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5.5 ounce Camp Chair
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Ron Rod

Locale: Durango, CO
5.5 ounce Camp Chair on 06/18/2013 10:07:18 MDT Print View

Ron Rods Camp Chair 1

After looking around, I couldn't find a commercially available chair that weighed less than 10 ounces, so I decided to see if I could do any better.

I found this old thread-

Im not sure how durable it ended up, maybe the OP can chime in. I tried using the jumbo zip tie, and it didnt last very long before it broke. Too much torqueing in directions that the zip tie wasnt made to withstand.

I also tried drilling through the tube and and using rivets for the joints, but this weakened the tubing way too much. There went $30 of carbon tubing!

For my chair, I've got carbon tubing legs and a VX07 seat. To hold the legs together, I used a variation of a lashing that I learned way back in my scouting years.

I think that I will even go a bit lighter... just have to put together another order for tubing. I think I can drop the 5.5 down to sub 5, maybe even 4.5 ounces.

Seat is roughly a 15" equilateral triangle. From floor to seat is roughly 13" when I am sitting in it. Its a nice height, far enough off the ground to ease the pressure on my knees, but close enough that I can tinker with my cooking set up. The legs are about 20" long.

Ron Rod Camp Chair 2

Randy Amos

Locale: Indiana
Nice! on 06/19/2013 10:43:55 MDT Print View

Very nice work. I hate to carry the extra weight of a camp chair but LOVE to have one in camp.

Ron Rod

Locale: Durango, CO
RE:5.5 ounce Camp Chair on 06/19/2013 12:24:36 MDT Print View

Thanks Randy for the kind words!

You know, Ive worked hard to drop my pack weight in so many other areas that this 5 ounces for a luxury item isnt too bad. I cant notice a 5 ounce difference in my pack once it is on my back. A small price to pay for a whole lot of comfort.

I reweighed the chair at work, where we have a more accurate scale, and the total weight is 5.187 ounces. Im still convinced I can drop the weight further, I just need to purchase more raw materials...

Daniel Saunders
(Boulderman) - F

Locale: Front Range
Nice on 06/19/2013 14:06:49 MDT Print View

I like it! What would you guess it would cost for the materials to make one?

Ron Rod

Locale: Durango, CO
RE: 5.5 ounce Camp Chair on 06/19/2013 14:23:35 MDT Print View

Total cost for one chair without shipping was nearly 45 dollars, add another 15 for shipping.

I spent another $50 on tubes that got trashed in the prototyping process.

this myog often ends up costing me more than the price of something I can just buy off the shelf, but at least the end product is better.

Colin Krusor
(ckrusor) - M

Locale: Northwest US
Chair on 06/19/2013 15:01:51 MDT Print View

Ron, I'm very impressed by this chair. What are the details for the tubing (ID, OD, source, etc.)?

I don't think I would mind an extra 5 oz in my pack, either, if it meant I had a camp chair. But I can't help but wonder if there might be a way to make the components multi-use. I usually take a tarp for shelter that requires two vertical poles (carbon tubes), and I can imagine joining the three legs of the camp chair to replace one of those, but I think I would often want to use the chair while the shelter is up (ie, cooking in the evenings).

Richard Cullip
(RichardCullip) - M

Locale: San Diego County
Re: 5.5 ounce Camp Chair on 06/19/2013 15:29:51 MDT Print View

Nice. Very nice. I'm interesting in finding more about the lashing you did to keep the three legs together. I purchased the component parts (legs and seat) shortly after the original post about this chair but never did get around to getting it all put together. I couldn't figure out the OP's method of connecting the legs. I like your approach much better. Seems much cleaner and maybe even lighter. Can you point me in the right for figuring out your lashing method?

Ron Rod

Locale: Durango, CO
RE: 5.5 ounce Camp Chair on 06/19/2013 15:43:09 MDT Print View

Hi Colin,
This tube is right around .5" in diameter. ID is .4" if I recall correctly. I will have a look tonight for the full details.

I too thought about the multiuse option, however, the main time I use the seat is when I am in camp, and usually setting up my shelter is the first thing I do upon arrival. Also, relashing the tubes everyday would get to be more hassle than it is worth for me.

