Monday, January 29, 2007

The Top 10 Coolest (or Weird) Inflatables!

Inflatables, the vinyl frontier. These are the voyages of the blogship Raivynn's Roost. Her five hour mission: to explore strange new websites. To seek out new gadgets and new crazy blow-ups. To boldly blog them as they've never been blogged before.

Yeah, I know this was posted late, but gimme a break. It's a huge, frikkin' article. I'm sure you'll find the delay more than worth your time. I mean, c'mon ... Top 10 Inflatables? What's not to like?

I know what you are thinking.

No. I did not put any of the, err ... "adult" inflatables on this list. I wouldn't know where to start, for one thing. I sure ran into more than I wanted while researching for this post, though. There actually are two inflatable dolls, a man and a woman, that I seriously debated about putting on the list. Not sex toys, but I was afraid someone might think they were. So, while not on the Top 10 list, the Inflatable Husband and Inflatable Wife get honorable mention here.

Without further ado ... The Top 10 Coolest (or Weird) Inflatables!

#10 Inflate-A-Potty

Bombs Away!Ever been a long car trip with kids? They gotta go at the most inconvenient times. Usually ten minutes after you left the last rest stop or nearest town exit. And, then, assuming you do stop on the side of road to avoid needing new upholstery and two dozen pine tree air fresheners, the kid won't go standing in the bushes or grass.

Inflate-A-Potty to the rescue!

Just take the blow-up mini-toilet out of it's bright blue bag, wrap your mouth around the removable extension tube, and proceed to huff and puff until the beach ball sized hunk of plastic inflates. Yeah, removable extension tube or not, I love to place my mouth near toilets as much as I can. (Actually, it sorta reminds me of my drinking days and the visits to Ralph's Porcelain Throne).

And, you just KNOW that as you gasp that last puff of air into the thing, and your head is swimming, and your heart is pounding, and the sweat is trickling between your shoulder blades, your kid will say, "I don't hafta go anymore."

That's when you realize the Inflate-A-Potty makes a great hat for kids.

Oh, there is an adult size version, too. For when your passengers think they are flying Incontinental Airlines.

[You can read more at the Inflate-A-Potty website]

#9 AK Creature, World's First Furry Inflatable Chair

Inflatable furniture has been around a while. I even ran across several in my web travels looking for cool inflatables. Most seemed to be big armchairs emblazoned with sports team logos. Or, beer logos. And, an abundance of inflatable kid sized furniture can be found, in pinks and blues, with Barbies or Nemo on them.

This creature, however, is just cool and weird enough to stand out from the rest.

Made From Real Moster Pelts!AK Creature comes in three distinct colors: Yeti, Mammoth, and Primate. Or, white, brown, and black, if you prefer to be pedestrian about your color names. The Yeti and Mammoth versions appear to have longer fur on them than the Primate one.

Both the fur and leather are fake, if you were wondering. So, if you have the overpowering urge to sit inside a fuzzy creature, and this chair just isn't cutting it for you, you'll have to disembowel your own cow, bear, or tauntaun and crawl inside. (Hey, if it worked for Luke ...)

The chairs are around 3 feet to a side and about 2½ feet tall. No mention on the weight capacity it can tolerate. If it explodes when you sit on it, you are probably too fat.

I imagine pets with claws might pose a hazard to these sittable critters. The fur might scare them off, though. Or, worse, it might excite them. The upside is Spot gives your leg a break for a while. Be hell cleaning them after.

[You can see more at AK Design]

#8 Inflatable Massage Chair

Hey, does this recline? Ahhhh! *THUD*Continuing on the inflatable sittable theme is the Inflatable Massage Chair.

This thing would be great! It's pretty cheap compared to the real massage chairs or even those cushion looking massagers you can put on normal chairs. (Though I imagine this is an instance of you get what you pay for).

It comes in a bag, inflates in less than two minutes, and can go almost anywhere. Anywhere within about 6 feet of an electrical outlet, that is. Which is probably a good thing. Cuz you know some damned fool idiot would try floating around his pool on it while being massaged.

"Hey, where's Billy Bob, ma?" "He went down to the pool with his new blow-up mayssage chair." "Why're the lights flickering, ma?" "Don't rightly know. You smell that? Smells like burnt wet dog."

The chair looks comfortable, and it sorta looks like a leather chair. The black color is nice. The seat dimensions are 22" x 23". If your ass is bigger than 2 feet square you will have problems sitting in it. Well, you might be able to squeeze some giganto-buns in it, but the chair will come with you when you stand up. And be prepared for all that squitch squeetch sound you get when vinyl meets flesh.

