Backpacking Chair - REI FlexLite Chair
What blasphemy is this, taking a folding chair backpacking?! I can't believe I am uttering these words. It all started in 2012 when I did a hike with the scouts in Grand Gulch, in southern Utah. George Walters and his son were with the group, and George brought a chair for himself, one for his son, and one for his friend Rachelle. After a few days, I tried it, and ended up carrying George's son's chair so George didn't have to carry it. These were aluminum law chairs, and really weren't too heavy to carry.
Rachelle liked the comfort of a camp chair so much that she started mentally designing one that would be a little lighter for backpacking. I had to admit that I liked having a chair to sit on in camp also. A year later I sat in a FlexLite chair at an REI store, and mentioned to my son that maybe his Mom would get me that chair for my birthday. Surprise, I got one for my birthday/father day combined.
I really had my doubts that it would last, but thought I'd test it on a 8 day backpack to the Uinta Mountains of Utah.
It weighs 1 lb 10.5 oz, and has actually held up pretty well. I sat on it every day in the Uintas, and if I wasn't sitting on it, someone else was. I thought for sure the metal legs would bend from someone rocking in the chair, or the seams would split out from use. It did get rocked in, but the legs and seat are holding up fine. I've had it on a few backpacks since then, and maybe I'm just getting old, but I appreciate the comfortable seat in camp, and I'm taking it on every trip from now on. The only issue I've had is that if the ground is soft, the legs can sink into the ground, so you have to move it around to find harder ground. One time on a canoe trip, I sat in it too vigorously, and went right over onto my back. You have to lower yourself down into it, not plop down on it recklessly. Anyway, our group with included my wife, my son and his girlfriend, and they thought it was hilarious.