Helinox Beach Chair Review
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Helinox Beach Chair
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|Pros||Head and neck support, lightweight, stable, won’t sink in sand, stuff sack converts to pillow||Fits just about anyone, comfortably padded seat, super robust, plenty of storage, simple to use||Comfortable, well-ventilated, stable, great storage, easy to use, good price||Seats two people, comfortable padded design, stable and durable, easy to set up and take down, handy cup holders||Easy to set up, tall angled back, supportive, high seat height, less expensive|
|Cons||Expensive, low to the ground||Fairly large and heavy, holds water, not breathable||Low back height, slightly lower seat height, cup holder not ideal for thin beverages||Poor ventilation, heavy, bulky||Very tall seat, limited pockets, no locking mechanism, long when packed|
|Bottom Line||Be the envy of all your friends on your next beach excursion with this chair that excels in soft, loose sand||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||Like a portable love seat, this two-person chair is surprisingly comfortable and durable for you and a friend||A tall chair with a simple set up that's easy to use and less expensive to buy|
|Rating Categories||Helinox Beach Chair||ALPS Mountaineering...||REI Co-op Camp X||Kelty Low Loveseat||GCI Outdoor Comfort...|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Helinox Beach Chair||ALPS Mountaineering...||REI Co-op Camp X||Kelty Low Loveseat||GCI Outdoor Comfort...|
|Weight||3.3 lbs||14.1 lbs||8.0 lbs||15.5 lbs||8.3 lbs|
|Weight Capacity||320 lbs||800 lbs||300 lbs||500 lbs||300 lbs|
|Folded Dimensions (length x width x height)||18" x 6" x 5"||39" x 8" x 8"||33" x 7" x 7"||34" x 12" x 7"||45" x 7" x 5"|
|Unfolded Dimensions (depth x width x height)||28" x 23" x 32"||24" x 37" x 38"||21" x 31" x 31"||24" x 44" x 32"||25" x 35" x 37"|
|Seat Height (middle)||5"||15"||11.5"||7"||15"|
|Features||Mesh sides, storage sack converts to a pillow||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||Beverage holder, small sleeve pocket|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Beach Chair is a low-slung chair with a high back. It comes apart into smaller sections that fit into a relatively small carry bag. Sitting so close to the ground, it lacks many features other than the storage sack that doubles as a headrest.
The Beach Chair scores highly in the most important category — comfort. It sports a high back to provide head and neck support, and the storage sack converts to a pillow by filling it with an extra clothing layer or beach towel and attaching it via a large velcro patch. With mesh side and back panels, the Beach allows quite a bit of breathability. Overall, this chair provides what we feel is an excellent balance of comfort and support. It has a wide seat that prevents that hammock feeling and also has a wide and sturdy base that won't tip over when you lean out of it to grab a beverage.
We have very few complaints about the comfort of this chair. While its relatively low seat height of just five inches may make getting in and out more of a challenge than taller models, we appreciate being close to the sand on a true beach day. The Beach is relatively narrow for the arms and the edges also aren't the best design for resting arms or elbows while you're reading a book, as they dig in a bit uncomfortably. We also noticed that the very top of the chair has a relatively hard bar across it. This bar is padded, but very tall folks might need the extra cushion of the storage sack/pillow to really get comfy.
For as large and sturdy as this chair is, we find it to be very portable. It packs down to just 18 inches long and 5-6" in diameter, which is an acceptable size to fit into a beach tote with other lakeside accessories. This chair is also among the lightest we tested, at just 3.3 pounds.
Constructed of sturdy DAC tent poles and 600D polyester fabric, the Beach has an impressive capacity of 320 pounds. All the seams holding this chair together are double stitched, and an extra layer of fabric protects the edges. The corners for pole insertions are padded, and all junctures and pressure points are backed up with extra stitching. The poles are strung with bungee and fit together snugly in the thick plastic joints.
Ease of Use
The Beach takes a little time to set up. Though all the poles are attached with a shock cord, it takes a bit to assemble them. Directions and helpful hints for setting up are helpfully printed on the bottom of the seat fabric, though. We also greatly appreciate the side-opening stuff sack of this model, as it makes packing up a total breeze.
This chair doesn't have any extra pockets or cup holders, but we like the storage-bag-turned-pillow feature. It is easy to use and lets you choose the firmness or squishiness of your headrest, as well as its placement. And if you don't want a pillow, you can also use the storage sack to keep items off the ground and safe by velcroing them to the back of the chair instead.
Retailing for triple digits, this chair is an investment. If you're looking for a seat for all surfaces or one you can use to eat from a normal-height table, the Beach probably isn't for you. However, if you spend a lot of time enjoying life at the beach, park, or on your deck, this chair is a comfortable, durable, and portable option that we think you'll love.
With solid construction and a decent amount of portability, this highly comfortable chair is no less than we have come to expect from Helinox. Though a bit of an investment, it's great for its namesake — the beach — and just might be exactly the accessory you've been searching for.
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