ALPS Mountaineering Weekender Seat Review
Cons: Bulky, thinner padding
Manufacturer: ALPS Mountaineering
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Weekender is a great buy. For an exceptionally affordable price, you get a fairly comfortable seat with top-notch versatility. We appreciate its thoughtful design, geared toward durability and user-friendliness.
While the back of the Weekender isn't as high nor the foam as plush as some models, the seat is an appropriate height for the typical back. The side straps are placed at an excellent height, allowing the arms to spread out. Surprisingly, we didn't feel too cramped in this chair, though the 16-inch width is on the narrower side and could be a concern for some users.
The thinner and more compressible foam on this chair means you do feel more of the rocks and sticks where you sit — so choose your location wisely. The buckles on the side straps are easy to reach and adjust, something we found necessary in this style of chair. As with other foam style chairs, expect some rib-squeezing when sitting in the Weekender. It ranks about average among the models we tested.
Size & Weight
At 26 ounces, the weight of the Weekender is in line with similar chairs. it is a bulky rectangle of foam, as you would expect of any taco-style chair, but the fact that the foam is thinner gives it a slight advantage: you can roll it for packability. It doesn't roll as well as others, but with a good strap, it's possible to fold it and strap it to the top of your pack.
When you are sitting on a rectangle of foam on the ground, there isn't really anywhere to fall. The stability of the Weekender ranks highly, similar to the other foam chairs we reviewed. In reality, the stability depends more on the user's ability to get up and down off the ground while holding the chair open than the chair itself.
Ease of Use
If you can get on and off the ground easily, then you can use the Weekender without a problem. The straps adjust easily, allowing you to fine-tune your sitting angle — an important feature on a taco-style chair where body tension and angle are what keeps you upright.
We appreciate the bonus features included on this budget model, such as straps under the seat. ALPS Mountaineering promotes these for attaching to stadium benches or canoe seats, and we love this feature for picnic tables as well. While we wouldn't recommend leaning your full weight back when relying on the stadium straps, they do allow you to sit more comfortably at a picnic table.
The rear pocket is also a nice feature for stashing a book. When grabbing the Weekender to go read by a lake, you can securely stuff your book and a small water bottle in the pocket and carry it all with the attached handles.
This chair is one of the least expensive in our entire review, and it's also highly versatile, so we consider it a good value. For a little more money, you can buy yourself more comfort, but this chair works well and is a low-risk investment.
There is a lot to appreciate about the ALPS Mountaineering Weekender. From its decently comfortable cushioning to its handy pockets and straps, we believe this product will stay with you for years to come. Long-term thru-hiking? Well, maybe not. But for everything else, the Weekender can't be beaten.
— Elizabeth Paashaus