After more than 500 days on a world tour we can say with a clear conscience: „We have found the perfect camping chair for us.“ Since March 2019 we have been touring the world with our motorcycles and have travelled overland to Mongolia. Meanwhile everything superfluous has disappeared from the packing list, the rest fits the balance between small packing dimensions and weight. Easily it lives itself simply better. Here is a comparison of the models and our practical report on why the Helinox beach chair could also be something for you.
The company Helinox has developed light and durable camping chairs, which can be assembled quickly, but still have small packing dimensions. The frame of aluminum tubes stretches a piece of nylon fabric to the seat and backrest. For packing, the struts can be disassembled into segments that are connected with an elastic band, just like you know it from tent poles. If you walk across a campsite, you will see more and more of these chairs, especially in those with little space: cyclists, hikers, motorcyclists.
Which chair is right for you depends on your requirements. The chairs are available in different sizes, from “super light and small” to “slightly larger, but more comfortable”.
We have put together an overview for an easier comparison of the models.
- chair one mini weight: 500g pack dimensions: 26x10x8
- chair zero weight: 510g pack dimensions: 35x10x10
- ground chair weight: 640g pack dimensions: 30x11x11
- chair one weight: 960g pack dimensions: 35x10x12
- chair two weight: 1185g pack dimensions: 46x13x13
- beach chair weight: 1475g pack dimensions: 47x12x14
- sunset chair weight: 1475g pack dimensions: 47x12x14
- chair one XL weight: 1610g pack dimensions: 46,6x13x12
- playa chair weight: 1890g pack dimensions: 54,5x16x15,5
- savannah chair weight: 1900g pack dimensions: 54,5x16x15,5
Why we chose the Helinox beach chair
We love our camping chairs, but we took our time in the purchase phase to choose the right one. After long consideration the following reasons were decisive:
Helinox Concept: First of all, of course, because of the well thought-out concept of Helinox chairs: they can be packed in small packages, are robust and yet quick to assemble. The material is 100 percent polyester, the frame is 100 percent aluminum. Nothing is superfluous, but nothing is missing. And Helinox gives on all products specified here five years manufacturer warranty.
Comfort: The Helinox beach chair is slightly wider than chair one or chair zero and the backrest is higher. So we sit very relaxed and with our head leaning back. This was the decisive argument for us to buy it.
Seat height: With the Helinox beach chair we sit just above the ground. Since we are camping and our camping stove is on the ground, we neither have to bend down uncomfortably nor take a stable table with us. Sometimes it feels a bit strange, especially when we meet other travelers and sit a little bit lower than everyone else. But since we spend most of the time in pairs anyway, we can safely disregard this argument.
The Helinox beach chair is not the smallest and lightest of the Helinox family, but for us the advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages. And on the motorcycle we have a little more space available than hikers or cyclists.
Our arrival at new places therefore usually looks about the same: Putting up the tent and inflating the mats, putting the chairs in the direction of the sun, making coffee and then sitting down to relax, sipping coffee and letting the new surroundings take effect. This makes the chairs an essential comfort factor on our trips.
How are the chairs assembled?
The setup is very simple: We take the chair out of its cover and unfold the frame. Then we pull the cover on it, first at the top of the backrest, then at the bottom of the seat. If you want, you can also attach a neck roll. That’s it.
The concept of the foldable poles is like most tents: simple, intuitive, robust. We initially overlooked the neck roll, but it now makes up a good part of the comfort of the chair. And it works like this: The chair cover has Velcro on the outside and can be attached to the chair as a neck support. This makes sitting super comfortable. At the beginning we stuffed our fleece jacket into the cover to pad the neck roll. When it got cold in the evening, we were missing either the warming jacket or the padding in the neck roll. Stupid. Meanwhile we have inflatable pillows with us. As an inlet for the bolster they are perfect and don’t take up much space in your luggage, because you just let the air out after use. Our cushions are from cocoon, but I saw during the preparation for this article that Helinox now has similar cushions in their program.
Ultimate travel tip for price-conscious
Helinox products are super sophisticated and high quality, but also not cheap. Online at https://www.helinox.eu you can currently get a 10 percent discount by subscribing to the newsletter (as of August 2020), but there are also other ways to save money: Many stores have a special offer at least once a year. Black Friday, beginning of spring, sale before winter or similar. Here you can often save up to 30 percent. We have always kept it that way, that we have chosen high quality products and then waited with the purchase until a special promotion. This way we made sure that our favourite piece of equipment did not give up the ghost at the wrong time because we saved in the wrong place (namely the quality).
