Whether you’re driving the family van to your favorite camp ground or backpacking into the wilderness, selecting the right gear is essential. Where camping chairs are concerned, it’s not always easy to find something that meets all of your needs. Portability and strength are often our top priorities, but these features conflict with each other. Heavily reinforced gear is larger and heavier, while lightweight gear simply isn’t as durable.
Finding a balance between these two key features requires careful design and proper engineering. In this review, we’ll be taking a look at one of our favorite camping chairs.
The Helinox Chair One is the Winner of our Best Lightweight Backpacking Chair Review.
Wide Range of Colorful Camp Chair Designs
Not only does it check all of our boxes for durability and comfort, but it’s available in a wide variety of colors too.
This Backpacking Chair is Built for Relaxation
There is no chair we’d rather relax in than the Chair One. Much like the bucket seats of a classic car, the Chair One is tilted backwards. Your back rests a little lower to the ground, and your legs are supported upright. Its orientation is almost begging you to put your feet up and enjoy the environment around you.
Helps Maintain Posture in Any Position
Most chairs can only be used one way. You sit in the center with your legs front shoulders back. But with the Chair One, the rounded design gives you a lot more flexibility with how you sit. Having an engaging conversation with your neighbour? Turn to the side, and the large backrest will help keep you upright. No matter what position you feel most comfortable in, the chair one is supportive where it needs to be, and soft where you want it.
You know this is a highly portable chair… but you still won’t weren’t prepared for just how compact and light it is. When packed, it folds down to be only one sixth of it’s assembled height. When folded it measures around 14 by 5 inches. That’s roughly the size of your rolled up Sunday newspaper!
Often, the smaller a chair is the less weight it can hold. When packed up, the Chair One weighs less than two pounds. But when assembled, it has a maximum weight capacity of over 320 lbs! Sure, ants might be able to hold many times their own weight, but for a chair this is extremely impressive. It is worth noting that we don’t recommend exceeding, or even approaching the weight capacity. But with this particular chair, the weight capacity means that we can recommend it for everyone.
Simple to Set Up
Serious backpackers know that highly portable gear often has a complex, and often frustrating assembly procedure. But the Helinox Chair One is so simple to assemble that you often forget how advanced the design is. All of the guide poles and structural support are internally joined by a mesh network of shock absorbing strings. When you pull them apart, the elastic material naturally guides the ends of the poles into their receivers. All you have to do is lightly guide the metal where it wants to go, and you can have your chair put together and assembled in a matter of seconds.
Holds Up To Years of Use
Just because it’s light doesn’t mean it’s weak! Helinox designed their chair to withstand tough environments. Everything is reinforced, from the fabric to the supporting poles. There are two primary factors in making a chair durable: Material selection and engineering. And the Chair One excels in both areas.
Super Strength Material
All of the supporting poles are made from a material called DAC aluminum. This is a type of alloy – a combination of metals blended together for a specific purpose. Aluminum is a great choice due to it’s lightweight nature. But if pure aluminum is used, the poles would be more likely to bend or shear. By combining it with a number of other alloys, the tensile strength of this material is ideal for this type of use.
The fabric itself is also above average. Polyester – a synthetic fiber ideal for use in outdoor environments – is measured in Denier. This tells you the weight of 9000 meters of the fiber. In this case, 600 Denier polyester is used. There are some other chairs that use the same material, but most camping chairs on the market use 300D fiber. This is roughly twice the weight, and several times as strong. This is why the weight capacity is so significantly higher than most chairs, and by double stitching all of the most important joints you can be sure that this chair won’t fall apart after just a few uses.
Tons of Helinox Accessories
When you pick yourself up a Chair One, you’re not just buying the chair itself. You’re also buying into the ecosystem of incredible camping gear that Helinox has available. Our two favorite accessories are the seat warmer and the ground sheet.
The seat warmer is made from duck feathers. It’s a full-size cover that goes overtop of the entire chair, and can be used with several other Helinox products. This is a great choice in cooler weather. Although polyester is very durable, it doesn’t hold heat in very well. With the seat warmer, you’ll be keeping your buns toasty in any environment.
The ground sheet is best for those that prefer wilderness camping. The last thing that any of us want is to have our feet sink into sandy or muddy ground. With the ground sheet, you’ve got a place to rest your feet without getting them dirty!
Our Top Choice for Backpacking
Is this chair right for you? That all depends on how you intend to use it. The Chair One stands out for it’s unparalleled portability and durability. If you’re concerned about the size and weight of your camping gear, then this is the best option that you’ll find. There might be other compact chairs on the market, but we haven’t found anything that can provide such a high level of durability in conjunction with the compact size.