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Hands-on Gear Review

Therm-a-Rest Lite Seat Review

Therm-a-Rest Lite Seat Camp Chair
Price:   $30 List | $29.95 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Light, compact, easy to set up
Cons:  No back support, limited applications, must take care not to pop it
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Cascade Designs

Our Verdict

The Lite Seat is the lightest and smallest entry in our camp chair tests. However, to call it a chair would be a bit of an exaggeration. It's more of a fancy seat cushion — ideal for making bleachers and stadium seats more tolerable. For that application this chair is great. But it is limited in its other uses. For a few more dollars, you can get the Crazy Creek Original, which gives you proper back support.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Backpacking Camp Chair Review

select up to 5 products
Score Product Price Main Material Manufacturer Weight (oz) OGL Weight (oz)
81
$76
Editors' Choice Award
foam and nylon 30 30
78
$51
Best Buy Award
foam and nylon 30 25
77
$54
foam and nylon 21 22
67
$70
Top Pick Award
nylon with aluminum frame 18 19
66
$40
nylon (you add sleeping pad) 10.5 27 w pad 11 w/o pad
63
$30
inflatible nylon-coated pad 3 3

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Chris McNamara
Founder and Editor-in-Chief
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Saturday
March 24, 2012

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Likes


This is by far the lightest and most compact chair in our review. It weighs almost nothing and compacts into the size of a soda can. It it easily fits in a purse or small backpack and leaves room to spare, which few other chairs we tested can claim. It is one of those items that because it weighs nothing you end up taking it everywhere.

Dislikes


This chair is not that versatile. It really just excels at at cushioning hard benches and chairs. There is no back support so you can't kick back at the beach or recline around the campfire. Unlike a Crazy Creek, you can't unfold it and lie down on it or share it with another person. It also needs to be taken care of. Like all inflatable pads, you need to carefully look at the ground you're putting it on always be aware of sharp objects. In windy conditions, it easily blows away.

Other Versions


Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite  Women's
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite and Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite - Women's
  • Cost - $160
  • Top Pick Award Winner!
  • Most comfortable lightweight sleeping pad available
  • Regular size weighs 12oz
  • Small size weighs 8oz
  • Women's specific includes reflective layer for added warmth
  • Packs down to 1L size

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm
  • Cost - $200
  • Editors' Choice Award Winner!
  • The best winter sleeping pad available
  • Ideal for cold weather camping
  • Regular size weighs 15oz.
  • Packs slightly larger than 1L in size
  • Consistently proven to be the warmest, most comfortable, lightest and most compact sleeping pad available
Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: March 28, 2012
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (3.5)

100% of 2 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 33%  (1)
3 star: 67%  (2)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 2 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Mar 28, 2012 - 03:50pm
Tfish · Climber · La Crescenta, CA
I have the REI version of this pad but it's basically the same thing just a little cheaper. (http://www.rei.com/product/746401/rei-lite-core-sit-pad);

My best use for it is insulating me from cold picnic tables at camp sites. It makes cooking during the morning or late at night much nicer.

I also let my dog sleep on it sometimes on cold nights camping.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Mar 28, 2012 - 01:43pm
OlympicMtnBoy · Climber · Seattle
I've had the earlier version of this for many years (pretty much the same except not as light). I agree with other review that this chair is not as comfy as those with back support but I disagree with that it's not as versatile. I take this on a lot of backpacking trips where I would normally consider a camp chair a luxury because it's so small and light AND because I can then take an extra short sleeping pad and use this sit pad to extend it to near normal length. The weight gain is almost zero to have one of these and a short pad instead of a full length pad. I know you can do the same with other camp chairs to sleep on them, but this has just been the most convenient option for me and makes sitting around in a remote backcountry camp just a bit nicer.

In many years of abusing this I've managed to poke one hole in it, easily fixed with some seamgrip (always carry a tiny tube when using inflatable mattresses). The newer lighter version may or may not be as durable.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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