Bought something called a Moon Lence camping chair last year from Amazon for $40 Canadian (roughly $30 US). It's a Helinox knock-off, rated for 330 pounds but I wouldn't push it quite that far. Weighs almost exactly the same as a Helinox Chair One (1.8 pounds, without the bag) and folds to fit in a small outside pocket on my backpack. And while I've only used it a few times it seems solid and stable (I'm about 180 pounds) , and comes with wide foot attachments. Helinox is very good, and I don't mind spending a fair bit on good outdoor gear where it really matters (like a tent or something) but to me they are now approaching the "screw me over" price point when you consider it is just a dinky chair. That price point is different for everyone of course, but for now I like the odds that I won't need to go through the 3 or so of these chairs required before spending as much as one Helinox.
Why is ALPS building a robust chair on such small feet? If I know my pi-R-squared, the ALPS feet provide 1.53 square inches of pad on each leg. My old el cheapo provided 2.76 square inches of foot pad, and even that would sink a bit in sand.
The feet are just ok, 1” x 1 ½” wide; could be bigger and I might add slit tennis balls for soft sugar sand. When the feet do soft sand sink the sheer rigidity of the frame keeps it unbent and fairly even.
Very easy to slide your feet back to get under you as you stand.
I’m also leery of the UL designs that are some-assembly-required, with tubes and spider connectors and fabric to stretch over (wait, which orientation for the fabric ?) and attach. Can I have a chair to sit down in while I think about assembling the parts of this chair?
The Camp Time roll up chair arrived. I set it up in the kitchen for a test sit. It’s not uncomfortable but it feels like a tender canoe. I’m going to have to pay attention when sitting in that chair, and predict a tip out at some point. It was tender on the tile floor, so should be an adventure on soft soil
It was tender on the tile floor, so should be an adventure on soft soil. I see tennis balls in the chairs future.
|ALPS||Camp Time||Old cheap|
|Weight||13 lbs||3 lbs||8 lbs|
|Ease of packing||-||+||+|
|Cup holder||um, yes||no||no|
In the soft sand-organic matter mix, the el cheep sank least. The ALPS sank about three inches but is still extremely stable, it's just shorter. The Camp Time was a challenge. If you put disproportionate weight on any leg, the leg dives into the sand. The base isn't that wide to begin with, and if a leg dives and you don't correct for it, you are going down. We didn't try it with tennis balls, but neither of us wanted to sit in the CT. You can comfortably sit in the CT, but you better be paying attention!
The tubular legs on the Camp Time have feet that are just the diameter of the tube. Tennis balls may save the situation, but out of the box, this chair lacked stability.
Foot pads on the old cheep chair barely sank in the soft sand. Sure wish we could still buy these chairs.
when it came time to pick a chair and finish the beer we started (this was science, we had to test the cup holder!), the Camp Time is the chair that came up empty.
The cup holder on the ALPS deserves special mention. It's kind of stuck on one side and does not hold a can vertical, so better make sure you sip the drink down a bit before putting it in the cup holder. That cup holder is in the way and enough of an annoyance when we went to pack the chair that I considered cutting it off
I think Wallyworld still sells those inexpensive X-frame folding chairs with larger foot pads. Starting at $9 for the armless variety; armless seems the preference for friends who play string instruments.
Once you have slit four tennis balls as anti-sink feet they’ll fit either the Camp Time or ALPS. Kinda sorry I got rid of our collection of bent and busted Wallyworld cheapos; I could drill off the rivets holding those circular foot pads in place and epoxy fill/rivet them to the ALPS legs eliminating the need for tennis balls.
If no one wanted to sit in it I’m not sure the comparisons were equitable. Someone must suffer for the sake of science.
I have noticed a peculiar phenomenon when camped with friends who were using one of those little three or four legged milking stools; if I got up from my chair to walk up to the tent or down to the water by the time I returned my chair was no longer vacant.