The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker Review

A solidly supportive rocker for a reasonable price.
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Price:  $70 List | $59.99 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Supportive, easy to set up, wide, rocking, easy to get in/out of
Cons:  Rockers need maintenance, a bit stiff for some, doesn't pack small, doesn't stand up to harsh sun long-term
Manufacturer:   GCI Outdoor
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 5, 2019
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58
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 11
  • Comfort - 40% 7
  • Portability - 25% 5
  • Durability - 20% 2
  • Ease of Setup - 15% 9

Our Verdict

The GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker is a surprisingly good rocking chair that you can use on just about any surface. Its wide, supportive design and tall seat height make it a fine choice for just about every body type. Though it doesn't pack down nicely and isn't our first choice for slouching into, this chair is a hit with our testers who love a good rocking chair or who like to fidget.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award  Top Pick Award 
Price $59.99 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
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$39.48 at Amazon
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Pros Supportive, easy to set up, wide, rocking, easy to get in/out ofFits just about anyone, comfortably padded seat, super robust, plenty of storage, simple to useComfortable, portable, well-ventilated, stable, great storage, easy to use, inexpensiveSeats two people, comfortable padded design, stable and durable, easy to set up and take down, handy cup holder plusCarrying strap is built-in and easy to use, set-up is casual, exceptional support for your back, lightweight
Cons Rockers need maintenance, a bit stiff for some, doesn't pack small, doesn't stand up to harsh sun long-termFairly large and heavy, holds water, not breathableLow back height, slightly lower seat height, cup holder not ideal for thin beveragesPoor ventilation, heavy, bulkyFabric can get dirty easily, durability could be better, cup holders could be larger
Bottom Line A solidly supportive rocker for a reasonable price.Our favorite among all contenders, this chair makes camp lounging a simple and comfy affair.It's tough to complain about this versatile and portable chair, especially considering the price.A surprisingly comfortable and durable, though heavy, option for you and a friend (furry or otherwise)!Versatile, supportive, and lightweight, this high value chair is ready for outdoor concerts, sporting events, and campsites.
Rating Categories GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker ALPS Mountaineering King Kong REI Co-op Camp X Kelty Low Loveseat Dual Lock Folding Chair
Comfort (40%)
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7
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9
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7
10
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8
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7
Portability (25%)
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7
Durability (20%)
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5
Ease Of Setup (15%)
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9
Specs GCI Outdoor... ALPS... REI Co-op Camp X Kelty Low Loveseat Dual Lock Folding...
Weight (pounds) 12.2 lb 14.1 lb 8.0 lb 15.5 lb 9.8 lb
Weight Capacity (pounds) 250 lb 800 lb 300 lb 500 lb 300 lb
Folded Dimensions (inches) 25 x 6.5 x 34.8 in 39 x 8 x 8 in 33 x 7 x 7 in 34 x 12 x 7 in 45 x 7 x 7 in
Unfolded Dimensions (inches) 24 x 25 x 34.8 in 24 x 37 x 38 in 21 x 31 x 31 in 23.5 x 44 x 31.5 in 25 x 35 x 37 in
Seat Height (inches) 14.2 in 15.0 in 11.5 in 7.0 in 15.0 in
Features Rocks, cup holder, carry handle 2 cup holders, 2 side pockets, storage pocket behind headrest, adjustable armrests 1 uniquely shaped cup holder, "stowable" armrest pouch, adjustable armrests Seats two, 2 insulated adjustable drink holders, adjustable armrests 2 cup holders, side pocket, carrying strap

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, as well as a carry handle to bring this 12.2-pound chair with you.

Performance Comparison


Level up your camping game with a rocking chair!
Level up your camping game with a rocking chair!

Comfort


The GCI Rocker is a fairly simple design that's both supportive and wide. The fabric may be stiff by some people's reckoning, 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 enough and upright enough that we never felt we were overextending our necks to stay engaged with the conversation. The armrests on the GCI 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.

Spring-loaded shocks provide a smooth and comfortable rocking experience.
Spring-loaded shocks provide a smooth and comfortable rocking experience.

Portability


The Freestyle Rocker doesn't compress much for storage. Even less than your typical sports chair, the Freestyle 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 GCI Rocker carries just like a suitcase.
The GCI Rocker carries just like a suitcase.

It features a carrying handle on the frame, preventing any need for an extra storage bag or an awkward fumbling grab. We didn't mind bringing this chair with us in the car and to events with reasonably close parking, but it isn't our first pick for long-distance carrying.

No case for this chair - just a handle to carry it wherever you need it to be.
No case for this chair - just a handle to carry it wherever you need it to be.

Durability


The listed capacity of the GCI 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 plop and bounce tests. Our 220-pound tester found no issues when plopping heavily into the Freestyle or bouncing in the seat. The spring-loaded shocks did become a bit stiff during our testing but are meant to be oiled periodically. Once we did that, they were back to their smooth, quiet movements.

The powder-coated steel frame and ripstop polyester fabric holds up fine  as long as you don't leave this product outside for weeks or months at a time.
The powder-coated steel frame and ripstop polyester fabric holds up fine, as long as you don't leave this product outside for weeks or months at a time.

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. After leaving this chair out in the hot sun of a high desert all summer, though, it became incredibly damaged and frayed without actually even being used. Its 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 above sea level. If you don't plan on keeping your chair out on your patio all summer, this issue will likely be avoided.


Ease of Setup


The Freestyle has one the simplest mechanisms to set up and take down any chair. 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 for you to carry your Rocker much like a suitcase to wherever you want to go.

Hard to mess up those directions!
Hard to mess up those directions!

Features


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 to avoid spilling your beverage while gesturing wildly telling 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's cup holder is plenty large - maybe too big?
The Freestyle Rocker's cup holder is plenty large - maybe too big?

Value


The GCI 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 on end to be promptly destroyed by UV, we still think this chair is worth it.

Relaxing with a good book and the GCI Freestyle Rocker on a beautiful evening at home..
Relaxing with a good book and the GCI Freestyle Rocker on a beautiful evening at home..

Conclusion


We were skeptical about the authentic feel and comfort of an outdoor rocking chair, but the GCI Outdoors Freestyle Rocker came as a pleasant surprise. Sure, it's part gimmick, 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 Brandenburg