Jul 22, 2012 at 9:12 pm #1292245
I have an Alite Monarch chair (http://www.alitedesigns.com/alite-shop/monarch-chair.html) which I've taken on a couple of trips, and, frankly, it's not for me. The 1.3 lbs (580gm) weight I don't mind, but sitting in the darn thing without falling over requires much more coödination than I possess, and don't ask me about getting in and out of that thing!
I have tumbled out of it more than I've fallen walking home from my favorite pub. The only advantage to falling over in the backcountry is that there are fewer people to witness my clumsiness.
So, I ask the esteemed group: what camp chairs to you bring?
(And for you smart-alecks out there: I don't need a snapshot of a stump, a log, a rock, a hammock or a chunk of ground: I'm old, my bones are old, my old white a$$ wants comfort.)Jul 22, 2012 at 9:15 pm #1896775
– -K.T.- –Participant
Well actually a hammock does make a great chair. Other than that I just use a section of Ridgerest. I use to bring a Therm a rest pad and chair kit. Had to stop taking it. Did not like the looks from the uncomfortable others.Jul 22, 2012 at 9:38 pm #1896777
@oiboyroiLocale: South West USJul 22, 2012 at 10:00 pm #1896782
@ewh100Locale: SF Bay Area
I like the looks of that sling light chairJul 22, 2012 at 10:14 pm #1896783
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
The slinglight chair isn't much easier to get in and out of than the Monarch and it felt flimsy to me. Maybe they are better if you weigh 165 rather than 220. I do carry a sit pad and use it to supplement my short sleeping pad.
+1 on a hammock. They really are luxurious on a day hike. A lightweight one with suspension is a little under a pound. You do need a couple trees :)Jul 22, 2012 at 11:04 pm #1896785
@ascientistLocale: Grants Pass, Oregon
I was considering the NeoAir sit pad, but instead bought a big heavy reclining chair:
Basically I decided that I do enough car camping I might as well go for it. I have a couple trail stools, but even for short backpacking trips I never found it worth the weight or hassle. The Alite Monarch Butterfly Chair is comfortable to sit in, but the weight you have to place on the heal of your feet to balance it becomes uncomfortable with time, especially if you have been hiking. On a side note letting a little air out of a regular size NeoAir mat it folds in three for a very nice sitting pad. If you are comfortable placing the pad directly on the ground (I am), then it is similar, although lower and wider, than what you get with the thermarest Jembe, but without any extra weight or cost.Jul 23, 2012 at 12:11 am #1896790
A YouTube clip of you falling over on your Monarch chair may help in pinpointing the problem and finding a solution.
Multiple falls taken from different angles would speed up the process.
FrancoJul 23, 2012 at 12:47 am #1896793
drowning in spamMember
I have a couple big car camping chairs. Too big for backpacking. Also a little cold to sit around at night during the time of year I like to go camping. I've put a foam pad in the bottom, but I'd like to come up with a better way to insulate the seat so I can enjoy more sit time under the stars.Jul 23, 2012 at 2:40 am #1896799
For short trips I bring my Crazy Creek chair that weighs 1.3 lbs and rolls up nicely. Otherwise I just use a small sit pad. That chair you use also makes a four-legged model but hard to find. Lafuma makes a 4 legged one but too heavy for backpacking but it sure is comfy. I saw a couple use them on one of their backpacking trips.Jul 23, 2012 at 6:41 am #1896816
The REI camp stool does it for me. I pull off the shoulder strap and it comes out to a pound. It sits low, but taller than the Monarchs and perfect for sitting in front of the BearVault stovetop while cooking dinner. The REI stool has flat/widened feet on it, and these are less likely to post-hole than simple round feet (as on my $10 Big 5 loaners) in soft soil.
I can't lean back, but then that's what large rocks are for. I can, however, easily move it, stand and sit up and down into it without the stool pitching and it's great for putting shoes on and off when I'm feeling a little creaky.Jul 23, 2012 at 7:32 am #1896827
As long as you're in an area with the proper materials available:Jul 23, 2012 at 7:38 am #1896830
The Slinglight is definitely not flimsy. I weighed over 200 when I first got it. It's rock solid. It's easy to get into. You do have to squat and grab the frame with both hands to lower yourself onto it. But even with my bad knees, it's not a problem. If you're willing to carry the weight, you'll love it. I leave the headrest at home unless I know it's an easy trip with lots of camp and stargazing time.
It pairs up well with my Shangri-La 3. If I put it right in the center, I can sit it in inside the SL3 with headroom to spare. Very nice on rainy nights (like last Friday) to be able to sit and read and listen to the rain.Jul 23, 2012 at 7:40 am #1896832
RK: I had a Slinglight and, as Dale says, it ain't much easier to get into or out of than the Monarch. It is light and sturdy, though. I gifted mine to my son, who is far more agile, and he loves it. [EDIT: Randy, I agree: the Slinglight does not feel flimsy. I'd-a kept mine but I found it a pain to pack because it doesn't break down, and my combination of metal knee and fused ankle makes it stupid-difficult to get out of.]
Brett is right that the Monarch doesn't let a fellow take his weight off his feet, they are required for balancing and, my footsies prefer to be off-duty at the end of a long trail day.
The REI camp stool that RK helpfully points to seems a possibility although I'm really looking for a chair with a back so I can recline a bit and suitable rocks or trees cannot always be counted on to exist in the exact spot I want for lounging view-taking-in. Sitting like a sack of potatoes on a stool just doesn't seem loungy enough. But, as Erik points out, it sure is nice to have something–anything–to sit on when putting on shoes or cooking.
