs to sit on around a campfire. They are free. But at $155, the El Grande 5 is a worthy upgrade if you want to sit back and enjoy the backcountry in a whole new light.