I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with camping chairs. They’re often heavy, clunky and prone to shaping your spine into a curled up ball if you spend any amount of time in them. But this is certainly not so with Helinox’s chairs. We recently hit the road with two of the Helinox range – a Sunset Chair and a Camp Chair – and I can report that both exceeded my lounging expectations.
Let’s start with the weight. Helinox specialises in lightweight adventure gear and these chairs certainly tick the box on that front. Built on alloy frames, the smaller of the two, the Camp Chair, weighs just 1335g (packed) and the slightly larger Sunset Chair comes in at 1475g (packed). This is substantially less than most I’ve come across and a bonus for your payload. And then there’s the size when packed: the Camp Chair rolls up to a compact 50x11.5x14cm and the Sunset Chair a space-saving 47x12x14cm. Pretty small for what are two very sturdy camping chairs, both of which have a 145kg capacity. Their smaller size has made a massive difference to our cargo, as our previous chairs took up more than double the space!
Setup is easy, with the alloy poles held together with elastic in a similar fashion to tent poles and slotting into the sockets to create the frame. Then it’s just a matter of stretching the lightweight seat fabric across and slotting the poles into the pockets stitched around the fabric. Packing up is a simple reversal of the process.
So that covers off heavy and clunky, but how about that back curving? Well, I’m pleased to say that both chairs allow you to relax and recline in comfort, posture intact. The design is streamlined and simple so there are no pockets or cup holders for your happy hour special; however, you can loop the carry bags over the bottom of the frame to create a handy zippered pocket below you, if desired.
Both chairs can be fitted with optional ground sheets, which stops the seat legs from sinking into soft sand. These aren’t essential but if you’re planning on taking your chairs to the beach or spending a lot of time in sandy campsites, it’s a worthwhile addition.
While both chairs are similar in design, the main difference is in the height of the seat backs. The Sunset Chair has a higher back, allowing you rest your head and soak up the starry night sky views. You can also purchase an optional air and foam headrest, which ups the comfort stakes further. If I had to pick between the two chairs, I’d have to go with the Sunset Chair for the added luxury.
So are there any cons? The lightweight build of these chairs mean they can easily get picked up by a gust of wind, so you need to be extra careful, particularly around the campfire.
The only other thing to consider is the price. They certainly aren’t the cheapest chairs on the market, but they’re definitely the smallest, lightest and most comfortable I’ve come across, so I’d say they’re worthy of a place at any discerning camper’s table!
The full product test appeared in Caravan World #566. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!