GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker Review
Cons: Rockers need maintenance, a bit stiff for some, doesn't pack small
Manufacturer: GCI Outdoor
Compare to Similar Products
GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker
$75.00 at Amazon
$49.95 at REI
$89.95 at REI
$60.00 at Amazon
$45.00 at REI
|Pros||Supportive, easy to set up, wide, easy to get in/out of||Comfortable, well-ventilated, stable, great storage, easy to use, good price||Fully padded, backpack straps, easy to set up, stable||Carrying strap is built-in and easy to use, set-up is casual, exceptional support for your back, lightweight||Easy to set up, tall angled back, supportive, high seat height, less expensive|
|Cons||Rockers need maintenance, a bit stiff for some, doesn't pack small||Low back height, slightly lower seat height, cup holder not ideal for thin beverages||Very low to ground, narrow frame, no pockets||Fabric can get dirty easily, durability could be better, cup holders could be larger||Very tall seat, limited pockets, no locking mechanism, long when packed|
|Bottom Line||This is a solidly supportive and easy to use rocker for a reasonable price||It's tough to complain about this versatile and portable chair, especially considering the price||This low, fully-padded take on a classic lawn chair is great for taking to campfires and outdoor concerts with its backpack straps||Taking the slouch out of camping chairs, this highly supportive model is easy to get in and out of||A tall chair with a simple set up that's easy to use and less expensive to buy|
|Rating Categories||GCI Outdoor Freesty...||REI Co-op Camp X||REI Co-op Outward L...||Kijaro Dual Lock Fo...||GCI Outdoor Comfort...|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||GCI Outdoor Freesty...||REI Co-op Camp X||REI Co-op Outward L...||Kijaro Dual Lock Fo...||GCI Outdoor Comfort...|
|Weight||12.2 lbs||8.0 lbs||7.3 lbs||9.8 lbs||8.3 lbs|
|Weight Capacity||250 lbs||300 lbs||250 lbs||300 lbs||300 lbs|
|Folded Dimensions (length x width x height)||25" x 7" x 35"||33" x 7" x 7"||27" x 23" x 6"||45" x 7" x 7"||45" x 7" x 5"|
|Unfolded Dimensions (depth x width x height)||24" x 25" x 35"||21" x 31" x 31"||23" x 23" x 27"||25" x 35" x 37"||25" x 35" x 37"|
|Seat Height (middle)||14.2"||11.5"||7.5"||15"||15"|
|Features||Rocks, cup holder, carry handle||1 uniquely shaped cup holder, "stowable" armrest pouch, adjustable armrests||Backpack straps, DWR finish||2 cup holders, side pocket, carrying strap||Beverage holder, small sleeve pocket|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Freestyle Rocker is a wide, supportive chair with spring-loaded shocks, a powder-coated steel frame, and ripstop polyester fabric rated for up to 250 pounds. It features a single-step set-up and take-down and a carry handle.
The GCI Rocker is a fairly simple design that's both supportive and wide. The fabric may be stiff for some people's preferences, but it holds up well for many different-sized folks. The mesh back provides breathability, and the 14.2-inch seat height makes getting in and out of this chair easy. Though there's no headrest, the back is tall and upright enough to offer some support. The armrests are a bit narrow for our liking, but they are padded and work just fine. The spring-loaded shocks provide a smooth, simple rocking motion that can be enjoyed on just about any outdoor surface. If your favorite living room chair is a wooden rocker, we think you'll like this one. GCI did a fine job preserving the virtues of a good rocker in an outdoors-ready product.
The Freestyle Rocker doesn't compress much for storage. Even less than your typical sports chair, it collapses in the middle, bringing the right and left sides together but keeping the same height and depth as when it's set up. And considering it's one of the heavier chairs we tested at 12.2 pounds, this chair is unlikely to be one you want to carry a mile from the car if you can help it.
The Freestyle features a carrying handle on the frame, preventing any need for an extra storage bag. We didn't mind bringing this chair in the car and to events with reasonably close parking, but it isn't our first pick for long-distance carrying.
The listed capacity of the Freestyle is 250 pounds, which is about the minimum for most camping chairs we've tested. The powder-coated steel frame and ripstop polyester fabric seem fairly durable and held up to our bounce tests with a 220-pound tester. The spring-loaded shocks did become a bit stiff during our testing but are meant to be oiled periodically. Once we did that, they returned to their smooth, quiet movements.
We aren't sure of the longevity of the cup holder under heavy use, as it seems to be rather awkwardly attached to the front of the frame with metal rivets. But we experienced no actual issues with it during our testing. However, after leaving this chair out in the hot sun of a high desert all summer, it became incredibly damaged and frayed without even being used. The fabric and seams literally began falling apart just from sitting in the sunlight — not a great quality for a piece of outdoor furniture. To be fair, this happened under intense sunlight at 5,000 feet in elevation. If you don't keep your chair out on your patio all summer, this will likely be a non-issue.
Ease of Use
The Freestyle has one of the simplest mechanisms for setting up and breaking down. Just pushing the sides away from each other gets this seat ready for rocking, and with a handle on one side, you pull the seat up and collapse it sideways to move on to your next spot. The sturdy steel frame maintains its shape, and a fabric handle on the back allows you to carry your Rocker much like a suitcase.
Is the fact that this outdoor chair can rock smoothly on pretty much any surface not enough for you? Well, it also includes a cup holder on the front of the frame. This out-of-the-way placement helps you avoid spilling your beverage while gesturing wildly to tell a story. However, it's a fairly large cup holder without much support, so skinny bottles can sit a bit awkwardly. Still, we think this is better than not having a cup holder and leaving your refreshments on the ground.
The Freestyle Rocker brings a lot to the table. We think this easy-to-use, supportive rocking chair is well worth what you'll spend on it, provided you're into it. And as long as you keep it from sitting in direct sunlight for months to be promptly destroyed by UV, we think you'll be quite pleased with your purchase.
We were skeptical about an outdoor rocking chair, but the GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker came as a pleasant surprise. Sure, it's a little gimmicky, but we can't deny that we enjoyed sitting in it. The rocking mechanisms need a little oil from time to time, and it shouldn't be left for months in direct sun, but we are quite impressed with the smooth ride this chair provides. We think this rocking chair is a good blend of comfort, convenience, and simplicity — and all for a pretty reasonable price!
— Maggie Nichols
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