- Aug 23, 2013 at 8:26 pm #1306879
Cross Country Ski Poles were used to make a lighter off-the-ground, self-supporting camp chair. The previous chair was strong, but weighs about 1 lb, 14 oz:
The new chair weighs just under 1 lb, 5 oz, over half a pound reduction.
The seat and back widths are 16". I'm large (5'10", 185#), but a larger person would need a wider chair, of course.
The ski pole tubes are highly tempered, and weigh around 1.2 oz per running foot:
To bend them, they were packed with fine sand, capped and placed in a Ridgid 5/8" tube bender. A Swix pole was used for the chair seat, as most Swix poles do not taper, so can yield a tube that is long enough. A Rossignol pole was used for the chair back, as it is even more highly tempered where strength is needed to hold the shape of the chair when weighted by an occupant. But with the very high temper, the Rozzie tube did ripple a little on the inside of the bends.
An issue with this design is that the seat rails eventually bend, as with this steel LaFuma camp chair that saw much use:
To prevent this, carbon fiber tubes were fit snugly into the rails of the Swix tube, illustrated in the above picture of the tubes used. (The Rozzie tube is seamed, and does not accept a snugly inserted tube.) This added weight over an all alloy chair, but should extend the chair's life.
A look at the folded chair, and a closer look at the connection of the chair seat and back pieces:
Two hardened one inch aluminum alloy bolts, found in many HW stores, were used to hinge the chair seat and back pieces together. The nut, sometimes termed an "architect's" nut, was used for a clean appearance, and the threads coated with threadlocker.
The 5/8" brackets were salvaged from another LaFuma chair.
The protective sleeves on the chair bottom are cut from finely perforated, light 5/8" ID irrigation hose.
Two short one inch lengths of lesser diameter tube were inserted into the seat back rails, and bonded with J-B Weld at the drill holes for the bolt to reinforce the thin Rozzie tube. A larger diameter short length, visible in the picture, was slid over the seat rails and bonded in place to protect the tube from damage by the force of the hinge brackets when the chair is weighted.
Leno-Loc mesh from OWF and Quest was used for the seat and back. The seat is the lighter 5.5 oz nylon mesh, but may be replaced with stiffer mesh to keep the occupant a little higher off the ground. The Rozzie chair back would then be replaced with one a little higher, with the slight upper bend of the chair back eliminated so that the chair will fold completely flat. But the chair has been tested in the field, worked well, and strapped easily to the back of the pack.
As with most very light gear, care must be taken to avoid damage.
While sitting down to cook dinner at the end of the day, this chair is a great blessing.Aug 25, 2013 at 2:08 pm #2018502Daryl and DarylBPL Member
@lyrad1Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Nicely done. Its obvious that a lot of thought went into the project with good results.Aug 26, 2013 at 11:19 am #2018732Dan YeruskiBPL Member
That turned out awesome, very nice! I agree that a lot of thought went into it…..well done!Nov 9, 2013 at 1:41 am #2042751Clayton MauritzenSpectator
@glacierramblerLocale: NW Montana
I missed this when school was starting, and just saw it now. Very impressive. I like the use of recycled materials and the overall planning and thought that went into the design.
Are you planning on making any more?Nov 9, 2013 at 10:21 am #2042810Valerie EBPL Member
@wildtownerLocale: Grand Canyon State
Wow — at that weight, your chair "kicks *ss", and beats anything current on the market! Would you consider making more and selling them???? I would just need the frame, since I sew quite well, but have ZERO experience with metalwork… Very good!!!Nov 10, 2013 at 7:11 pm #2043178
Thank you for your comments.
Looked at several brands on the web. They are all heavier, all have legs projecting down from a central hub or hubs underneath the seat, and all have testimony to many failures on the reviews where they could be posted. The LaFuma design is much better, I think.
As for making them for sale, the problem with making SUL stuff for sale is that many will not be able to treat the item with the care needed for very lightweight materials, and there will be unsatisfied customers – the kiss of death for a small business. It must be awful to read about your product failing on BPL and other sites.
The ski pole tubes are very thin wall, and only time will tell how the metal will hold up at the bends. If it fails, I can't exactly complain to the manufacturer. Would only make stuff for sale if I could find an item with materials that are very durable – maybe not idiot proof, but very durable. But don't think steel is necessary though LaFuma continues to use it.
It would be nice if one of the companies that makes the lightest chairs (3 at last count) could use the LaFuma design. Don't think there is any patent issue – the design has been copied by many, including Cabela's, among others. (Would you believe that Cabela's used a very soft aluminum that collapsed pretty easily when you sat on the chair!) A company that could afford proper engineering could probably make one durable enough for sale and not too much heavier.
Wish I could be more helpful.Nov 10, 2013 at 8:40 pm #2043207Delmar O’DonnellMember
@bolsterLocale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Love it. You are a fabrication demigod. All hail!
Was looking at lightweight chairs the other night, noticing how many said they supported 250 lbs. I wondered, "how light could they get a chair if it supported 170 lbs?" but clearly, the need to "weight-proof" the chair superseded concerns about getting the lightest chair possible.
Anyway, very impressed with the craftsmanship.
If I had the ability to make such a chair, like you, I would relay how to make it, but would not make it available as a finished product for the reasons you enumerate. You maybe could provide a kit product if you supply hardware and a "how to" sheet, and let people gather their own poles. It's harder to blame a hardware kit for a chair failure.
Meh, a kit idea probably wouldn't work either. Best to just inspire others.Nov 11, 2013 at 5:03 pm #2043451
If anyone wants to build one, please feel welcome to PM me with questions about the thread. Will respond promptly and as fully as possible. Best wishes.Nov 12, 2013 at 7:55 pm #2043936just Justin WhitsonMember
Nice execution. Almost looks like with some modification it could double as a external pack frame.Nov 13, 2013 at 9:35 am #2044075Valerie EBPL Member
@wildtownerLocale: Grand Canyon State
Hmmmmmmm, Justin — now THAT'S an interesting idea!!! Someone with metalworking skills should jump on that!Nov 13, 2013 at 5:55 pm #2044274Delmar O’DonnellMember
@bolsterLocale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
I was thinking the same. Justin's idea could make somebody rich. Or at least famous. I'd gladly buy an external frame pack if I could have a chair included for very little extra weight penalty.
Imagine, unsnap the pack bag, and fold out the chair. Nice!Nov 13, 2013 at 7:50 pm #2044314
Beat my brains out trying to conceive of a fold-out chair pack frame for this design.
All I could come up with were designs that required disconnecting and reconnecting components, which did not like. Maybe one of you folks can do better. Would love to be outthunk on this one. Sort of like Colin Fletcher's using his mesh frame back as a seat back, but also with a fold out mesh seat bottom underneath for warmth and comfort.
One of the problems is the fixed front leg piece that, if you fold it up, always seems to point the wrong way. The LaFuma chairs do fold up the U-shaped front leg piece, though. But when you get that and the seat bottom folded up behind your back and head, along with the chairback being used as the main frame, it's a lot of stuff behind your back to contend with. Decided to stop thinking about it for a while. Some of the best ideas come while driving across Nebraska.Nov 13, 2013 at 8:11 pm #2044321
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