The Big Agnes Big Six has quite a few things going for it in the comfort department, but after repeated use, we found a few features that left us wishing for more. We immediately loved this chair's high back and height off the ground; these two things contributed significantly to this product's higher comfort score. On the other hand, this chair is heavy and lacking in any of the additional features offered by some of its competitors. Despite being reasonably comfortable, the Big Six was easily beaten for one of our top spots by-products that were lighter with more backcountry-specific features.
Big Agnes Big Six Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Tall back, accessible height, durable
Cons: Expensive, heavy, less comfortable
Manufacturer: Big Agnes
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Big Six is a moderately comfortable chair that could be great for someone looking for height and back support. Otherwise, it is a heavier product not well suited for long backcountry missions.
Judging by its low score, the Big Six was not one of our favorite products. That said, a few of its specific traits might make a decent choice for some shoppers.
Unlike many of the products we test here at OutdoorGearLab, chairs are truly a luxury item. If it's not making your camp life more comfortable, why even bother? For this reason, comfort is the most important metric that we tested for, earning a whopping 35% of each product's overall score. The Big Six has a few unique features that boost its comfort score, but it also has a few quirky traits that we found disappointing.
The first thing we noticed about the Big Six was how high the backrest is. This is perhaps the single best feature about this chair. If you're looking for more back support and somewhere to rest your head and neck, this is the only chair in this review that can give you that. There is a small amount of padding at the top of the chair that adds to this great feature. The second thing we noticed about this chair was how high it sits off the ground. It is a bit higher than the Helinox Swivel and our knees were about the same height as our hips when we sat down (though your knees are likely higher than your waist if you're closer to six feet tall). Our older friends found this trait desirable. It's considerably easier to get into and out of this chair than some of the ultralight chairs. It is also very stable despite its height, and we never felt close to tipping this thing over.
On the flip side, we did not like how high the sides were. Our arms were completely trapped in this chair, squeezing our shoulders together or forcing us to let our arms hang out. Neither situation was comfortable, and it would be a pain to eat or play an instrument while sitting in this chair. Additionally, this product has no venting, making for a hotter seat with no airflow.
Because this review is specific for backpacking, our testing team knows that every product that we test has to be suitable to be carried long, long distances. The "packing size" section of this review is here to judge how heavy each chair is and how easy it is to bring along. While some of the chairs we tested folded up and stowed away easily, others were cumbersome. The Big Six, while small in folded size, is by far the heaviest chair in this review.
At 48 ounces, the Big Six is heavier than its next competitor by 10 ounces. And with the lightest chair in this test, the Helinox Chair Zero, ringing in at an astonishing 17 ounces, the Big Six starts to look less like a backpacking chair and more like a camping chair.
Durability is important for a variety of reasons. We travel in rough terrain, we want to get our money's worth, and we want gear we can rely on. Depending on where you plan to use your chair, this metric may be more or less important to you. But if you're willing to shell out big bucks for one of the most comfortable chairs on the market, you're going to want it to last you a lifetime.
The Big Six has a few features that stand out in this category, making it one of the highest scorers in durability of any chair we tested. The sling part of the chair attaches to the poles through conical pieces of fabric on the sling's edges. The Big Six's material is reinforced here, constructed with a much burlier, stiffer fabric than is found on the rest of the seat. Also, the entire corner of the sling is reinforced; we found this unique and reassuring.
Of all the tent-style chairs in this review, the Big Six's poles have something different. Where the vertical and horizontal poles intersect, this chair's poles have an asymmetrical shape that only connects in one direction. The material is also much thicker than some that we tested, like the ultra-thin Helinox Chair Zero. In the end, these factors resulted in the Big Six's high durability score, one of the best in this entire review.
To judge each chair's versatility, we considered every environment in which we might take said chair. We evaluated their extra features, if any, to see where each product excels.
Overall, the Big Six's lack of features like pockets or cup holders in addition to its large size diminished its versatility score. While the Alite Stonefly and Alps Mountaineering Weekender each had a handy pocket, the Big Six had none.
Moreover, while this chair's tall height made it more comfortable to get in and out of, especially for those with aching knees and hips, we imagine that this chair would be too tall for many outdoor concerts. Its feet, while sturdy, were not the best on sand, either, and we're not sure this would be our first choice for the beach.
The main thing that the Big Six has going for it is its high back. We did love being able to lean our heads completely back, especially if we were going to be in the chair for a while, like at the beach or a concert (or watching fireworks!). Its height also makes it a great choice for those who need a bit more accessibility. If we had the whole fleet of chairs in front of us, we'd probably hand this one to our grandparents, who otherwise would struggle with the shorter or on-the-ground chairs.
At a whopping $150, the Big Six is tied for the most expensive chair in this review. The Helinox Swivel has the same price but is more comfortable and versatile. Unfortunately for the Big Six, its heavy weight and constricting seat make it a poor choice for such a steep price.
We generally found the weight of this chair to be too heavy to justify carrying far distances. We may have been able to work around this for superior comfort or great features, but the Big Six unfortunately, had neither. Our testing team ultimately agreed that your money is likely better spent on something lighter or more comfortable.
— Lauren DeLaunay