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Alite Mantis Review

The Mantis - Bodega Blue
Price:   $120 List | $83.96 at Amazon
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Pros:  Attractive, somewhat comfortable
Cons:  Expensive, requires time to set-up and stow away
Bottom line:  Good looking and offering fair comfort, we are skeptical of paying full price for this model.
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Alite

Our Verdict

The Mantis doesn't overwhelm us with its performance in comparison to the other contenders. For a model costing $120, we expect more. Its stability and comfort are lower than the REI Camp Stowaway Low. The Mantis' seat is roomier than the seat of the Big Agnes Helinox One, but not everyone enjoyed its permanently reclined position. It is more stable and easier to set-up than the Therm-a-Rest Treo, though. Take caution in the wind with this chair as its light weight and sail-like construction will make it fly! Lastly, this chair has the second lowest seat height of any of the models we tested, which makes it more difficult to get out of, so don't bring it along for Grandpa because he might not be able to get out of it.

Product Update — June 2017
Since we last reviewed the Mantis, Alite released a newer version of this camping chair, pictured above. The update is minor, with new colors and a stuff sack the manufacturer claims is more durable. More details follow below.


RELATED REVIEW: 14 of the Best Camping Chairs


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Laura Lingeman
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Friday
June 9, 2017

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The Latest Mantis vs. the Older Model


Alite informed us about the updates to the Mantis. Besides some new colors, the stuff sack was also updated with a thicker, burlier material intended to increase its durability. The design of this chair did not change. Below are the five color and pattern options available for the Mantis in 2017, followed by a breakdown of the updates.

The Mantis - Bodega Blue
The Mantis - Spreckels Red
The Mantis - Black
 
The Mantis - Capitola Blue
The Mantis - Forage
 
  • New Stuff Sack — The stuff sack is a top-loading zippered pouch with a new, heavier material. Alite claims it is more durable and user-friendly than the previous version.
  • New Colors — As shown above, the colorways of the Mantis were updated, including a pattern design.

The following analysis reflects the original Mantis that we tested in hand until we have a chance to fully review the revised version. We expect performance between the old and new models to be identical as far as the chair is concerned, with potential improvements in the stuff sack.

Hands-On Review of the Original Mantis


The Alite Mantis is a good portable model contender but is only recommended if you want a very small and lightweight chair. It is not particularly sturdy, but it is portable and more comfortable to lounge in than the ground. It does not offer any storage for additional features, but the ground is within arm's reach. It packs down to the size of a liter water bottle and weighs less than two pounds. If you're interested in a lightweight model, we recommend checking out our Top Pick for Portability, the Big Agnes Helinox Chair One.

Testers were immediately lured by the bright colors of the Mantis  but its lack of stability and comfort didn't impress us for long.
Testers were immediately lured by the bright colors of the Mantis, but its lack of stability and comfort didn't impress us for long.

Performance Comparison



Comfort


Testers felt that the comfort of the Mantis was average. Its bucket seat is comfortable, but it is too reclined. If you try to lean forward, it is uncomfortable for your neck. If you don't lean forward, it is uncomfortable to eat or read. The Mantis has a small frame which also decreases its stability - lateral movement or assembly on a sandy or uneven surface resulted in concerns over toppling out of the seat. Its base stand is several inches narrower than the Helinox's, a significant design concern that explains its limited stability.

Portability


The Mantis received a nearly perfect score on portability. It weighs 1 lb and 14 oz and can pack down to a size that is slightly larger than a one-liter water bottle. It is a little tricky to get all of the chair's parts to fit into the included storage bag, but this skill improves with practice. Its packed size is smaller than the Helinox and slightly larger than the Treo.

The smallest chairs we tested were just a little bit larger than a one-liter water bottle. Top left to right: water bottle  Treo  Chair One  Mantis. Bottom left to right: Chair Zero  Chair One  Moon Lence  REI Flex Lite  Onepack.
The smallest chairs we tested were just a little bit larger than a one-liter water bottle. Top left to right: water bottle, Treo, Chair One, Mantis. Bottom left to right: Chair Zero, Chair One, Moon Lence, REI Flex Lite, Onepack.

Durability


The materials of this chair consist of a 210 D ripstop nylon seat and aluminum poles. There were no issues with wear or tear during our testing process, and testers felt its materials seemed quite sturdy. However, the Mantis did not withstand our durability tests. One 150 lb tester stood on the chair and its horizontal aluminum frame bar snapped in half. We gave it above average scores for durability.

Ease of Set-Up


Setting up the Mantis is almost the same process as setting up the Helinox. Both chairs have very secure pole/chair connections with reinforced stitching. The aluminum frame has an internal bungee system that allows all of the chair's frame pieces to stay connected even when disassembled. We scored the assembly of this chair as slightly better than average.

The Mantis' poles inset into a reinforced pocket which keeps them snugly fastened to the chair.
The Mantis' poles inset into a reinforced pocket which keeps them snugly fastened to the chair.

Features


This portable model has no additional features. However, its low position does make the ground very accessible.

Best Applications


We only recommend this chair for lightweight or size-sensitive applications, such as backpacking or other activities that require fair amounts of walking. It was not preferred for long periods of sitting. Overall, however, we recommend our Top Pick for Portability, the Helinox, over the Mantis.

Our testers think that the suspension on the Mantis is fairly comfortable  but its seat isn't quite as cozy as the Helinox.
Our testers think that the suspension on the Mantis is fairly comfortable, but its seat isn't quite as cozy as the Helinox.

Value


Not a single tester was interested in paying the full retail price for this limited-use item. Retailing for $120, one could buy a Coleman Oversize Quad Chair with Cooler for everyone in the family instead and still save a few bucks. It is simply not stable or comfortable enough to justify its cost.

Conclusion


Overall, our testers just didn't like the Alite Mantis enough to recommend it. It is too low to the ground, not comfortable enough, and very unstable. All of these qualities limited its utility; instead, we would recommend either the Helinox as a portable model or the REI Camp Stowaway Low as relatively portable, very stable, and comfortable model.

The Mantis' side ventilation panels.
The Mantis' side ventilation panels.

Other Versions


Alite Monarch Butterfly Camp Chair
Alite Monarch Butterfly
  • Top Pick Award Winner for backpacking chairs!
  • Comfortable 2 point rocker design
  • Low sitting chair
  • 1 lbs 2 oz
  • $70

Alite MayFly
MayFly
  • comfortable, low sitting chair
  • Combination of the Alite Monarch Butterfly and the Mantis
  • Breathable mesh fabric
  • 1 lbs 4 oz
  • $100
Laura Lingeman

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Most recent review: June 9, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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