It’s a gaudy, inflatable float that loads onto the roof rack of my car. Instead try to rent a pool I swimor waiting in line for an hour for our turn to dip for a few minutes in a warm public swimming pool, I can drive with my family to the nearest lake.
There, we inflate the Hangout dock and push it out to sea. The rest of the afternoon is spent paddling back and forth, lying in the sun, dangling our feet in the clear alpine water and eating snacks. Every single person we’ve brought to the dock asks, “How do we get one of these?” As far as I’m concerned, this is the good life. I am happy that my children have the opportunity to have fun.
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Bits and pieces
The Hangout Dock is a component of Customizable Hangout Suite by Bote. The Hangout 240 is a 240-degree inflatable donut that comes with two large inflatable pool backrests, a repair kit, a hand pump, a carrying harness, and four dock connectors that connect to other floats . It fits two adults lounging around (four if they’re good friends) and around 6 million kids if they’re constantly jumping up and down.
Bote is whole suite of floats it is quite extensive. You can attach the Hangout to your chair or sofa, or insert the hangout’s round bar in the middle using the company’s Magnepod attachment points, which, yes, use magnets. I only tried his Hangout glasses. These are nifty because they have magnetic bottoms, so you can fill them with a drink and place a drink upright on magnetic spots on the Hangout Dock’s surface without the glasses tipping over or getting kicked around.
The magnetic attack is incredibly strong – you could throw an (empty) glass from 10 feet away and it would snap upright. Plus, you don’t need to buy any of its magnetic attachments—we customized ours by simply using slings and carabiners to side-tie apothecary floats and stand-up paddleboards.
Once you open Hangout 240, it looks incredibly huge. However, it takes no more than 15 minutes to inflate or deflate with the included pump. I’ve never had to use the repair kit either, and we screwed up this thing a lot. It goes on the roof of our car down to the lake, gets dragged (sorry!) up and down the gravel yards and doesn’t need patching up after a year.
In a moment of extreme pity, I also pulled over my old 75-pound dog with dagger-like claws, and his paws just scraped to the surface without piercing him.
Of course, you don’t need a Dock Hangout to enjoy the water. One of the best parts about visiting a lake or river in Oregon in the summer is that it’s free. Sitting on a towel and reading a book is wonderful. You can rent or borrow paddleboards, kayaks or other watercraft. You don’t need to spend around $1,500 for a floating seat.
In fact, I was skeptical about Dock Hangout at first. I quite enjoy it just lying on the bank, and my wife had to convince me it was worth hauling it out of our garage, strapping it to our rack, blowing it up, and pushing it out. But once I lay down on the Hangout, a beer in a magnetic tumbler beside me, I was converted.
If you remain unconvinced, consult the classic passage “Pontoon” to see a demonstration of the pleasures it contains. It turns out there’s a reason people pay high prices for waterfront views and overwater cabanas in the Maldives. Who knew?
It just seems Good. Small children donned their life jackets and leapt off the edge to swim into the cool, clear water, instead of struggling to keep their balance when wading over the rocks on the shore. The older children also enjoyed jumping off, paddling and taking some space from their parents. Once the kids were off the Dock Hangout, parents could pour a beer into their glass and dip their feet in too.
It’s nice to go in the water, sure. But it’s also nice to have the chance to be together. In the dead of winter, when everything is cold and gray and will stay that way for months, it’s nice to think back to a time when it was warm and 85 degrees and the sun was on your face. The Hangout 240 was one of my favorite things I’ve tried this year.
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