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A love letter, sort of, to the Hinter couch pouch

A Hinterland festival goer inflates an air lounger.
Madeleine C King
/
IPR
"Ah man, everyone is watching me do this. There's probably a girl back there taking my photo too."

Aside from the music, there's a lot of things that make the Hinterland… Hinterland. We already talked about the activity book, designed by Des Moines artist Ramona Muse Lambert. This story is about the air loungers.

That’s right. Couch pouches, air chairs, inflatable sofas… whatever you want to call them. On paper, these appear to be ideally suited to Hinterland. They give you a comfortable option for sitting, without being on the ground, and they're easy to carry when deflated. What's not to like?

mking_Hinterland22_-064.jpg
Madeleine C King
/
So comfy watching Goth Babe from the top of the hill Friday.

Well. After years of observing these in the wild, I finally tried sitting in one this year, with mixed results.

Personally, I had a considerably difficult time getting in and out. Apparently, there's a correct way to do it, but I just sort of fell in, and then rolled out later. But while I was in the lounger? Boy, that was comfortable. After four days of being mostly on my feet during the day, this was a relief.

Those big, hot dog bun-shaped cushions that dot the festival landscape are also very hard to inflate, at least in my experience.

mking_Hinterland22_-061.jpg
Madeleine C King
/
IPR
Festival goer on left: "Do you know how to inflate this thing?" Festival goer on right: "Nah my dude. Good luck."

To set the record straight: this is the “proper” way to inflate one:

  1. Open and fill the right side side, hold it shut.
  2. While holding the inflated right side shut, open and fill the left side.
  3. Hold both air pouches shut, roll the top down and buckle the fastener.
    SPECIAL NOTE: Trying to fill both sides at once is a guarantee of failure.

You'll see Hinterlanders grab one open end, then get a running start and take off, in an attempt to fill the air lounger with enough air to support the weight of an adult human. Even if the person knows what they're doing, it's a hilarious sight.

mking_Hinterland22_-062.jpg
Madeleine C King
/
IPR
"I thought this would be easier," a Hinterland festival goer thinks to himself as he tries to help inflate a couch pouch.

At the IPR booth, we attempted to use one of our box fans to help out a neighbor who was inflating theirs. It helped, but it's hard to get it close enough to the fan, and the sizes don't quite match up.

Are you a fan of the couch pouch? What do you do for seating at a fest like Hinterland where there are hills? Have you seen these at other music fests or are they specific to Hinterland?

Tony Dehner sits on a couch pouch at Hinterland Music Festival 2022.
Lucius Pham
/
"Maybe before next year I'll figure out how to get out of this," Tony Dehner thought to himself as he drank his second beer of the day.

My dad back and public radio curiosity both thank you for your advice and insight in advance.

Tony Dehner is a Studio One Host