With two massage areas (butt and back), 3 intensity settings (mmmm, ahhh, and oh oh Oh OH OH!!!), a timer, and an attached wired remote, this inflatable chair has it all. Well, except heat with the massage. Then you'd only get to use it once, but could carry the melted PVC scars as mementos of your time together for the rest of your life.

It has a repair kit that comes with it, too. Very reassuring.

[It's all over the web, but you can find it HERE, too.]

#7 Inflatable Sumo Costumes

You Can Fart in It and Blame the Fan!Have you ever felt like gaining a few hundred pounds, pulling your hair into a ponytail, and wear a diaper? Well now you can!

The inflatable sumo costume is made from nylon. The same material used for most of those annoying inflatable lawn decorations that spring up across the neighborhood like a biblical plague around Christmas time. This is not a vinyl or PVC suit. For that you'll need to turn off your NetNanny and find some websites that have a few X's in their names.

Nope, the Sumo suit is inflated around you by a concealed battery pack and fan. You step into it, fasten it up around you, slap the fake sumo hair hat on your head, and turn on the fan. Within seconds you are ready to go E. Honda on your friends.

Well, okay, so you don't gain any super Sumo powers, and if you tried to Sumo in the costume you'd probably hurt yourself and rip the suit. But don't let that stop you from waddling around, grunting poorly accented Japanese words, or flailing your hand in people's faces and yelling, "Hundred Hand Slap".

You can also eat more than you should while at the costume party. Just tell everyone you're bulking up for your next match.

[You can find similar suits all over; this one is from]

#6 Floating Iceberg

Penguins Not IncludedYou can't have a Top 10 list of inflatables without having some cool water toys. Aviva Water Toys has some great stuff, and this is one of them.

The iceberg is 14 feet tall at it's peak. Three of the sides are basically inclined climbing walls, with varying degrees of difficulty. The fourth side is a wide slide back down into the water, so you can redo it all over again. It doesn't appear it'd be easy to simply relax on it; you might get one person teetering on the top for a while. And it seems perfect for a good round of King of the Mountain. Few things are more fun than throwing your friends off tall objects, especially when they don't die and you can throw them off again.

This floating, climbable island is 20' long x 14'wide x 14' tall and weighs a whopping 340 lbs.. It also weighs in at a whopping $6,645.95 US. And, that's on sale! Obviously this isn't your typical backyard pool toy.

It's unlikely most backyard swimming pools could safely accommodate the iceberg. Lakes seem to be their intended location. I suppose a rather large swimming pool, Olympic sized or so, might be big enough so when people fall off it, and they will fall off it, they don't crack their skulls open on the patio deck and ruin your otherwise pleasant day.

I think it'd be too unstable to use in the ocean. Well, maybe if you were pretty far out in the calmer areas beyond the breakwaters. Plus, you'd have to keep an eye out for large, unsinkable passenger vessels. I don't think the world could handle Celine Dion singing about another sea disaster.

[Aviva doesn't sell direct, but you can get one HERE]

#5 Giga Ball & Mega Giga Ball

What Nose Did THIS Come From?Now this one is just cool.

Created by Kidz Kraze, this inflatable, bumby ball allows kids to push it, punch it, kick it, jump on it, and roll around inside of it.

Yup, kids can crawl inside the great, big, inflatable yellow booger-like ball and roll around like a spastic hamster on acid. It has a padded interior (duh, its inflated) that keeps kids safe as they play human pinball and knock their friends and nearby adults on their keisters.

The Giga Ball is 51 inches diameter, and the Mega Giga Ball is 84 inches around. Small to medium sized adults might be able to squeeze into the Mega Giga Ball. A few minutes of rolling around in it and you come out stumbling, dazed, and feeling like you want to puke. You won't need beer anymore with the Mega Giga Ball!

Many places sell them, mostly at the same price of around $60 for the Giga and $100 for the Mega Giga. Just google it and take your pick.

Coming soon is the Ultra Super Jumbo Uber Mega Giga Ball. It'll seat 4 adults and comes with it's own in-ball hostess and has cold beverages of your choice on tap (up to 1). Connect your iPods to the built in surround sound acoustical system, or watch the optional 21" plasma screen, HD TV. You can now roll, bounce, and enjoy the comforts of life in the NEW Ultra Super Jumbo Uber Mega Giga Ball. look for it soon at fine retailers near you!

