The most honest and in-depth reviews of outdoor sports equipment on the planet.

Helinox Camp & Swivel Chairs

Helinox Camp & Swivel Chairs

Cy Whitling reviews the Helinox Camp and Swivel Chairs for Blister Gear Review.

Hellion Camp Chair

Camp Chair

Stated Features:

  • Lightweight folding camp or deck chair
  • Sets up quickly and easily
  • Single shock corded pole structure
  • Storage sack included
  • 600d Polyester fabric

Dimensions:

  • Width: 22”
  • Depth: 23.6”
  • Height: 32.7”
  • Packed Weight: 2.9 lbs
  • Packed Dimensions: 19.7”x4.5”x5.5”
  • MSRP: $139

Swivel Chair

Cy Whitling reviews the Helinox Camp and Swivel Chairs for Blister Gear Review.

Helinox Swivel Chair

Stated Features:

  • Sets up quickly and easily
  • Single shock corded pole structure
  • Breathable mesh on sides
  • Storage sack with daisy chain included
  • Skin & Frame weight- 2.6lb/1195g
  • 600d Polyester fabric

Dimensions

  • Width: 19.7”
  • Depth: 20.5”
  • Height: 27.6”
  • Packed Weight: 2.9 lbs
  • Packed Dimensions: 15.7”x4.7”x5.5”

MSRP: $149

Intro

Most camping chairs are either heavy, bulky things that aren’t worth carrying more than a few hundred yards, or they’re tiny, minimalist tripods that feel like you’re balancing on a few twigs that have been connected by a cloth diaper.

Helinox’s Camp Chair and Swivel Chair were designed to provide a better combination of comfort, portability, and practicality.

Helinox is an Australian company, and Big Agnes handles their American distribution. Their camping chairs strike a nice balance: they pack up small enough that it’s not ridiculous to take them on longer hikes, and they are comfortable and stable enough that you won’t find yourself the butt of campfire jokes.

Swivel Chair vs Camp Chair

Helinox offers a wide selection of models; they’ve got a Beach Chair, Ground Chair, Rocker Chair, and Sunset Chair, as well as the Camp Chair and Swivel Chair I reviewed.

The Camp Chair is a basic seat. It’s got four legs and a high back, and Helinox says “the comfort to weight ratio on this chair is astounding.” It weighs 2.9 pounds, and packs down to a claimed 19.7″x4.5″x5.5″.

Cy Whitling reviews the Helinox Camp and Swivel Chairs for Blister Gear Review.

Cy Whitling and Luke Shaw in the Helinox Camp and Swivel Chairs, Leavenworth, WA.

The Swivel Chair is a little more complex, and assembling it feels like building some robotic spider from a sci-fi movie. It’s got a central hub with four legs that swivel independently of the four prongs that support the actual seat material. It’s the same 2.9 lbs, and it packs down a little smaller at 15.7″x4.7″x5.5″.

The Camp Chair is a staple for Helinox and it builds on the success of their Chair One, in a bigger, more comfortable package. And we also decided to review the Swivel Chair because it came highly recommended from several friends, and after a brief campfire test, I was impressed by its comfort. Plus there is just something about being able to effortlessly spin and grab another marshmallow without standing up that I love.

But both chairs have proven to be very comfortable and impressively packable, so your decision will largely come down to preference.

Set Up

Both the Camp Chair and the Swivel Chair are very easy to set up. If you’ve ever set up a tent, the chair frame should take about 4 seconds to assemble, and Helinox has included handy instructions on the fabric seat that indicate which legs to stick in first. It’s worth paying attention to these, since it’s possible to set them up in the wrong order, and it’s a lot easier if you pay attention to the directions.

While they are not quite as foolproof as the classic folding camp chairs so popular at outdoor sporting events, my nine-year-old brother was able to figure out how to set them up on his own in less than five minutes.

Sittin’

After having a wide range of friends with a wide range of posterior shapes try these, I have yet to find anyone who says that the Helinox Camp and Swivel Chairs don’t fit them.

They’re rated up to 320 lbs, and while I haven’t tested that limit, my 220 lb father has spent a fair bit of time leaning back on the legs of the Camp Chair, and he hasn’t fallen into the fire yet. And I don’t anticipate any durability problems, but I’ll report back if I do run into any issues.

Personally, I’ve found the Helinox Camp Chair and Swivel Chair to be more comfortable than any camping chair I’ve used. I’ve had trouble with the heavy, classic chairs pushing me forward into some sort of goblin hunch, and the ultralight options never offer enough support for me.

I’ve found both the Camp chair and Swivel Chair to be impressively stable, although I’d have to give the nod to the Swivel Chair here — those spider legs seem to do a little better job on uneven terrain. The chairs sit low enough that given my 6’0” height, t’s near impossible to tuck my feet back underneath the chair, but I’m comfortable both lounging back and sitting up straight in them.

Cy Whitling reviews the Helinox Camp and Swivel Chairs for Blister Gear Review.

Luke Shaw in the Helinox Camp Chair, Leavenworth, WA.

The only feature I found lacking vs heavy, traditional camping chairs is the fact that the Helinox chairs have no armrests, and thus no cupholders. But the armrests on most camping chairs I’ve used before have been close to useless, and the lack of cupholders just means I finally get to use my collection of trade-show coozies.

Who’s it For?

At $139 for the Camp Chair and $149 for the Swivel Chair, Helinox’s camping chairs are not cheap, and a quick internet search will reveal a plethora of generic camp chairs for around $20 each.

So what justifies coughing up this kind of cash? For me, it comes down to comfort and packability.

If you intend to carry your chair any sort of distance, and you still want something worth sitting in once you get there, I’d take a close look at the Helinox options. They are light and small enough that it wouldn’t be ridiculous to take them on a light backpacking trip. I spend a fair bit of time painting when I’m backpacking, so I’m considering bringing one along on a few longer trips this summer, just so I have somewhere comfortable to sit and paint.

If you’re planning on taking your chair on longer overnight trips regularly, there are plenty of ultralight options that trade some comfort and stability for less weight. Personally, I just haven’t had that great of an experience with the ultralight chairs and stools I’ve used, so I’d rather leave them at home and have no chair at all than accept that weight penalty.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re looking to set up some sort of redneck palace with a canopy and a 50-gallon cooler and you just want something cheap you can throw in the back of your truck and sit in while you drink Busch Lite, there are plenty of more affordable camping chairs available. (And I mean all of this in the best way possible — I’m from northern Idaho, and car camping is a way of life for my family.)

If the priority of comfort on the trail of carrying a lighter option beats out the comfort of the chair when you’re actually sitting in it, there are plenty of lighter options.

However, if you fall somewhere in the middle and want something that’s stable, comfortable, and not a pain to carry, the Helinox Camp and Swivel chairs fit the bill.

Bottom Line

There are plenty of big, cheap camping chairs out there, and chances are you’ve spent more time than you’d like hauling one around. While the Helinox Swivel and Camp chairs aren’t cheap, they have a level of comfort, packability, and stability that makes them very versatile so they’re at home in the backcountry, but also at a backyard barbeque.

 

0 Comments

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*