Introduction: Embark-A-Lounger

The only bad thing about relaxing in a pool is having to get out for a refill. Enter the Embark-A-Lounger! With a folding lawn chair and a few ice chests, you can float to your heart's content with your favorite ice-cold drinks within reach.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials


  • A drill, drill bits, and driver bits
  • A saw that can cut pvc (I used a pull saw)


  • 1" PVC Pipe
  • Tee and Elbow Fittings
  • Heavy Duty Zip Ties
  • Screws (1 1/2")
  • Folding Lawn Chair
  • 8 small Ice Chests. I used the Igloo Ice Cube 14 Cooler

PVC Pipe Cut List

  • 4X 28" (first segment of each side rail)
  • 4X 16" (second segment of each side rail)
  • 2X 21" (back pieces- the width of my lawn chair)
  • 6X 4" (vertical parts of both side rails)
  • 4X 2" ("nipples" to connect the back pieces)

PVC Fitting List

  • 8X Elbows
  • 8X Tees

Step 2: Assemble the Side Rails

Picture of Assemble the Side Rails

Assemble side rail one and side rail two as shown in the diagram. You can put the parts together by forcing them together without tools, or use a rubber mallet if you want them really snug.

Step 3: Screw Rails to Ice Chests

Picture of Screw Rails to Ice Chests

Lay out 4 coolers in a row with the lids facing towards you. Then lay the side rail against the lined up coolers as shown. This will give you a guide to drill your pilot holes.

Next, drill your pilot holes where you want to place the screws.

I attached the rails to the coolers with one screw at the top and two at the bottom of each cooler, since the buoyancy of the cooler is going to put the most pressure on the bottom rail when you put your body weight in the chair.

When the pilot holes are drilled, screw the rails into the coolers so that they are nicely aligned and consistent. It's also a good idea to add screws through the tee connections at the bottom middle of the rails- a little insurance against the pipes pulling out under the weight.

Step 4: Extra Support

Picture of Extra Support

To make sure the screws through the coolers didn't just pull out under the weight, I added doubled-up heavy duty zip ties around the bottom of each cooler.

Step 5: Zip Tie, Zip Tie, Zip Tie...

Picture of Zip Tie, Zip Tie, Zip Tie...

Now it's time to put everything together. Connect the two side rails using the two back pieces (the 21" segments with 2X elbows and 2X 2" nipples).

Once your "U" is together, place the lawn chair in the middle of the "U" shape. Then use the rest of your heavy duty zip ties and attach the metal piping of the chair to the side rails in lots and lots of places. The more you use, the more stable it is, so be generous! Be sure to add zip ties between the chair legs and the bottom of the side rails.

Step 6: Cast Off

Picture of Cast Off

I weigh about 185 LB, and this contraption carried me all afternoon with no problem. Fill each cooler with ice and drinks, and instantly be the most popular person in the pool.


michael_click (author)2016-08-05

In the photo, are the coolers full or empty? Obviously, full coolers will be less bouyant than empty ones. Plus, those look to be so!e pricey coolers to be ruining for any other purposes. Any thoughts as to using those cheapo Styrofoam type coolers? Using those and good old duck tape might give you a single-use type project.

JON-A-TRON (author)michael_click2016-08-05

The coolers are full in the photos. It would probably float a bit higher with empty coolers, but I didn't notice much of difference, oddly enough. The coolers were pricey, but there's no reason you couldn't do it with cheaper ones. I wouldn't go the styrofoam route if I were you- the pressure would probably crush them as soon as you sat in the chair. Either way, post an IMadeIt- I'd love to see what you come up with.

michael_click (author)2016-08-05

Any thoughts as to possibly using a chair in place of the recliner and some pedal power waterwheels? Nah, probably too much work for such a fun project.

DconBlueZ (author)2015-08-25

Great idea!
Any updates on this project? Used it much? How did it fare?

JON-A-TRON (author)DconBlueZ2015-08-25

It worked out just fine! With my design, your butt stays in the water- might be worth it to try and raise it up a bit if you don't like that idea, but I didn't mind- you're in a pool anyway right?

One thing I would suggest would be adding some silicone caulk at the screw holes into the coolers. I didn't notice them taking in any water, but I think given enough time the insulated walls of the coolers would fill up.

DconBlueZ (author)JON-A-TRON2015-08-25

I wonder if you could use the handle assembly to mount the coolers instesd of screwing them in. Gotta go look at some coolers now.

JON-A-TRON (author)DconBlueZ2015-08-25

That's a good idea! I bet you could attach the handles to the chair, then have a kind of strap around the bottom of each cooler to keep them from rotating up.

seanbell157 (author)2014-12-26

you could use a ratchet strap thru the handles and around bottom rails to hold it together instead of drilling the holes. as far as storage I would think you could possibly get away with assembling it without PVC cement and when you put it all together run one more ratchet strap around the outside of entire frame to keep it together.
I would surely figure out a way to add an umbrella. Where I live there is a slow moving river that many people travel on tubes in the summer time. I'm sure this would be a big hit.

JoMoFroBro (author)2014-11-25

So you're telling me that you want to safely get back to dry land after a dozen beers? Good luck with that ;)

Battlespeed (author)2014-09-15

The greatest thing about this is the requirement to drink from both sides in order to maintain equal ballast.