[I'm joking, the Ultra Super Jumbo Uber Mega Giga Ball doesn't exist ... yet]

#4 Human Foosball

Have you ever been at a foosball table, impatiently awaiting your turn at the rods? Watching as the other guys hog the table and take forever to score, your hands sweaty as you tightly grip them around imaginary playing rods, eyes flickering back and forth following the ball. The ball you know you can make dance across the playing field like Gene Kelly. Like a ninja Gene Kelly, moving like a ghost, fast and untouchable, singing in the rain.

No? Me neither.

But for those of you who ever might have, comes Human Foosball. Now, you can put yourself into the game!

No fair! The field slops towards our goal!! Actually, this looks like fun. Especially for those with a bondage fetish.

Depending on the human foosball inflatable, up to 10 people strap themselves into harnesses attached to padded foam tubes over a rod. This keeps players from going in the wrong sections and minimizes physical contact. Yet it allows for limited movement in specific zones, just like real foosball. You probably want to make sure the structure is securely fastened to the ground somehow. Ten people throwing themselves from side to side like epileptic soccer players is sure to shake the thing something fierce.

I can see this used in those lame and pointless team building events companies like to inflict on their workers. Force your peons strap themselves in, making sure to put people who don't get along well next to each other on the same rod. Throw in a ball and try to keep from laughing too hard.

Most human foosball makers suggest a beach all style ball. You could use a regular soccer ball, but that might hurt not being able to dodge when it comes flying at your unprotected face (or groin). On second thought, use the soccer ball. Make your wage slaves suffer for all the mean things you saw them call you when you spied on their interoffice e-mails.

Just google human foosball and find a seller you like. Lots of different styles out there, at widely varied prices. You likely get what you pay for.

#3 Inflatable Television

You've probably seen or heard about this cool inflatable by now.

Watch big screen television almost anywhere you want. Pool party, hot tubbing, backyard BBQs, even your own living room. It works with most projectors (not included) and comes with weatherized outdoor speakers and 30' of audio cables. This is the 8' screen, but there is an even larger 12' one available. And, there are other makes and models of this fast trending inflatable out there for the looking.

Annoy the neighbors. Show Gigli!
Prices for these run around a grand for the smaller models. You can get them cheaper if you get the ones without integrated speakers. I've not seen any that come with a projector, which can cost you anywhere from $500 up to $2000 or more. Extra. Realistically, you're looking at about $1500 minimum for a basic setup. Not too bad, but not too good either.

The real question is how is the quality of the image and sound?

Sound depends on your speakers. If you have a Bose surround sound system set up, you'll get good sound. If you use the typically included integrated speakers ... it's no worse than most big screen TVs' built in speakers.

Image depends partly on your projector. The better the projector, the better the image. Screen type used on whatever model inflatable TV you have matters, too. Some have standard screens, some have those high tech silvery screens you see in good movie theaters. A lot also depends on the lighting.

I've actually seen one of these in use. While it was still daylight, the image was faint and dusty looking, even with a pretty good setup avoiding direct sunlight on the screen. As dusk fell and day turned to night, the image became crisper, more colorful. Same principle if you have a lot of lights on in the room while watching TV inside, but more exaggerated due to sunlight.

If you like to entertain out of doors, then this might be a great purchase. Instead of having all your buddies trample over the furniture and spill beer on the new couch and carpet when watching the World Series, they can do it on your lawn. And there's not much to break by leaping about like an idiot, or tossing a football around. You can get more people comfortably watching, too. Use those Creature chairs from above.

If you're real picky about who goes in the house, use the Inflate-A-Potties, too. ;)

Oh, and make sure to stake the thing down good. A good gust of wind and your very expensive air-filled television is now wrapped around Mrs. Stodgmyers prize rose bushes and you'll never know if that big monkey drops the girl off that big building.

#2 Giant Water Trampoline and Slide

I Dub Thee .. Nomanisan Island How cool is this? Your own personal island getaway in the middle of a lake.

Okay, it has a trampoline in the middle. And, there is a slide shooting down off the side. And, all the kids (and plenty of adults) want to bounce and splash and scream and yell and frolick and play on it.

Just go push everyone off. It's not like it'll hurt them. There's water all around for them to land in. Soft, forgiving water. Unless they can't swim. And forgot their lifevest. Or got tangled up in one the half dozen mooring lines. Then you'll wish you bounced and splashed and screamed and yelled and frolicked and played right along with them.

They won't have one of these in prison. The shower is too small. But, you'll be too busy trying not to drop your soap to miss it too much.

Anyhow, this behmeoth is made by Aqua Sports Technology and is called the Island Hopper. It's about 25' across and rides about 5' above the water on the deck and trampoline. Its price tag equals its size. The setup above will run you $4000 or more.

