Goldilocks and the Camping Chairs

Left: Helinox Chair One | Right: Therm-a-rest Treo

The Facts

The Therm-a-rest Treo has been recently updated with a 300D polyester rip-stop fabric making it compact but still durable and comfortable. It has a 13in seat height and deep sling. The Treo packs completely into its own legs. The base is made of 6000-series aluminum poles, giving it, a maximum capacity of 250 lbs. Total weight comes in at 2lbs 5oz, and when packed up measures at 10in x 4in. The Treo is USA built of USA and global materials and available is several colors. MSRP for the Treo is $99.95


The Helinox Chair One is constructed out of premium fabrics with reinforced panels. The poles are DAC TH72M ALLOY which allows for them to be strong but lightweight. They are treated with a green anodizing process that is better for the environment and for the factory workers. The hubs are made from high-strength nylon giving the poles a secure socket. The total weight of the Chair One with case is 2.12 lbs. The chair height is an overall 25.6 in with a seated height of 13.8 in. When packed away in its case it measures 13.8 inches wide x 4.7 inches tall. Chair one has a weight capacity of 320 lbs. MSRP for the Chair One is $100.


Comfort

While at first, I found the Treo to be a comfortable camp chair that feeling soon faded the longer I sat. I blame this on the deep bucket style of the seat which provides very little spine support. This chair would be good for short sits but nothing long term. The sunken in seat does lend itself useful as far as providing a good setup for you to lean your head back on the top edge, allowing for the perfect position to stargaze.


With the Chair One I discovered that the taut material gives ample back support. It also has several mesh panels allowing air to pass through keeping you cool. I also felt this to be a much more stable chair since you weren’t sunk so low into it. That makes a variety of tasks easy to do, including leaning forward or side to side. One con to the comfort of this chair is due to my height (5’0”). My shoulders did not clear the top of the chair leading my arms to cram into the sides when in a relaxed position. The thicker sides seem to either cause your arms to be kept at your sides quite snuggly, or if you move them to the outside they seem to hit your arm at an uncomfortable spot. I feel the taller crowd might not have this same struggle. With being only about 10 inches off the ground it is a bit of a descent to find your seat. This may be harder for people to navigate getting in or out of the chair easily. I also identified that if on soft ground there was a tendency for the legs to sink in a bit.


Portability

As far as overall size and weight go, these two chairs are very comparable. The Treo is around 4oz heavier than the Chair One, so this would only affect my ultralight adventurers out there.


The Treo is also about 3 inches shorter in length. I think the real difference comes in with how they are each stored. The Treo stores in its own legs which is handy since there is no storage bag to lose. The problem with that ends up being if one of the legs happens to break you are out a whole chair. Unfortunately, breakage has been reported in its reviews from “plopping” down into it. The other down side to its storage is that it is all fastened together with a silicone type ring around the top, if that snaps (which has been known to happen) all your chair contents will spill out. These downfalls also lead me to question its overall durability. Too many weaknesses make me think this chair may not last long.


With the Chair one’s storage in a bag I am much more confident in its overall portability and durability. If you happen to lose the bag you still have a fully functioning chair. I also love that there is carrying loop on each end making it easy to clip on the outside of a pack if needed, or trekking down to lake for a day of fishing.



Assembly

Neither chair seems to take much effort to set up. The Treo has the most parts which can lead it to needing a few extra moments to get put together, but overall not too difficult. The Chair One’s poles slip into little pockets on each corner so getting the 4th and final corner can prove slightly difficult but not any different when it comes to putting a tent or anything else with some tension together. Now putting them away is a different story. The Treo seems to need to be rolled exactly right each time in order to fit back into its legs. You might not be successful at first or if packing in a hurry. Once you get the right rolling technique down it seems to be okay. The chair one however is quite easy to put away with its roomy storage bag. The stiff corners on the seat itself may throw you for loop but pretty low on the difficulty scale.


Additional commentary

There are no additional features for the Treo but the Chair One has several, including a ground sheet to prevent the chair from sinking, and a down filled cover for extra warmth on those chilly nights. The Treo comes in a couple colors whereas the Chair One comes in a multitude of colors and patterns, letting you get a more personalized version.

After testing both the Helinox Chair One and the Therm-a-rest Treo, my vote is for the Chair One. With both chairs being in the same price bracket, the clear winner is the Chair one. It crushes the Treo in its stability, durability, and overall comfort. While the concept of the Treo’s pack-ability into its own legs is ingenious, it seems to give it more flaws than advantages. The Helinox just seemed to fit my needs and lifestyle better than the Treo, whereas this might not be the same for you. I recommend trying them out, and maybe a few others at your local outdoor supplier to see what works for your outdoor life.

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