To chair or not to chair

Posted by: Glenn Roberts

To chair or not to chair - 07/14/19 09:05 PM

Here in the east, it's often hard to avoid camping near others. You're not in their laps, mind you, but you will be close enough to observe how they do things.

I'm seeing more and more chairs (like the Helinox and Alite chairs, with frames and nylon sling-seats.) I still occasionally take my Thermarest Trekker chair, and find myself surprised at the amount of comfort half a pound buys - and wondering why I don't bring it more often.

Anyone else re-thinking their chair decisions?
Posted by: wgiles

Re: To chair or not to chair - 07/14/19 09:43 PM

I'm too old not to have a chair. I have a Helinox Chair Zero when I want to travel light or an aluminum camp stool that's a bit heavier.
Posted by: Bill Kennedy

Re: To chair or not to chair - 07/15/19 05:03 AM

No chair for me, although I have a friend who carries one and seems to think it worthwhile. I carry a closed-cell foam sit pad, which I also put under my feet at night. On those occasions when I've used a CCF pad for sleeping, I've found it makes a good chair when combined with a handy rock.

I've been looking at the Nemo switchback CCF pad (for sleeping). It's similar to the z-rest pad, but thicker with about the same bulk when packed. I imagine it would make a good chair, too.
Posted by: GrumpyGord

Re: To chair or not to chair - 07/15/19 06:08 AM

Butt on the ground and back against a tree. I can always find something to lean against.
Posted by: Pika

Re: To chair or not to chair - 07/15/19 09:45 AM

My approach as well. However, I do avoid leaning against our local cactuses.
Posted by: GrumpyGord

Re: To chair or not to chair - 07/15/19 09:56 AM

Originally Posted By Pika
My approach as well. However, I do avoid leaning against our local cactuses.


A real man would not worry about such minor matters. lol


I do avoid sitting on our local Prickly Pear however. That is the closest thing to local cactus.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: To chair or not to chair - 07/15/19 04:10 PM

A few other things to avoid sitting on or against:

In cattle country, what are euphemistically known as "cow pies."

Trees with lots of fresh pitch in their lower extremities. It is possible to remove it from clothing (saturate with cooking oil first and then use hot water and lots of strong detergent), but it's a lot of work!

In semi-desert country, ant hills at the base of the tree. The little critters resent having their passage blocked, and their bites are painful.

Look carefully before sitting!
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: To chair or not to chair - 07/15/19 05:56 PM

East of the Mississippi, I'd add poison ivy and ant hills (especially the red variety.)
Posted by: JustWalking

Re: To chair or not to chair - 07/15/19 09:11 PM

Not really rethinking, staying with what works for me. If I'm planning on spending any amount of time at camp, I bring a chair (Helinox Ground). Well worth the weight. If I'm probably hiking all day and spending little time at camp, I don't bother bringing a chair.
Posted by: balzaccom

Re: To chair or not to chair - 07/18/19 09:02 PM

We take little closed cell foam pads for seats. Part of finding the perfect campsite is to make sure it has a few flat rocks to sit on...
Posted by: Rick_D

Re: To chair or not to chair - 07/19/19 04:37 PM

Keep one in the trunk that I use at my kid's soccer games but do not tote on backpacks.

When I used a self-inflating T-rest I had a fabric chair conversion thing that was the cat's PJs--so nice to have after a long day.
Posted by: wandering_daisy

Re: To chair or not to chair - 07/28/19 05:55 PM

You already are carrying half a chair- your backpack! Since I have a bony back, I line the part of the pack that hits my back with a blue foam pad. Slide the pad down for a seat, set the pack against a rock, and there you have a chair!

