This past spring, my buddy and I were enjoying some hang time at a whitewater festival and chatting with a paddling-gear rep. As we were about to part ways, the rep stopped and said, “Hold on a sec, bro, I’ve got some absolutely sick lifestyle pieces over in the van you’ve got to check out!”
From that moment forth, the term “lifestyle piece” was inserted into every single comedic scenario our childish minds could conjure. But whilst the rep's delivery was laughable, the "piece" was not—despite all the hee-hawing and bro-brahing, I had still bought the sweet, deep-pocketed flannel hoodie he was hocking, and was damn glad that I had.
That scene came to mind when I first slid the AIRE River Couch out of its box. An inflatable raft-tube couch is not exactly a necessity for hanging at the river, but if you do show up with one of these bad boys at the take-out—or just pop it out on the deck at your next cookout—you’ll quickly find that, somehow, despite the fact that you may still be carping rolls or flipping your raft in Boateater, you have arrived. The river is now the Rio, and you are hitting the ‘Stone in a fashion becoming to your fluid transition from gaper to LifeStyler.
Aside from the obvious comfort and style points, the AIRE couch has several other highs that should not be overlooked. Partying in the river environ can get serious, and an inflatable couch may seem like a poor fit for when the margaritas and good beers are gone and the warm PBRs are closing out the eve; but the AIRE couch has a tough exterior skin and the tubes are actually located inside of this skin and can easily be replaced, if necessary, similar to their raft line. This durability is critical, as kids and your wiry little amper buddies will also be bouncing around this roomy seat with consistency. Our couch has shrugged off several S’more impalement attempts and cleans up nicely after even the most ridiculous spills.
All in all, it has made our deck a better place to hang out in numerous ways, from après-paddle nap sessions to exploring the cosmos in comfort deep into the night. River revelers will not be disappointed with this splurge.
$495; available online at aire.com.