Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Innovative and cool design, comfortable, more stable than Monarch Butterfly.
Cons: Expensive, requires time to set up and stow away.
Best Uses: Camping, backpacking, picnics, afternoons at the park.
The Alite Mantis is the Big Brother to the Alite Monarch Butterfly. The Mantis is double the cost, double the weight and, double the stability and comfort. This chair addresses the main concerns people have with the Monarch: the lack of stability. The Mantis has four points of contact and does not require you to balance the chair or make a semi-committing move to get in it. It is also a lot bigger.
We gave this chair a Top Pick award for its unique frame and versatility. It is one of the smallest chairs we tested, but also one of the most comfortable. It is also light enough to take backpacking, and small enough to fit almost anywhere. The REI Flex Lite was runner up for this award, but was a little less durable than the Mantis. However it is about half the price and for something very similar, it is a great deal.
Compared to the other camp chairs we tested the Mantis and the REI Flex Lite have completely different frames. They are the only two chairs we have tested with designs like this. The pros are that the chair is lighter and more compact than more traditional camping chairs, which allows you to bring it backpacking or just have it in your car just in case you'll need it. The downside is that it takes a lot more time to set up, it isn't as comfortable, and it's just not as sturdy. This chair is perfect for some people, and will definitely get you some attention with its unique tent-like frame.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
This chair is very comfortable for its size, and is amazing in the back country. This and the REI Flex Lite Chair are both unique in that they have a collapsible frame with a seat that gets pulled over the edges, basically creating a suspended seat. This chair is comfortable but we gave it a lower score because it is less stable, and requires more work to stay comfortable which ultimately means you are less comfortable.
This chair is pretty durable for its size, they have reinforced the stitching on the corners, which is where it is most likely to break. The REI Flex Lite ripped on the bottom right corner because it wasn't reinforced as much and because it was sewed onto the mesh, which is not as strong as the nylon on the Mantis. Some people have had problems with the strength of the legs, and if you are near the weight limit of the chair, which is 250 lbs, then be careful especially when sitting on uneven surfaces and when shifting your weight around in the chair. Overall this chair is very durable if you treat it right.
Ease of Use
This chair can be a pain to set up, especially when all you want to do is sit down and relax. It uses tent poles as the frame and requires you to put them together, then you have to stretch the seat fabric over the frame. Once you do all that you are good to go, and once you get the hang of it, it takes about 30 seconds. But compared to the more traditional camp chairs this takes a lot longer. The Mantis is a little bit easier to put away than the similar REI Flex Lite Chair, but nevertheless harder to put away than other camp chairs. We think it's easiest to put away when you fold the seat in half and roll the poles into it.
This chair is a great size and is unique because it is collapsible and compact. It's really nice to be able to leave it in your car since its so small, and then have it there whenever you need it. This, the REI Flex Lite Chair, and the Travelchair Slacker are the smallest chairs we tested. The Mantis is two lbs, and if you don't mind the weight it's great to bring backpacking.
This chair has no storage but it sits low enough to the ground that you can just put your things on the ground. If you like to have cup holders, then check out the Coleman Oversize quad chair with cooler. That chair is loaded with storage compartments.
The Alite Monarch Butterfly, $70, is the most innovative camp chair we have seen and wins our Top Pick award.
The Alite Designs Mayfly, $100, is low and comfortable - a hybrid of the Monarch and Mantis.
— Chris McNamara and Devin Chance
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: November 28, 2013
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