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Reader Reviews

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Sling-Light Chair w/ body and kneck rest

in Miscellaneous Products

Average Rating
4.14 / 5 (7 reviews)

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b d
( bdavis )

Mt. Lassen - Shasta, N. Cal.
Sling-Light Chair w/ body and kneck rest on 11/29/2006 12:45:54 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Check the Sling-Light chair out at

Sling-light chair

I first read about this chair in an e-list for hiking and camping talk. A guy said people made fun of him, because he was big and carried a weird looking contraption on the back of his pack. Once in camp he set up his Sling-Light chair (it is like a lounge type chair and comes with a headrest which radically increases its comfort) -- it was all over he said, everyone had to try it and wanted to know where to get one.

Given that description I had to check it out.

It is everything it promised to be. It is light -- chair body is 16 oz. Headrest is 4 oz.

It delivers total comfort when you want to rest a troublesome back and neck.

It folds up flat and the headrest fits inside of folded chair body so it very easily fits on the back of my pack when I feel like taking it on a one or two night hike. For the extra weight it is sometimes worth it for me, although may not be to many.

I only wish they would make a folding table/chair combo unit for multi-use functions. (I have used it as a windsheild, but have not really looked for other uses so far -- it is sort of just what it is.) It would be a killer combo if somehow it could provide a stable table area.

Even though a chair is real surplusage if the goal is true UL and won't be on the pure UL gear list, I give it a five for quality, construction, materials and design, and the customer service which is great -- since you can call and talk to the inventor and producer. He'll tell you the whole story of its history and why it won't be sold commercially by the big retailers.

All in all a really great, weird, off the wall find IMO.

Edited by bdavis on 12/03/2006 19:26:53 MST.

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Mike Barney
( eaglemb )

AZ, the Great Southwest!
Not for the tall on 12/04/2006 20:25:13 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

I purchased 2 of these initially for a 2 week hike. In the store, it seemed like a pretty good idea during a quick checkout. It's less than 2 lbs, so one of the lighter camp chairs available. It does appear to be reasonably well built, and with relatively few other seats that fit in the same weight class, it's certainly worth a look. Also, it's very easy to setup the basic chair, just pull the bottom out, and viola, it's a chair. But, you don't have the headrest on yet.....

While it is better than sitting on the ground, particularly when wet or otherwise inhospitable, there were quite a few things I didn't like.

First, you do end up sitting back a fairly steep angle. That's not a bad thing, but as a constant diet, it gets a little old after a while, and can take some skill to eat while sitting in the chair, particularly soupy entrees.

Also, at 6'1", I slumped down to the bottom thereby using the entire chair to keep my head on the headrest.

There was basically only one position I could sit in and have my head on the very end of the head rest. I expect that if you're 5'10" or less this should be less of an issue. This also made sitting up straight a little more difficult.

One other annoying aspect was the constant squeaking of one of the chairs. If the hinge assembly get dirt or mud in it, it starts to tell you about it.

The headrest worked great in the store, but after several days on the trail, it didn't fit quite as crisp, and kept slipping down to hit me in the neck or lower back of the head.
Again, shorter hikers won't have this problem. Also, after snapping this on and off many times, it didn't seem to hold at all. I have to believe there is a better way to attach this to the chair, making the slipping of the headrest a moot point.

I would rate this higher if the buildup wasn't so great for this chair, and the headrest had a better connection schema.

Yes, it's better than a rock, but after a couple of weeks of use, I think I'd pass on the extra pound and a half and make do with whatever is available at the campsite.

Mitchell Keil
( mitchellkeil )

Deep in the OC
A great camp chair on 12/05/2006 16:25:27 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I have owned a pair of the slinglite chairs for 7 years. I found this little gem when I was driving to my auto mechanic in Costa Mesa and saw these odd chairs by the dozens sitting out on the lawn in front of an industrial building. Turned out to be the place that manufactured them. I bought one from him there and then and another for my daughter a year later. He has since sold out his interest and it is now made elsewhere.

