Kozē, Lamzac Hangout and KAISR Original Portable Couch

Koze Inflatable Couch

Kickstarter is an interesting website. If you aren’t familiar with it, it is a place where proponents of a project can describe their project, set a financial goal and solicit funds in an attempt to reach their goal.  If they reach the goal, everyone that has pledged contributes and the proponents proceed with their project.  Sometimes projects go nowhere and raise little or no money.  Sometimes they barely make their goal and sometimes the contributions are far more than the goal.  The latter is the case with the Kozē Portable Couch.

Kozē Portable Couch

The Kozē Portable Couch (pictured above) is an inflatable couch made of parachute fabric and designed much like a dry storage bag often used by canoeists and kayakers.  In this case the bag is bigger, about seven feet by three feet and, when inflated, can hold 400 pounds.

Seems like blowing it up would be a major effort, but no.  It’s just a matter of opening the end of the Kozē and waving it through the air to capture as much air as possible – takes a couple seconds.  Then one quickly rolls up the end and snaps it shut, just like those dry bags.  The claim is that the Kozē will hold air for 6 hours, but I suspect that varies depending upon the weight of the person on the bag.  Deflating is as simple as opening the Kozē and packing it away.

It is manufactured in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

What is it Good For?

Made in College, the proponent, says the Kozē can be a replacement for a camp hammock – no trees required.  It packs down into a bag that is seven by fourteen inches and it weighs less than two pounds so you could take it backpacking in place of a hammock, assuming six hours is enough sleep for you.  I prefer a tent and it doesn’t look like the Kozē would work very well in a backpacking tent – it’s too big.  For me it would work best for lounging around the campsite on a car camping adventure.

The fabric is waterproof and the Kozē holds air, so yes it will float and make a fun water toy.  It is not, however a flotation device. The Kozē is pretty tough, but floating down a river with it could see it being torn by rocks or branches.

It can be used anywhere you need a chair outdoors.  It can replace a picnic blanket or beach towel or even be used at a music festival.

How Do I Get One?

The thing about Kickstarter is that proponents offer rewards in exchange for contributions.  In this case the reward for a $60 contribution is a Kozē and you can get multiple Kozēs with multiple $60 contributions.  You are basically pre-ordering your Kozē with your contribution.  That’s probably why, with 54 days left in their campaign to raise $4,000, Made in College has raised $124,365 to get the Kozē into production.

There are two small catches.  First, there are currently around 400 Kozēs available for a $60 contribution.  If contributors take all those,  there are an unlimited number of Kozēs available for an $80 contribution.  Second, the campaign ends of June 11. To get one, make your pledge at: www.kickstarter.com/projects/madeincollege/koze-lightweight-inflatable-and-amazing-comfort-an.  There are several colors available.

Other Options

lamzac

Another option is the Lamzac Hangout (above).  A product that is made in The Netherlands and looks exactly like the Kozē.  The Hangout appeared last fall and quickly sold out.  They are now estimating a shipping date for new orders of June 15.  The Hangout is available for $69.95 at shop.fatboyusa.com/products/lamzac-hangout or from many other sources at eBay for various prices.

KAISR Original

Still another option is the KAISR Original (above).  It also looks exactly like the Kozē and has four days left in an Indiegogo Campaign (similar to Kickstarter).  They have raised nearly $3 million.  They offer two KAISR Originals for a $148 plus shipping contribution and say the retail price will be $109 each.

Note that Amazon.com carries similar products, some manufactured in China, that may or may not be of  quality similar to those above.  Check the comments on Amazon to get an idea of the quality of products there.

What’s Up with the Options?

All these seemingly identical options got us wondering what’s what.

The Kozē backstory:

“Like all good inventions, Kozē was born out of necessity. While on a hiking trip with some good friends in Asheville, North Carolina, we were struggling after a couple miles of waterfall hiking. When we finally made it to our campsite, we instantly grabbed our favorite hammocks and searched for some trees. The problem was, John ended up on the other side of the campsite, and another friend couldn’t even find any trees at all!

“While we ate dinner John sat on a couple of bags by our hammocks, his far across the campsite at the closest available trees. We had all but forgotten the problem. That’s when we noticed, John was just as comfortable as all of us, perched on his inflated dry storage bag.

