Introduction: Embark-A-Lounger

About: I'm an inventor / maker / designer based in the Bay Area. My background is in residential architecture, film set design, animatronics, media arts, exhibit design, and electronics. I use digital design and fa...

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


  • 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

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

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

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...

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

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.



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    38 Discussions

    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.

    1 reply

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

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

    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..."

    1 reply

    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.

    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! :)

    1 reply

    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.