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Helinox Incline Festival Chair Review

Too heavy for backpacking but if you want a compact chair for outdoor concerts, this model is easy to set up, pack away, and sling over your shoulder
Helinox Incline Festival Chair
Photo: Helinox
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Price:  $120 List | Check Price at REI
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Pros:  Supportive for a ground seat, easy to set up and pack away
Cons:  Bulky, heavy, off-balance
Manufacturer:   Helinox
By Elizabeth Paashaus ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 7, 2021
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55
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 12
  • Comfort - 35% 7
  • Size & Weight - 30% 5
  • Stability - 20% 4
  • Ease of Use - 15% 5

Our Verdict

It's all in the name with the Helinox Incline Festival Chair; festivals are the perfect place for this seat. The low to ground design will allow you to use it at shows with height limits, and the adjustable feet will help you relax on slightly inclined terrain. We found it to be a bit off-balance when leaning forward to get out of the chair compared to others we tested. Almost all backpackers would agree that it is too heavy and bulky to carry into the backcountry, but we think this chair is a nice compact option for front country use when a low to ground profile is desired.

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Pros Supportive for a ground seat, easy to set up and pack awayDeep comfortable seat, lightweight, surprisingly stableExtremely lightweight, comfortable positioningStable even without a backrest, high seat height, comfortable, lightweight, compact packed sizeInexpensive, comfortable, easy to set up
Cons Bulky, heavy, off-balanceTakes longer to set upPricey, smallNo backrest for recliningLarge packed size, lack of instructions
Bottom Line Too heavy for backpacking but if you want a compact chair for outdoor concerts, this model is easy to set up, pack away, and sling over your shoulderAn excellent combination of comfort, weight, and stabilityThis chair offers the highest comfort of any super light model we testedReshaping attitudes about stools on backpacking trips, the exceptional comfort, light weight, and packability of this seat make it an unexpected winnerAt a bargain-basement price, this lightweight chair offers above-average comfort and is easy to use
Rating Categories Incline Festival Chair Big Agnes Skyline UL Helinox Chair Zero Big Agnes Skyline U... Moon Lence Camp Chair
Comfort (35%)
7.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
Size & Weight (30%)
5.0
7.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
Stability (20%)
4.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
5.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Specs Incline Festival Chair Big Agnes Skyline UL Helinox Chair Zero Big Agnes Skyline U... Moon Lence Camp Chair
Main Material 300-denier woven polyester Nylon with aluminum frame Polyester with aluminum frame 70-denier Robic nylon / ripstop nylon 66 600D Oxford
Measured Weight 46 oz 29 oz 18 oz 20 oz 29 oz
Legs? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Packed Size 19 x 6.5 x 5.5 in 3.5 x 4 x 17 in 4 x 4 x 13.5 in 3.25 x 3.25 x 12 in 13.5 x 4.5 x 4.5 in
Seat Height (butt to ground) 1 in 9.5 in 7 in 9.5 in 9 in
Seat Width (at edge) 19 in 18.5 in 18 in 19 in 18 in
Base Size (width x depth) 18.5 x 6-13 in 15.5 x 13.5 in 13.5 x 10 in 14.5 x 12 in 13.5 x 11.5 in
Features Adjustable lean Color-coded frame, hub-less pole design Slits for breathability, small hubbed pole design 4 legged stool, color-coded frame, hub-less pole design Storage pocket

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Incline Festival Chair is unique in that it sits low on the ground like taco-style chairs but offers the supportive back of a tent-style chair. It sets up and breaks down quickly and even goes back into its spacious bag easily, but some of its design features create a narrow audience for its ideal users.

Performance Comparison


A great picnic chair when others are sitting on the ground but you...
A great picnic chair when others are sitting on the ground but you want a little extra comfort
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Comfort


The Incline Festival ranks moderately high in comfort. It has a mix of pros and cons. While it is a ground seat like taco-style chairs, it offers added comfort with a more supportive back that doesn't close around you, thanks to the rigid pole design. The back is tall enough that it won't dig in on anyone but the tallest folks, and the seat is wide at the legs and doesn't restrict or dig in. However, the seat isn't very deep, providing no support to the legs — it mostly just contains your rear, and after sitting a while, you may find that it starts to feel as if you are slowly scooching forward. Our larger testers feel that while the edge of the seat is wide, it narrows a bit too much toward the back and can squeeze the hips and bum.

The little legs can slide forward and back, allowing you to adjust the angle of recline. This comes in handy for personal preference but also on slightly sloped terrain.

The back rest is high and wide so it won't dig in or squeeze your...
The back rest is high and wide so it won't dig in or squeeze your shoulders.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Size & Weight


The Festival Chair is small enough to happily carry around a festival or park all day, but it's not something to backpack with. It weighs 46 ounces (almost 3 pounds), making it one of the very heaviest models in our review and an unlikely contender for backpacking. Its packed size is also large at 5.5" x 6.5" x 19", which means it's not suited for strapping to the outside of a backpack. However, that weight and the shoulder sling make it easier to tote around a festival or park than most other front-country-style camp chairs.

While it isn't compact enough for backpacking, our testers found the...
While it isn't compact enough for backpacking, our testers found the size and weight perfectly comfortable for strolling downtown festivals.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Stability


Our testers rated the Festival Chair relatively low in the stability metric based on its observed desire to tip forward. The short little legs that allow you to adjust your angle, when placed toward the back, create a pivot point that allows the chair to tip forward more easily — unless you have your weight placed fully against the back. When the legs are slid forward, however, stability is not as much of an issue.

When adjusted to recline the chair a bit, the front legs and rear...
When adjusted to recline the chair a bit, the front legs and rear hubs are closer together than most in our test and tipping forward is something to watch out for.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Ease of Use


The first time we set up this chair, we weren't sure which way the little legs went. Many Helinox chairs include instructions printed somewhere on the product, but we didn't see any on this model. The pole pockets are color-coded, but the colors don't correspond to anything on the poles themselves. However, it was easy to determine which side was up based on the logo.

One of this chair's greatest features, in our opinion, is the easy bag. The long side opens fully with just a single snap and optional clips on either end. This makes it perfect for its ideal end-use: festivals. You can quickly pack away your chair, stuff a few additional items in with it, and set it back up at your next spot.

The bag is spacious enough that you can stuff a few extra items...
The bag is spacious enough that you can stuff a few extra items inside.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Value


If you are someone who goes to a lot of outdoor concerts and festivals and just can't stand the discomfort of taco-style chairs, but you need a low chair to meet the concert venue rules, YOU are who Helinox designed this chair for. However, because of the narrow user demographic of the Festival, our team does not feel that the price is justified for most people. A higher chair can bring you just as much comfort for a lower price, and you can find many lighter-weight options for a lower price as well.

Conclusion


Overall, we think the Helinox Incline Festival Chair does its one job very well: having all the right features for a festival. It offers much more comfort than taco-style chairs for those needing a low-to-ground seat. We like the ability to adjust the incline and love how easy it is to pack into its spacious bag. But the weight can't be justified on pretty much any backpacking trip when many lighter options are available.

Some outdoor music venues restrict chair height to the bare minimum...
Some outdoor music venues restrict chair height to the bare minimum leaving taco-style chairs one of the only options, but the Helinox Festival Incline is one model that is low and supportive.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Elizabeth Paashaus