The Helinox Beach Chair in its native habitat.
The Helinox Beach scores highly in the most important category - comfort. This category is 40% of the overall score of any chair, as it's one of the most important reasons to love (or not love) any seat. The Beach sports a high back to provide head and neck support as you bask on the shore. While it doesn't have a built-in pillow, the storage sack is designed to fill that gap (literally). By filling it with an extra clothing layer or beach towel, you can then attach it via a large velcro patch to the height that's comfortable for you, and you'll be snoozing in comfort in no time. With mesh side and back panels, the Helinox Beach allows quite a bit of breathability. If you need more though, Big Agnes also makes an all mesh version of the Helinox Beach! This chair provides what we feel is an excellent balance of comfort and support. It has a wide seat that prevents that hammock feeling of being bum-funneled into a singularity like the ENO Lounger DL. The Beach also has a wide and sturdy base that isn't about to tip over when you lean out of it for another beverage or plop into it after a refreshing swim in the waves.
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 of this chair more of a challenge than taller models, we appreciated being close to the sand on our beach day. This seat does have a relatively narrow space for your arms (do they go inside, next to your body, or outside over the edges?) which may be constricting for larger folks. The edges also aren't the best design for resting arms or elbows to read that book for an hour, as they dig in a bit uncomfortably. We also noticed that the very top of the chair has a relatively hard bar across it. While this bar is padded, very tall folks might need the extra cushion of the storage sack/pillow to really get comfy. However, notwithstanding these minor complaints, we are quite pleased with the comfort of the Helinox Beach Chair.
The tall supported back and optional pillow were a hit with our testers!
For as large and sturdy as this chair is, we found it to be very portable. It packs down to just 18 inches long and 5-6" diameter, which was an acceptable size to fit into a beach tote with our other lakeside accessories. This chair is the lightest we tested, at just 3.3 pounds. Compared to many of the other models in this review that we felt were just as or more comfortable, this chair is practically featherweight. Consider that our Editors' Choice, the ALPS Mountaineering King Kong, weighs 13 pounds!
The only real complaint that we have about the Beach is that has only a hand carry strap and not an over-the-shoulder version like the ENO Lounger DL or ALPS Mountaineering Rendezvous. Though with a low weight and small packed size, it isn't a huge detriment to not have this type of strap. We are pretty impressed with the lightweight, compact portability of this highly comfortable chair from Big Agnes.
Small enough to fit in a tote or backpack to the beach, the Helinox Beach Chair.
This is yet another area where we felt the Helinox Beach shines. Constructed of sturdy DAC tent poles and 600D polyester fabric gives this small chair 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. When we had one of our 170-pound testers plop down repeatedly on this chair, he reported that he bounced "like a trampoline" but didn't feel wobbly or worry that the chair might fail.
We didn't find any issues with the durability of this chair no matter what we did to it, where we took it, or how much sand and dirt made their way into this chair. However, with a weight capacity of 320 pounds, this chair doesn't come close to the beefy 800 pound capacity of our Editors' Choice, the ALPS Mountaineering King Kong or even the 500 pound capacity of the Kelty Low Loveseat. Overall, we are quite impressed with the durability of the Helinox Beach, which scores highly in our durability tests.
Durable poles and strong joints keep you lounging in comfort.
Ease of Set-Up
The Beach takes a little time to set up. Though all the poles are attached with shock cord, it takes a bit to assemble them. It's possible to accidentally insert the legs into the base upside down, but your mistake becomes extremely obvious very quickly, as it's impossible to use this chair with the legs upside down. Directions and helpful hints for setting this chair up are also helpfully printed on the bottom of the seat fabric. We also greatly appreciated the side-opening stuff sack of this model. It made packing this chair back up a total breeze!
That being said, this chair is, of course, going to be more involved in setting up than any of the simple open-and-place models like the GCI Freestyle Rocker or Kijaro Dual Lock. There's a bit of a learning curve to set this chair up, as, like the other portable chairs we tested, it boasts a rather tight construction. With a little practice, we were able to set this chair up well under a minute every time. One important thing to note though is that this chair is not going to give you a stable base if it's set on an uneven surface - like a rocky space or large-graveled area. Big Agnes recommends using this chair on flat and forgiving surfaces - like sandy beaches, front porches, and level camping sites. At the end of the day, this chair is reasonably straightforward to set up and we think the extra time it takes is worth the portability and comfort it gives.
The tight fit we've come to expect from Helinox chairs takes a bit of getting used to but isn't too difficult to assemble.
The Beach doesn't have any extra pockets or cup holders, but we liked 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!
Add a puffy and turn the stuff sack into a pillow! Or attach it to the back to keep your other belongings off the ground and close at hand.
As the name implies, this chair is extremely well-suited to a day at the beach. It's lightweight and small enough to carry to your perfect sandy spot, won't sink or tip over like many other chairs do in sand, and will keep you comfortable and happy all day in the sun. Just don't forget the sunscreen or beach umbrella! This chair can be easily used in the backyard, on your patio, out car camping, or even to lounge in your own home. Also available in an all mesh option for ultimate breathability, the Beach is ready to keep you cool as you sip piña coladas in the sand. Don't let the name fool you into only using this chair at the beach though! But if you do, we think you'll love what it has to offer.
Enjoy the Helinox Beach Chair on the beach or in the backyard.
Retailing for around $150, this chair is an investment. If you're looking for a chair for all surfaces or one you can eat from a normal-height table in, this chair 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 more than that $20 grocery store behemoth. If you're looking to save some cash and don't mind carrying a little extra weight, check out the 7.1 pound ALPS Mountaineering Rendezvous which is only about $45 and we think is also an excellent option for your next beach day or outdoor music festival.
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, this chair is far and away the best beach chair we tested and just might be exactly the beach day accessory you've been searching for.
Relax in yet another one of our favorites from Helinox.