The White Monkey Talks Gear: Chairs

Jul 30, 2012 by

Let’s address the monkey in the room right off the bat.

How does one even consider taking a chair backpacking? Isn’t the whole point to “go light?” I mean, we’re backpacking, which refers to hiking. Somehow a chair just doesn’t seem to fit into the equation.

The chair fits inside this bag, not much bigger than me

Okay, you got me there. But as I pointed out in previous posts, sometimes you can sacrifice something for another creature comfort. Creature comfort – that’s a monkey joke.

For example, if The Writer is sleeping on the ground – verses his hammock – he takes a sleeping pad that’s probably heavier than most. Why? Because he is willing to sacrifice a little weight for more comfort. So he might drop something else out of the bag so he can carry the heavier pad.

Let’s face it, a chair is a serious “extra.” And I know you’re thinking how in the world are you going to strap a chair, even one of those small beach chairs, on the back of your backpack. Rather cumbersome isn’t it?

And aren’t we in the Great Outdoors? And aren’t there plenty of rocks and stumps and, let’s face it, the ground to sit on.

Yeah. But if it’s really wet or you are just plain worn out, wouldn’t it be nice to sit in a chair? Just think about it – a hard rock or a chair.

Enter the Alite Monarch Butterfly Chair.

As you can see to the right, it packs up in its own little bag. Folded up, it’s about 4.5 inches wide and 13 inches long.

Here it is disassembled – a rather jumbled mess isn’t it?

The kicker? It weighs just over a pound at 18 ounces. In other words, it’s not heavy at all. The Writer can easily add a pound to his pack just taking one sleeping pad over another. Again, this is one of those creature comforts (monkey joke again) that you decide whether it’s worth carrying.

When you open the bag, you’ve got a seat cover and a jumble of rods connected by shock cord. Put all the cords together – pretty much like what you do with tent poles – and you’re ready to put it all together. At first, the frame may seem a little confusing, but one end is color-coded so you know which pole to insert into which pocket on the chair frame.

Once you get the hang of it, you can pretty much put it together in under 30 seconds.

A couple of other facts about this rather ingenious contraption. First, you can get it in just about any color of the rainbow. The only reason The Writer has this green one is because that was all that was left.

It’s rated to hold up to 250 pounds. Since The Writer doesn’t weigh that much, we have not tested its limits. I fit in it just fine.

Okay, and now for the really fun part. It only has two legs.

And I know right about now you going – no chair, by definition, can only have two legs. Three maybe, but we call that a stool.

Just bear (get it, “bear?” – like in the woods) with me.

You did not buy an incomplete model. And yes, all parts are there. The beauty of this is that your legs – the two attached to your body – serve as the two front legs.

And yes, it takes a bit of getting used to. There is a little bit of coordination required. But it’s perfect for laying back against a tree. And yes, you can also just sit around a campfire with everyone else. Everyone else who’s sitting on a stump or rock or the ground.

Okay, look closely – only two legs. I’d show you how you use your legs to balance, but obviously mine are too short. No jokes on that please

Because of its size, you are only about seven inches off the ground. You might tumble off the side a couple of times before you get the hang of it, but you are not really falling that far. Pro tip: it’s best to find level ground.

It also takes a little getting used to. Because it is so low to the ground, you kind of have to crouch down. Getting up is a little tricky too, but again, a few times in and out and you’ll be sitting with the best of them.

Is it for everyone? That’s up to you. Your best bet is to hit a camping store and try one out. But remember, it’s going to be a little weird the first few times.

Bottom line: if you’re willing to add just over a pound to your back so you can keep your butt of the ground, you should really check this out.

Until next time, see you in the woods.



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