Perhaps though, the chair could be used to suspend the low end of a tarp if you inserted a riser to get it up to an appropriate height without disassembling the chair. Similar to a trekking pole booster for a mid shelter.

Ron Rod

Locale: Durango, CO
RE: 5.5 ounce Camp Chair on 06/19/2013 15:46:46 MDT Print View

Hi Richard,
I started with a traditional tripod lashing, but I modified it a bit to provide a tighter grip when in use... I guess what I am saying is I made it up. Let me poke around and see if I find a good way to photograph the process.

Either way, the traditional tripod lashing (google will pull up a lot of how tos) will work. The rubber underneath is clutch to getting a good grip on the slick carbon.

Richard Cullip
(RichardCullip) - M

Locale: San Diego County
Re: RE: 5.5 ounce Camp Chair on 06/19/2013 15:49:50 MDT Print View

Thanks Ron. I'm now reading up on tripod lashings. Google knows everything!

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Heavier but far cheaper. on 06/19/2013 17:02:49 MDT Print View

Props for a great effort and an informative post. When I'm in hunting-sherpa mode (they shoot critters, I haul meat), I'm going with guys who still bring frickin 15- and 20-pound camp chairs, so I've been debating how to at least go from steel tubing to aluminum.

To wit: for a totally different project, I needed some cheap aluminum tubing. Our local Salvation Army actually has old skis for sale (a lot of thrift stores don't for liability reasons). I gathered up 3 sets of aluminum ski poles (20-, 30-years old) and they gave them all to me for $5 (far under the marked price) because, "We throw lots of those away." The other source of AL tubing is crutches which are in ALL thrift stores, always, used for only a few miles.

The overlap of your project and mine might be a cheap, 12-ounce-ish version (with a bigger seat for bigger butts) that would be about $3 of materials.

Kevin Schneringer
(Slammer) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma Flat Lands
Nice chair on 06/19/2013 17:36:10 MDT Print View


I am working on a chair just like this. I have most of my material but haven't sewn up my seat material yet.
I plan on using a 2" diameter by 1" tall piece of stainless hydraulic tubing as my leg holder. With aluminum legs. May go carbon now. May test with alum. Since carbon makes failure expensive.

My plan is to slide this over the legs to desire height then swivel the legs into positIon. The tubing "should" lock the legs into the sitting position.
Similar to how the zip tie would work only more robust.

Might add an ounce.


Hope to have this finished by next week.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: 5.5 ounce Camp Chair on 06/19/2013 17:54:27 MDT Print View

Looks good. Nice work.

What keeps the legs from continuing to move outward at the bottom? This was an issue in the first one I made - it's why I added the bear line at the very bottom of the legs - to keep them from separating too much.

Jolly Green Giant
(regultr) - MLife

Re: Re: 5.5 ounce Camp Chair on 06/19/2013 18:11:11 MDT Print View

Larger and lighter (86 grams) Bushcraft Chair:

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Design Ideas on 06/19/2013 18:17:20 MDT Print View

I have one of these for observing with my telescope. I don't take it backpacking. It is extremely stable and secure.

The legs are connected via two rivets with a washer between the legs to help it swivel.

-- two legs are connected together, and then one of these two is connected to the 3rd leg. The strap in the picture is just a carry strap, serves no structural purpose. See below:

camp stool 1

Close-up of rivet below:

camp stool 2

The fabric is connected to the top of each leg with a screw. Below:

camp stool 3

camp stool 4

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Doug is spreading on 06/19/2013 20:19:38 MDT Print View


>What keeps the legs from continuing to move outward at the bottom?

I think the triangle of material at the top stops the legs from spreading.

If you were getting more spreading than you want (imagine that - Doug, spreading a bit in the seat!), either the seat was stitched too large for the lashing / rivets were too loose or too high.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Doug is spreading on 06/19/2013 20:23:11 MDT Print View

"imagine that - Doug, spreading a bit in the seat!"

Oh heck, more than just the seat, my friend. My gut has been spreading a bit much as well!