The Crazy Creek chair mentioned by Donna looks like a Thermarest chair I used to bring. As a guy who has one (1) fused ankle and (1) titanium knee, I can say that climbing down to the ground and back up to get into & out of a chair like that isn't easy in the least and necessitates lots of undignified grunting and contorting.
I'm not a hammock person. Don't care to spend any time not sleeping laying down, and while the Hennessy Hammock is the best solution for a side-sleeper, the weight and cost, not to mention the frequent number of times my chosen campsite has no suitable pairs of trees, take hammocks out of the running as a camp chair.
Finally, Franco suggests that "A YouTube clip of you falling over on your Monarch chair may help in pinpointing the problem and finding a solution. Multiple falls taken from different angles would speed up the process."
I'll get a camera crew to follow me on my next backpack and see if I can't get enough data for analysis and embarassment.
So I think we have covered the options? Self-supporting or sitter-operated sling types like the Slinglight or Monarch, folding flat-on-the-ground chairs like the Crazy Creek and Thermarest, and stools like the REI? Anything else out there except for some massive car-camping chair from Walmart?Jul 23, 2012 at 9:03 am #1896850
It seems that pretty much any light camp chair/stool will be low to the ground or knees in your face. My Crazy Creek allows me to stretch out and rest my back. Getting out of it isn't any different than crawling out of my sleeping bag on the ground and getting out of my tent. I have trouble as well, but I found an easy way to work my body to an upright position without any problems.
Here is the Alite Mantis that I mentioned.Jul 23, 2012 at 9:05 am #1896851
@bzhayesLocale: So. California
Probably won't work for you, but it is worth mentioning that the BV500 works well as a stool. If you already bring a bear can, the additional weight of the big BV500 (8 ounces more than the BV450) make it competitive for dual use.Jul 23, 2012 at 9:06 am #1896852
How about the Thermarest Neoair Jembe seat? Kind of like the REI stool but without the weight. I have no experience with it. Anyone used it?
http://cascadedesigns.com/therm-a-rest/seating/fast-and-light-seating/jembe-seat/productJul 23, 2012 at 9:09 am #1896854
this is like a stool with a back..Jul 23, 2012 at 9:15 am #1896857
and a folding chair…not sure the weight.Jul 23, 2012 at 9:20 am #1896859
@ascientistLocale: Grants Pass, Oregon
This seems like one of those subjects you could spend a lifetime on in search of the ever elusive ideal camping chair. Maybe start a blog and get a good following with a title like “Adventures in camping chairs.”Jul 23, 2012 at 9:51 am #1896867
@trail_turkeyJul 23, 2012 at 10:30 am #1896880
That Thermarest Neoair "Jembe" seat looks cool. Works like a compression sack to restrict the mattress into a drum shape for sitting. Clever idea, but it's still a "sack of potatoes" chair like the other camp stools. Lacks essential loungeability.
The Larry Chair, mentioned by Donna, weighs 5.5 lbs (2.5 kg) according to http://www.travelchair.com/the-chairs/169/ — pretty heavy.
Also mentioned by Donna is the "Ultimate Slacker" camp stool with a back. Clocking in at 2.7lbs (1.2 kg), it's twice as heavy as the Monarch, and it doesn't seem to get good reviews, at least at http://www.amazon.com/Travelchair-Ultimate-Slacker-Chair-Black/dp/B0017HB9IM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343061516&sr=8-1&keywords=ultimate+slacker+chair.
The Alite "Mantis" Donna links to does look like a stabler version of the Alite "Monarch" I'm griping about here, so I might be able to get in and out without too much tomfoolery. At 2 lbs (0.9 kg) it is 11 oz (300 g) heavier than the Monarch. At MSRP of US $120 ($85 on Amazon), it's not cheap. However, I can't complain about the build quality of the Monarch, it's nicely-engineered, so the Mantis might be equally nice.
There are a lot of options, for sure! As Brett says, one could devote a blog to the subject.Jul 23, 2012 at 10:58 am #1896887
@mammomanLocale: NE AL
I don't have a chair recommendation, but this sure seems like a case where if you're UL in all other areas, a camp chair weighing 2-3 lbs. is something that you could justify as a luxury item, as it would seem to add much to your quality of life on a trip. Most of us don't have a fused ankle and a total knee. Comfort counts for a lot when you have health issues IMO.Jul 23, 2012 at 11:14 am #1896890
@karenkLocale: NE NSW - Australian subtropics
Those of us in Oz will find the Alite Mantis = Helinox Chair One. We scored a couple from the first batch – for our upcoming 3 month trip by sea kayak. Comfort is sensational! Weight is around 900g, but more important for a trip in a double sea kayak with relatively modest storage, is the fact that these are quite compact when folded.
Design and comfort are exceptional. Highly recommended for UL car camping or those who need to or are prepared to carry the weight. We use a sit mat or Thinlight as insulation when necessary.
The four legs make them a stable chair, so Franco's diagnostic skills should not be necessary.Jul 23, 2012 at 7:25 pm #1897029
@davidadairLocale: West Dakota
I have had a knee replacement for which I am extremely grateful, it has given me the high country back. But having a knee replacement also means I can no longer sit cross legged (Indian style)because of the torque on the joint. (Non hikers find this to be a complete non problem of course). As a hiker, not being able to sit on the ground comfortably is a fair PITA, however.
I have taken to carrying an external frame pack just so I can lean it up against a tree. Provides great lower back support too. It's a Kelty, probably from the 80's. It weighs 3 lb 2 oz. I figure I'm carrying about 18 oz worth of "chair" but it is so comfortable and completely worth it.Jul 23, 2012 at 8:01 pm #1897052
I agree with John. I've reduced weight in other areas so much that I always carry my REI trail stool. I enjoy being able to take it out of the side pocket of my pack when stopping for lunch or a break.
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