Loc: Portland, OR
For me the best backpacking chair is a lightweight closed-cell foam pad about 15" x 10" which I put on the ground under my butt, while I lean back against my pack, which I've propped against a convenient tree or rock. This chair is extremely light, costs almost nothing because I cut the sit pad out of a disused sleeping pad, and it never breaks. It's actually pretty comfortable, too.
Me, too. Although I’ve used the Thermarest trekker chair kits over the years, for the last three years or so, I’ve simplified to a Z-seat (closed cell sit pad) and my pack, a la Colin Fletcher: the Exos and Atmos packs I’ve used have a perimeter frame, and allow me to use a hiking pole to prop them up as a backrest. (When I started 40 years ago, I did the same thing with my external-frame packs; come to think of it, the Atmos and Exos are really high-tech external frames.)
Loc: Tacoma, Washington
I too have a heli ground chair..tested it out last year on a 150mile hike. used it only twice in 16 days. It was almost magical to open up and soak in the setting sun. draw backs were, no arm rests (annoying but not a deal killer for me) the killer is that the chair back doesn't have enough height to avoid the pain of waking up after 5-10 minuets of sleep with my chin resting on my chest, or tilted back. in either case, to a painful angle. on the other hand it preformed splendidly as a chair for sitting, while preparing the evenings meal. next outing I think I'll just incorporate my pack and mattress, into a chair with appropriate back height. and leave hili at home. like most any thing out there...ymmd
I have a backpack that is 8 inches cm deep, and ontop of that my foam sleep mat folded concertina fashion 6 times for another 4is inches. I can sit stool like anywhere on it comfortably Rest it against something for a chair.
Lately I've been taking my kids backpacking and unfortunately that has left no room for a chair. If I go with just peers I really enjoy having a backrest at the end of the day.
I have a Helinox Zero and an Alite Monarch Butterfly. The Helinox has 4 legs and actually weighs less than the Alite. Even with that I actually prefer the 2 legs of the Alite. It gives me the ability to infinitely adjust my recline position. I tend to believe people get too worked up over needing to use your legs for stability with the Alite Chair.
Weights are similar to the Helinox and Alite but it is a much bigger chair and even has a headrest option. It trades off sitting volume by not being able to fold down very compactly. You would definitely have to strap it to the outside of your pack. They have been out of production for some time but decided to make one last run and are accepting pre-orders. I've never used one but have heard good things on various forums.
A closed-cell foam sit pad works for me. Cut from an old sleeping pad, or you can buy them. Also goes under my feet at night. I've sometimes carried a closed-cell pad for sleeping, and while not the most comfortable for that, it makes a great chair for lunch breaks and general loafing. The 3/4 size is long enough that you can sit on one end and use the rest of the pad for a back rest, propped up against a rock or whatever's handy.
Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everybody else. -Margaret Mead
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
I have considered a chair. I'm sure it would sure be a pleasure to sit in after a long day. However the weight has always seemed prohibitive. Maybe if I were younger and going to a base camp where I was staying for a few days I would consider a chair. I use a light weight tripod chair that folds and packs nicely into a backpack. for plein air painting, but that is usually a short walk (one or two miles is all).
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
I backpack where bear cans are required. A small sit-pad on the bear can top, and that is my chair. If I want a back rest, then it is a sit pad on the ground and my pack as the back, the bear can horizontal on the ground, under my knees so I have a "lounge chair" of sorts.
I have also used my bear can as a washing machine. Temporarily take out the food, put in clothes and solar warmed water (I do not use soap), and kick it around for about half an hour.
I tried to use the clear plastic bear can (Bear Vault) to solar bake biscuits. They did rise a bit and get a bit baked but not browned. Not very successful. I have yet to try it in my Bearikade, which is black. It actually may heat up more than the Bear Vault.
You have to put the food you took out somewhere. So do not try this if there is a serious threat of a bear coming into camp. And keep and eye on your food.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Remember, while the food is outside the bear can, also to keep watch for smaller varmints such as mice, chipmunks, birds, etc., which will sneak in while your back is turned, or even as you watch! Or, on the Olympic National Park wilderness coast, aggressive raccoons (which have become far less aggressive since hard-sided canisters were required there).
I normally have used an Ursack, which of course doesn't double as a chair or washing machine, but is a lot lighter. Of course I haven't backpacked in California!, where the hard sided container is required. I also used the hard-sided canister on the Olympic coast.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey