We did a lot of reading, beverage drinking, sunbathing, and eating for this review (undoubtedly affirming that we have cool jobs), and our testers, friends, and family came away in agreement that the ALPS Mountaineering Weekender Seat was the best bang for your buck. We've awarded it our Best Buy Award for its superior comfort and versatility. While its comfort doesn't compare to most of the tent-style chairs in this review, it is the least expensive of any product we tested and excels amongst its direct competitors.
ALPS Mountaineering Weekender Seat Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Inexpensive, comfortable, pocket
Cons: Not as lightweight
Manufacturer: ALPS Mountaineering
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Weekender was the obvious choice for Best Buy Award; for the exceptionally reasonable price of $25 you get a very comfortable seat that has the best bonus features of any taco style chair we tested. We appreciated its thoughtful design, geared toward durability and user friendliness.
What's a chair without comfort? We were looking for something that made even our most adventurous days in the mountains more enjoyable, and we found that with the Weekender.
While the back wasn't as high and plush as that of the Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 PowerLounger, the seat was an appropriate height for our backs. Similar to the Crazy Creek Original Chair, the side straps were placed at an excellent height, allowing our arms to spread out. We didn't feel cramped at all in this chair, though the 16-inch width was on the narrower side and could be a concern for some users.
The material is soft, though not breathable like the tent chairs we tested, and the medium amount of cushioning helped ease the discomfort of sitting on hard or wet surfaces. The buckles on the side straps are easy to reach and adjust, something we found necessary in this style of chair. Because this model has to be adjusted just right depending on how level the ground is, we found easy adjustment to be key; we were always able to find just the right balance with this chair.
When we were assigned this review, we were skeptical about bringing a luxury item like a chair into the backcountry at all. We quickly converted, and we think you will too, but we know that weight and packability will be important in your backcountry design making. The Weekender was the heaviest of the taco-style chairs in this review, but the difference was small and, in our opinion, arguably insignificant.
At 28 ounces, this chair is on the heavier side compared to our Top Pick for Lightweight Adventures, the Helinox Chair Zero at just 17 ounces. We attribute this added weight to the bonus features, discussed in more detail in the "Versatility" section below, and since those features are the main reason we gave this chair an award, it's hard to argue against their added weight. For the extremely weight-conscious, we doubt you'll be bringing any of these chairs on your fastpack of the Pacific Crest Trail, but we think that the few extra ounces here are justified.
The Weekender rolls up easily and can be stuff happily into your pack, though it does lack the nice strap of the PowerLounger. This chair has extra straps on the back, which the manufacturer says is for attaching to canoe or stadium seats. We thought these would make great backpack straps too.
We know that you value longevity in your products, so we looked for wear and tears and all the possible hot spots on the Weekender. Like the other taco-style chairs in this review, the internal support rods tend to press against the fabric at the fold of the chair. ALPS Mountaineering thought ahead and reinforced the fabric here, making us more confident in the chair's durability.
As opposed to the Kelty Camp Chair, which sports no reinforced material, the Weekender's edges have been carefully designed to guard against weathering. While we noticed a little abrasion, we saw no signs of the rods being pushed through the fabric. While we preferred Crazy Creek's reinforcements, the Weekender earned almost as high of a score in this metric.
One thing we miss on this chair is the inability to remove the foam padding for easier washing, which was one of our favorite features of the Original Chair.
We've spent our time living out of cars, in tents, and on the road, and we know the value of multifunctional gear. One of our favorite things about the Weekender was how often we found ourselves using it, from concerts to cookouts and camping. This chair had more special features than any in our entire review, and we awarded it a high score for versatility, ultimately helping us award it a Best Buy Award.
One of the best features of this chair is the mesh pocket on the back. We loved being able to throw our book and lunch in there while heading to the park. This chair is excellent for picnics and concerts where you only need to bring a handful of items with you. On hot summer days, we appreciated being able to throw our phone and wallet in the pocket to head to the park to spend the afternoon lounging with friends.
Additionally, this chair features 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. Because taco style chairs require the oppositional force of your legs on one-half and your back on the other, we're happy to find that we can use the Weekender in more settings than a typical chair of this design.
Our testers believe that this chair is one of the most versatile in our review. We would bring it backpacking, despite its weight, because of its excellent comfort, as well as to concerts, sporting events, and picnics. At the beach or while camping on snow, we like to have our seat elevated and protected from the elements, but this chair would be more than comfortable at the coast if you don't mind getting a little sandy.
At $25, this chair is the least expensive in our entire review, at as one of the most versatile, we consider it an exceptional value. We found ourselves reaching for this chair more often than any of this style, and found that a higher price does not necessarily equate to superior comfort in this category. We would strongly recommend this chair to anyone looking to get a reliable product, and at this price, you can grab one for every member of your family!
As our Best Buy Award winner, there is a lot to appreciate about the ALPS Mountaineering Weekender. From its 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.
— Lauren DeLaunay