Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Camp Chair
Display Avatars Sort By:
Bob Ellenberg
(BobTheBuilder) - F
Camp Chair on 07/24/2009 13:13:36 MDT Print View

I've never been willing to carry the weight of a Thermrest chair but have often been envious of friends that were sitting around in them and had tried unsuccessfully on several occasions to make one using my pack. I finally got it!

You need a pack with internal frame, 6’ long 1” wide webbing strap (longer for big guys) with a buckle, half (5 folding sections) of a Zrest and a scrap of Tyvek. I always carry at least one strap for it’s many uses; I have gone to an air mattress and half of my old Zrest is carried as it makes a good sitting pad and back up short sleeping pad (air mattress failure) and the scrap of Tyvek is the door mat and sitting pad sheet. Thread the strap up just over half way across the back of your pack (maybe tighten your compression straps, etc. to find a suitable spot). Double 4 of the pad sections of the Zrest and have the 5th one project forward when you sit on the doubled sections. Sit on the pad with the pack behind you and the 5th section under your thighs. Bring the ends of the strap around your hips and hook the strap between your legs. Adjust the strap under your thighs (hip bones is the location that work best for me) and move the foot of the pack closer or further away from your backside for the angle adjustment. The Tyvek keeps the pack and Zrest out of the dirt and protects the Zrest from tearing as you wiggle, etc.

Jesse H.
(tacedeous) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
Re: Camp Chair on 07/24/2009 18:05:35 MDT Print View

can you post any pics of this process?

Bob Ellenberg
(BobTheBuilder) - F
Camp Chair on 07/25/2009 07:27:06 MDT Print View

Sorry, I just packed up all of our gear for shipping. Let me try and simplify the description and then it might make sense. Look at pics of the various Thermarest camp chairs (REI website). In my chair set up, your pack is the back, the Zrest is the seat and the long webbing strap forms the angled side pieces by going in one continous loop across the back of the pack and under the Zrest.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Camp Chair on 07/25/2009 07:36:07 MDT Print View

I also had difficulty following your first explanation!

I understand the general concept, but how are you attaching the zrest to the pack? At the moment I'm imagining a camp chair with a "pack" back section, a z-rest seat section, and a loop of strapping connecting the top of the back area down to the front/sides of the seat. But at the base, where the pack is sitting on the zrest, how are they connected?

You probably explained it in the first post but you totally lost me!

Curt Peterson
(curtpeterson) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Chair on 07/25/2009 09:29:29 MDT Print View

What's it all weigh? Strap + Pad + Tyvek?

Bob Ellenberg
(BobTheBuilder) - F
Camp Chair on 07/25/2009 20:34:20 MDT Print View

Weight is not an issue, as outlined in my first post, these are items I already carry.

The back/bottom of the pack and the Zrest are not connected. Thje base of the pack sits on the ground just behind the Zrest. Your weight as you lean back easily holds it in place. Just try and set this up with any pad, your pack and a piece of line to get a feel for it.

Kris K.
(redmarbleshoe) - F

Locale: Beautiful Northern AZ!
Re: Camp Chair on 08/22/2009 00:10:40 MDT Print View

This sounded interesting. I am still having trouble imagining it.

I can recommend an amazing chair, that I just love.

The ALITE Monarch Butterfly chair. No, it's not girlie. This chair makes all my friends jealous, and I have to get my husband one for our backpacking trips.

It's the lightest complete comfortable chair I've found (18oz), easy to set up, easy to sit in, and really comfortable. I'm 5'10, and got some curves...I was concerned about the posts poking into my butt or thighs when sitting, and it doesn't at all. Packs down pretty small in its own sack. This luxury was well worth it to me to carry. Got to have some balance, as it's sits on two points and you rock on it. But if you tip back (I did first trip with it) it's not far back and you can reach back to catch your self to pop back forward. Here's a couple links

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Old timey chair on 08/22/2009 09:35:45 MDT Print View

Does anyone besides me still use Colin Fletcher's old trick of using your pack, propped up by a hiking stick (or trekking poles) as a chair back? No extra weight to carry, and I've always found it very comfortable.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Camp Chair on 08/22/2009 09:49:51 MDT Print View

The newer t-rest chair is only 6 oz. I bought one as a lark, it goes all the time now!

Kris K.
(redmarbleshoe) - F

Locale: Beautiful Northern AZ!
Re: Camp Chair on 08/22/2009 10:20:31 MDT Print View

I checked out that t-rest chair for my Husband...he's all about the lightest weight possible.

But the catch is, we do not use Thermarest mats, and the mats we use will not fit in that chair.

The other part I'm not fond of, is the sitting on or low to the ground.

With the Monarch chair, I was able to cook over our Jet boil pot, mess with the camp fire, dig in my pack at my side, kick my legs out in front crossed at my ankle, or cross my leg over my other like sitting on a couch. It is easy to get in an out of, even after long hikes, and my body is tired, drink in hand. The Material is wind blocking, so no real draft underneath when sitting either.

