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Hands-on Gear Review
Onepack Ultralight Review
Cons: Poor ventilation, difficult to set up, could have durability issues in future
Bottom line: A high seat and tall back with a low weight and compact design make this chair incredibly versatile.
The Onepack Ultralight pulls together an exciting suite of camping chair traits. We feel that its larger size, higher seat, and taller back (with a headrest!) combined with its compact, lightweight design earns it a Notable Tag among the camping chairs included in this review. This chair really stood out as a unique design, compared to the rest of the portable and traditional camping chairs we tested, and though it didn't receive the highest scores in any category, it also wasn't the lowest. The taller back made of stiff canvas lends extra back support to users, and its higher seat meant less struggle to get in and out of this chair - more like traditional camping chairs and less like the portable models. The built-in discs on each leg also helped the Onepack not to sink into the sand, making this chair a contender for your next trip to the beach. Combined with a low price, you might even decide to pick up more than one! If this crossover style of chair is of interest to you and you're looking to not break the bank, then we'd recommend giving the Onepack a try.
RELATED REVIEW: 14 of the Best Camping Chairs
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
At first glance, the Ultralight by Onepack looks very different than all the other chairs in this review. It's much lighter and more compact than the traditional camping chairs, yet larger and with more features than the portable camping chairs. Its uniquely high back (with a built-in headrest!) and disc-shaped feet, combined with its overall low weight and compact design, had us eager to try it out. We compared it side-by-side with thirteen other chairs to see how it stacked up. At the end of all those tests, it wasn't our favorite chair, but we felt it had enough positive qualities to earn our notable tag for its unique combination of features.
An interesting chair, though not a very highly ranked one, see how the Ultralight (in blue) compares to the other chairs in this review.
The overall design of the Onepack is a bit like a bucket seat of a car, just made with vastly different materials. The canvas is relatively thick, providing a robust and supportive sitting surface. The tall back provides more back support than many other portable camping chairs - even so high that they put a headrest on it! If you felt so inclined, you could rest your head and take a nap in this chair, or comfortably view the sunset. The front of this contender also has enough give that it doesn't dig painfully into the backs of our shorter reviewers' thighs, like some of the more traditional camping chairs do. Our critics also felt that the Onepack felt well-balanced, and the added seat height compared to other chairs was a nice balance between being tall enough to feel well off the ground and sit at a table, but not so high you had to have very long legs to sit in it comfortably. The built-in discs on the feet also helps the Onepack stop sinking in softer ground, long before the other portable chairs, so you don't end up sitting on the sand.
However, our testers also found many features of the Onepack they weren't stoked on. The thick canvas has only very small mesh windows in it, and with the larger, bucket shape of the Onepack, it held more heat than any of the other chairs in this review. Our reviewers also found the canvas to be unforgiving - the testers who like a firm seat appreciated this much more than the testers who like a little more cushion. The same was true of the headrest - some testers thought it was a great addition, while others felt its lack of mobility and unforgiving non-squishy nature made it more of a hinderance than a help. This chair also isn't made for wider users or users who like to spread out in their chair. Much like the smaller portable models, this contender is rather narrow (23 inches - only 4 inches wider than the most confined chair we tested). If you're looking to spread out, you might want to check out our Editors' Choice, the ALPS Mountaineering King Kong, or our Best Buy award-winner, the Kijaro Dual Lock. Our testers also felt that the forgiving front of the Onepack was a negative trait when the chair was set on any surface with a slight forward tilt, as the user tends to slide uncomfortably forward. And while we found this chair to be well-balanced, we also found it to have a lot of extra motion in the poles - nearly as much as a small rocking chair! Overall, we give the Onepack a 5 out of 10 for comfort.
Compared to the rest of the portable camping chairs we tested, the Onepack is a giant! Weighing 2lbs. 13.5oz., the Onepack is a full 13.5oz. heavier than the next heaviest portable camping chair. It also is significantly larger when packed than the other portable camping chairs in this review.
Compared to the other more traditional-style chairs in this review, the Onepack is a featherweight. The next lightest traditional-style camping chair in we tested is nearly 4.5lbs heavier! This style of camping chairs also do not fold down even close to the relatively compact size of the Onepack. Overall, we give this chair 9 out of 10 for portability.
