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Tip out spurs quest for a new chair



Whenever I am in a store that sells chairs, I always look for, and never see the armless variety x-frame. At Wallyworld online, "camp chair" returns 25 pages or results, with 40 chairs per page.

25 x 40 = 1000 choices. For a few bucks more you and Steve could share this. It would still fit in the Tripper.


Among those thousand chairs, there is, indeed, and armless x-frame: the Stansport Apex deluxe sling-back chair, for about $17. No reviews, but I found the Stansport on Amazon with over 200 reviews. Roughly 1 in 5 reviews can be summarized as "this chair is junk, broke within the first 2 days..." Well, we kind of knew that. None of the 1 in 5 mentioned how much they weigh. The Stansport rates itself for 200 lbs.

Hey, that chair got four stars overall. Five stars from Monica and Char Anne, they love theirs, it’s “Deluxe”. Or there is this:


(Yeah, I’m always more interested in the hard truth of the one star reviews. Conformational bias is hard to escape in product reviews.)

The armless Stansport is 3.8 lbs in weight. Probably 3.8 lbs of pure junk. Back when those cheap planned obsolescence Chinese chairs were $7.99 people discarded them after a single trip. Or worse, during a single trip, abandoned on site instead of packing the bent remains back out. It still amazes me that a chair could be manufactured, shipped half way around the world and sold for $8.

The weight “ratings” on cheap big-box chairs are suspect at best. What does 200 lbs mean? “Will support a 200 lb person, sitting motionless on firm level ground, for the first few days”.

I started buying the beefier XL 300 lb big box chairs, but they still suffered from the same X-frame design, flimsy pop rivets and eventual saggy nylon seat as the cheaper versions, and were almost as heavy and cost as much or more the ALPS Leisure chair.

In the end the most lasting and useful thing with cheap big-box chairs turned out to be the parts, and the carry bag. The chairs are long gone but I’ve repurposed the seat and back fabric for wind block extensions and saved the arm cup holders for blue barrel tabletops and bow utility thwart use.

PB240023 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

P7140005 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The long linear OEM chair storage bags have been repurposed for a bunch of things.

P7110971 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Why glue on foot pads we know are prone to failure. Photo below compares a foot pad to a piece of plastic that was given to me by Total Plastics (Pulaski Highway, Bmor). You could probably use chunks of plastic cutting boards. Just cut some circles and glue 'em on. What's it gonna hurt?

Tennis balls are cheap or free; I’m going to slice four up today and see how the chair fits in the dry bag balls on. Unlike some of the butterfly chairs I’d rather my seat slide out of the bag no-assembly-required.

The phenomenon you mention is the reason I always tried to remember to fold up my cheapo and carry it with me every time I got out of the chair. On most trips, they're guys, if not gals, that tip the scale north of 200. I didn't want to return to the chair to find them on the ground and the chair in pieces.

I came back from a short walk on the beach to find a large friend had abandoned his winky chair for a more supportive relax in mine. He was courteous enough to vacate my chair as I approached, but unfortunately he used the arms of the X frame, a big-boy version that supposedly held 300lbs, to lever himself upright. The result was not good, and that chair never quite folded up properly again, even after I replace the bent-to-failure 3/16” pop rivet with a ¼” bolt.

I’m not carrying a 13lb ALPS chair with me every time I get up to take a leak, but I’m confident I won’t return to find it bent to unfoldability.