"the lashing / rivets were too loose or too high."

Probably was the issue. The first time I sat on it I thought the legs were going to break they began spreading out so much. I'll have to lash them lower and try again without the bear line.

Ron Rod

Locale: Durango, CO
RE: 5.5 ounce Camp Chair on 06/19/2013 21:30:39 MDT Print View

Thanks all for the comments.

David- The poles may work- they certainly are worth a shot for the price you paid. I have bent a few ski poles taking falls on the slopes, so I think there may be a fair amount of variation between the quality of the aluminum. But I would be curious to see your results. I do like a good repurposing project!

Kevin- You are right about the high cost of carbon versus aluminum. Depending on the thickness of the aluminum, you may find a good balance between wall thickness/strength/rigidity/weight. I too thought about a metal ring to in effect replace the zip tie. One issue I ran into was that the ring wanted to slide down the legs, and getting a good solid grip between the legs and the tube was difficult. Even when the zip tie was strong enough (before it had very many 'actuations'), I had issues with slippage. That said, there's alway more than one way to do it, so Id love to hear your results. Lastly, if you go carbon (and maybe aluminum for that matter), you may consider filling the tubing in the area of your joint to support the tubing, and avoid crushing due to the stainless tubing edges (hope thats clear).

Doug- I haven't had issues with the legs sliding in the current permutation. I think this success comes from having a really tight lashing, and extra grip from the rubber. I at first made plans to add cord to the bottom, but later found it unnecessary.

Jolly Green- Most of the time I am above tree line, so it would be tough for me to pull this one off often.

Nick- thanks for posting the photos of your stool. I had seen pictures of this stool before, and it was what I based my initial prototypes off of. Once I figured out the correct angles of the rivets (which required some head scratching), I made a great looking tripod with 2 rivets and some carbon tubes. However, this proto didn't pass the sit test. One good sitting, and I heard cracking. When I got up, my beautiful carbon tripod was in pieces. I had even filled the tubing with smaller diameter tubing to help take some of the pressure, but it did not work.

David- You are right that a good fit to the triangle up top is critical. Years of sewing backpacks, and a degree in apparel design helped to get this part of the equation dialed in fairly quickly. I am not sure that the height of the lashing has too much effect, but the quality/tightness has a big effect.

Hope this helps!

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: RE: 5.5 ounce Camp Chair on 06/19/2013 21:41:29 MDT Print View

RE: bushcraft chair

I saw that video a number of months ago, and set about to make a lightweight one I could carry with me. So I ordered some CF tubes from Josh at Ruta Locura, glued some tyvek together to use as the seat, used a trekking pole for the back leg of the tripod. Put it all together and tried sitting on it. Crack went one of the CF tubing pieces (because I hadn't ensured everything was seated properly, my bad).

I'm just not a builder. Gave away all the CF tubing (except for the broken piece) to someone who was looking for some (I think it's still being used). Used the tyvek for my pup to lie on outside in the mud.

Ron Rod

Locale: Durango, CO
Re Bushcraft Chair on 06/20/2013 10:03:13 MDT Print View

Doug, I've too have had that experience... in my head I have grand visions, and then sometimes after hours of work, the result is something so poor, it is not even worth pursuing. So did you end up purchasing a chair, or is it off of your packing list?

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re Bushcraft Chair on 06/20/2013 11:09:32 MDT Print View

I still have the one I made - With Chris Zimmer's help - last year. I don't use it, but I have it.

Dave Heiss

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Lashing description & photo? on 06/20/2013 20:29:49 MDT Print View


Nice work! I have all the materials necessary to do the same, but I'd like you to go into a little more detail (maybe with some photos) showing how you did the lashing. I remember some lashing wraps from when my son went through scouts, but your technique looks different from what I know. Thanks in advance for sharing.

Ron Rod

Locale: Durango, CO
RE: 5.5 ounce Camp Chair on 06/21/2013 12:27:37 MDT Print View

Hi David,
I am working on a tutorial for the lashing... I may have it done this weekend if I get some spare time. I need to go buy some lighter cord, as black on black on black is difficult to photograph.