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Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 PowerLounger Review
Cons: Thin cushioning
Bottom line: The PowerLounger is a comfortable, lightweight, and versatile backpacking chair.
Comfort, style, versatility, and durability: this lightweight chair has it all. The Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 PowerLounger won our Editors' Choice Award for the second year in a row by being hands-down the best backpacking-specific chair in this review. Out of the eight seats we plopped ourselves in, this chair was the only one that provided a good argument for bringing it deep into the backcountry; frankly, we're not sure we'll ever leave home without it. We know that some of you are scoffing at the idea of a "backpacking" chair (we were initially, too). But spend the next few minutes reading, and we'll convince you: this dual-purpose comfort haven is just the thing you need to up your comfort game on your next outing.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Backpacking Camp Chairs of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
For the hardcore, ounce-counting backpackers among us, look no further than the PowerLounger. Comfort meets practicality in this chair, and with top-of-the-line design features, this product was a staff favorite.
We'll be the first to admit that the cushioning on this chair is a little thin, but its high back, leg-length seat, and soft fabric quickly ease our worries.
The PowerLounger has a design different than that of any other taco style chair in this review: its bottom is leg-length, serving to protect your legs from itchy grass, muddy puddles, or rough surfaces. Stretched out, the back must then be loosened, but that's no problem for this product. The straps are easy to reach and adjust, letting you fine-tune the recliner to the perfect angle. If you're looking instead for a little more cushioning, the seat can be folded over to look like any other taco style chair, albeit with a bit more cushion.
One of our favorite features of this chair is the high back. At 20 inches, this is the highest back rest of any of the taco models we tested. But unlike the Kelty Camp Chair, whose high back and straps left our arms feeling constrained, the PowerLounger's straps are lower down on the side of the chair, letting your arms open freely and comfortably. Crazy Creek struck the perfect balance with this chair.
The Hex 2.0 material is soft and comfortable, though not breathable; however, none of the taco style chairs in this review had much to offer in breathability, and we still often reach for one of the tent style chairs with a mesh back panel in hot weather.
Since this is a backpacking review, we know that you'll be looking to count every ounce. The PowerLounger is the second lightest taco style chair in this review, and the third lightest overall; more importantly, its inclusion in your pack could be negative weight if you enlist this chair as a sleeping pad as well.
The only lighter taco competitor in this review is the Kelty Camp Chair, but its uncomfortable design ruled it out from winning any of our awards. The only lighter chair that we tested is the Helinox Camp Zero, and while it serves as a reasonably comfortable chair, we think the PowerLounger is equally so.
Designed for easy transport, the PowerLounger rolls up easily and even features a handy strap and buckle to keep it together in your pack. We love this feature and feel that it supports our conclusion that this is a great backpacking product.
Here at OutdoorGearLab, we're minimalists at heart, and we wouldn't want to buy a product unless we knew it would withstand the tests of time. We loved the sturdy reinforcements of the PowerLounger but are a little concerned about its thin material.
Like the Crazy Creek Original Chair, this seat has thick, durable reinforcements exactly where they're needed. Taco style chairs typically wear at the point where the internal support rods poke into the fabric when folded, but Crazy Creek has anticipated this and placed a sturdy, leather-like material there. Our Best Buy Award winner, the ALPS Mountaineering Weekender has a similar reinforcement, but Crazy Creek's is our favorite.
If there's one area where the PowerLounger excels, this is it. For the minimalist backpackers here, this chair can reasonably be used as a sleeping pad, making it two items for the weight of one.
This chair has three useful set-ups: as a typical taco style chair with the seat folded under, with legs extended, and as a sleeping pad. The fabric is very thin; while it wouldn't be our first choice as a sleeping pad (even compared to a typical closed-cell foam pad), it wouldn't be irrational to use it as one. While there are more comfortable alternatives, this chair makes more sense than any in our review for a backpacking-specific seat, and this feature helped win it our Editors' Choice Award.
We miss the pockets and bonus straps of other chairs in this review, but if you're looking for something to use in the backcountry and not the park, this is a great item.
While we looked for chairs with a wide variety of purposes, this is a backpacking review, and the PowerLounger stands out for this reason. We wouldn't hesitate to take this any place we'd take any of the other taco style chairs in our review though, and even at the beach, we'd be excited to have the longer bottom to keep sand out of our shorts. This chair can serve as a normal camp chair by doubling up the bottom but also has the added protection from the elements with the bottom extended. More than anything, though, it stands out for backpacking, even if used as a foam pad under your inflatable sleeping pad for extra protection on rocky surfaces.
For a price of $76, the PowerLounger is the most expensive taco style chair in this review and is equal to or less expensive than any of the tent style products. If you're planning to use it as both chair and sleeping pad, we believe it is a great value, saving you both money and space in your pack. If you're going to carry along an additional sleeping pad, though, the price is a little more questionable. However, when compared to any of the tent style chairs in this review, the PowerLounger gets you awesome comfort at a very reasonable price.
Once again taking home our famed Editor's Choice Award, the Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 PowerLounger was our favorite choice for backpacking. Its versatility pushed it over the edge for usefulness and helped us justify its higher price tag. We loved the high back and soft material of this chair, and would undoubtedly tote this around with us to nearly any setting, whether we're going steps from the car or miles into the backcountry.
— Lauren DeLaunay
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