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Reviews > Camp Chairs and Seating > Chairs > Big Agnes Helinox Chair One > Owner Review by Kathleen Waters

BIG AGNES HELINOX CHAIR ONE

Big Agnes Logo
BY KATHLEEN WATERS
NOVEMBER 11, 2014

OWNER REVIEW

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kathleen Waters
EMAIL: kathy at backpackgeartest dot com
AGE: 63
LOCATION: Canon City, Colorado, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 4" (1.60 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)

Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado. Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley. My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: Big Agnes, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.bigagnes.com
MSRP: US $99.95 (Multicam and all the Tactical colors are $109.95)
Listed Weight: 1.9 lb (850 g)
Measured Weight: 2 lb (910 g)
Colors Available: Black, Red, Green, Multicam, Tactical Coyote Tan, Tactical Grey, Tactical Black, Tactical Snow White, Tactical Desert Tan, Tactical Multicam, Tactical Green
Color Reviewed: Red

Other details: From Manufacturer's Promotional Tag

* Packed Size - 14 " x 4 " x 5 "/ 35 x 10 x 12 cm
* Assembled Dimensions - 26 " H x 21 " W x 20 " D/ 65 x 52 x 50 cm
* Seat Measurements - 13.5 "/ 34 cm from ground, 13.5 "/ 34 cm deep
* Load Capacity - 320 lb/ 145 kg
Helinox Chair One Red
Picture Courtesy of Big Agnes

FIELD USE AND PERFORMANCE

When the Helinox Chair One was first introduced, I bought two of them for my son and daughter-in-law for birthday presents. They do a lot of backpacking into a site and setting up a base camp, then further exploring/hiking from the base camp. I thought the Helinox Chair One would work well for them.

Well, the first time I saw them in action I developed a great case of "chair envy" and I knew I had to get a couple of those Chairs for my husband and myself. So, I did and we are so glad to have them! In the last 10 months, we have utilized these wonderful Chairs on every backpack, several all day hikes, and even casually at our granddaughter's soccer games. My Chair has cradled my derriere extensively in south central Colorado, including the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, northern Colorado, the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, Utah, and the Superstition Mountains in Arizona. The Chair has been snowed on, rained on, endured temperatures well below freezing and well above 100 F (38 C).
Setting up Base Camp in AZ
Setting up Base Camp in Superstition Mountains, AZ
Breakfast at Mt. Harvard Base Camp
Breakfast at Mt. Harvard Base Camp

First off, these Chairs are among the lightest camp chairs I;ve ever seen at just about 2 lb (910 g). They come "broken-down" in their own carrying pouch which is secured by a full-length zipper and sandwiched (on the ends of the pouch) with very convenient handles/straps for easy carrying and better yet, easy securing to the outside of my backpack with carabiners. The full-length zipper makes it a breeze to remove the Chair and to put it back in. The lightness of the Chair and the convenience of the carrying pouch make it a no-brainer for me as to whether or not I'm going to take the Chair into the wilderness whenever I can.

There is a video on the Big Agnes website showing how to set-up the Chair, but really, it's rather intuitive. The Chair is in two sections, the anodized DAC aluminum pole frame which looks for all the world like a broken spider when removed from the carrying pouch, and the mesh fabric seat. The four leg and back sections of the frame are joined together with shock-cords which quickly snap together and then those sections are inserted into two connectors which are on the ends of the cross section of the frame. Think like playing with the old Tinker Toys!

Once all the parts of the frame are connected - mere minutes - it's time to put the body of the seat onto the frame. I generally slip the top rubber holders on the back of the seat in first and then lay the Chair down so I can then slip the bottom two holders on. It's a tight fit, but certainly doesn't take Superman - or in my case, Superwoman - strength to get the Chair functional.

The real value in the Chair is its comfort. No more sitting on wet or cold ground, a hard piece of granite or a possibly tick-ridden downed tree for me! Now with the Chair, I can keep my bottom dry, lean back and stretch my legs out. But I lean back carefully. If the ground is not level, and I haven't been on too many level mountains lately, care must be taken to position the Chair in a stable manner. On one memorable occasion, I watched my daughter-in-law oh so slowly tip over while enjoying a cup of cider at the campfire! She didn't spill a drop! We all teased her unmercifully the rest of the trip though. Actually, we still tease her five months later!

When it's time to go home, the Chair quickly comes back apart, the mesh seat folds down and all goes back into the carrying pouch to be cinched back onto my backpack, ready for the next adventure.
BA Helinox Chairs Ready to GO
Helinox Chairs Packed Up and Ready to Go!

The Chair cleans up nicely with just a damp cloth and I've been careful to dry it off after a damp overnight. After several months, I see no evidence of loosen seams, icky metal, seam stress or any other sign of wear. I know I will be using the Big Agnes Helinox Chair One in the future on every possible outdoor backpack/hike/snowshoe and should something ever happen to it, I will be replacing it with another one!

STARRING ATTRACTIONS

1.) So comfortable at a campsite or a lunch break on the trail.
2.) Easy to set-up/take down and stow away on the go.
3.) Relatively lightweight and conveniently can be clipped on my backpack.

MINOR DISTRACTIONS

1.) Ahhh . . . Absolutely, nothing that I can think of!

SUMMARY

I never thought I would ever carry a "camp chair" on a backpacking trip. Heck! Who needs the extra weight? When I first bought the Big Agnes Helinox Chair One for my kids, I figured they would only use them for car camping or base camps. Was I ever wrong! The Chair One is so lightweight, so comfortable, I can't imagine not taking them on every backpack. I'll forego something else, if need be. Now that my adult trail mates all have their one Chair One, I guess I'd better be thinking of buying another one for the Little Miss! Christmas is coming...

Kathleen (Kathy) Waters

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

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