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Helinox Chair One: Ultra-light and Compact Camp Chair

For a while now, I’ve been strapping my family’s bulky camping chairs to the roof rack on my Jeep. They were too bulky to carry inside the vehicle with our other gear, but a pain to lash down to the roof rack. 

So, I was in the market for a light-weight, compact camping chair when I found the Helinox Chair One.

I picked up the Helinox Chair One a few months ago to use when we are on weekend camping trips or longer overlanding adventures.

Below I’ll provide more info on the chair and my thoughts after using it for several months.

Enter the Helinox Chair One

This high-tech camp chair seemed to be just what I was looking for: a chair that would take up very little space in my gearbox but would also withstand abuse in the outdoors.

It also needed to be strong enough to support a variety of people, from my 6-year-old son to myself, a weight range of, ahem, 150 pounds or so.

The Chair One is the first chair that Helinox manufactured — hence the name — and is their lightest and most compact model. They run about $100 as I’m writing, which is more expensive than your typical camp chair, but not bad considering what you’re getting.

These are really well-engineered chairs, made of proprietary aluminum poles similar to those found in high-end mountaineering tents. They pack down incredibly small, which saves a lot of room in my Jeep, which doesn’t have a huge amount of cargo space. 

They are surprisingly comfortable considering their size. When you sit on it conform to your body, which is pretty supportive. They are small enough that you can use them for a range of purposes other than overlanding, like backpacking or boating. It’s super easy to set up and takedown.

Features:

  • The frame made of strong aluminum alloy poles 
  • Shock cord in frame pulls it together quickly 
  • Poles held molded hubs made of high-strength nylon resin.
  • It can hold up to 320 pounds, which is pretty amazing.
  • It weighs only 2 lbs, 2 ounces with the bag and 1.25 pounds when assembled. Crazy light for a chair.
  • Comes with a carry sack with daisy chain webbing loops that make it easy to strap on to a backpack or kayak. 
  • Assembled: 21W x 21.5D x 25.5H inches
  • Stowed in bag: 4 x 4.5 x 14 inches
  • Weight Assembled: 1.25 pounds
  • Weight in Bag: 2 pounds 2 ounces

Caveats

I’m a big fan of this chair, but there are few things about it that might not appeal to everyone:

Narrow feet sink — The primary con is that the feet are pretty narrow, so if you are on soft ground, like grass or soft dirt, you may sink in. Helinox does sell a separate groundsheet that attaches to the base of the chair to help prevent this. They also sell ball feet that prevent the legs from penetrating the ground.

No armrests — The lack of armrests also means there are no cupholders built-in, though Helinox makes a cup holder accessory that clips onto the frame. 

Chair is small — The chair is pretty low to the ground, so it’s not a good chair for eating around a tall table. It’s a perfect sit around campfire chair.

Conclusion

The Helinox Chair One is light and compact, which makes it really versatile. You can throw in a cargo box or bag inside your overlanding rig, or even strap it to your roof rack easily. It’s compact enough to carry in a backpack or strap to a bike or kayak. It’s surprisingly strong for how lightweight it is. It’s not a full-sized chair with a tall back and armrests, but if weight and size are your primary concerns it’s a great option.

Further Reading