Fortamajig: Blanket Forts Taken to the Next Level

Update: I have a Fortamajig now. Read a full, field-tested review!

Fortamajig is a new children’s product that debuted this week, taking the blanket fort market by storm.

I know what you’re thinking. What blanket fort market? I was initially skeptical and a little disappointed. Why improve upon blankets? How could you improve upon blankets? The answer is intriguing.

Three marketing photos. The first shows the Fortamajig laid out flat. The second shows a fort set up over the floor of a child's room. The third shows a canopy over a child's bed, hooked between the bed rail and a curtain rod.
The Fortamajig is an 8-foot-square piece of ripstop nylon fabric, similar to that used in camping tents. It’s water-resistant, machine washable and lightweight.

The square’s perimeter has 24 adjustable elastic loops and 9 loops on inner portions of the square that fasten with Velcro. (A two-color reversible version has 18 inner loops.)

It’s these loops that allow you to attach and suspend the ‘Jig over a variety of household and outdoor objects… chair backs, door knobs, headboards, tree branches, patio chairs and such.

If you have the right hook points, you can create a fort or canopy without draping the fabric over a table or couch cushions.

The problem with blankets is that they inevitably become slack and bow, creating a low ceiling, and eventually pull free. If they are over the backs of chairs, you live with it. If one is on a flat surface such as a tabletop, you weight it down with books. But if you have a Fortamajig and it is hooked around, say, chairs, then you are not spending time readjusting your fort again and again.

A single layer version of the ‘Jig weighs less than 2lbs, presumably much less than 8-square-feet of blankets. So the ‘Jig should slack less, even without loop fasteners.

Two nice touches are a flap that can be used as a door, and a mesh window with a privacy flap that can be rolled up. I don’t suppose you would take a pair of scissors to your blankets to add those features.

For outdoor use, the Jig’s corners have 9"x9" pockets that you stick a shoe or other object inside to weigh down the "walls" so that they don’t flap around in the wind. These weights mean the ‘Jig is more than a fort or tunnel. Outside, you could create a play canopy or teepee under a tree.

What I love about Fortamajig and regular blanket forts is that they feed on pure imagination. You have fun creating them and playing in them; they are whatever you want them to be.

The ‘Jig stays true to this idea by coming in single-color and reversible two-color versions. I’m told versions with patterns may be in the future, but so far there isn’t talk of licensing Thomas, Dora and the other usual crew members. It’s nice to find good old fashioned toys like this one that haven’t been splattered with marketing messages.

Officially, this product is for kids 3 years and older. Unofficially, I
was building a blanket fort over a toddler-size table around the time
my daughter began walking. In any case, adult supervision is a good
idea.

The ‘Jig was invented by The Happy Kid Company, which is comprised of Katherine Huck, a mother of three, and Kristen Stocking, a mother of one with another on the way. Their ‘Jig debuted this week at the American International Toy Fair. I spoke with Kristen as she was preparing for the fair and one thing in particular caught my attention. She said the Fortamajig is "designed to intrigue the imagination."

Retail sales should begin in a few weeks. Fortamajigs can now be ordered through the web site.

Update: I have a Fortamajig now. Read a full, field-tested review!

Comments

3 Responses to “Fortamajig: Blanket Forts Taken to the Next Level”

  1. Kevin says:

    Great idea for a product. Many of days I spent under forts as a kid. Thanks for reminding me about this. I will make one this weekend with my son.

    February 16th, 2007 at 8:37 am

  2. nicole says:

    Did you see the price tag of this tent!?!!? Oh my gosh, I was shocked- $60 for the single color, $90 for the 2 sided! Plus $8 for shipping and handling. Awesome idea but outrageous price!

    March 1st, 2007 at 2:20 am

  3. Martin says:

    Nicole – the shipping says FREE (at least as of today 12-26-07)….maybe it is just a promotion?

    December 26th, 2007 at 9:23 am

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