Check out Oli’s thoughts on this super lightweight, technical camp chair all the way from South Korea.

Helinox since its recent founding has already made a mark on the outdoor industry. Its lightweight, easy packing camp furniture is popular with many camping, bike packing, paddling, and all-round adventure enthusiasts. What’s more many of their products have gone on to win several prizes including a Red Dot Design award for their very first product, the Chair One.

In truth, when I first began working for Taunton Leisure almost three years ago, I’d never actually heard of Helinox nor given much thought to outdoor seating as in my mind it was always too large, bulky and awkward to take out wild camping on the moors or to the woods. Upon my discovery of this very lightweight chair (which at the time was on display in the Exeter shop), my first impression was good, it was very comfy and a good height for technical camping (It is reasonably low to the ground meaning you can take a comfy seat using your tent as a wind block if you need to). Despite me being 6 foot 5 in height my knees didn’t come up too high and the chair spread my weight nicely when I stretched my legs. I’d sat in comfy seats before so it was only when I found a packaged Chair one in its carry bag that it really caught my attention, its pack size is certainly a game-changer for outdoor seating. No longer while on a trek will I need to sit on the wet grass or have to find a rock or log to sit on. I didn’t need to rely on a seat pad or cut-off piece of roll mat to keep my bum dry because a comfortable camping seat didn’t have to be an optional luxury!

The Chair one in its sturdy Polyester carry case comes to a very good pack size of 35 x 10 x 12cm. and is certainly capable of fitting snuggly into many packs unnoticed.

I have been given the wonderful opportunity to test the Helinox Chair One and though I only managed to take it camping once before the UK lockdown officially began, I have used it constantly in the garden pulling weeds, and even taken it on dog walks as it makes a superb thing to sit on and throw a ball if your feeling lazy (small warning though it does put you in a much easier spot for your dog to lick your face).

I do have to say that once you have one of these seats in your possession, you look for any excuse to sit down, assembly from the bag is incredibly simple and satisfying as all of the poles are naturally pulled into position by the thick, strong elastic keeping the structure together. The Seat for something so lightweight feels incredibly stable, you have to give the credit structurally to the fantastic DAC poles which make up the chair’s main structure. Helinox is the only furniture brand to use DAC poles which are made from an aluminium alloy and are some of the finest made in the industry. You are most likely to find these poles being used for Blizzard-defying Hilleberg tents and some very lightweight MSR tents. To show quite how good these poles are, the seat weighs less than a kilo but is capable of holding up to 145 kilos, that’s over twice my weight. I found another use in that these seats make an excellent platform for packing your backpack, it keeps it off the wet ground and you don’t have to bend over quite as much. Packing it last into your pack means that it is always ready to help you enjoy a view or wait at a bus stop.

The reinforced 600D polyester weave seat is hooked into four poles on the aluminium alloy frame.

The main seat of the Chair one is a cleverly stitched and shaped 600D polyester weave stitched into panels, vented fabric across the back and in the sides makes it very breathable so you wont get too sweaty in hot weather. In cold weather, I would recommend keeping an extra layer at hand as the seat has no cushioning or insulative features (though for an additional purchase, a seat warmer is available and is fantastic!). This seat supports you like a very sturdy sort of hammock and I have not found a seat from another brand with a similar design that has been as comfortable or supportive. The Chair One’s concept has been copied several times by other brands, but they have always fallen short compared to the real thing in one way or another, be it durability, support, comfort or weight. Helinox has certainly made a product that tackles those four core themes excellently.

Easy to clean with soap and water, it is made for many years of outdoor use and is backed by a 5-year warranty. They trust their products to excel.

The Seat has certainly provided me a great place to sit and read while airing the tent out on a cold February morning, shout out to Nan Shepard’s The Living Mountain. I must‘ve read the entire book sat in this chair either in the woods or my garden during lockdown.

So whether you’re looking for a seat you can pull out anywhere (I once sold one to a lady who wanted to always guarantee a seat whilst waiting for trains) or looking for that perfect seat to take on multi-day adventures in nature, Helinox’s terrific offering will not let you down. For those looking for an even lighter seat, they also have you covered with the Helinox Chair Zero which at the cost of a little strength (It still can take upto 120kg) and just a little comfort (in my opinion, I’m quite bony) only weighs a staggering 510g and packs down extra small!

Thanks for reading and happy sitting!