Often overlooked at tailgate parties are simple things such as seating. And while we take many of these things for granted, the truth is that they are fundamentally very important. One of the main reasons that we tailgate is for fun. And quite frankly, it’s hard to have fun when you’re uncomfortable. So when the people who make the Port-A-Bench asked us to take a look at their product, we were happy to oblige.
The Port-A-Bench is a collapsible seating system designed to fold up into a compact package. However when opened it provides 4 feet of seating space, which should be comfortable seating for 2 adult people. Its UV resistant plastic and galvanized steel construction provides a 750 lb capacity, which suggests quite a bit of strength. Furthermore, the use of plastic for the seating area allows for easy cleaning and durability.
Now you may be asking yourself, “Why would I go out and spend more money on a product when I have perfectly good chairs to sit in?” Initially that was my reaction, but being that I was doing a product review, I had to go into it with an open mind.
As I do with all of my reviews, I decided to devise some tests to see the pros and cons of the Port-A-Bench. It only seemed natural to start with a simple test to see how see how complicated the set-up/assembly was. From there I would see how comfortable the product was to sit in. And lastly I would pit the Port-A-Bench against a standard collapsible chair to see what kind of benefits presented themselves.
When I removed the Port-A-Bench from the box I was surprised to see how light and compact it truly was. Coming in at a weight of 22 lbs, and with (very) rough measurements of 20 x 11 x 25 inches it certainly didn’t seem too obtrusive. I’m being very honest when I say that set up was a breeze. Anyone who has had experience with most folding tables would instantly pick up on how to extend and lock the legs, and everything really only goes one way from its closed position. A quick timing of setup showed me that I was able to complete it in less than 30 seconds on only my 3rd or 4th try. I truly believe that even the pickiest tailgaters would be hard-pressed to argue with that. The pictures should better illustrate the setup process:
As I mentioned before the next test was to see how comfortable the Port-A-Bench could be. I’ll admit that the plastic bench and backrests didn’t seem overly inviting at first, but in reality, they really ended up being pretty nice. Since I didn’t have any tailgate parties planned, I did the next best thing by having a few brews before the ‘Canes game, and then watched it, all from the Port-A-Bench. Since I felt that I needed to take it a step further, I decided to write this product review while sitting on the product. It was sturdy, stable, and even though I may not choose it over the couch in the future, the Port-A-Bench was, in my opinion, perfectly suitable for extended sitting. I’d go so far as to say that after a little while I forgot that I was sitting in it. I even had the wife join me on the Port-A-Bench for the 3rd period of the hockey game and she did not seem put off or uncomfortable at all.
Of course the biggest test was to see how the Port-A-Bench stacked up next to the typical collapsible chair which can be found at almost every tailgate. Now I’ll be truthful and say that if it came down to which would I prefer to do nothing but sit in for several hours I would probably pick the chair. The fabric and lower seat position seems to be a little more comfortable for that purpose. However on the flip-side, who actually sits for the duration of the tailgate? I know personally I’m manning the grill, tossing a game of cornhole, and participating in many other activities that I need to stand for. Considering those things I would lean towards favoring the Port-A-Bench. Since it sits up higher, it isn’t so difficult to get up off of. This would be especially crucial after having several adult beverages, when your legs may not be quite as under you as they were before the tailgate.
Another comparison that really spoke volumes was when I sprayed both the chair and Port-A-Bench with some water. Using one paper towel, I was able to wipe up almost all of the water off the Port-A-Bench, but the chair was left very damp. Not only would this be beneficial when you get a little unexpected rain, but if anyone were to spill anything on the chair it may be more hassle than it’s worth to clean it up. The plastic of the Port-A-Bench would be far easier to deal with in that scenario.
For the reasons listed above I’m going to stamp the Port-A-Bench as “Tailgating Approved.” It certainly has plenty of benefits with very few, if no, apparent disadvantages.
Aside from the slightly heavier weight, which may not suit all tailgaters, the only thing that would make me shy away from the Port-A-Bench would be the price. At around $140 it may be a little costly for the average tailgater. However that’s not to say that I think the price is too high. Since I approach all of my tailgating equipment with the consideration that I may need to use it in another application I would definitely try the Port-A-Bench. Form my testing I can say that it could be an ideal and versatile outdoor, or even an impromptu indoor, seating solution. Additionally the Port-A-Bench is available in multiple color combinations to match your team’s colors, and there are several accessories available. Among the accessories are a connecter used to connect the Port-A-Bench to another, and a shoulder strap for easier carrying. There is also a 3 year limited warranty, which comes standard on the Port-A-Bench.
The Port-A-Bench is manufactured by RamKoh, Inc. and can be purchased from their website, http://www.ramkoh.com.