Last year, in a post on Luxury Wild Camping, one thing we couldn’t sort out was a chair. Now with the Helinox Chair One we can finally live the dream! I’ll admit that this is probably a sign of getting soft/old, but I really don’t care if it means that I can get a proper sit down while wild camping. All I need now is my pipe and slippers.
The chair consists of two main parts – the shock corded frame and the tough seat section. As a result, it’s extremely easy and quick to assemble after the first few goes. It’s also very tough, as the frame is constructed from tough DAC Green Anodized poles, and takes a maximum user weight of 145 KG. This quality, along with the innovative design meant that the chair won an ISPO Award earlier this year.
Despite that it isn’t the most spacious of chairs, but takes my 95 kilo frame comfortably. If you’re much larger then this chair may be a tight squeeze. Likewise, the tall might find they can’t see anything for their knees. The picture below gives you an idea, as I’m 180 cm tall but with relatively short legs for my height, and my knees are somewhat up in the air. On the other hand, I’ve got a mug of Laphraoig, so I’m not particularly bothered.
It weighs in at a relatively heavy 960g, or 870g without the carry bag, which is about the weight of a lightweight one man tent and is the main disadvantage of this piece of kit. Despite the weight, the packed chair is compact, unlike every single collapsible chair you usually come across, and takes it’s place well in the pack.
The advantages on the other hand are not numerous, but good ones at that. We’ve already mentioned that even though it’s heavy, it packs down to a reasonably small size, compact enough to fit into a pack’s side mesh pocket. You can sit down – obviously – but it means that you can eat in a more natural position as opposed to lying down in the tent. It’s also handy to sit over your stove for cooking, which is practical as the chair is reasonably low to the ground. You will need to take care on soft ground too as the feet will sink in. This will invariably happen after you get comfortable, and the two rear feet will sink resulting in a comical backward fall for the hapless occupant.
I can now sit up in my Golite Shangli-La 3 and Trango 4.1, which on a wild camp is as bloody luxurious as you can get! In winter, when the evenings are long and the kit heavy anyway, an extra 900g or so is neither here nor there when it’s usual for the water of life to to find their way onto the hill in the glass bottle. I can then sit there sipping a decent single malt, comfortable for the evening, what else could I wish for!
One of these chairs would also be handy for nature watching, night photography, or any other outdoor activity that requires significant walking followed by even more significant sitting down. It may also be useful for dragging people on their first wild camp, a chair may just be the final bit of persuasion necessary.
If you’re looking for that final bit of luxury, or you’re just getting fed up of lying down in the tent of the evening then this is the answer. Yes it’s rather decadent and a lot of extra weight, which is something you’ll need to consider and decide for yourself if this is something you’ll really take on the mountain. In practical use, it’s been used on those trips where the camping is the main focus of the weekend as opposed to a lengthy backpack over rough terrain. And, on those occasions, it’s been worth every single one of those extra 960g. There’s even an accompanying table to go with it, so by the start of the winter camping season I’ll have somewhere to put the mug of Laphroaig!