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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.
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Price:  $56 List | $55.50 at Amazon
Pros:  Durable, compact, comfortable
Cons:  Stiff, not as lightweight
Manufacturer:   Crazy Creek
By Lauren DeLaunay ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 7, 2020
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 12
  • Comfort - 30% 6
  • Size - 30% 8
  • Stability - 25% 9
  • Versatility - 15% 6

Our Verdict

Much of the way that "Kleenex" has replaced the word for "tissue," so has Crazy Creek dominated the chair industry. When we told our friends we were testing camp chairs, they told us countless stories of their beloved Crazy Creek chairs, from backpacking trips to outdoor concerts to summer camps of the past. We found the Original Chair to be a baseline model for the taco-style chairs of this review, receiving average scores in every category. In the end, it is more expensive than many of the other chairs in its class, and we found little reason to fork over more money for something with average performance.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

While there are more comfortable chairs in our review, the Original has a whole host of fun designs and colors, making it a fine choice for a lightweight, easy to transport backpacking chair.

Performance Comparison


A relaxed Sunday in Mammoth Lakes  California.
A relaxed Sunday in Mammoth Lakes, California.

Comfort


Whereas most of our outdoor gear serves a distinct functionality aside from comfort, this review is unique in that the primary function of chairs is to help up your relaxation game. In this metric, we look at both the materials and dimensions of each product to help gather evidence to support what our butts already know: some chairs are just better than others. The Original Chair scored an average ranking in this metric because of its great size and ease of adjustment.

We were initially turned off by the stiffness of the Original Chair, but after an extended period of testing, we eventually found it supportive and kind on our backs. Like the other three taco chairs we tested, there is no breathability here, which led us to pick up a more comfortable chair like the REI Flexlite on the hottest of days.

Great  easy to adjust straps on the Original Chair.
Great, easy to adjust straps on the Original Chair.

The Original Chair has a 16-inch back height, which we found to hit at just the right spot. However, it's still not as comfortable as the 20-inch back of some of the other models in our review. This chair also has a very narrow seat, which we found to significantly reduce its comfort for everyone save our smallest of testers. At less than 15 inches wide, we preferred the extra inches of the other chairs in this review.

Size


Since this is a review specifically for backpacking, our testers knew that size would be a crucial metric. Weighing in near the middle of the taco pack, the Original Chair once again earns an average score in this category.

Taco chairs from left to right: Crazy Creek PowerLounger  Kelty Camp Chair  ALPS Mountaineering Weekender  Crazy Creek Original Chair.
Taco chairs from left to right: Crazy Creek PowerLounger, Kelty Camp Chair, ALPS Mountaineering Weekender, Crazy Creek Original Chair.

At 26 ounces, it's hard to argue that weight plays much of a role here. We found that the most weight-conscious backpackers probably wouldn't carry a chair at all, so any of these products are better suited to shorter adventures or trips that revolve around a base camp. That being said, if you do want to up your comfort levels in the backcountry, there are tent-style chairs in this review that weigh less than 20 ounces, and we find those to generally be more comfortable as well.

One thing that we find annoying about the Original Chair is the fact that it is much too stiff to be able to roll up. It needs to be fastened to the outside of a pack or carried by hand.

Stability


The ability to stay upright and comfortable in a chair is pretty essential to its enjoyment, and believe it or not, many of the chairs in this review lack in this way. The taco-style chairs are overall much more stable than their tent-style counterparts due to their proximity to the ground and body tension-required format. The harder you lean back into a taco-style chair like the Original Chair, the more it will support you.

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

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.

Versatility


This is a backpacking-specific review, but the minimalist in us appreciates when we can find one product that does the tasks of many. The Original Chair's buckles make it easy to open up and lay down on, though we're not ditching our sleeping pads anytime soon — sleeping on this chair wouldn't be nearly as comfortable.

The Original Chair bringing some color to the Buttermilks.
The Original Chair bringing some color to the Buttermilks.

The Original Chair has 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. However, carrying the seat around by the handles keeps it from flopping open, so we're not sure how much of a plus this feature is.

Value


The Original Chair is almost double the price of other taco-style chairs in this review, though still less expensive than any of the tent-style models. However, when considering this chair's limited uses, we have a hard time believing that the price is justified.

Conclusion


Overall, we find the Original Chair to be a solid choice compared to its competitors. Ultimately, it's a slightly less comfortable design than other options, and limited versatility compromises its place as our favorite seat.

The Original Chair is a solid choice for any adventure.
The Original Chair is a solid choice for any adventure.


Lauren DeLaunay