This chair has a definite "cool" factor. When I carry this chair strapped to the back of my pack, I am stopped on the trail for demos and queries. In camp, I have to be careful not to get up or I will lose it to a "friend" who has been lusting to try it out instead of sitting on a rock or log.
Its weight is incorrectly listed as being 16 oz for the chair. It is 20oz. I never carry the headrest because it does not fit well for someone like me at 6'3".

It does take getting used to. Getting into and out of it is an acrobatic exercise in hand palcement on either siderail and tucking your feet alongside your hips and then doing a squat move to get out of it. Some agility is required to sit down as well. I would not recommend this chair to someone weighing more than 200 lbs or with a large waist. It is extremely comfortable to sit in and the sling itself has a synthetic fiberfill that insulates thus keeping one's buns warm in cool to cold weather. I have rigged it on my pack so that the sling swings out when I stop to rest. This way I have a ready made seat attached to my pack so I don't have to sit on a rock, log or the ground while I munch a snack.

It does squeak because it is made of aluminum and has plastic hinges which collect aluminum dust and trail debris at times. Using graphite or simply washing the chair (or stream dunking) when it starts to squeak fixes the problem.

As a lux item (and 20oz), it ranks up there for me with my BA Air Core insulated mattress and mp3 player as trail necessities.

A 4 because it squeaks and requires athletic agility that may challenge even Nadia Komaniche.

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Cameron Cole
( Straegen )
Great for some OK for others on 12/06/2006 07:25:01 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

Assuming you don't mind the sitting position, the chair is really comfy. About half the people who have tried mine so far come away either really loving it or just finding it better than sitting on an uncomfortable rock.

I will start with my cons on the chair: First, it is bulky. I strap it to the back of my backpack and it works, but it doesn't really fold up an pack away easily. Second, for me at least my legs have to prop me up in the chair or I slide out of the chair which gets uncomfortable after a while. Third, it does squeak after a while in the woods. Forth, you need fairly level ground to sit on. The more the ground slopes the more work my legs and feet have to do to keep me comfortably in the chair. Lastly, you have to be somewhat athletic or skilled to get into and out of this chair easily.

The pros are what could make this chair a real keeper for some. First, at about a pound for a comfortable chair (assuming you are one of the people that really like the seating position) it is a bargain in weight. A good chair can be worth its weight in gold after a long day of hiking. Second, quality construction. I am a big guy (260lbs) and I haven't busted a seam or bent a pole on this thing in a year of abuse. Oddly, it can extend the carrying capacity of a backpack. After strapping it to the back of my backpack, the seat area can be used to hold more items. I have gotten in the habit of carrying my crocs in the seat so I can put them on quickly for deep water crossings. I can see a food bag, water bottles, etc being carried in there as well.

As for me, I have gone back to my light seat pad that I throw a couple puffs into and put on a rock or stump. However, I would not discount taking this on some backpacking trips depending on the terrain in the future. I think it is better than 3 out of 5, but since I don't plan on carrying it any time soon I can't give it a 4 out of 5.

A thought would be to create an actual external frame backpack out of this design. I know luxurylite has something like this, but not quite as slick.

Edited by Straegen on 12/06/2006 07:29:36 MST.

Sarah Kirkconnell
( sarbar )

In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Love and hate in one on 12/06/2006 21:30:19 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

A friend of mine has one, and I fell in love with it on a trip this year. My husband surprised me with a blue one mid summer. At 5' 4" I can sit down in it very comfortably. My husband, who is 6' 4" cannot. It is light and very comfy for my bad back. I can sleep in it, and it fits in my REI Quarterdome 2 man tent so I can read sitting up. is extra weight, and I cannot get it attached easily to either my MtSmith Ghost and Seraph packs. So it doesn't go often with me. It is for short trips where weight doesn't count.

Overall, it is great if you are shorter and love comfort. It is a nice feeling to not sit on the ground! Otherwise, pack a Prolite behind pad.

Btw, the man who runs the business is very nice. I love it when I can buy cottage industry gear.

Edited by sarbar on 12/20/2006 17:45:59 MST.

