Helinox Incline Festival Chair Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Supportive for a ground seat, easy to set up and pack away
Cons: Bulky, heavy, off-balance
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Helinox Incline Festival Chair
|Price||Check Price at REI|
Compare at 3 sellers
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Compare at 2 sellers
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|Pros||Supportive for a ground seat, easy to set up and pack away||Deep comfortable seat, lightweight, surprisingly stable||Stable even without a backrest, high seat height, comfortable, lightweight, compact packed size||Extremely lightweight, comfortable positioning||Practically indestructible, weighs less than toothpaste, insulated, inexpensive|
|Cons||Bulky, heavy, off-balance||Takes longer to set up||No backrest for reclining||Pricey, small||No backrest, requires sitting on the ground|
|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 shoulder||An excellent combination of comfort, weight, and stability||Reshaping attitudes about stools on backpacking trips, the exceptional comfort, light weight, and packability of this seat make it an unexpected winner||This chair offers the highest comfort of any super light model we tested||A featherweight, versatile, and durable foam seat even ultralighters won't leave at home|
|Rating Categories||Incline Festival Chair||Big Agnes Skyline UL||Big Agnes Skyline UL Stool||Helinox Chair Zero||Therm-a-Rest Z Seat|
|Size & Weight (30%)|
|Ease Of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Incline Festival...||Big Agnes Skyline UL||Big Agnes Skyline...||Helinox Chair Zero||Therm-a-Rest Z Seat|
|Main Material||300-denier woven polyester||Nylon with aluminum frame||70-denier Robic nylon / ripstop nylon 66||Polyester with aluminum frame||Cross-linked Polyethylene|
|Measured Weight||46 oz||29 oz||20 oz||18 oz||2 oz|
|Packed Size||19 x 6.5 x 5.5 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)||1 in||9.5 in||9.5 in||7 in||0.5 in|
|Seat Width (at edge)||19 in||18.5 in||19 in||18 in||16 in|
|Base Size (width x depth)||18.5 x 6-13 in||15.5 x 13.5 in||14.5 x 12 in||13.5 x 10 in||16 x 13|
|Features||Adjustable lean||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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Elizabeth Paashaus