NEMO CHIPPER FOAM SEAT
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
November 26, 2021
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Garden Valley, California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
130 lb (59.00 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with a co-ed scout group which made a 10-day canoe voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since college in Pennsylvania. I have hiked 1/4 of the Appalachian Trail and 2/3 of the Pacific Crest Trail. My typical trip is in the Sierra Nevada from a few days to a few weeks long. My base weight is lightweight at 15 lb (6.8 kg) while still using a tent, stove and quilt. Longer mileage summer trips are now stoveless.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: NEMO Equipment, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2021
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.nemoequipment.com
MSRP: $19.95 US
Listed Weight: 5.6 oz (160 g)
Measured Weight: 4.6 oz (132 g)
Listed Size: 13 x 17 x 1.0 in (32 x 42 x 2 cm)
Measured Size: Verified as accurate
Color: NEMO calls it Wabi Sabi
The NEMO Chipper Reclaimed Closed-Cell Foam Seat, hereafter referred to as the Chipper, is a rectangular-shaped foam seat that is made from re-claimed closed cell foam. Due to this, every Chipper is unique in its color and design.
NEMO makes these from PE (polyethylene) foam scraps from their sleeping pad production. They use a particular blend of foams in order to make a comfortable seat. This has kept tons of foam out of the waste stream and tons of carbon dioxide out of the air. Pretty cool idea!
The Chipper has a removable strap on the side for hanging or lashing. The hexagonal pattern allows the Chipper to nest on itself reducing space for packing. The R-value of the foam is 2 to provide insulation from the cold.
NEMO extends a lifetime warranty and stands behind their gear.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING IT OUT
My initial impression was how small and light the Chipper is. I have used a similar product but this one is even lighter and nests very nicely when folded. This allows it to be more compact and fit easily in my pack. It fits great in the outside pocket of my daypack.
I tried it out on my camp chair for some extra comfort and as a kneel pad. There are so many possible uses that I can't wait to get started.
My pad is a random pattern of mostly green, white, gray, yellow and orange. There is one small blue spot which stands out and makes me recognize my unique version.
The rounded divots on the pad are well-formed. However, several of the bump tips are misshapen and not completely filled out. It seems to exist where multiple colors come together right at the bump. A few of the bumps feel like they have an air pocket under the material at the tip. None of this is any issue, but I'll just keep an eye to see if there is any additional wear in these areas.
The NEMO Chipper Foam Seat is a pad made from 100% reclaimed foam remnants.
100% re-claimed material
Bump tips are misshapen (may wear more easily?)
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I used the NEMO Chipper Foam Seat for a variety of outdoor uses ranging from a seat on the trail to a knee pad for tent entry. The possibilities seem to be endless.
Black Rock Desert, Nevada: 3 days/ 2 nights: 57 to 97 F (14 to 36 C). Used for a seat during hikes, a seat on my camp chair for cushion and as a tent entry knee pad.
Spruce Creek and Horse Creek, Oregon: 2 nights: 60 to 80 F (15 to 27 C). Used for a seat in camp, a tent entry knee pad and as a bellows for getting the campfire going in damp conditions.
Jedediah Redwoods State Park, California: 75 F (24 C): Used for a seat for eating a picnic lunch.
Glenwood Springs, Colorado: 65 to 70 F (18 to 21 C): Used on a 4 mi (6 km) hike during a drink break.
Colorado River Trail, Colorado: 70 to 75 F (21 to 24 C): Used on a 5 mi (8 km) hike for a seat while watching birds.
Walker River, California: 65 F (18 C): Used while fishing to sit on rocks.
Multiple local hikes/bike rides for lunch breaks
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The NEMO Chipper provided endless opportunities to cushion or insulate in the outdoors. I kept thinking of yet another use. I used it for the already-stated camping uses and picnic seat but that was just the beginning. It worked great on aluminum stadium seats, as a knee pad for checking oil/working on my motorcycle and mountain bikes, and as a knee pad for working in the yard on landscaping. There were also plenty of times that I forgot to have it with me and wished that I had.
One of the early surprise uses was as a bellows for a very difficult campfire to get going. Everything was damp and we didn't have any good item for getting oxygen into the fire pit. Finally we thought of the Chipper and it was perfect. It ended up smelling like a forest fire, but even the smell dissipated after a few days.
The way that the pad nests as it folds up really worked well for keeping it together without having to strap or band it together. I would completely fold it or half-fold it depending on which pack I was carrying it in and both ways worked great. I didn't find myself using the hang loop since it was usually secure in my pack. I did use it in camp to keep the pad from blowing away where I looped it to my chair.
The pad also worked as a pillow support while in the tent. It is pretty solid, but it provided a little lift (also could be in half) so that my cushy pillow was raised up a bit more.
The Chipper is very insulative being that it is closed-cell foam. This really came in handy on cooler evenings when we were sitting around. It was noticeably warmer to be on the pad than not. This was also the case sitting on rock outcroppings.
The durability of the Chipper has been very good. I've used it several days per week over the test period and it still looks good and has no signs of deterioration. My initial concern with some of the bumps being formed differently didn't cause any functional problems.
The NEMO Chipper Foam Seat is a durable, versatile item that I'm happy to carry with me for just about any type of outside activity.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2021. All rights reserved.
Nests well for easy storage
Nothing at all
This concludes my Long-Term Report and this test series. Thanks to NEMO Equipment and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to test this novel product.
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Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith