Helinox Sunset Chair Review
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Helinox Sunset Chair
|Price||Check Price at REI|
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$79.99 at Amazon
$59.95 at REI
|$139.95 at REI|
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|$39.99 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Lightweight and packable, comfortable, good neck and back support, durable ergonomic design||Fits just about anyone, comfortably padded seat, super robust, plenty of storage, simple to use||Comfortable, well-ventilated, stable, great storage, easy to use||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, no arm rests||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||With impressive upright support for the lumbar spine all within a compact and ergonomic design, this chair is our favorite for packability||Our favorite among all contenders, this robust chair makes camp lounging a simple and comfortable affair||A solid and affordable option for carrying your camp seating longer distances||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 Sunset Chair||ALPS Mountaineering...||REI Co-op Camp X||Kelty Low Loveseat||GCI Outdoor Comfort...|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Helinox Sunset Chair||ALPS Mountaineering...||REI Co-op Camp X||Kelty Low Loveseat||GCI Outdoor Comfort...|
|Weight||3.24 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)||18.5" x 4.5" x 5.5"||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)||28.5" x 23" x 38.5"||24" x 37" x 38"||21" x 31" x 31"||24" x 44" x 32"||25" x 35" x 37"|
|Seat Height (middle)||18.5"||15"||11.5"||7"||15"|
|Features||Mesh back and sides, adjustable head rest, side pockets||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 Helinox Sunset is our favorite camp chair in terms of packability. Measuring only 18.5 inches when packed into its carry bag (which also converts to a headrest), the Sunset is a great option when space is limited. It's a bit of an investment, but you a get a compact and comfortable chair with a durable and lightweight design.
Similar to the Helinox Beach Chair, the Helinox Sunset receives high marks for comfort. Think Beach Chair just with longer legs, as the Sunset sits 14 inches off the ground, allowing more support for those with longer limbs. This compact chair features an ergonomic design and a high back frame, and a supportive back panel to help you relax while also supporting your lumbar spine. Unfortunately, the Sunset does not have any armrests, which can get uncomfortable over a long period; however, our testers didn't feel like this was a dealbreaker.
In addition to an ergonomic design, the Sunset also features a headrest that can be adjusted to your personal comfort level. Simply fill the carry bag with extra layers such as a puffy jacket or towel to the width that is supportive for you. Place the carry bag beneath the nylon sleeve, attach using the velcro, and enjoy reclining with your personalized neck pillow. While the wide seat, which measures 23 inches across, allows ample space to support many different body types, we noticed that the bar that runs across the back of the chair could be less comfortable for longer bodies. In that case, we highly recommend the headrest option for added comfort. For such a compact chair, the folks at Helinox sure created a thoughtful and ergonomic design to maximize space and increase comfort.
This is a category where the Sunset stood apart from the competition. Of all the chairs that we tested, we love this tiny package for the overall comfort and durability. When space is limited, and you do not want to sacrifice comfort, this is the camp chair of choice. For a chair that unfolds to 38.5 inches tall, 28.5 inches deep, and about 23 inches wide, it packs down to an amazing 18.5 inches. In addition to its compact packable size, this chair was also one of the lightest that we tested, weighing only 3.24 pounds, which is quite significant considering some of the heaviest chairs weighed in around 15 pounds.
Another feature that makes the Sunset stand out amongst other chairs that we tested is the single handle on each side of the carry bag versus an over-the-shoulder strap or a double backpack strap. However, if you really want a shoulder strap, we recommend installing one yourself. Simply purchase some cord in the width of your choice from your local gear shop, and with a couple of simple knots, you can fashion your own over-the-shoulder strap. Out of all the chairs that we tested, the Sunset was the lightest and most compact. It packs up easily so that you don't have to sacrifice comfort and support just to save a little weight.
For such a compact and portable chair, the Sunset is also quite durable, and we're happy to report that we found no issues with this chair throughout our entire testing period. The frame is constructed from advanced high-tech aluminum alloy with a higher specification than aircraft-grade aluminum, and that undergoes over 70 production processes from raw material to finished pole. This thoughtful design offers strength and durability, as the chair can support up to 320 pounds of weight. The aluminum frame keeps the weight down with an internal shock cord that keeps the frame tightly in place.
The hubs that hold the frame in place are high-strength and fiber-reinforced, and the breathable material of the seat is made out of high-quality, ultra-durable ripstop polyester. Helinox recommends that the material be hand-washed with warm water to keep it in optimal condition and ensure all material is dry before storing. The Sunset also comes with a five-year warranty and an offer from customer service to replace any defective shock cord that keeps the frame together. Overall, we were impressed by the durability of this compact and portable design.
Ease of Use
The Sunset does require some assembly, but we are talking about 40 seconds or less. The chair is equipped with excellent instructions and an intuitive order of operations. Helinox recommends first inserting all the poles into the hubs before fitting the seat to the upper rear poles, then flipping this lightweight chair onto its back before using a bit of muscle to attach the fabric to the frame. While it does require a little strength to connect the final corner, we love that the tight construction allows for less sagging in the seat material and a more supportive backrest, thereby increasing the overall comfort. Another feature we love about the Sunset is the ability to convert the carry bag into a headrest. Simply stuff the bag with a puffy jacket or towel to the width of your choice and velcro it into place. If the extra headrest isn't to your liking, you can also use this feature to attach personal items to the back of the chair for close proximity.
Breaking down is a little easier as less muscle is required to release the material from the frame. When it's time to go, simply release the corners from the frame and fold the poles into themselves before rolling everything into the material and placing it back into the carry bag for easy travel. While this chair is not as sturdy as some other heavy-duty options, we love what you get in exchange for a little assembly time; a compact, supportive, and durable design that is easy to pack and minimizes space in our rig.
Should You Buy the Helinox Sunset?
The Sunset is an investment, but it's one that we think will pay off over the years. Constructed from high tech aluminum alloy and ultra-durable ripstop polyester, this chair is built to last. Complete with a five-year manufacturer warranty and the ability to send in damaged shock cord for replacement, this chair is not likely to disappoint. For such a compact, lightweight, and ergonomic design, this chair truly delivers above and beyond in comfort and versatility.
What Other Camping Chairs Should You Consider?
While our testers were quite impressed with the versatile Helinox Sunset, there are other options to consider if you are after a chair that offers quality and support without taking up too much space in your rig. The Helinox Beach Chair is a solid choice if you find yourself near a sandy beach or a sandstone desert wash and want to extend your legs closer to the ground. If you like the collapsible design but are after a little more comfort, the ENO Lounger DL features cushioned armrests and a hammock-inspired seat to promote relaxation.
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