GCI Outdoor Comfort Pro Review
Cons: Very tall seat, limited pockets, no locking mechanism, less supportive, long when packed
Manufacturer: GCI Outdoor
Compare to Similar Products
GCI Outdoor Comfort Pro
|Price||$45.00 at REI||$70.86 at Amazon||$49.95 at REI||$40.49 at Amazon||$30.49 at Amazon|
|Pros||Easy to set up, tall angled back, supportive, high seat height, less expensive||Fits just about anyone, comfortably padded seat, super robust, plenty of storage, simple to use||Comfortable, portable, well-ventilated, stable, great storage, easy to use, inexpensive||Carrying strap is built-in and easy to use, set-up is casual, exceptional support for your back, lightweight||Simple and easy to use, reasonably portable, good features, inexpensive|
|Cons||Very tall seat, limited pockets, no locking mechanism, less supportive, long when packed||Fairly large and heavy, holds water, not breathable||Low back height, slightly lower seat height, cup holder not ideal for thin beverages||Fabric can get dirty easily, durability could be better, cup holders could be larger||Slouchy, narrow seat, durability concerns|
|Bottom Line||A tall chair with a simple set up that's easy to use and less expensive to buy||Our favorite among all contenders, this robust chair makes camp lounging a simple and comfortable affair||It's tough to complain about this versatile and portable chair, especially considering the price||Taking the slouch out of camping chairs, this highly supportive model is easy to get in and out of||An inexpensive chair that's easy to use and like, with an attached cooler to keep refreshments cold and at hand|
|Rating Categories||GCI Outdoor Comfort...||ALPS Mountaineering...||REI Co-op Camp X||Kijaro Dual Lock Fo...||AmazonBasics Portable|
|Ease Of Setup (15%)|
|Specs||GCI Outdoor Comfort...||ALPS Mountaineering...||REI Co-op Camp X||Kijaro Dual Lock Fo...||AmazonBasics Portable|
|Weight (pounds)||8.3 lb||14.1 lb||8.0 lb||9.8 lb||6.3 lb|
|Weight Capacity (pounds)||300 lbs||800 lb||300 lb||300 lb||225 lb|
|Folded Dimensions (inches)||45" x 7" x 5"||39" x 8" x 8"||33" x 7" x 7"||45" x 7" x 7"||35" x 8" x 8"|
|Unfolded Dimensions (inches)||25" x 35" x 37"||24" x 37" x 38"||21" x 31" x 31"||25" x 35" x 37"||34" x 20" x 36"|
|Seat Height (in middle, in inches)||15"||15.0"||11.5"||15.0"||11.5"|
|Features||Beverage holder, small sleeve pocket||2 cup holders, 2 side pockets, storage pocket behind headrest, adjustable armrests||1 uniquely shaped cup holder, "stowable" armrest pouch, adjustable armrests||2 cup holders, side pocket, carrying strap||Built in 4-can cooler pouch, mesh up holder, side mesh pocket|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The GCI Outdoor Comfort Pro is an accordion-style folding chair that slides into a long carry sack with a single shoulder strap. It features a fine mesh back panel, a single narrow cupholder, and a smartphone pocket.
For folks searching for a taller chair that's easier to get out of, the GCI Comfort Pro is your size of chair. The front edge is about 20 inches from the ground (though sinks a couple of inches when sat in) and the middle of the seat where your bum goes is right around 15 inches off the ground. This above-average height proved to be a favorite among our taller testers, particularly those over 6 feet, as well as many of our senior citizen contributors. Widely spaced arms that flare out from the sides give a comfortable berth around your torso when seated and solid support for getting up by pushing off the fronts of the arms. It's more supportive than many other, slouchy chairs we tested — though not quite as supportive as the Kijaro Dual Lock. The two chairs look extremely similar, but the Comfort Pro lacks the locking mechanism that gives the Kijaro its steadfast seat support and is a couple of inches shorter.
