- Sep 27, 2016 at 12:41 pm #3428318
Well…Helinox managed to separate me from some more of my money.
I’m a card carrying fan of the Chair One, having purchased one almost as soon as they were available. For me, it is an excellent size and height for a UL chair. As anyone who has one knows it suffers from 2 problems…the tendency for the legs to sink into soft ground and, the biggest problem, it’s weight. At 29.44 oz (without the case) on my scale, it gets left behind more than I would like. After trying every way I could think of to lighten it up (and coming up empty, Helinox released the much improved Chair Zero, 17.31 oz on my scale (without the storage bag), i.e., it is also lighter than the Helinox Ground Chair. It looks like REI has an exclusive in the US until Jan 2017. Ultralightoutdoorgear.com in the UK is the only other source I have found.
The chair part (skin) is nearly identical in dimensions…in fact the skins for the Chair One, Chair Zero and Ground Chair are functionally interchangeable. The Chair Zero skin is made from a much lighter fabric and the construction is what I will call “optimized”. Definitely not as robust as Chair One, but very sturdy at the frame connection points…I cannot see it failing.
The frame is at first glance nearly identical in design but uses larger diameter, and thinner walled tubing and thus the connection hubs have been redesigned to fit. They have retained the overly-robust shock cording, but my estimates show only about a 12g improvement is possible by swapping it out for 1/16″ cord.
All in all, the comfort is very similar…it seems to sit “a little more upright” or rotated forward, with the under-thigh edge lower in relation to the butt-pocket which sits a little over 4″ lower than the Chair One. This seating position re-orientation combined with the lower height is a plus…the Chair Zero works really well sitting forward cooking at your feet and is easy to get in and out of much like the Chair One.
All in all, the Zero is very near to the One in comfort and it’s equal in functionality. IMO well worth the investment for a 42% reduction in weight. I have an idea for a UL fix to the soft ground problem but I’m not ready to share quite yet :) I will post pictures later if anyone is interested.Sep 27, 2016 at 1:02 pm #3428333Kief HBPL Member
@kiefLocale: Eastside Sierra, Downeast Maine
There was a Chair Zero on display at my local REI last night and I tried it out. I liked the more forward seating position. I’ve never considered carrying a chair in the backcountry due to weight but I was tempted to buy one for a trip I’m leaving on in two days. I’d be interested in your idea for fixing the soft ground issue when you are ready to share.Sep 27, 2016 at 2:18 pm #3428339Stuart .BPL Member
I prefer the Ground Chair for its stability, the fact that it doesn’t sink into soft ground, and slightly lower weight than the Chair One. I wonder if they’ll sell a lighter weight version of the former next year.Sep 27, 2016 at 2:32 pm #3428344Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
I *love* my Ground Chair. It’s almost an essential item for me when I’m spending a lot of time in camp, due to a nagging back. The low rise and rear-leaning backrest allows me to bend my knees which takes the pressure off my back for the type of back issues that I have.
It would be neat if the Ground Chair could have carbon poles and a lighter-weight mesh seat…has anyone tried to replace the DAC poles on their Helinox chairs w/carbon ones?Sep 27, 2016 at 4:02 pm #3428363
Stuart – I would be very surprised if the Ground Chair did not undergo a silmilar lightening in the near future.
Ryan – A friend loaned me his Ground Chair so I had all three side by side. As I mentioned in the OP, the skins do not appear to be exactly identical, but I loaded all three skins on all three frames and found they all worked as expected. The Chair Zeros skin is of a lighter weight material than either of the other two.Sep 27, 2016 at 4:12 pm #3428368Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
JCH – what’s the weight difference between the Zero skin and the Ground Chair skin?Sep 27, 2016 at 4:23 pm #3428371
Here is my soft ground solution. Works great.
You need 1) hollow plastic practice golf balls, 2) Gap and Crack filler (expanding foam)
Drill a hole in the golf ball the diameter of the largest part of the plastic foot, i.e. so the foot will just fit into the ball. Fill the ball with foam. When dry, remove the excess that spewed out of the hole, then drill a hole into the foam about the size of the smallest diameter of the foot. The foam will remain flexible and so compress as the foot is slipped into the ball, then the foam will spring back around it making a very firm fit. Slip the foot into the ball with a twisting motion…try to avoid breaking the adhesion of the foam with the interior of the ball.
I probably drilled the hole bigger than it needs to be so experiment…you can always make it bigger but you can never make it smaller :) Luckily I have extra so I can make a couple sets of feet till I get it perfect. Remains to be seen how long it will last, but I am betting quite some time.
Total expenditure: less than $5
Total weight added: 20 g. That’s right…each foot weighs 5g!Sep 27, 2016 at 4:25 pm #3428373
Ryan – sorry, I did not weigh the individual pieces of the Ground Chair as it holds no interest to me…I simply cannot get in and out of it being that low to the ground.
Edit: I re-weighed the components of the Chair Zero and discovered a slight transcription error. In the OP I said the CZ weighted 17.31 oz. In fact it weights 17.35 oz as delivered from the factory (minus the storage sack).