“If it were only just a little bigger…Eureka. ”

What happened after that Eureka! moment is not clear, so we have no idea why Kozē looks exactly like the Lamzac Hangout.

 

The Lamzac backstory:

“The idea for the Lamzac was born on April 4th 2010 during a party with friends in the Dutch town of Meppel. After a night of partying and too little sleep it was time to deflate and pack all the air mattresses. During this process Marijn Oomen, the inventor of the Lamzac, observed that the mattresses were very quick to deflate while the previous night considerable effort had been expended to fill them with air.

“This led to a quest to be able to fill an air mattress with air as easily as it is to empty them of air. The first insight Marijn had was that you could use the air in one air mattress to fill another air mattress. This then spawned an idea, what if you could catch air in a bag and then by sitting on it push the air from the bag into an air mattress? During the long ride (for Dutch standards, our country is tiny) home the idea kept bouncing around in Marijn’s head, he just couldn’t let it go! This led to the first prototypes for the Lamzac.

“He showed his invention at a tv program called ‘best idea of Holland’ in 2010 that you can see here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWzoXjN4Dco. He ended up in the final.

“It also led to a new realisation, why not just sit and lie on the bag and forget the air mattress all together? With a new product Marijn started his business Lamzac and began selling his instantly inflatable bags on markets throughout the Netherlands! Marijn managed to sell many of his Lamzac orignals but also realised that the design required further fine tuning.

“In 2014 this realisation spawned the new Lamzac Hangout, a greatly improved design, and he sells the product from 2015 on. Now it is proving to be an international sensation. Some product video’s that are posted in the beginning of 2015 show millions of views. https://www.facebook.com/LamZac-274039415944730/videos. By collaborating with lifestyle brand Fatboy the Original, Lamzac will be able to facilitate distribution to consumers even better than before.

“Both Fatboy and Lamzac make products with a high ‘copycat’ content. Even before Fatboy became big, copies were regularly seen. History is repeating itself, because Lamzac has also been involved with copycats. Fatboy is so enamoured with the unique Lamzac idea that Fatboy the Original has now committed itself to the Original of Lamzac. With the Lamzac Hangout we believe that soon people all over the world will get in touch with their own inner “Lamzak”, which translated from Dutch means lazy person or lazy inactive bag!”

One of the Facebook videos mentioned above shows a couch that looks like the Kozē and it was posted to Facebook more than a year ago.  I couldn’t find anything about the Kozē that long ago.

 

Trademarks

 

  • The name “Koze” is trademarked by Made in College (as of April 11, 2016) for “Inflatable float mattresses or pads for recreational use.”
  • The name “KAISR Original” is trademarked by Massive Air BV of the Netherlands (as of March 31, 2016) for “Bean bags; Air pillows; Air cushions; Air mattresses; Lounge chairs; Lounge furniture; Sun loungers; Inflatable pillows; Inflatable furniture”
  • The name “Lamzac” is trademarked by Marijn Oomen of the Netherlands (as of September 29, 2015) for “Inflatable pillows, not for medical use; air mattresses, not for medical use; inflatable advertising objects; outdoor sitting chairs, air chairs.”

 

Patents

Made in College says it has a patent pending, however we were unable to locate it in either the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s database or the database of the World Intellectual Property Organization.  We also searched in vain for any patent information related to the other companies.  It may be that the patents have not yet reached the publication stage or that our search wasn’t sufficient.

It’s pretty clear that no one is enforcing a current patent and that is why there are so many versions that look identical.

 

More Info

According to a recent article in the Daily Mail, two Dutch companies, Fat Boy the Original and Lamzac, got together and developed their product, the Lamzac Hangout with Marijn Oomen named as the inventor.  Fat Boy the Original is handling marketing for Lamzac.

KAISR says they began development in late 2014 and did final prototyping late last year.  Their Indiegogo page shows pockets on the outside of their couch along with loops to stake it to the ground.  The features do not appear on the other products.

I’ve asked Kozē, KAISR and Lamzac about their relationship with each other.  Lamzac responded, so I added their backstory above.   I also added the Kozē backstory from their Kickstarter page.  I will add whatever additional information KAISR or Kozē offer, here.

I have not personally tested any of these products, so I cannot attest any differences from one to another.  While they look the same,  they may or may not be made the same way or use the same materials.

 

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