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Hands-on Gear Review
ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Review
Cons: Substantial size and weight, soaks up water
Bottom line: Our favorite among all contenders, this chair makes camp lounging a simple and comfy affair.
Deserving our Editors' Choice crown multiple years running, the King Kong is our favorite camping chair overall. It is a beast when it comes to sturdiness and lifespan, and we expect this model to provide seating for your bum for countless camping adventures. Not only is it durable, but its exceptional comfort allows for premium campsite lounging. It's also simple to set-up and use and, uncommon to most other models, features spacious armrests. If you regularly use camping chairs and are ready to buy your last chair ever, then don't hesitate to invest in the King Kong. Whether you're settling down beside the campfire at your favorite National Park or you're cheering on a sporting match from the sidelines, our Editors' Choice winner keeps you comfy and cozy all day long.
The only real downside of our Editors' Choice winner is its size. At 13 lbs and over three feet wide, this monster can hold up the 800 pounds. Despite its size, the King Kong is well worth the investment if you're looking for a super comfortable camping chair that lasts for years to come. Looking for something a little lighter? Our Best Buy award winner, the Kijaro Dual Lock Folding Chair is another great (and affordable!) option.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Like its name suggests, the ALPS Mountaineering King Kong is a monster of a chair. Its sturdy and wide steel frame and comfortable padded seat made it perfect for lounging. Additionally, this chair's high-quality construction doesn't stop with its strong materials. Its armrests are sturdy, adjustable, and supportive. It also has the perfect amount of storage: two cup holders, two deep side pockets, and one narrow mesh pocket at the head of the chair. What seemed to be the primary distinguishing factor among testers who didn't prefer the King Kong was its lack of breathability and its size; it was heavy and bulky to carry.
The King Kong received almost a perfect score for comfort. Our biggest comfort critique was that it is not as supportive as the Kijaro Dual Lock Folding Chair or the Eureka Curvy High-Back. It also did not have a headrest like the Eureka. What the King Kong did have was a large, well-padded seat with stable and adjustable arm rests. Both the seat and the backrest were padded. Unfortunately, this padding did result in the chair's fabric holding water during rainstorms, but unless you leave your chair out in the rain often, the padded seat was still considered a bonus. We also valued the simple but ergonomic armrests. They were functional and comfortable for testers of all sizes. Testers loved how wide the chair was because people of all size could sprawl out and enjoy every inch of its roomy plushness.
Live in a rainy place? Check out the REI Camp X or the REI Camp Stowaway Low, which both have mesh backs and seats.
As the heaviest chair that we tested, it was no surprise that the King Kong didn't receive great scores in portability. Its beefy steel frame made the chair somewhat difficult to carry unless it was packed up inside of its storage bag. The collapsed chair was still over three feet long. This is almost a foot shorter than the Eureka when collapsed but still doesn't make it easily portable. Our Best Buy model, the Kijaro, performed nearly as well in all of the metrics as the King Kong, but was almost four pounds lighter and had a carrying strap attached to the chair itself. If the dimensions of the King Kong deter you, check out the Kijaro.
If you can live with the lack of portability of this chair, you will be rewarded with its mega durability. The King Kong's frame is comprised of 1/2" steel bars and its seat is made from 600 D polyester. Its widely spaced legs make the chair extremely sturdy - including on uneven or rocky terrain. Neither leaning back onto the rear two legs of the chair nor rocking the chair from side to side revealed any stability issues.
The storage pockets of the chair are built from the same 600 D polyester, with the added benefit of being lined with a smooth plastic like material that can be wiped out. Surprisingly, the cup holders of the King Kong are cheap looking. Where the mesh cup holder is sewn into the armrest there is a hard plastic piece that reinforces the stitching of the two materials. On one of the cup holders, the plastic ring cracked. That said, the stitching was undamaged, and it appeared that the fractures were cosmetic.
Ease of Set-Up
This chair is super simple to use. It takes a few seconds to set-up and collapse. Assembly is like that of many of the other traditional models we tested. Pull apart two of its legs and it's done.
The ALPS Mountaineering King Kong has two side storage pockets and two cup holders. It also has another small mesh storage pouch behind the head of the chair. We couldn't decide what it was supposed to be for but had success storing small items like keys or lighters in it. Feeding slack through a buckle can adjust its armrests. Although the King Kong's arm rests don't appear to be all that special, it was one of the few products in this review with satisfactory armrests. The armrests on many other models weren't comfortable, couldn't be reached by shorter people, or were non-existent. To our appreciation, the King Kong has spacious, easy-to-reach armrests that adjust. As mentioned, the storage pouches of the chair were lined with a non-porous material that could be easily wiped out, another simple yet innovative perk that increased our love for this chair.
This chair is great for any activity that doesn't require carrying your chair for too long. It will be the envy of all of the other chairs at the campground, and it's an ideal seat for tailgating or BBQs. Its size and sturdiness make it the most appropriate model for anyone needing a larger load capacity or anyone who has trouble getting out of lower camping chairs like the REI Stowaway. Due to the seat's affinity for storing water, it's not ideal for rainy climates or activities that involve water.
Although a little pricey, we think $70 is a good value for this chair due to how sturdy it is. ALPS Mountaineering wasn't kidding when they said they wanted to make a camping chair that lasts a long time. If you use camping chairs regularly, then this chair is an investment that pays off.
Our testers loved the ALPS Mountaineering King Kong due to its unrivaled sturdiness, size, and durability. It is very comfortable and a good value considering its superior construction. Although the King Kong is a "standard camping chair" we loved that ALPS Mountaineering was able to execute this design so well. Our Editors' Choice winner doesn't have too many crazy features or capabilities, but everything it did have was done well. We think it is the best option for people who use camping chairs often, whether it is out camping, at a tailgate, or grilling at a BBQ.
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— Laura Lingeman
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