22 Comments

  1. jack
    jack November 3, 2015 at 7:05 am

    Hey Ray,
    I pack with llamas, so weight isn’t an issue unless we’re trying to go straight through with no resupply. I got a bunch of those 225 lbs and they pack away really small…easy to hang on the side of your pack.
    Cheers, jc

  2. jack
    jack November 3, 2015 at 7:07 am

    Hmmm…this computer just isn’t the same since that Windows bloatware dump a couple weeks ago!
    I was referring to the tripods from REI that weigh less than a pound. They’re really cheap too!
    Cheers, jc

  3. Betsy
    Betsy November 3, 2015 at 7:13 am

    We hiked the JMT last summer at ages 62 and 66 – with camp chairs. I opted to send mine home at Reds Meadows but my partner kept his and says it was worth every ounce! And there were definitely times when I was envious of him while I made my bear canister suffice.

  4. Sean
    Sean November 3, 2015 at 7:33 am

    I have one of those actually. I originally had one of the monarch alite chairs with only 2 legs on it that you balance on. It was fine once you got into it, but getting in and out sucked. Not to mention that I twisted about 10 degrees one night on it and sheared the aluminum crossbeam straight off. Piece of junk.

    I say hike your own hike though. If you want/need a chair as your luxury item, do it! It’s way more comfortable than a closed foam sit pad or sitting on the ground. It’s warmer generally because your butt is off the ground. It’s pretty easy to get out of.

    As for the problem of the legs sinking into the ground I think you could probably find some solutions to that. The first thing that springs to mind is some kind of plastic or wooden disks, maybe 2 or 3 inches across, to place your camp chair on. You could probably glue them to the feet if you wanted to with some epoxy but that would reduce the compact nature of the chair.

    I bet you could take some 1.5 inch PVC as a foot sleeve, some 2 inch wooden disks from a craft store (Plastic would work too), and a hacksaw and gorilla glue and make booties for the chair foot. You would probably want to pre-fit the PVC onto the feet of the chair and cut the bottom of the PVC sleeve off at an angle to make it lay flush against the disk. Glue those up and you’ll have booties for your chair. Should add only a couple ounces to your pack weight if you do it right. You don’t need much for the PVC sleeve. Maybe an inch or so. Or maybe a 2 inch PVC pipe that you cut a 1/2 inch ring out of to use as a cup more than a sleeve on your disk.

    I might have to try knocking a set up this weekend. Should only take about 10 minutes to make.

  5. ryan
    ryan November 3, 2015 at 7:34 am

    It’s a tough choice. My wife and I also brought camp chairs (the Helinox one – it is quite light and comfortable, but also very low to the ground) on our JMT this summer. Some days we were insanely happy we brought them (sunny days). Other days I questioned the choice (rainy days). Overall I think I would do it again.

  6. Kathy
    Kathy November 3, 2015 at 9:35 am

    Being over 50 myself, it’s amazing how our perspectives change as we get older. I would sleep on the ground when I was younger, but now need a full 2 inch inflatable mattress in order to sleep well. Although I never considered one of these before, I think I’m going to head on down to REI and try one out! Sure would make a lot of my trips more enjoyable! Thanks for the post!

  7. Lindsey
    Lindsey November 3, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Even at my young age (26), I still want one of those chairs as part of my gear. My sister had the same one as you when we did our first long trip. It seemed kinda silly at first, but after hiking over a couple passes, I was so envious of her chair. My bear can worked well as a chair, but with no back support, it was not very comfortable, especially when I had to get something out of it! I will have my own chair soon! Thanks for your posts!

  8. Mike Fry
    Mike Fry November 4, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    I use a Sling-Light chair I bought over 30 years ago. It weighs 18oz, and is part of my backpack frame. Sadly, it was discontinued last year, and not even Ebay has one. The Helinox appears comparable in weight and function. I do leave it home if weight is critical, and on ski trips where it would sink into the snow.

    I don’t think any of the new chairs are as good as the Sling-Light.

    The best part of using a chair is picking campsites for the view, not for rocks or logs to sit on.

  9. Inga Aksamit
    Inga Aksamit November 5, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    My husband, Steve, didn’t even consider not taking his chair (the Flexlite) on the JMT and he never regretted it. It’s not that important to me but I brought other things, like my camera, that were important to me. It’s all about finding what makes your hike worthwhile.

  10. The Perfect Break
    The Perfect Break February 8, 2016 at 9:01 am

    […] p.s.  One of these is good to have, too! […]

  11. David Terrie
    David Terrie July 25, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Got back from hiking the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne Friday. Took a Flex Lite and got some sideways looks at first. Then I invited one of our group who was looking for a place to site to try it out. His immediate response upon sitting was ‘this is orgasmic’. Pretty much sums it up.

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