Because yes, there are now cheap replicas available from discounters, but we’ve heard a lot of bad things about them: they’re not so stable, they break down faster, the quality just matches the price.
Whereby I should be careful with the blasphemy about the discounters, our camping table is a replica of the discounters. The chairs were worth the higher original price, the table was not. Therefore I had to mend a broken seam right after unpacking and glue the feet again after the first use. If the table should break down soon, the next one will probably be from the company Helinox.
What accessories does Helinox offer?
As Helinox chairs have become more widespread, the company has also expanded its range of accessories. Not everything is necessary, but there are some nice gadgets that I could get enthusiastic about. Here is a selection:
rocking feet: I like best these elements that turn a simple chair into a rocking chair. Unfortunately they are not available for the angled ends of the helinox beach chair, otherwise I would be strongly tempted to put them on a motorcycle. A rocking chair would be a good alternative to a hammock (which we don’t have with us due to lack of space).
ball feet: These are feet similar to golf balls, which can be attached so that the chair does not sink into soft ground. This is a very useful addition, which we have already seen live on campsites. For our helinox beach chair, however, this investment is not worthwhile, as it is one of two models that already have angled feet and will not sink into the beach.
seat warmers: The light material of the cover allows the cold to penetrate easily. When it gets cooler in the evening, it can quickly become uncomfortable. I have seen some travelers who took their sheepskin from the motorcycle seat and put it in the chair. A sleeping bag or just a second jacket is also helpful. Alternatively you can order the seat warmer from Helinox, a cuddly soft cover that keeps the cold away from your body. It is available in different colors.
personal shade: Ein very practical feature when camping is the awning. It consists of a square with a side length of about 60 cm. It is attached to the side bars of the chair with two poles and can be adjusted according to the position of the sun. With a sun protection factor of 50, it is not only pleasant, but also helps to prevent or reduce sunburn.
chair anchor: To prevent the light chairs from blowing away in windy conditions, there is even an extra anchor. This looks like a herring in a tent. It is attached to the lowest chair strut with a combination of string and belt and holds the chair firmly in place. Within the radius of the cord the chair can still be moved.
collapsible Cupholder: The cup holder is simply clipped on the telescopic rods and the drinks no longer stand on the floor where they can easily tip over or be knocked over. Simple design that does its job well.
Does Helinox also offer tables?
Yes, Helinox also offers tables. Matching the small chairs the table is called “Table one”: 690g light, packing size 41x11x11cm. It withstands a load of up to 50 kg. The construction is similarly light as the chairs: Extend the rods and attach the table surface.
At first the Helinoxtables had only a light and movable polyester surface, on which one should better not place a gasoline stove, then there are meanwhile also further table surfaces for selection. “Solid top” is the name in the list of accessories and it is one of the really practical items.
Does Helinox also offer camp beds?
Yes, Helinox now also has camp beds, they are even available in four different sizes. We tried one in a specialist store in Munich: It was very comfortable and had (for a camp bed) great packing dimensions. For us as motorcyclists it was out of the question, because we sleep very well on our small packable camping mats. For those who have more space available (for example in the car or in the campervan), and maybe don’t sleep so well on camping mats, the beds could actually be a good alternative to camping mats. Interesting is also the possibility to get an extension of the legs. Thirteen centimeters of sleeping height can feel very close to the ground in the wild (and thus very much like snakes, spiders, snails and whatever else is creeping around).
For an easier comparison of the models we have compiled an overview of the field beds:
- Size 1 (lite cod), 185x60cm, 1245g, Pack dimensions 53x13x13
- Size 2 (cod one convertible), 190x68cm, 2315g, Pack dimensions 54x16x16
- Size 2 long (cod one convertible long), 210x68cm, 2845g, Pack dimensions 59x17x17
- Size 3 (cod max convertible), 210x75cm, 2950g, Pack dimensions 58×17,5×17,5
Do you even need camping chairs?
If you believe some other motorcyclists or minimalists, chairs are superfluous when camping. You sit on the ground, on motorcycle suitcases, some travelers also have hammocks with them. Chairs tend to be bourgeois. In many discussions about light luggage we have to admit at some point “We pay attention to weight and packing mass, but we also have chairs with us.
But in the end only one thing counts: How we are doing. We have to find the balance between weight, packing mass and comfort for ourselves.
Therefore, our answer to the question “Do you need camping chairs at all? Yes, definitely. Simply because comfort is worth it to us. On our first trips we simply sat on the motorcycle suitcases. Later we had simple chairs from the camping store with us, but they were quite bulky and heavy. We would not like to miss the comfort and the packing dimensions of our chairs any more.