Frame: 368.9 g / 13.01 oz
Skin: 122.9 g / 4.33 oz
Total: 491.8 g / 17.35 ozSep 27, 2016 at 10:30 pm #3428414Ross LBPL Member
@rossLocale: Beautiful BC
FYI I just weighed my recently purchased Ground Chair. The weights are as follows:
Frame 14.25 oz
Skin 7.90 oz
Total 22.15 oz
(stuff sack 0.8 oz)Sep 27, 2016 at 11:03 pm #3428417Stuart .BPL Member
The Chair Zero’s seat fabric looks like it’s predominantly dyneema x grid. Now I we could get Big Agnes / Helinox to sell just the Zero seat without the poles and plop it on my Ground Chair frame…
Must admit my guilty pleasure for car camping is the Helinox Beach Chair. No way it’s getting carried into the backcountry, but it is a fixture in my truck whether I’m planning a getaway or not.Sep 28, 2016 at 5:15 am #3428430
Stuart – why not just contact Helinox CS and ask? :)Sep 28, 2016 at 5:24 am #3428431Mike WhitesellBPL Member
Stuart said “Must admit my guilty pleasure for car camping is the Helinox Beach Chair. No way it’s getting carried into the backcountry, but it is a fixture in my truck whether I’m planning a getaway or not.”
I got to try out the Beach Chair at Kittery Trading Post in Maine this summer. Wow. Great back support with a headrest. Not something I would buy for myself due to the cost, but I threw it on my Christmas List in case my wife can’t figure out what to get me. I would probably use it for scout campouts and for trips to the race tracks.
But this chair zero has me thinking about use on backpacking trips.Apr 25, 2017 at 8:41 pm #3464882Maxwell RussellBPL Member
@fresh_easyLocale: WestApr 26, 2017 at 5:19 am #3464906
I still pack it and will continue to do so until something as comfortable but lighter comes along. Still looks brand new, but I’m careful with my gear.Aug 29, 2017 at 5:41 pm #3487763
So…this brand/type of foam didn’t work ->
Even after 2 days it never hardened fully…and the inside was pretty much all air anyway.
I’ll take this foam back and try a different foam that hopefully is more dense and actually dries more solid.Aug 29, 2017 at 6:39 pm #3487777
The Dow foam I used worked great…still going strong.Aug 30, 2017 at 5:21 am #3487821Brad PBPL Member
FYI, REI has this chair on sale as part of their Labor Day sale.Aug 31, 2017 at 9:41 pm #3488238
OK, so I bought the same foam that you did…and it was night and day difference. Totally worked this time. Here are my notes on the process.
First I tried drilling a large hole into the golf balls, but didn’t work well for me. The plastic was thin, so I just used a box cutter. I then did all 12 balls, for 2 chairs (and so I could have extras). The instructions on the foam state that it would probably seal after first use (that its a one time use can), so I did them all. I was having issues with them rolling over while drying on the counter, so I placed them in a egg crate ->
Instead of cutting, I just tore off the tops …like muffin tops. I then took a 1/2″ drill to make the holes for the feet, but….again, I found it easier to not use the electric drill and I just pushed the 1/2″ drill bit into the foam. The rubber feet are about the same height as the golf ball, so the foam never really got to the blue tubing.
I wouldn’t use anything larger than 1/2″ drill though. The balls added .8oz for me (17.35 to 18.15). Now I have two chairs done…thank you REI sale!
I did test them out in my wet lawn. Without the feet, when I leaned back, one or both feet would “pierce” the soil and sink in a couple of inches. With the feet, it just made golf ball sized depressions but with no piercing.
Time will tell how the hold up. I’m thinking that with sitting, leaning back on them, the foam will eventually compress/deform. But…hopefully not. Another idea would be to spray a small ring of foam at the top of the golf ball once the ball is already on the feet…might help them stay on too…or….they might just tear away from the ball.Sep 1, 2017 at 6:43 am #3488278
Glad the Dow foam worked for you. Over time, I have no doubt that the foam will compress and perhaps make the fit a bit more loose, but the foam is easily removed from the balls and replaced, or just spend $2 to replace the entire foot system :)
I found it best to seat the chair foot entirely down into the golf ball foot, i.e, there is no foam between the bottom of the foot and the inside of the golf ball. In this manner, the only foam compression/degradation that can occur is around the sides. Your idea of a “sealing bead” might work, but I think your suspicion that it will simply tear away is correct…the foam has very little adhesive quality.
I’ve used my Chair Zero for a full year now and have not noticed any problems with the foot mod. My mod weighed 0.7 oz so your information is nice verification of that being a number one can expect to achieve.Sep 1, 2017 at 10:40 pm #3488479Chris CBPL Member
Wow! REI has these marked down to $89.89. This is a great price for the masses. Disclosure: Leave No Trace members get a nicer discount via a pro suppliers website.
I’ll try the golf ball modifications soon since we have some camping dates coming up.Sep 1, 2017 at 11:16 pm #3488482
What’s the discount and site for lnt.org members? How much of a discount is it and for what products?Sep 2, 2017 at 12:00 am #3488483Sep 18, 2017 at 5:53 pm #3491778Tad EnglundBPL Member
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
Has anyone tried the golfball thing in the sand? I’m trying to decide if I need to make the ground cover but the golfballs would be easier, cheaper and lighter.
TadSep 18, 2017 at 6:24 pm #3491783
Super soft, deep or “sugar” sand is a no go. I’ve used it on the Atlantic beaches in N Fla and Ga and it worked fine…just need to pick your spot.Sep 18, 2017 at 7:56 pm #3491802Tad EnglundBPL Member
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
Thanks, JCH, it is tidal sand in Alaska so it doesn’t get to soft down low. I’ll try the golf balls this year.
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