There's a ton of cool stuff at where I found this little gem. Enough to make your own mini water park on the lake. If you were rich. And had a lake. Add in some sharks with laser eyes and watch the fun!

#1 Sportsstuff Sumo Ski Tube & the Inflatable Church (TIE)

I couldn't make up my mind which I liked best. Each is cool in different ways, and a little weird, too. So I picked both. Besides Top 11 list doesn't have the same ring to it as Top 10.

Get the Church to Me on TimeThe Inflatable Church is made by Innovations Xtreme. It is a huge inflated edifice about 16' to a side and 39' tall at it highest point. It's decorated like an old-time cathedral both in and out. Including plastic stained glass windows, inflatable organ, altar, pulpit, pews, candles, angels and gold cross.

Pew. You Semll That?You can have it set up anywhere its size allows. You only have to worry about the church getting to YOU on time. And, of course, availability in your area. I don't think it's here in the United States, yet. It is very beautiful inside and out, for an inflated sculpture.

I'd name my air blower Holy Spirit and print it on the side of it. That way I could inflate the building and tell every one the church has been filled by the Holy Spirit.

If you're one of those types who thinks churches are full of hot air anyway, the second tied for first place inflatable might be for you.

Look Ma! I'm Skiing in an Easter Egg!The Sumo Ski Tube by Sportsstuff is a towable water toy.

Sure, it looks like a weird Easter egg or some sort of giant, malformed Jujube. And, it also looks like a bad spill while in this thing could rip a limb or your head off as you careen around the lake, dragged by a speedboat. Too, one wonders if escaping the Sumo Tube is easy in an emergency, or will it become a garishly inflated coffin as you slowly drown inside it.

I imagine they couldn't market it if it weren't fairly safe. And, it does look hella fun.

I could never get the hang of water skiing. I'd always fall off the fast towed banana boats, too. But I bet I could tool around in this thing without swallowing too much water.

The Sumo Tube is 33" around and 38" tall. I imagine you either kneel or sit inside somehow, your arms and head poking out like a hatchling still stuck in its egg. You grasp the included 60' tow bar and ZOOOOM ... off you go.

Yeah, it looks like fun, but I'm pretty sure you'd have rinse it out after me before you got in. Or, maybe I could sit on an Inflate-A-Potty inside it?


Bruiser said...

Innovative, but I wouldn't spend a dime on any of them. But that's just me.The inflatable television looks like a huge ripoff. I'm thinking that a sheet on a piece of plywood and a decent home entertainment center would give you equal just can't blow it up (without explosives, that is).

Jason said...

I'm in talks with Hasbro to release a line of Inflatable Jasons. Stay tuned.

Raivynn said...

Inflatable Jasons? I know who commented the above, but i bet the rest of the comment readers are now imagining giant PVC hovkey mask wearing serial killers with big plastic machetes. hehehe

Bruiser said...

Nah...inflatable Jasons will be inflatable guitar playing graphic artists with wild hair. They'll make great friends, but they won't say much.

Hawkman said...

That toilet thing looks very practical. I really like the water trampoline too. I so happy you didn't put any of those seasonal inflatables...i.e. snow men, Scooby, Santa....I don't know why those annoy me like they do. I'm tempted to sneak out in the evening with a pin and......

Raivynn said...

Most of those seasonal inflatables are actually nylon creations that inflate with constant air pressure from a fan underneath. A pin wouldn't work on those ... bring a pen-knife! Not all are like that, some are pvc air filled, but most of the ones you see lately are nylon.

I'll admit, a few years ago, before they became so virulently predominant, I bought a huge Santa Claus. We used it a lot that year, and loaned it out to a couple non-profit places for their kid events.

The next year they were everywhere, so mine has been packed away since.

I do like two I saw this year. I wouldn't get them, but they were cool. One was a giant snowglobe that actually was pvc air inflated. The other was a Santa lying on a hammock between two palm trees. Doesn't get more Florida than that. heh

Penguino pepper said...

They DEFINITELY look fun. I liked the iceberg and water trampoline best. That water Skiing Bubble thing just looked weird. But F.U.N!!!

Sal said...

Awesome list! Did you also see the Portable Pub? Kinda like the inflatable church, but for drinkers!

thingsdonenow said...

Anyone know how to MAKE your own inflatables? Or where I can find HUGE inflatable bottles that look like pill or aspirin bottles?

It's for a practical joke. Dammit, it's April Fools so this is going to be late.

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Semen Rendi said...
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