Hi Folks. Today on the blog we’re reviewing a piece camping gear very close to our hearts: the Helinox Chair One. Having used this camping chair for a couple of years now, we thought it was about time to give you our thoughts on it.
First off, I guess we should cover the obvious question: if you’re going ultralight, why would you want to take something so decadent as a chair with you? Simple answer: for some, being comfortable on the trail is worth the weight penalty. There’s also the fact that if you have back or muscular problems, then having a portable chair could allow you to keep enjoying hiking without sacrificing your health.
So if you’re still wondering if this kind of camping chair is worth the weight penalty, read on! But first, lets take a look at the specs:
Overview / Specs
When we first looked found the Chair One a few years back there weren’t that many camping chairs on the market which had a good balance of weight, portability, comfort and durability. Helinox pretty much upended that order with the Chair One, which has since spawned a whole host of similar designs.
While most traditional ‘car camping’ chairs involve a huge, heavy frame covered with equally heavy thick padding, the Chair One strips back the design to the bare essentials of what a chair can be. Using lightweight aluminium poles in a packaway design and a thin but strong polyester cover for the seat, the Chair One was one of the first truly portable camping chairs that caught our attention.
Size and Weight
Packed away, the Chair One measures just 35 x 10 x 12 cm. When the chair is assembled, it’s 52 cm wide x 50 cm deep x 65 cm tall. The weight of the chair is approximately 940g, which may seem excessive for a ‘nonessential’ like a chair. We’ll cover why we think it’s worth it a bit later on. In terms of capacity, the Chair One can support up to 145kg.
Design and Materials
The thing that immediately grabs you about the Chair One is surely the design. The basic frame of the chair is assembled by clipping together a set of aluminium poles. At first it looks like a random jumble of metal, but as soon as you start to unfurl it all you find that the poles all ‘want’ to clip together, and setting this part up takes just 10 seconds or so.
Next comes the actual seat material – a polyester cover with notches built into it that slip onto the exposed ends of the poles. This part of the chair assembly is equally quick and easy, manageable in about another 10 seconds.
Helinox Chair One Review
So, here’s a couple of reasons why we think the Helniox Chair One is worthy of inclusion on your next hiking gear list. Plus, one minor con…
After a few days on the trail, even I start to crave sitting in a real honest to goodness chair with some back support. Having tried various options over the years, I just keep coming back to my trusty Helinox time and again. It sits quite low to the ground, which some may not appreciate, but the chair gives really good support for your back and seems to almost cradle you. Damn if this thing isn’t comfy. Plus, it’s fun to swing back and forth on like a rocking chair 🙂
I have taken this chair with me all sorts of places over the last few years. It doesn’t just come out when I go camping either – it does regular double duty as a garden chair and for events where I want my own seat, like outdoor movie screenings or concerts in the park.
Bottom line, I’ve probably sat on this thing 500 times since I bought it. And it’s still going just as strong now as the day I first put it together. I literally can’t see a single sign of wear in either the fabric or the poles, so this one gets a big tick in terms of strength and durability.
One of the regular criticisms of this design is the pressure that the chair feet create on the ground beneath them. This means that in wet or muddy ground, the chair can sink in a little bit. I can confirm I’ve had the same problem as well, but never as bad as some have reported. Sure, it will sink an inch or two in soggy ground, but personally I’ve never found it to be a huge issue. Still, if you are concerned about it then Helinox also make a separate ground sheet accessory for the Chair One, which will take care of that particular bugbear.
The Helinox Chair One is a very worthy investment for anyone seeking some comfort on the trail. For the more weight-conscious among you, check out the successor to the Chair One – the Chair Zero. We haven’t tried it yet, but it’s reported to weigh only 500 grams and be just as comfy as the Chair One!
Hope you enjoyed this Helinox Chair One review. Stay tuned to the blog for more tips, tricks and gear reviews from the trail. Til next time.
*Disclaimer: Affiliate links are used in this review.