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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Gear: A first look at the Helinox Chair One

I have never been a fan of camping chairs - they have always seemed an unnecessary extravagance and an added burden. But recently the Helinox Chair One caught my eye. It is made by DAC, the same company that makes the high quality tent poles supporting my tent, and it has been given glowing reviews by many purchasers. At just a tad under 900 grams it is still a hefty impost on my touring load, but eventually I decided to get one to try out, without committing just yet to carrying it on tour.

Demand for the Chair One has been high, and my order immediately went on hold pending the arrival of more stock, however the shipment promptly arrived at the promised date. So far so good.

The Chair One comes packed in a convenient tote bag with a webbing ladder for attachment to a bike rack or pack, and the assembly instructions are printed on the inside of the bag. Not that they are really needed - it is just a matter of letting the shock-corded tubing segments slip into place then fitting the seat fabric - first to the back poles and then with aid of a little compression, fitting to the front poles. That is all - and it takes no more than a minute.

Then the big moment - the sit on test. This flimsy thing looks likely to collapse under the weight of a big bloke, but no, it can handle up to 145 kilograms. The seat is wide and very comfortable, making it easy to lounge back and relax. But you can also sit forward to tend to camp chores such as the cooking. The hardest thing is getting out of it - for one because it is so comfortable, and also because it is quite low.

All in all my first impressions are very favorable, and I am mentally checking off items that can be jettisoned from my touring kit to compensate for it.

Assembled: 52 cm wide X 50 cm deep X 65 cm high
Packed: 35 cm long X 10 cm wide X 12 cm high
Weight: 836 grams (897 gm with tote bag - webbing ladder for attaching to pack/bike/kayak etc)
Capacity: 145 kg.


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