ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Review
Cons: Fairly large and heavy, holds water, not breathable
Manufacturer: ALPS Mountaineering
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The ALPS King Kong is a massive, single-person chair with the capacity of several chairs combined - up to 800 lb. It's large and heavy but packs handily into a durable carry bag with two adjustable, backpack-style straps to easily lug it wherever you go. It also features two cupholders, two large side storage compartments, and a bonus mesh storage area behind the head.
The King Kong is the most universally comfortable chair we tested. While certain others had bigger fans for specific reasons, the King Kong is a great fit for everyone. It features a large, well-padded seat with stable and adjustable armrests. Both the seat and the backrest are padded, helping it to stay more comfortable for long lounge sessions. Unfortunately, this padding does result in the chair's fabric holding water during rainstorms, but unless you leave your chair out in the rain often, the padded seat is still considered a bonus. Like most similar chairs, this one has a slightly slouchy seat with a fairly upright back. Perhaps not everyone's favorite, but universally comfortable and big enough to scooch around and find your ideal position. We also appreciate the simple but ergonomic armrests. They are functional and comfortable for testers of all sizes and their straps make them easy to adjust to your perfect height. Testers love how wide the chair is because people of all sizes can sprawl out and enjoy every inch of its roomy plushness.
The King Kong is also a fairly high chair with a 15 inch seat, making it straightforward to get in and out of. However, this size and height combination does leave some of our short-legged testers feeling a bit out of place in this oversized chair.
As one of the heaviest single-person chairs we tested, the King Kong is no small item to bring with on long walks. It's 14 pounds and has a beefy steel frame that makes the chair somewhat difficult to carry unless it is packed up inside of its storage bag. The collapsed chair is still over three feet long. Fortunately, ALPS included not one shoulder strap but two to help you backpack-style huck this large chair along for the ride.
We think that this oversized, heavy package that is the King Kong is absolutely worth hauling around, considering its comfort and super rugged construction. If you know you're going to be parking far away and walking a mile to the beach or parade, this might not be the right choice for that occasion.
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" powder-coated steel bars, and its seat is made from 600D 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. It also packs into a reinforced carry bag that's actually up to the task, and the whole package is backed by a lifetime manufacturer's warranty.
The storage pockets of the chair are built from the same 600D 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 made of just mesh - the only part of the chair that isn't thick and reinforced. We also noticed that ours frayed the fabric on the back corners of the chair just a touch from being sat in up against other surfaces. However, the damage is minor and appears to be mostly cosmetic.
Ease of Setup
This chair is super simple to use. It takes a few seconds to set up and take back down. Assembly is like that of many of the other traditional models we tested. Pull apart two of its legs, and it's done.
It does take a little bit of finagling to fit back into its stiff carry bag and sometimes forced us to almost peel it out. We also occasionally accidentally brought sand home from the beach that got stuck in the many crevices of the plastic feet - minor concerns.
The King Kong has two large side storage pockets that can each easily hold a flat, average-sized magazine. It also has two small cup holders that work fine for cans and skinny bottles but certainly won't hold a standard Nalgene or large coffee thermos - or even a wide smartphone (like an iPhone 8+). It also has another wide but short mesh storage pouch running the width of the chair behind the head. We can't decide what it is supposed to be for but had success storing small items like keys and lighters in it. Feeding slack through a buckle can adjust its armrests. Although the King Kong's armrests don't appear to be all that special, it is 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 are lined with a non-porous material that can be easily wiped out, another simple yet innovative perk that increases our love for this chair.
Although a little pricey compared to most other chairs we tested, we think this price is well worth what you get in sturdiness and longevity. 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 absolutely pays off.
Our testers love 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 love that ALPS Mountaineering was able to execute this design so well. Our Editors' Choice Award 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.
— Maggie Brandenburg