Thursday, August 31, 2006

bean bag : SUMO Omni Bag

In a home theater or listening room you need to sit. For some, the constraints may warrant that the typical theater chair simply isn’t going to be an option (like in a dorm room). For others, they may be looking for something for the kids, or perhaps something a bit less mainstream. SUMO is a company with a product which caters to all of these needs. Their Omni bag is a 4.5’ x 5.5’ “bean bag” chair that allows you to push, scrunch, and misshape it into just about anything you desire – and it will stay that way. I know what you’re thinking. Bean bag chairs are for 70’s rejects or maybe those people who spend $20,000 in those HGTV redecorating shows who end up with rooms looking like it was blessed by Mike Brady. Well, you’re right – but in case you haven’t noticed, the 70’s are in right now and the “chair” is way overrated (I mean, how 16th century). The Omni bag is different. It’s cool, it’s light, and it’s pretty affordable. Hey, that’s 3 for 3 so read on.

First Impressions
The SUMO bag arrived in a single large box. At first I thought that perhaps they had shipped the cover separate from the bag since it weighed less than 20 pounds – super light for a bag that has dimensions exceeding 20 square feet. When I opened the box, I found the Midnight Blue SUMO Omni bag, scrunched up and ready for use – no assembly required.

The first thing I did was test its pliability – after all, this is a bean bag chair, right? The last chair I reviewed that was in this category was extremely comfortable, but basically a big blob that didn’t hold any particular shape – no so with the Omni. It will retain just about any shape you can think to put it in – and we tried a bunch.

I’ll admit it, I didn’t have to do a lot of work reviewing this bag – I simply let my son and his cousins have at it. The easiest way to test usability and durability of a product like this is to subject it to the whims and imagination of a 3, 4, and 5 year old. The results were as impressive as they were amusing:

The first position is what I call the “crowd in and lounge” position. The second was the infamous “motorcycle” rig. Basically all three kids would climb on board the SUMO Omni and pretend they were riding a Harley (no Japanese rocket bikes in this family). It was funny to watch, but you know what – the bag took three kids and didn’t tip over. It was amazing to see the shapes and positions this bag could be put in and hold weight. The website lists a bunch, but I also found a couple more that I liked, particularly one where I could fold back one end across the width of the bag and use it as a pillow of sorts to prop up my head while watching TV.

Do yourself a favor and make sure that you have the bag completely upright with the polystyrene foam balls all settled in at the bottom should you decide to open it up and examine the contents. I unzipped it and was greeted by a gleeful evacuation of hundreds of tiny white foam balls. The neat thing about these balls is they are anti-static by nature, which means that they will “run away” from your fingertips as you reach for them – good fun. Going back to the zipper, it was heavy duty and well-placed inside of a small area that could be opened by separating a foot-long stretch of 2” Velcro. This bag isn’t going to open up by accident, but you are given a way to “re-inflate” it should the polystyrene decompress over time (it does, but it will take a while and you can by additional or replacement foam balls in 3 cubic feet increments online).

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