Never lean against trees - too many have pitch, often hidden. I prefer rocks. In a pinch I can use my trekking poles as support for the pack.
Posted by: krishnasai

Re: To chair or not to chair - 08/14/19 03:31 AM

There's nothing quite like plonking a chair outside your tent, grabbing a *insert drink of choice* and watching the world go by, or sitting around a campfire with a group of friends, toasting some marshmallows. So unless you plan on sitting on the floor, camping chairs are absolutely essential.
Posted by: balzaccom

Re: To chair or not to chair - 08/16/19 08:51 PM

Set up camp 11 miles from the trailhead with what you can carry on your back and you might revise your priorities ..
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: To chair or not to chair - 08/17/19 12:57 PM

And if you're out here in the West during wildfire season (generally coincides with the backpacking season), you probably won't be building a camp fire, either, unless you're in an established campground with metal fireplaces. Maybe not even then, if it's dry enough!
Posted by: JustWalking

Re: To chair or not to chair - 08/17/19 03:03 PM

There are plenty of folks who have no issue with 'sitting on the floor', of course. But I do like having a chair. Just got back from a trip in the Sierra, went over Sawmill Pass and wandered a bit. Had my Helinox Ground Chair with me, and was happy to have it. It's the only thing I can sit in/on for any length of time due to pain in my lower back, so while not 'absolutely essential', it does help me enjoy backpacking more.
Posted by: carlj

Re: To chair or not to chair - 11/08/19 09:59 AM

I always bring a chair when I go camping. My latest purchase is the 7 lbs. ALPS Mountaineering Rendezvous Folding Camp Chair.
Posted by: Pika

Re: To chair or not to chair - 11/08/19 10:21 AM

It is your trip but 7 pounds for a chair seems pretty heavy to me. Your chair weighs about two thirds of what my entire base-weight pack does. Mostly I just lean against a tree 🌲😀.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: To chair or not to chair - 11/08/19 05:05 PM

I agree with Pika; in my case your 7 lb. chair would add 58% to my pack's base weight (everything but food, water, fuel) and exceeds the combined weight of my sleeping bag, pad, and tent.

While getting up and down from/to the ground is getting more and more difficult as I approach my 84th birthday, adding 7 lbs. to my pack weight would make even a short trip impossible.
Posted by: JerrySC13

Re: To chair or not to chair - 11/23/19 07:30 PM

I was carrying a foldable campstool for a bit, but like others, gave it up due to weight considerations. Also, the campstool caused me to bend over often, causing additional back pain beyond the long hike.

I met with a father & son on a trip when I was out SOLO and they each had a lightweight REI foldable chair which allowed them to lean back and relax. I hid my jealously, but I was JEALOUS.

The lightweight foldable chairs I've found are a bit expensive. I've never owned any REI gear, and I assume those were probably pricey. But I think I might decide to save up and pull the trigger early in 2020.
Posted by: the-gr8t-waldo

Re: To chair or not to chair - 07/04/20 12:51 PM

a few years ago I bought an "Helix Ground" chair. at about 1lb, I considered it, the absolute max, I'd carry for such an luxury. it has been a mixed bag. ..on one hand it's so very nice to sit in the evening, watching the sun set while soaking in the last of it's warming rays. but there's a down side, I fall asleep and wake up in a good of deal of neck pain.....either my head slumps forward until my chin is resting almost on my chest...or falls back way too far. either direction- there's pain. I just started to address this. It's currently sitting on my office floor while I work out an "extention" off of the chair's frame to support my head ( thinking this should come in at 1-2 oz, using the same hiking poles that I already carry.
Posted by: Gary_N9ZYE

Re: To chair or not to chair - 07/06/20 06:31 PM

I have used just the ground or a closed cell foam pad. But, today I received the "Better Than a Rock" 12.6 oz stool. I plan to use it for backpacking as well as BP fishing adventures.

Update: I am returning this chair. It is well made but my arthritic body does land well when sitting down. I bought the 14" high version. Hindsight being 20/20, I might have been better with the 17" high version.
Posted by: BZH

Re: To chair or not to chair - 07/10/20 10:22 AM

I agree that backpacking chairs are difficult to get in and out of. I like sitting in my Alite butterfly chair but it is real difficult to get in to and out of.
Posted by: Gary_N9ZYE

Re: To chair or not to chair - 09/22/20 05:46 AM

I recently purchased the Helinox Chair Zero. I can get up from this one without much trouble. I used it last week on an overnight trip. The height was right for me to cook with. Being able to lean back was so nice.