Denis Hazlewood
( redleader )

Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
I Love My sling-Light Chair on 12/15/2006 12:43:06 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

In 1986 I was wandering around in a local outfitters store and saw my first Sling-Light. I bought one with the optional headrest. The first time I carried it was on the Tahoe-Yosemite trail from Meeks Bay to Echo Summit. I probably let a dozen hikers try it out. Everyone wanted to know where to get one. At that time there were only two places in the San Francisco bay area that carried them. On one hike in 1992 we had eight people carrying them. In 1995 five of us carried Sling-Lights to Thunder River, in the Grand Canyon.

In the spring of 2005 I passed through Red Lodge, MT and stopped at Crazy Creek to pick up catalogs to hand out to members of a backpacking workshop I run. As I walked back out to the car, the Crazy Creek lady called me back to get "some stuff that didn't get into the catalog". There, right on top of the stack was a spec. sheet for the Crazy Creek Sling-Light. It seems that the R&D Freeform owner (inventor and mfr. of the chair) had sold the rights to Crazy Creek. With this organizational power, Sling-Light was carried by REI. Sling-Light had hit the big time.

In 2002 I was leading a group on a through hike on the Lost Coast when we stopped for lunch. I was taking my ease in my 16 year old Sling-Light when one of the hikers called to me to look at him while he scaled the Punta Gorda Lighthouse. As I turned to look the chair material at the top of the frame ripped and dropped me on my butt. With the help of a sewing friend I was able to fasion a new sling and look forward to using this fine piece of equipment into my reclining years.

This chair is the one luxury item I miss most when I leave it at home. Though I usually leave the headrest in the closet.

I might mention one VERY IMPORTANT item: If you have been sitting in your Sling-Light and get up to walk away, be sure to fold the chair, lay it flat on the ground and place a rock on top of the chair. The Sling-Light makes a very good kite and may not be where you left it.

I just went on the REI website. They have the Crazy-Creek Cradle Lounger available for $50.00 USD. It appears the headrest is included at that price. I do notice that their advertised weight is 27 oz. That's 6 oz. more than the original Sling-Light. Perhaps I'm right about the larger frame diameter of the CC. This may be ok, as the frame of my SL is slightly bent after 20 years of supporting my butt on uneven ground.The SlingLight EightThe SlingLight Two

These are scanned from some photos taken in 1995. The SlingLight eight are, from left to right: Mike "Tracker" Arnold, Jerry Baldwin, Frank Graves, Susan Nelson, Art Dao, Me (Denis "The Red Leader" Hazlewood), Carol Coltan and Joe Leal. The location 5 miles south of Carson Pass, just north of Forestdale Divide on the PCT. The second Photo is Carol Coltan and me looking northwest from Forestdale Divide.

Edited by redleader on 01/02/2007 22:30:39 MST.

Price comparison from GearBuyer: Crazy Creek Chair priced at: $18.75 - $28.95
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John Kays
( johnk - M )

Made for Wilderness Serenity on 12/20/2006 09:56:03 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

In the 1989 passing through Crabtree Meadows coming over from Guyot Saddle, my first glimpse was a hiker enjoying what appeared to be the maximum comfort and serenity one could possibly experience in the wilderness. He was sitting at the edge of the meadow near a rushing stream, soaked by the sun reclining in a SlingLite from Freeform. Of course I didn’t know what it was then but I requested that he let me try it out.

I bought one at A16 as soon as I returned home. One by one all of my hiking buddies acquired SlingLites. I wouldn’t leave home without it. The headrest comes in handy at night when spotting constellations and satellites. There is just enough “give” in the headrest to allow my head to lean back in perfect position for stargazing.

Be sure to buy the Freeform SlingLite. It is one pound even. There is a knock-off in REI which is made of much heavier material and although cheaper, much too heavy for backpacking. I have replaced the cloth sling, twice since my purchase in 1989 by dropping it off at Freeform in Newport Beach along with a check for $25. He replaces the sling and mails it back to the owner looking like new.

I discussed with the owner of Freeform several years ago the subject of a patent and he said that he doesn’t need one. He challenges anyone to make one lighter, sturdier and cheaper than the price he sells them.

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