Our testers had many concerns with the durability of the Onepack upon inspecting and using it. While the poles for the legs are relatively thick, the very long poles that suspend the seat are significantly thinner. Our reviewers also noticed a fair amount of manufacturing flaws, such as unevenly stitched seams, and numerous threads poking out of the seams.
Though the weight rating for this chair is 330 lbs (the highest weight rating out of all the portable chairs, beating the Helinox Chair One by 10lbs), the seat suspension poles significantly bent when used by one of our lighter testers (115lbs). In fact, all of our testers reported so much pole movement they felt like they could comfortably rock in this chair! Our 170lb self-titled "Plop Master" went ahead and worked his 'plop magic' on this chair (by heavily sitting down into it repeatedly). While the Onepack didn't break, it also didn't give that reviewer a significant amount of confidence that the same action by a larger person, or repeated over multiple seasons of use, wouldn't break the chair. Overall, we give this model a 5 out of 10 for durability.
Ease of Set-Up
While at first this chair seems easy to set up, it quickly becomes harder than it looks. The poles are extra long (3 segments instead of 2 on the back), making their set up an exercise to not jab yourself in the face or abdomen. Additionally, the pockets for the top two poles are nearly a foot deep! Though this chair comes with no assembly directions, our testers felt that it probably should, as there is a specific order in which this chair is best assembled. After many arduous attempts and muttered curses while setting this chair up, we finally found that the easiest way was to get one back pole started in its pocket, then start the other one and pull the seat down into place. After feeling triumphant that we figured that little trick out, we quickly realized that the front poles were equally as frustrating to get into their pockets, as the whole construction was so tight! When we finally got this chair together, we felt we needed to slump into it with a protein shake for our aching muscles. Overall, this set-up was among the most challenging of all the chairs we reviewed.
Taking the Onepack apart again was easier than setting it up in the first place, but not without its challenges. More poles (remember, three segments instead of two!) make it more challenging to gather them all into a tight bundle for rolling. Also, the bulky and inflexible headrest makes rolling this chair up more difficult, and the end-product is significantly longer than its carrying case. While we never had a problem fitting that end-product into said case, it did require some stuffing and cramming of the sides, which subsequently made the bottom corners wrinkled and harder to fit on the poles the next time we set it up. This chair earned a a 5 out of 10 for ease of set-up.
There are two features of this chair worth noting, both of which affect the overall comfort and use of the chair (the headrest and the feet discs). The headrest is immobile and unforgiving. Its utility was a matter of some contention between our testers - some felt it was a great addition to the high back, and others felt it was in the way and too hard to use. The disc feet noticeably helped this chair arrest itself in mid sand-sink, making it a much taller model, even on soft ground.
At just under 3lbs, the Onepack isn't winning our vote for a great portable chair that you would pack in your backpack for a weekend trip. However, its larger size and compactness, compared to traditional camping chairs, make it a fantastic option for a day outing not too far from the car. A day at the beach, a family picnic in the park, or an all-day music festival would all be reasons to bring along this competitor. We could also see the utility of having a few of these in the backyard for an impromptu barbecue with friends - and the low price makes it more feasible to pick up more than one! While we feel that many models are more comfortable and portable (like the Helinox Chair One or Helinox Chair Zero), the Onepack is a chair that has extra support and height. Compared to the average compact portable camping chair, it packs down much smaller and weighs a fraction of a traditional camping chair. This contender excels at merging those needs.
The value of the Ultralight by Onepack is, in our opinion, nothing to scoff at! Retailing at around $40, it is comparable in price to the smaller Moon Lence (our winner for Best Buy on a Tight Budget), and the larger Coleman Quad and the Kijaro Dual Lock (larger, more traditional models). If what you see and what you've read here make you think the Onepack might have the right combination of features for your needs - compact but tall, firmly supportive but light - the price surely isn't a deterring factor. You could even purchase three or four of these chairs for the same price as the Helinox Chair One or the ALPS Mountaineering King Kong!
Though it wasn't our favorite chair in this review by far, the Onepack does have its merits. Its tall back and high seat combined with its light weight and compact design put this chair somewhere in between the traditional and portable camping chairs in this review. Though it's not our pick for a backpacking trip or to seat our friends who like their space, it does have significant versatility and one of the lowest prices around.
— Maggie Brandenburg
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