Hot tubs have long played a crucial role in swinging. (Just ask your aunt Cindy from Tampa who, according to family lore, hosted “key parties” back in the late '70s.)
Now, thanks to Ashland, Oregon-based Kickstarter entrepreneur Benjamin Frederick, spa-based swinging takes on a whole new meaning with a portable hot tub that you can, yep, sway back and forth in while suspended in mid-air. In the backyard, in the middle of the woods, over a raging waterfall … the locales in which to kick back and unwind in Frederick’s hammock/hot tub hybrid, HydroHammock, are endless, so long as you have easy access to a garden hose and two sturdy trees.
And yes Hydro Hammock does fit two — but a built-in fondue pot for feasting on chocolate-covered strawberries with your swing-mate will cost you extra.
Realizing your hammock-bound hot tubbin’ fantasies, however, won’t come cheap. A single-walled Hydro Hammock kit — complete with super-strong watertight sling, installation straps, carabiners and “cam straps” — will set you back $260. The insulated Double Layer Hydro Hammock can be yours for a pledge of $390.
While one can fill these heavy-duty hammocks with cold water (50-gallon capacity, by the way) for a refreshing soak on a hot summer's day, you’ll need to invest in a gas-powered Hydro Hammock water heating system — available a la carte for $920 or paired with either the single or double hammocks — to transform it into a hot ‘n’ bubbly slice of paradise. Included with the heating/recirculation system is a pump, filter, hoses, connectors, water treatment pellets, 12-volt rechargeable battery, USB chargers for portable devices and the aforementioned fondue holder.
Big donors of $5,000 or more will receive an invite to visit Frederick in Oregon for dinner, preceded by an afternoon of "personal instruction and tips complete with chocolate fondue and laughs." It's not quite the same as paying for the experience to hop in a hot tub for a rousing conversation with High Line architect Charles Renfro but it sounds lovely — though a touch awkward — nonetheless.
And for those made nauseous by the thought of dangling above the ground in a sling filled with tepid water, the Hydro Hammock can also be used in tree-free environments. For soaking by the beach, just dig a pit in the sand and arrange the sling as a makeshift hot tub liner. And instead of drawing fresh water from a garden hose or another source, you can transform Hydro Hammock into a pop-up mineral bath by pulling salt water directly from the ocean. Lake water will do, too, with the filtration system filtering out any unwanted gunk.
"We owe it to ourselves and to the future to do what it takes to increase our time and appreciation in nature and to honor water," explains Frederick in the project's Kickstarter campaign video, pointing out that the Hydro Hammock is less electricity- and chemical-intensive than standard hot tubs. He also advises against hammocking while inebriated, although swaying in a watery cocoon without a libation of some sort just doesn't seem right. Just hammock responsibly, I guess.
The initial batch of Hydro Hammocks will start shipping in September if Frederick meets his $50,000 crowdfunding goal. (As of publication, he's more than halfway there.)
And while there's been a fair amount of Internet commenters who are quick to deem this tensile hot tub as an impractical — and impossible to get out of — load of hot air, you know if your neighbor were to install one in their backyard that you'd totally be over there in a heartbeat to try it out.
If you decide to back the project and pre-order a Hydro Hammock for yourself, do let me know so that I know where to head, swim trunks and strawberries in hand, when the time comes.
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