Ok..enough said about my luxury chair. But the T-chair does have the Lighter advantage. by 12 oz.

T-rest 6oz + pad wgt
monarch 18oz

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Re: Old timey chair on 08/22/2009 13:59:51 MDT Print View

"Does anyone besides me still use Colin Fletcher's old trick of using your pack, propped up by a hiking stick (or trekking poles) as a chair back? No extra weight to carry, and I've always found it very comfortable

Yeah that was my standard back in the day with an external frame, but as Colin said an internal frame pack "makes a scurvy chair". I now have one of the new Thermarest Compack chairs and it works just fine.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Internal frame okay on 08/22/2009 15:27:15 MDT Print View

Maybe it depends on the internal frame - My Osprey Atmos 50 works fine. I use the back of the pack to lean against - after all, it's designed to fit well against my back. I used the front of my old external frame - the bare rods didn't feels so good!

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Worst of Both Worlds on 08/23/2009 00:19:49 MDT Print View

If you want the worst of both worlds from the Butterfly and the Thermarest chairs:

I'm sure that one of you genius MYOG guys could make something similar but lighter using carbon fiber poles, cuben, and dental floss...

Edited by acrosome on 08/23/2009 00:20:55 MDT.

George Geist
(geist) - M

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Re: Camp Chair on 09/30/2009 22:00:29 MDT Print View

For the weight of a monarch chair you can get a Sling-light chair and be able to lay back and take an afternoon nap in camp.

For those interested in multi-use items, a Sling-light chair can be converted into a Chair-e-it, which converts quickly from backpack, chair, and cot.

Edited by geist on 10/04/2009 16:16:09 MDT.

Paul Gibson
(pgibson) - F

Locale: SW Idaho
Chair on 10/01/2009 09:33:20 MDT Print View

Hey all, this is a problem that I have been working in myself a bit lately. For years I have tried different things, I really am just not comfortable in a crazy creek or thermarest chair, just sitting on a rock was better than that. But a few months back I got into hammocks and have been spending a lot of time over at hammock forums getting up to speed on them. From that I started to see some accessories that I could make to fill some needs for hammock camping. One thing that I am about to introduce (with the help of a friend- the bushman of the Yukon) is a compact and light hammock chair. Final weight should be about 8-10 oz. with an adjustable suspension so that it will work anyplace you have 2 trees within 10-12' of each other. You can adjust the angle of the chair easily so you can recline as much as you would like. And you can hang it as high as you want so you can sit low to the ground to be able to reach you stove if you need. I should have them available for sale on my site by the end of the week and they will start shipping by next week. My site is at and I will have lots more stuff in the next weeks and months as well.


Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: Re: Camp Chair on 10/02/2009 17:58:26 MDT Print View

For 18 ounces you can have a Sling-Light and not have to worry about tipping over at all. And... they're very, very sturdy. I've been carrying this one since 1986.

Sling-Light Chair at Piute Lake
Sling-Light Chair.

Sling-Light Chair on LuxuryLight Pack
Sling-Light Chair on LuxuryLight Pack. (On the right.)

George Geist
(geist) - M

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Re: Camp Chair multi-use on 10/04/2009 16:13:48 MDT Print View

And if you don't want to strap a Sling-light chair to your backpack, you can turn a Sling-Light chair into your backpack, saving even more weight.

Chair-e-it backpack front veiwChair-e-it backpack back view

Here are views of Chair-e-it as a camp chair (fixing dinner) and as a lounge chair (taking an afternoon snooze - don't try this on a three leg stool)

Chair-e-it in chair modeChair-e-it in lounge chair mode

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
beach chair on 10/05/2009 05:44:10 MDT Print View

Or you could do what this hiker was doing along the JMT near Garnet Lake. He said I could sit in it for $5 a minute.

Another beautiful evening while hiking past Wanda lake below Muir Pass, JMT, I met two guys sitting in similar chairs mules had packed in. One complained that the lake was too deep to catch any fish. Some folks are hard to please.

beach chair

For those that use hammocks, the solution is easy:

Edited by rambler on 10/05/2009 05:50:52 MDT.

Kimberly Wersal
(kwersal) - MLife

Locale: Western Colorado
Re: Re: Camp Chair on 10/19/2009 21:43:38 MDT Print View

I bought Alite Monarch Butterfly chairs for my husband and me recently when they were on sale at REI (30% off!), but had only tried mine out in the living room. So, I got to use mine last weekend on a trip to Utah. I LOVE it. Seriously, it added enormously to my comfort and enjoyment of the trip, especially at this time of year when the days are getting short and I spend more time sitting around in camp. It takes less than a minute to set up and barely more than a minute to pack up, and makes a nice compact package. I didn't have the slightest problem with tipping backwards, and really liked that I could sit forward (to fiddle with cooking) or to lean more back.

The orange was quite striking against a backdrop of golden cottonwoods.

Dan Stelluto
(dstelluto) - F

Locale: NE Ohio
Woodsman on 03/29/2011 21:57:32 MDT Print View

The Woodsman by Coleman is okay. 1.78 pounds and under $20