Whatever you like to do outdoors, chances are the Kijaro Kubie might be good to take along.
What Is the Kubie?
Well, it’s hard to describe the Kubie in a single word, but “outdoor product” might be the closest fit. It’s a large blanket-like object that can take on several forms, thanks to some built-in zippers, snaps, and belts. You can use it as a blanket or ground cover, a poncho, and even a hammock. The Kubie retails for $80 and is available directly from Kijaro or from online retailers like Amazon. It comes in a few different colors; I received a sample in the “Hallett Peak Gray” color to try out.
The whole thing packs up into a zippered pouch (about 17” x 9”) with a handle that can serve as a cushion or pillow, and turning it inside out gives you a large blanket that measures 88” x 67”. The pocket is centered along one edge of the blanket, and also has a hood that can fold out—the hood has a zipper on both the inside and outside, so you can close up the pouch with the hood in or out. Along the edges of the blanket are some snaps, a zipper, and some loops.
Using it as a sleeping bag is pretty simple—it’s just your standard rectangular sleeping bag with a zipper along the bottom and one side, open at the top. It’s not a mummy-style sleeping bag, and isn’t insulated enough for freezing temperatures, but will be fine for indoor use or spring and summer camping.
With the aforementioned hood, you can use it as a hooded blanket, but you can also use the snaps along the edges to make ponchos of different lengths. Of course, since the blanket is so wide, that means the sleeves are very long, as my daughter demonstrates in the photo above. Depending on which configuration you use, there may be some large openings along the sleeve, or a sort of pouch where the blanket folds up behind you (as in the photo on the left). I think the hood and snaps can make it a little easier to keep the Kubie bundled around you than a regular blanket, but it’s not something you’d really want to walk around in—it still looks a bit more like a blanket than an actual poncho.
The hammock mode is pretty ingenious. Along two edges of the Kubie, there are belts that run inside a sleeve. The belts are fixed to the sleeve on one end and free-sliding on the other, with loops that stick out on both ends. You scrunch up the sleeve along the length of the belt, and then slide the belt through the open loop on the fixed end. The belt is double layered, with stitched loops along its length.
Hang the loops onto some anchors, and you’ve got a hammock!
Well, almost. I’ve found that, usually, I need to put some weight on the hammock after attaching the loops, which then scrunches up the sleeves a little more, letting out a little more of the belts, and then I adjust the belts. My kids have been putting it to the test a lot on our front porch (which has some handy hammock hooks built in), and they’ve enjoyed the warmth the Kubie provides over our other camping hammock, which is much thinner material. However, because of the way the loops work, we’ve also noticed that it tends to tip a little to one side, so you’ll want to be careful getting in and out.
Some of the other uses are basically blanket-themed, like using it as a hammock liner or a canopy (draped over a line and staked down at the corners). If you use it as a ground cover, the loops along the edges allow you to stake it to the ground in case of wind (stakes not included). The one thing that I think is odd is that, at least in the instructional videos on the website, using it as a ground cover entails putting the black side—the part that’s the interior of the sleeping bag, poncho, and hammock—on the ground, and sitting on the colored side. Flipping it over does expose the sleeping bag zippers, so it’s probably more comfortable to sit on the colored side, but I’m not sure you’d want to switch to sleeping bag or hammock directly after using it as a ground cloth.
I do wish that the Kubie came with an instructional manual or card; it had a little tag about turning it into a hammock, but everything else is only explained in the videos on the Kijaro website, so if you’re headed out somewhere without cell service then you’ll want to look up the instructions ahead of time. I’m also not a fan of the huge tag sticking out of the side of the pillow—I can trim it off, but there will still be a portion of the edge there, and I didn’t want to tear out any seams just in case.
Overall, the Kubie is a handy tool to toss into the car or take to the park. We’ve been enjoying the hammock on our porch, and it’s a nice extra blanket for watching my kids play roller derby in a chilly hangar. For more information or to order one, visit the Kijaro website.
Disclosure: I received a sample of the Kubie for review purposes.