"Yes, dear, I'm afraid the laws of physics FORCE me to drink an even number of beers or I'll tip over!!"

"Speaking of tipping over..."

JON-A-TRON (author)Battlespeed2014-09-15

That's right, this invention comes with built-in excuses!

Battlespeed (author)2014-09-15

Very cool. Looks like you could run some bottom stringers between the 2 side rails to form a frame that you could just drop the coolers into, rather than screwing the rails to the coolers.

Mo0k (author)2014-09-01

You got so many ice chest :)

SweetDainish (author)2014-08-27

Such a cool project! Definitely a winner for any pool party or a quiet lounge alone (book + accessible beverages + pool = serious lounge time) Awesome stuff! :)

JON-A-TRON (author)SweetDainish2014-08-27

Glad you like it!

Sherry Green (author)2014-08-27

You have some great idea and I very love it.

JON-A-TRON (author)Sherry Green2014-08-27

Thank you!

Tropics (author)2014-08-26

I love it!!! How about adding an umbrella or shade?

JON-A-TRON (author)Tropics2014-08-26

Great idea. Are you going to add one when you make yours?

Tropics (author)JON-A-TRON2014-08-27

First I need to find a place to store it. I do love the design. Should be able to spend an entire day in the pool w/6 coolers at the ready.

tleet59 (author)2014-08-26

I can't tell from the pictures, but is your butt out of the water? Nobody wants wrinkly cheeks after a day on the water.

JON-A-TRON (author)tleet592014-08-26

My butt was definitely in the water. I think you'd need a lot more floatation to keep that from happening.

rundmcarlson (author)JON-A-TRON2014-08-26

Buoyant force is the density of water times the volume of displaced fluid, times gravity. In order to float, the buoyant force has to exceed the force of your weight. To figure out the minimum volume required, you would need to set both forces equal, so pVg=mg. Since g is on both sides, and we know m and p, V=m/p. So if you want to find out how much volume needed to float a given mass, just plug the mass and density into the equation. In English units, p is roughly 8.3. That will give you the volume in gallons of the submerged portion of the coolers (use 62 for cubic feet). If you want the coolers to only be half way in the water, make sure the total cooler volume is double the number you come up with for V. Also, make sure the frame for the chair is as high up as possible on the coolers.

JON-A-TRON (author)rundmcarlson2014-08-26

Thanks for the tip! The pac frame would have to be more elaborate, but I think if it were raised up by about a foot (just a shot in the dark) it would probably keep you out of the water with the existing displacement.

IdahoDavid (author)2014-08-26

You are a bloody genius! I like the umbrella idea, too.

Robokidd_00 (author)2014-08-25

this is pure genius!!

JON-A-TRON (author)Robokidd_002014-08-26

You're using that word loosely, but thanks!

mikeasaurus (author)2014-08-25

Living large in that lounger. I wonder what happens after a few if you can't get back to dry land?

JON-A-TRON (author)mikeasaurus2014-08-25

The chair back fully reclines. After a good night's sleep on the open seas, I'm sure one would have the wherewithal to make it back to shore.

smcmasters1 (author)2014-08-25

I was going to ask about the screw holes filling with water as well. Perhaps there is a 3D printer option/design that could work for attaching? Otherwise I too would just go with some heavy silicone caulking. And maybe not a standard umbrella, but something more square that reminds me of a convertible car.

mnmama (author)2014-08-25

I'm very impressed by the simplicity while still looking presentable. Question: how do you keep the outside of the coolers from filling up with water around the screw holes? I wonder if, after a couple of days, the outer shells fill up with ballast and head down to the bottom, submarine rather than boat? Are there any ideas out there for waterproof gaskets or washers that would work? Maybe silicone caulking? I would love to know if this was not an issue at all.

Even if it gets waterlogged, it looks great and is wonderfully creative.

JON-A-TRON (author)mnmama2014-08-25

Good question! When I built it I was a little concerned about the same thing. It was only in the water for an afternoon (we borrowed a friend's pool for the photoshoot) so I can't say for sure, but it's safe to say that it would eventually fill up.

Those are all good suggestions about how to mitigate the water, but I think heavy duty caulking is the best option if you're going to go with screws the way I did.

Another way to attach the coolers would be to epoxy some plumbing tape to the coolers, then bolt that through the PCV pipe. It would be more difficult, but you could avoid piercing the coolers altogether that way, which would obviously be the best option.

Thanks for the compliments! I hope yours comes out well.

caitlinsdad (author)2014-08-25

I would add a hibachi grill outrigger. Nothing says summer like a floating raft on fire. Although, maritime laws do prohibit operating watercraft while under the influence.

Doesn't look like he's operating it. He's just a passenger. The raft goes where it will.

Great job!

You're right, it's missing an arduino with GPS and a motorcycle battery.

JON-A-TRON (author)mr.incredible2014-08-25

It's an easy project, and using it is even easier.

JON-A-TRON (author)caitlinsdad2014-08-25

It's the only thing that's missing! Except maybe an umbrella.

johnstat000 (author)2014-08-25

Super cool!

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a full-time Designer at the Instructables Design Studio (best job ever). My background is in residential architecture, film set design, film animatronics, media ... More »
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