Ultralight folding Campster chair packs tiny, unfurls to full height
Not to be confused with the ultra-versatile camper van of the same name, the Campster chair from Sitpack is a lighter, sleeker way to travel and sit in the great outdoors. Designed to be a comfier alternative to existing ultralight camping chairs, the Campster packs up as small as a compact umbrella but grows into a full-height chair, perfect for pulling up to a fold-out dining table or campfire's edge.
With the Campster, Sitpack applies the portability expertise it's gained developing ultralight travel stools to the world of full-height camping chairs. At 11 x 2.7-in (28 x 7-cm), the tubular packed Campster carries as easily as a water bottle or compact umbrella, coming with a shoulder sling for added convenience. At 2 lb (0.9-kg), it's lightweight enough to carry easily, though it might be a little too much luxury for backpacking trips in which the light, compact tent weighs about the same.
Upon arrival, the Campster pops out of the carry bag, and folds out into a full chair in about 10 seconds. Rather than sit low to the ground the way other ultra-portable folding chairs like the Go Chair (now rebranded the Cliq Chair) or Helinox Chair Zero do, the Campster sits at a height comparable to a full-size folding chair used for car camping, its seat 17 inches (43 cm) off the ground.
Since "full height" is a central selling point of the Campster design, we looked at a few listed seat heights around the market to establish what exactly "full height" means for a folding camping chair, most of which pack considerably larger than the Campster. Looking at full-size, crisscross-framed folding chairs, we found typical heights ranging between 16 and 18 in (41 and 46 cm). Examples include the Big C.A.T. (17 in) and King Kong (18 in) from Alps Mountaineering, the pricey but robust Trailhead Camp Chair from Yeti (16.75 in), and the Essential Chair from Kelty (16.5 in). We also took a tape measure to the Ozark Trail chair (17 in) sitting outside the office on the deck, and it came in at an even 17.
Suffice it to say, the Campster's 17 inches does in fact make it a full-height folding camping chair, a nice advantage for a chair that packs so light and small, as there's no need to to sit half a foot lower than everyone else around the campfire. The most comparable chair design we've seen previously is the now-discontinued 2.4-lb (1.1-kg) Therm-a-Rest Treo, which also packs up tiny (10 x 4 in/25 x 10-cm) using a tripod base. That chair sits well lower at 13 inches (33 cm) and holds 200 lb (91 kg) compared to the Campster's 300 lb (136 g).
Of course, there are some downsides to making a chair as light and packable as the Campster. Unlike larger-packing folding camping chairs, the Campster doesn't have arms. Sitpack's chair is essentially an upright high-back stool, which could leave something to be desired in terms of comfort and stability, as compared to the typical four-legged chair.
The Campster looks like an intriguing alternative to existing folding camp chair options, but it still has a little ways to go before it finds its way to tailgates and campsites. Sitpack is raising funding on Indiegogo, where it's already surpassed its goal by more than 10 times, bringing in close to $400,000 as of publishing. It'll wrap up the campaign this week, giving interested parties three more days to put pledges of $79 or more down on their own Campster chairs. Deliveries will begin in November, if all goes according to plan. The Campster pitch video is below.