– GUEST ARTICLE: Co-writer Andi wrote a guide about the handling of a Climb-In-Balloon –
First of all, I would like to introduce myself. I´m Andreas, 24 years old and I´m from Allgäu in Germany. I have a particular preference for balloons and all kind of things which you can inflate. In my following blog post, I´m going to tell you something about the Climb-In balloons. How you choose the right one, how you inflate them and how you can climb in properly.
You should use Climb-In balloons just under supervision. When you doesn´t exchange the air inside the balloon, there is a particular risk of suffocation. As well as when the air escapes completely, it will get really really tight inside. So, if there´s nobody who could help you in such a situation and cut you out, it could get dangerous, because it´s almost impossible to free yourself alone. I don´t want to see it too strict, but I want to warn you, and you should keep these aspects in mind.
What ARE Climb-In balloons in the first place and which balloons can you use to climb inside?
Climb-In balloons are gigantic balloons with a minimum diameter of 160cm (63″). They are characterized by a large mouthpiece, which is above average. I usually use the CATTEX 72″ balloons (diameter 180cm) due to their thick latex skin and their proper mouthpiece. But there´s also a special so-called CLIMB IN balloon produced by CATTEX, with has the same size (72″) but with an even bigger mouth piece. Of course, this one is a little bit more expensive than the regular CATTEX 72″ balloon. So, you should decide yourself whether you prefer a bigger mouthpiece or not.
While choosing the appropriate balloon, you also should pay attention to the actual use you have in mind, like how many people should climb inside the balloon, as well as their size and physical build.
Preparations before climbing inside
First, choose a place, which is big enough. Keep in mind, that the balloon could get larger than the specified diameter. Furthermore, you can easily overinflate it, so you get a large neck, make sure you have enough space.
Then, there shouldn´t be any sharp or hot things nearby, of course. Most suitable is a soft ground, which makes it even more comfortable afterward. Please pay attention, if the underground could become electrostatically charged, which could damage the balloon. Personally, I use an air bed, which I inflate really tight. Because, when you sink too much, it´s possible your balloon bursts due to an uneven load.
Now, you need a pump, which is suitable for such a giant balloon and offers a proper air flow. A balloon with a diameter of 72“ has a volume of quite 3000l of air. I recommend a „ZIBI Z500“ because its air rate is enormous. You also get an adapter for it, which is ideally suited for big giant balloons. You strap over a hose, so your pump can stay on the ground while using it. You can control it with your feet in this case. To tie up the balloon I usually use a clip of Maggy´s shop or it´s also possible to use a string.
Now, let´s talk about the balloon itself. It´s helpful to put some talcum powder on the balloons, which makes the entrance easier. Furthermore, the balloon should have room temperature and you should always storage it dry and dark. So the balloon isn´t harmed by coldness, hotness, moisture and sun.
After the preparations, let´s get real!
It´s possible o climb inside the balloon without intense pre-stretching. But nevertheless, if you want to pre-stretch it, I´ll give you some tips now:
Take the balloon and inflate it about 50-60 cm big. Put the pump away and knead it well. Then let the air escape. Afterward, inflate the balloon until it reached about 80% of its actual size and tie it up. Now, take a good look and control the balloon, for example due to thin spots or something. After a few minutes let the air escape again. Because of this kind of inflation you took away some tension of the material, which prevents the balloon for an early burst on the one hand and on the other hand it might get even bigger afterwards. But now you should be really carful and avoid that the balloon get in touch with hot items, because otherwise the material can tighten again. If this won’t happen in an even way, the balloon can burst with the next inflation because it´s not able to inflate it equally.
Now, just go ahead and inflate the balloon to its actual size and let it rest some minutes.
In the meantime prepare yourself for the entry. The person, who wants to climb in it, should think about hers/his clothes. If you want to be naked I recommend to take a shower before, because sweat could complicate the process a little. If you want to wear clothes, make sure they are skintight. For example, you could wear leggings or ski-underwear. But you should go inside without shoes, as well as without wearing any kind of jewelry. If you have long hair, bind it together or wear a hat, otherwise your hair could get stuck inside the mouthpiece, which could end quite painful.
Climb in – ALONE
When you want to climb in alone (which I absolutely don´t recommend to newcomers) keep the balloon neck closed with one hand and take of the clip. Now take the balloon with both of your hands, so now air can escape at this point. Put down your head, so the balloon entry is right in front of it. Now, pull the mouthpiece apart with both of your hands, stick quickly your head inside it und pull it down tie your neck. It´s like putting over a hat. If this doesn´t work with the first time, don´t become desperate, this just needs some practice.
A litte advice on the side: If the balloon neck is too tight, cut down the bulge carefully. But make sure it´s a straight and consistent cut, otherwise the ballon can tear apart while you climb in.
Now, after your head is inside the balloon, your arms will be next. But first one of them. Just imagine you would pull over a sweatshirt, it´s the same procedure. Hold one arm straight and tight to your body. Take your other hand and use it to pull the balloon away from your neck, so you can push your other arm inside it. Pull the balloon a little bit lower on this side, so no air can escape.
Now let´s get this other arm inside. Put it on your belly just beneath the balloon neck. Push with your other arm, which is already inside, against the balloon, so you can get your other hand inside step by step. If you managed this and both arms are inside the balloon, pull it down until it reached your hip. Make sure you have enough space outside, otherwise go down on your knees or squat at this point. Now pull it completely down until the neck reached the ground and step with your feet on it. Grab the mouthpiece from the inside and tie it up. Voila, you did it, and the fun part can begin! Hopefully you have enough air left inside, otherwise you should free yoursel
Climb in – WITH HELP
If you have one or more helpers, the climb in procedure will be a little bit easier. They can pull apart the mouthpiece and you can climb in without any problems. The simplest way is, when you hold your hands in an upright position above your head. After your helper/s pulled the balloon apart, they can pull it over you. If some air escapes in the meantime, this doesn´t mean any harm, because your helper/s can inflate the balloon again quite easily from the outside.
The GET OUT
Either you just burst the balloon or turn the balloon with the mouthpiece right above your head. Open the clip and stick out your head first. Afterwards, put out your arms and your whole body. If this is too difficult, let some air escape, so the balloon gets lower.
So, that´s it. Now it´s your turn. HAVE FUN!