Lacking any padding in the seat and back of the Comfort Pro may cut down on the level of comfort that some other, padded competitors offer, but can come in handy on a hot day. Its fabric is relatively smooth and a panel of fine mesh runs the length of the back, right where your spine goes. This extra ventilation, lack of padding, and generally un-slouchy sitting experience all come in handy on a hot day. While our panel of taller testers loves the throne-like comfort of this oversized chair, shorter users often found it too tall to be comfortable. Those 5' 6" and shorter reported feeling like the edge of the seat was digging into the bottoms of their legs in a rather unpleasant manner. If your height is somewhere in the middle, it's probably worth sitting in one of these before you decide if it's the right chair for you.
In its long stuff sack, the GCI Comfort Pro weighs just under 8.5 pounds, putting it on the lighter end of average among models we tested. The bag has a single shoulder strap to help you get from your car to the BBQ, but it lacks any adjustability. Though we didn't think this simple design would be an issue at first, the sheer length of this packed-up chair proved to be an additional obstacle that can make it a bit awkward to carry. Because the back poles cross each other from the base of the legs up to the top of the back (unlike more traditional chairs that cross only below the seat, not behind the back), the Comfort Pro is far longer (folded up) than it is tall (set up). When carrying, the unadjustable shoulder strap and long length of this chair combine to make for a doable but clumsy package.
That long folded length may also pose a challenge when packing the Comfort Pro into your vehicle. At 37 inches stowed, we had no issues tossing it in most trunks or backseat for a quick foray to the game or park. But once we started packing a mid-sized hatchback with everything we needed for a weekend of camping with two humans and a big dog, it became a bit more challenging to appropriately Tetris into place. Still, it's not too far from what we'd expect from a chair of this style. Overall, it's on the lighter end of the spectrum and isn't terrible to cart around when you need to.
The Comfort Pro advertises a weight capacity of 300 lb, which is pretty normal among camp chairs. It's constructed with ripstop polyester wrapped around steel poles. We test every chair's ability to not only withstand high weight loads but also on their ability to handle us jumping on (which we do not recommend doing) and plopping into them. The Comfort Pro felt pretty solid and stable through all of our testing. Its wide base and crossed-pole design help keep it stable even when you lean out of it to grab something that's almost too far away.
However, it does have some odd metal L brackets that join the legs and back supports together. These brackets are simply riveted into both poles, allowing whatever weight is put on the back of the chair to transfer directly to the rivets themselves. In theory, there should never be that much weight on the back of the chair, as your body is resting on the seat instead. We never had any issues with this configuration during our testing. The only other minor complaint we have about the Comfort Pro is that the seams could be more reinforced to better withstand extended outdoor use. But they're not bad, just not as thick or augmented as some others we tested.
Ease of Setup
It's hard to go wrong with the simple accordion-style folding mechanism of the Comfort Pro. It's easy and straightforward to set up and fold up and simply slides into the end of its drawstring-topped carry bag.
The ends of the legs are a bit narrower than many others, which can let this chair sink some into soft ground (like muddy campsites). Their angles help to mitigate this some, but fortunately, the chair itself is rather tall and still feels good even if it does sink a little.
We're a little underwhelmed by the spartan features that come with this chair. A single mesh cup holder in the right arm is just the right size for a standard 12 ounce can of soda or beer. But if you're trying to fit a Nalgene or wide tumbler, you're out of luck. The Comfort Pro has a pocket sewn to hang from the inside of the left arm. It's not very versatile though, as it's just large enough to slide an oversized smartphone into. And that's it. If you like lounging with a can of cool beer and your iPhone by your side, this chair has got your back (literally). If you were hoping to keep a big thermos full of ice water and a magazine close by, see other options.
With a lot of comfortable attributes and a simple design that's easy to use, this low-price chair is a great value item. We've certainly paid more for less in our search for the best camping chairs. It's not the best, but it's a great choice for taller and larger folks on a budget.
The GCI Comfort Pro is a solid chair at a reasonable price. An angled back with a ventilated mesh panel adds comfort to its high seat and widely flared arms. For taller folks looking to get rid of the slouchiness of old-school camping chairs and slip into something with more support and an easy-to-get-out-of seat, this high-value model is a great choice and comes recommended by our test team.
— Maggie Brandenburg