The moment we sat down, this trail accessory closed the gap between nice to have and need to have. On our five-day trek through the rain-soaked mountains of north-central Colombia, it made all the difference in keeping our butts 11 inches off the sopping wet tundra. Sure, lots of chairs do that, but not at this weight: For just a pound, the Chair Zero offers unmatched lounging comfort. The only problem? Not everyone on our trip had one, which they quickly regretted when they realized that in addition to being light, it packs down to the size of a 1-liter Nalgene. “I was a repeat offender of chair theft,” admits Nancy Bouchard, who captains our pack testing. “The comfort of reclining in the backcountry after a long slog proved too tempting to resist.”
Helinox used the tent pole manufacturing expertise of parent company DAC to design an ultralight system that’s both durable and easy to set up. Just shake out the spider web of collapsible aluminum poles until the stable supports fall into place, then slip on the ripstop polyester seat, and you have a sturdy, four-legged camp chair in seconds. It’s so fast, and the chair fits so easily in a pack side pocket, that we took it out at rest breaks as well as in camp.