Reviews You Can Rely On

Crazy Creek Original Chair Review

This is a time-tested favorite that we think is a solid choice but that also has room to improve
Crazy Creek Original Chair
Photo: Crazy Creek
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Price:  $56 List | $47.18 at Amazon
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Pros:  Durable, fairly comfortable, easy to use
Cons:  Bulky
Manufacturer:   Crazy Creek
By Elizabeth Paashaus ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 6, 2020
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46
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 12
  • Comfort - 35% 3
  • Size & Weight - 30% 4
  • Stability - 20% 5
  • Ease of Use - 15% 9

Our Verdict

Much of the way that "Kleenex" has replaced the word for "tissue," so has Crazy Creek dominated the camp chair industry. The Original Chair is a baseline model for the taco-style chairs of this review, receiving average scores in every category. The dense foam and heavy-duty fabric protect well from rocks and moisture. In the end, it is more expensive than some of the other chairs in its class, but it's an indestructible classic that performs its job well. A model like this is a good choice when you are looking for a chair that can last for years and stand up to the most destructive environments like scooching around on rough granite or sharing your chair with children.

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Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
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$16 List
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79
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69
Star Rating
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Pros Durable, fairly comfortable, easy to useDeep comfortable seat, lightweight, surprisingly stableStable even without a backrest, high seat height, comfortable, lightweight, compact packed sizeExtremely lightweight, comfortable positioningPractically indestructible, weighs less than toothpaste, insulated, inexpensive
Cons BulkyTakes longer to set upNo backrest for recliningPricey, smallNo backrest, requires sitting on the ground
Bottom Line This is a time-tested favorite that we think is a solid choice but that also has room to improveAn excellent combination of comfort, weight, and stabilityReshaping attitudes about stools on backpacking trips, the exceptional comfort, light weight, and packability of this seat make it an unexpected winnerThis chair offers the highest comfort of any super light model we testedA featherweight, versatile, and durable foam seat even ultralighters won't leave at home
Rating Categories Crazy Creek Origina... Big Agnes Skyline UL Big Agnes Skyline U... Helinox Chair Zero Therm-a-Rest Z Seat
Comfort (35%)
3.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
2.0
Size & Weight (30%)
4.0
7.0
9.0
9.0
10.0
Stability (20%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
10.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
9.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
Specs Crazy Creek Origina... Big Agnes Skyline UL Big Agnes Skyline U... Helinox Chair Zero Therm-a-Rest Z Seat
Main Material Ripstop nylon and foam Nylon with aluminum frame 70-denier Robic nylon / ripstop nylon 66 Polyester with aluminum frame Cross-linked Polyethylene
Measured Weight 24 oz 29 oz 20 oz 18 oz 2 oz
Legs? No Yes Yes Yes No
Packed Size 16 x 16.5 x 1.5 in 3.5 x 4 x 17 in 3.25 x 3.25 x 12 in 4 x 4 x 13.5 in 13 x 2.5 x 2.5 in
Seat Height (butt to ground) 0 in 9.5 in 9.5 in 7 in 0.5 in
Seat Width (at edge) 16 in 18.5 in 19 in 18 in 16 in
Base Size (width x depth) 16 x 16.5 in 15.5 x 13.5 in 14.5 x 12 in 13.5 x 10 in 16 x 13
Features Folds flat Color-coded frame, hub-less pole design 4 legged stool, color-coded frame, hub-less pole design Slits for breathability, small hubbed pole design Clip loop

Our Analysis and Test Results

While there are more comfortable chairs in our review, the Crazy Creek Original is moderately comfortable and performs well for a taco-style chair. Plus, it comes in a whole host of fun designs and colors, making it a fine choice for an inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to transport backpacking chair.

Performance Comparison


Crazy Creek created a solid camp chair back in the 80s and hasn't...
Crazy Creek created a solid camp chair back in the 80s and hasn't had a reason to change it much since!
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Comfort


The Original Chair scores slightly below average in this metric when compared with all backpacking chairs in our review. That said, among the taco-style models we tested, we found this one to rank a little higher than average in comfort. We were initially turned off by the stiffness, but after testing, we found it to be more supportive than models with more pliable foam.

The Original Chair has a 16-inch back height, which hit us below the shoulder blades. It doesn't dig into the armpits, but there's still pressure against the ribs at the top of the rigid support pieces. They are well padded, so it is more of a pressure sensation than a poking one. This squeezing is common to all foam chairs we tried, but some are more painful than others. If we had a "rib-squeezing" metric, this model would rank average among similar models.

The dense foam paired with a mid-height back makes the Original...
The dense foam paired with a mid-height back makes the Original Chair decently comfortable among similar models. Higher backs offer more comfort while thinner foams offer less.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Size & Weight


Weighing in at 24 ounces on our scale, the Original Crazy Creek is one of the lighter models we tested, in line with the other taco-style chairs. Although the weight is low, this chair is too stiff to roll, so it has to be strapped to the back of your pack in its full square format. That makes it easy to remove and grab a seat on quick breaks, but it's a bit annoying having a large piece of foam flopping around on your pack, potentially getting snagged in dense brush.

This small velcro strap keeps the chair closed when not in use...
This small velcro strap keeps the chair closed when not in use, making it easier to pack in your trunk or store under your bed.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Stability


The taco-style chairs are overall much more stable than their tent-style counterparts due to their proximity to the ground and the body tension-required to use them. The harder you lean back into a taco-style chair like the Original Chair, the more it will support you. We found little to no difference between the stability of this chair and any other taco-style chair we tested. As we mention elsewhere, most of the stability comes from the balance of the user in getting in and out of a ground chair.

Enjoying the view in Mammoth Lakes, California. Left: Crazy Creek...
Enjoying the view in Mammoth Lakes, California. Left: Crazy Creek Original Chair; right: Kelty Camp Chair.
Photo: Lauren DeLaunay

Ease of Use


This chair's straps are easy to reach and adjust, which is crucial with a design that requires you to find the perfect reclining angle each time you sit down. We find ourselves making frequent adjustments when sitting in taco-style chairs, so being able to easily reach and maneuver the straps is a requirement.

The Original Chairhas Velcro straps to keep it closed, but we couldn't exactly figure out why. This might be a nice feature if you want to strap your seat to the outside of your backpack or when you are putting it in and out of your rooftop box.

Easy to adjust straps are designed to tighten by pulling down rather...
Easy to adjust straps are designed to tighten by pulling down rather than up. We found this direction of pull to be significantly easier to adjust.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Value


The Original Chair is more expensive than some of the other taco-style chairs in our review, though still less expensive than any of the tent-style models. While you can get a less expensive foam chair that ranks similarly, we still think the time-tested durability of the Crazy Creek Original make it worth the extra cost.

Conclusion


Overall, we find the Original Chair to be a solid choice compared to its competitors. It offers decent comfort among the foam chairs — better comfort can be found in most of the tent-style models, but its durability is unmatched. We recommend this chair for anyone looking for something that can be put through the wringer and keep on performing year after year.

We take chair comparison seriously, utilizing a slow-motion version...
We take chair comparison seriously, utilizing a slow-motion version of musical chairs to test each in succession while getting in some relaxing and climbing in between.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

Elizabeth Paashaus