REI Co-op Outward Low Padded Review
Cons: Very low to ground, narrow frame, no pockets
Manufacturer: REI Co-op
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REI Co-op Outward Low Padded
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|$40 List||$31 List|
|Pros||Fully padded, backpack straps, easy to set up, stable||Fits just about anyone, comfortably padded seat, super robust, plenty of storage, simple to use||Comfortable, portable, well-ventilated, stable, great storage, easy to use, inexpensive||Easy to set up, tall angled back, supportive, high seat height, less expensive||Simple and easy to use, reasonably portable, good features, inexpensive|
|Cons||Very low to ground, narrow frame, no pockets||Fairly large and heavy, holds water, not breathable||Low back height, slightly lower seat height, cup holder not ideal for thin beverages||Very tall seat, limited pockets, no locking mechanism, less supportive, long when packed||Slouchy, narrow seat, durability concerns|
|Bottom Line||This low, fully-padded take on a classic lawn chair is great for taking to campfires and outdoor concerts with its backpack straps||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||A tall chair with a simple set up that's easy to use and less expensive to buy||An inexpensive chair that's easy to use and like, with an attached cooler to keep refreshments cold and at hand|
|Rating Categories||REI Co-op Outward L...||ALPS Mountaineering...||REI Co-op Camp X||GCI Outdoor Comfort...||Portable|
|Ease Of Setup (15%)|
|Specs||REI Co-op Outward L...||ALPS Mountaineering...||REI Co-op Camp X||GCI Outdoor Comfort...||Portable|
|Weight (pounds)||7.3 lb||14.1 lb||8.0 lb||8.3 lb||6.3 lb|
|Weight Capacity (pounds)||250 lbs||800 lb||300 lb||300 lbs||225 lb|
|Folded Dimensions (inches)||27" x 23" x 6"||39" x 8" x 8"||33" x 7" x 7"||45" x 7" x 5"||35" x 8" x 8"|
|Unfolded Dimensions (inches)||23" x 23" x 27"||24" x 37" x 38"||21" x 31" x 31"||25" x 35" x 37"||34" x 20" x 36"|
|Seat Height (in middle, in inches)||7.5"||15.0"||11.5"||15"||11.5"|
|Features||Backpack straps, DWR finish||2 cup holders, 2 side pockets, storage pocket behind headrest, adjustable armrests||1 uniquely shaped cup holder, "stowable" armrest pouch, adjustable armrests||Beverage holder, small sleeve pocket||Built in 4-can cooler pouch, mesh up holder, side mesh pocket|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The REI Outward Low Padded is a classically folding camping chair with a hook closure and backpack straps for easy setup and portability. It's fully padded (seat and back) has no pockets but is low enough to set your items on the ground.
If you hate getting in and out of a chair that's super close to the ground, the REI Outward Low Padded is not the chair for you. On the other hand, if you're sold on the idea of using the earth as your side table, this fully padded folding chair is one of our favorite lowdown options. A rigid frame adds stability and support while the padding — evenly distributed through the entire seat and back — maintains comfort even through hours of campfire enjoyment. Wooden armrests might not be "cushy", but they do lend a lot of support when you finally decide to vacate your short throne. They don't splay outwards though like most camping chair armrests, giving this chair a more narrow overall seat and feeling. The front of the seat sits 10 inches from the ground, while the middle section is about 7.5 inches off the lawn. Impressively, this low chair doesn't really sag when sat in, offering a unique combination of support and padded comfort that we rarely see in the world of camping chairs.
Despite its low stature, the beefy build of the Outward Low Padded doesn't quite qualify it for the lightweight category of camping chairs. Tipping the scales at just over 7 pounds though, it's definitely on the lighter side of the median chair weight we tested. It doesn't compact very small, but what it lacks in compactness, it makes up for with ease of carrying. Skipping the carrying case that so many others come standard with, a single hook clips the two sides of the folded chair together and tightens with a tug. Adjustable backpack straps made of wide webbing allow you to carry it hands-free across your back. We're big fans of how easy this chair is to carry, despite its packed up bulk and unremarkable weight.
Though a 250-lb weight capacity is nothing to scoff at, it's the standard minimum among competing camping chairs. The Outward Low Padded is made of 300D ripstop nylon with a DWR finish to help repel light rain or spills. Aluminum poles add strength without weighing it down too much. By connecting the front poles together and back poles together with two bracing bars, this chair feels solid and stable, easily withstanding our jumping, plopping, and standing tests. Even after carefully inspecting every stitch and joint, we have no immediate worries about its longevity.
Ease of Setup
Just like the folding chair set up at a high school graduation, the Outward Low Padded folds shut in just a single direction, making it one of the simplest models to set up even in a relatively simple-to-use category. Hindered only by the narrow opening of the hook holding it shut, getting up and leaving is very easy.
When it comes to features, this chair keeps it simple. Aside from the functionality features we already discussed (like padding and backpack straps), there are no extras on this chair. Its total lack of cupholders and pockets is only mitigated by your willingness to instead set your drink on the ground when you need to use both hands.
Compared to many others in this review, the REI Outward Low Padded is a hair on the expensive side. For anyone not convinced they'll enjoy this small chair, we think it's worth sitting in before purchasing. However, if you adore this style of a close-to-the-earth folding chair, we think its comfort and ease of transportation are worth the investment.
The REI Outward Low Padded Lawn Chair is a fully padded model that's sure to please anyone who's already over the moon about sitting this close to the ground. From its comfortably stuffed seat and back to its super convenient backpack straps, this is our favorite outdoor shorty folding chair.
— Maggie Brandenburg