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Helinox Chair One Review

When I go backpacking I try to only bring the essentials. Anything extra gets left at home so I can reduce my pack weight as much as possible.

Until I bought a Helinox Chair One.

There's nothing better than settling ​down in this chair after a long day of hiking. Even though ​it weighs 2 pounds, I bring ​my Helinox chair with me every time I go backpacking and I would never leave home with out.

Here's a full breakdown of the Helinox One and everything I liked and hated about it.

​A Chair? Doesn't Sound Very Ultralight...

​Alright, this is something we'll have to get out of the way up front.

There's no way around it; bringing a chair with you is not ultralight. The Helinox Chair One weighs exactly 2 pounds which is definitely lightweight by chair standards.

But in the ultralight world of backpacking where the focus is on cutting out every extra ounce of weight, you just can't justify carrying a 2 pound chair.

So first things first, I need you to be OK with adding 2 pounds to your pack weight. Are you with me? Good.

Once you've reframed your mindset, 2 pounds for a comfortable chair isn't really that bad. The Helinox One is ​really​ comfortable to sit in. If this chair didn't feel great to sit in, it'd be way harder to justify bringing it. But on my most recent backpacking trip to Isle Royale I noticed I was looking forward to getting to camp just so I could set up my chair and relax.

On previous backpacking trips I brought along a hammock for relaxing around camp. Between the hammock and the straps I was right around 2 pounds. So replacing the hammock and straps with the Helinox chair means I didn't end up gaining any weigh compared to my previous setup.

​Setting up my chair was the first thing I did once I got to camp and all of my free time at camp hanging out was spent sitting in this chair. Seriously, here's what my campsite looked like at Lake Desor on Isle Royale.

setting up my helinox chair at camp

How Comfortable Is It?

​I found the Helinox One to be extremely comfortable. After putting in 10-12 miles each day, I looked forward to sitting down and relaxing and knowing I had a comfy chair waiting for me made it that much better.

The Helinox One's comfort isn't even relative to other camp chairs. You'll see a lot of people talk about  camping chairs and say stuff like "It's comfortable...for a camping chair."

I actually use it all the time because I think it's way more comfortable than the typical ​chair that you'd take to the beach or to a kid's soccer game. It's really small when it's packed down which makes it easy to transport and it comes with a nice carrying case so it's convenient to take with you.

The chair has a mesh back which makes it breathable so you don't get overheated. The mesh felt really comfortable and flexible which was nice. It kind of contours to the shape of your body and feels great to sit in.

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Big Agnes Helinox Chair One, RHUBARB RED
  • Linking the frame sections with elastic shock-cord means the chair almost assembles itself
  • Frame is designed with an amount of 'flex' so it can mould itself to your body shape
  • Carry bag can be attached to frame for storage
  • Webbing ladder and two large loops on the carry bag for easy attachment to a backpack, bicycle, motorcycle, etc
  • Optimum comfort from such a compact package

Last update on 2018-12-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Durability

​​Durability is something to think about when you're looking at buying any camping chair. Because chairs are generally pretty heavy, there is a constant trade off between strength and reducing weight.

Some manufacturers go too far to reduce the weight of the chair and sacrifice durability. Others build a very durable chair but then it weighs too much. Balancing these two factors is critical to having a high quality chair.

Thankfully the Helinox One is incredibly durable. This chair uses aluminum legs and supports which is the same material used in tents and trekking poles.

I'm 6' 1" and weigh about 165 lbs and I never felt like the Helinox One was ever in danger of breaking. Even when I plopped down in the chair or leaned back and balanced on the 2 back legs, the chair felt solid and reliable.

I've only had the chair for about 6 months so I can't comment on long term durability but based on other reviews I've read online before I bought it, it sounds like this chair holds up pretty well.

​Packability

​In addition to thinking about the weight of the chair, you also have to consider how well it packs down. There’s only so much space inside of your backpack so you have to make sure this chair will actually fit in your pack.

The packed dimensions of the chair are 14″ x 4″ x 5″ which gives it a volume of 280 in3 which is about 4.6 L.

​If you have a 45L-50L pack, this chair will take up about 10% of your backpack. I have a 60L pack and when I had 5 days of food in my pack (along with all my other gear), it was a pretty tight fit.

​I wouldn't let the size of the packed chair scare you off because it's fairly small and impressively compact for how large the chair is when it's set up. But you should be aware of the size and how much room you have in your pack because 4.6L is a decent amount of space to sacrifice and you'll have to decide if it's worth it.

​Stability

​Another common complaint you'll find with camping chairs is that they're unstable. This goes back to the delicate balance of reducing weight while making other aspects of the chair as good as possible.

Some chairs on the market like the Alite Monarch have designed their chair to only use 2 legs. This means in order to avoid tipping over you'll have to use your own 2 legs for stability. This trade off in stability shaves 11 ounces off the weight of the chair but changes how you have to use it.

After a lot of internal debate I decided I'd rather have the extra stability of a 4 legged chair and went with the Helinox and I'm glad I did.

The Helinox One is incredibly stable and the only time it felt like I was going to tip over is when I set the chair up on an incline/decline because of the terrain we were on. If this happened, all I had to do was relocate the chair to flat ground and it was totally stable.

Like I said earlier, I'm 6' 1" and even when I was fully stretched out in this chair it never felt like it was going to tip over.

This section is probably already longer than it should be ​so just know that this chair is solid. It never feels unstable or dangerous as long as you've got it on firm, flat ground.

Ease of Setup

​The Helinox One has an aluminum frame and legs which are held together by a strong piece of elastic cord which has tension on it. This helps the legs and supports to snap into place when you set the chair up which means it only takes a few seconds to go from fully packed down to fully set up.

Here's what the frame/legs of the chair look like when it's fully disassembled and packed down (left) and when the legs are unfolded (right).

Alternative Options

There are a lot of camping chairs available on the market but most of them can't stand up to the quality and comfort of the Helinox One.

So we'll take a look at the only two viable alternatives: the Helinox Zero which is a lighterweight version of the Helinox One and also a Helinox One knock off which costs 1/3 as much.

Helinox Zero vs Helinox One

The Helinox Zero is visually identical to the Helinox One but it weighs about half as much (1.1 lbs vs 2 lbs on the One).

The Zero uses a different kind of fabric for the chair and is also slightly smaller when setup. It's a couple of inches closer to the ground and the seat bottom is a little bit smaller. Both of these are barely noticeable but they do make the Zero just a little bit less comfortable than the One.

Other than the weight difference, the most noticeable difference/advantage of the Zero is it's small size when packed away.

The One measures 13" x 5.5" x 5.5" and the Zero measures just 14" x 4" x 4". On paper that might not look like a big difference but when you're trying to jam this thing into your backpack those small differences can make life a lot easier.

Last update on 2018-12-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Moon Lence Camping Chair

Another alternative to the Helinox One is the Moon Lence chair. This is a complete knock off of the Helinox One and is basically identical except for having a 70% lower price.

If you want to take a look at a side by side, in depth comparison you can check out our article here that has more details.

So what are the differences between the Moon Lence and the Helinox?  Basically none. This chair is a 1 for 1, complete copy of the Helinox chair. If you're on a tight budget and want a camping chair there's no way you can make an argument in favor of the Helinox. Moon Lence has perfectly copied Helinox's design and brought it to consumers at a fraction of the price.

Last update on 2018-12-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

By |2018-09-19T11:05:20+00:00September 19th, 2018|Categories: Reviews|0 Comments

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