Our Review of the Stamina 36-inch Folding Trampoline
We’ve been trampoline aficionados for a while now, but generally only really thought of them in terms of how our kids would enjoy bouncing. It’s difficult when you’re a parent to think of things from your own perspective at times. But after having a discussion about it, Janet and I agreed that maybe we could benefit from a trampoline of our own.
Of course we went over all of the common excuses that grownups use to justify the purchase of a trampoline: it’s good for our health, it keeps the lymphatic system working properly, it’ll make our regular workouts more effective. And sure, all of that is true, but I think my wife and I both knew that we were going to make this investment because it was fun.
The one issue that we didn’t want to compromise on, however, was that it had to be portable. The backyard trampoline is great for the kids, but I would hate having to move that more than a couple of times per year. We wanted something that we could take out, set up, and put away again when we were done without any hassle.
That led us to buying the Stamina 36-inch Folding Trampoline.
The particulars on this are pretty standard. All-steel frame construction with six detachable legs on a 36-inch diameter frame. It’s pretty small, but large enough that one or the other of use can fit onto it and use it. It will also sit well in the living room without having to shift the coffee table around too much (have I mentioned how much I hate having to move things frequently?).
The biggest draw for this particular model is that it’s made to come apart and fold away when you’re not using it. You can unscrew the legs, remove the frame pad, and fold the frame in on itself like a piece of camping equipment. This means that we can store this in the hall closet when we’re not using it, then take it out when it’s time to get some activity in.
What I found interesting was that instead of metal springs like you would find in most trampolines, this one uses thirty two-inch wide tension bands placed around the frame. This is probably to help it fold more easily, but I liked the idea that it would have fewer metal parts in general since those can be sharp and if I’m going to be playing with the frame frequently, I’d rather avoid things that could cut or scratch me.
Janet and I got this early on a Saturday morning and decided to set it up immediately, taking it out of the box carefully and laying everything out to put together.
When we were taking it out of the box, one of the things that I noticed was that it was packed pretty tight, which I appreciated since that prevented too much shifting in transport. All of the pieces were in one bag and essentially packaged together, making it clear that it’s possible to collapse the mat and store it all as a piece.
There was also significant weight to it owing to the all-steel design.
After taking it out of the bag, just picking it up had it falling open to an extent, but actually getting it to lock into place wasn’t very easy. In fact, the instructions said that you should have two people. That wouldn’t be feasible since one or the other of us is often home with the kids, so I tried to open it by myself by putting my weight on it, which ended up working pretty easily. There was a point when I thought I was going to break it, but I pushed through and suddenly it was fine.
Next came the padded frame mat. This was also very tight and difficult to do with one person. There are a number of holes in it where the bases of the legs go through. We both put it on and took it off the frame once by ourselves, but it was not easy and I already wasn’t looking forward to putting it on every time I wanted to use the trampoline. It helped that the holes for the leg bases kept the pad from slipping, or I wouldn’t have been able to do it by myself.
Finally, the legs. These I was really impressed with. Each leg base on the frame is covered with a rubber cap that you can unscrew to reveal a small metal dowel. This design I thought was really clever: instead of a thin, sharp screw that pokes up into the legs, these were large, squat screws just smaller than the leg diameter with threading along the outside. Not only is this more stable, but less likely to poke me when I’m assembling and disassembling this.
Once we got the trampoline set up, Janet and I both decided to take a turn on it.
I was worried that the resistance bands wouldn’t be as springy as metal springs would be, but I was wrong. The mat feels stable and responds well to bounces. Both of us are well under the weight limit of 250 pounds, so we tried some more extreme bounces to see if they would affect performance. In the end, that initial trial had us jumping up and down like kids, lifting our legs, slamming them into the mat when we came down, and pretty much stress testing it as much as possible while we did.
That was about three months ago and we’ve been using the trampoline three to four times a week between the two of us ever since.
So far, it doesn’t seem to be showing many signs of wear and tear. The padded frame mat looks a little shoddy now, which is disappointing after such a short period of time, but on an up note it’s easier to put on. I would like to think that’s because I’ve gotten stronger in the intervening time, but really it’s more likely that the elastic portions are getting stretched out from repeated use. For the moment, it still does its job of giving a little bit of cushion to the frame itself, though without metal springs to protect me from it seems a bit extraneous.
What I mean by that is that the pad doesn’t have a whole lot of padding. I suppose it couldn’t and still be as portable, but after a while I started to wonder why I even bothered to struggle putting it on at all. If I land on the frame while bouncing, not only am I going to have more to worry about since that will likely flip the trampoline and send me flying to the ground, but I don’t imagine it will do much to protect my foot from bruising. Sometimes when I don’t feel like fighting with it, I don’t even bother putting on the pad and it still works fine.
The trampoline itself has pretty much the same bounce as it did when we got it. I had been worried since I could literally see through the mat, something that I wasn’t able to do with others that made me think it wasn’t woven tight enough, but I don’t seem to be having any problems so far.
While researching this trampoline, I found a few negative reviews with pictures showing the tension bands losing spring, the mats falling apart, and in one case the legs snapping off. I bought this one anyway because I didn’t feel like, in the worst case scenario, wasting $23.50 would be a big deal, but the reviews stayed in my mind this whole time.
In fact, they’re the main reason I went to such lengths to put this through its paces. While I can’t speak for the future, so far there don’t seem to be any problems with mine and this was the time when most of the negative reviews said things started to go wrong. I certainly don’t doubt the people who had those experiences, but considering the number of reviews mentioning this, it might have been a defect with those particular items rather than a more widespread problem.
That being said, I’m going to keep my eye out and make sure that this doesn’t start to fall apart suddenly like those other ones.
What I Think
For only $23.50, this certainly isn’t a bad product. While it is pretty difficult to put together by yourself, particularly for something made to come apart frequently, I would prefer that to a shoddy product which doesn’t stand up to regular use.
Three months in and I’m still happy with this purchase. If something changes suddenly, I’ll update, but for the moment I can heartily recommend giving the Stamina 36-inch Folding Trampoline a shot.