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Therm-a-Rest Treo Review

The latest version of the Treo
Price:   $100 List | $49.73 at REI
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Pros:  Attractive, lightweight, small packed size
Cons:  Unstable, not very comfortable, has six individual parts, not suitable for uneven terrain
Bottom line:  This chair is portable and good looking, yet too complicated, uncomfortable, and lacking stability for our liking.
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Therm-a-Rest

Our Verdict

The Treo is camping chic on top of being portable, as it folds down into its base stand. This didn't, however, prevent it from scoring at the bottom of the heap compared to the other models we reviewed. Therm-a-Rest markets this chair as "Big comfort in a small package." Unfortunately, we think it might be more accurately described as, "very packable, moderately comfortable, but not very useful." The Treo is so unstable that it really decreases its function. Uneven or sandy terrain will pitch you right out of this bucket seat. Try reaching for something just out of arm's reach and you might regret it (one tester did…). It is lightweight and small, but not convenient enough for us to recommend it, even as a portable chair.

Product Update — June 2017
A new iteration of the Treo is out and pictured above. The updated version features some mechanical design changes to the original design, which we detail below.

If you are searching for a small, lightweight chair, we recommend looking up our Top Pick for Portability, the Big Agnes Helinox Chair One.


RELATED REVIEW: 14 of the Best Camping Chairs


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Laura Lingeman
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Wednesday
June 14, 2017

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The New Version of the Therma-a-Rest Treo vs. the Older Version


Therm-a-Rest informed us about the updates to the most recent updates to the Treo. Check out the details of the new design below in a quote from the manufacturer!


— Updated sling pattern for Treo Chairs. The Treo sling pattern was made a little less deep — which will alleviate pole contact.
— Updated corner material.
— Front poles have an updated ferrule design - now have a machined ridge — creating a mechanical stop - so that the ferrule can't slip back into the pole.
The ferrule (the thinner silver portion at the tip of the front poles) may loosen and slip into the larger, black pole section. When this occurs, the front poles no longer fit into the chair base. The back poles do not have ferrules and are not affected.
— Updated Treo feet design. The Treo rubber foot design was updated shortly after initially released and have much-improved retention.
— Strengthening ribs were added to the front leg of the Treo chair. This allows less flex in the front leg when leaning forward with all of the weight on the single front leg. The change is clearly visible in that the front leg has the exterior strengthening ribs and also has additional inside reinforcements.
  • Therm-a-Rest

The Treo has undergone a few changes over the years. Compare the evolution of this chair in the photos below, with the latest iteration on the left, the 2016 model in the middle, and the version we reviewed on the right.

The latest version of the Treo
Therm-a-Rest Treo
Therm-a-Rest Treo
 


We have not tested the updated version of the Therm-a-Rest Treo. The text in this review still reflects the older version.

Hands-On Review of the Older Treo


Overall, our testers just didn't find the Therm-a-Rest Treo comfortable enough to sit in for long periods of time and it was very unstable on its stand. That said, its light weight and small stature do make it a good portable option, and it even packs down into its own tripod base. Without any other redeeming features, however, we just couldn't recommend this chair as a good camping option. The Treo is made in the USA and comes in three colors.

Performance Comparison


The Treo reminds us of a space-age hammock.
The Treo reminds us of a space-age hammock.

Comfort


Compared to the other camping chair models that we tested, the Treo received average marks for comfort. It wasn't uncomfortable, but the bucket style seat did little in terms of spine support. It forces the inhabitant's spine to curl inside of its slouched seat. Of the testers who did find the Treo to be cozy, none recommended it for activities that would require sitting for a long period of time. The lack of armrests also negatively influenced the chair's comfort rating as there was no where to put anything that you might have in your hands.

In addition to its lack of comfort, this chair blows away easily in windy environments.

Portability


We gave the Treo a nearly perfect score in portability. As previously mentioned, it essentially packs inside of itself, which eliminates the need of a storage bag. Testers liked this feature because chair storage bags aren't actually that easy to keep track of when it is windy. Other models, like the Big Agnes Helinox and Alite Mantis, have a separate storage bag for transporting the seat and stand. If you want some seating for a scenario where space or weight are at a premium, the Treo is a decent bet. Just be careful to assemble the chair on a flat, solid surface.

The Treo  all packed up and ready to go!
The Treo, all packed up and ready to go!

Durability


The Therm-a-Rest Treo is constructed from an aluminum frame and has a nylon seat. Its materials appear to be relatively strong, but the chair is so rickety that extra movement seems to stress the joints of the seat. To assess the durability of the Treo we had one tester plop in the chair from regular standing height. This resulted in a large 'crack' sound and the discovery that the foot of one of the tripod legs had cracked off. The chair still seemed usable until it was disassembled, during which one of its thin aluminum rods was found to be broken.

Also, the chair packs inside of its tripod base which is sealed shut with a thin silicone loop that wraps around the whole capsule. This loop is by far the weakest part of the capsule, and if it breaks, then you lose all of the contents of your chair. Among the portable chairs, the REI Camp Stowaway Low was the most stable and durable option we tested and we recommend this model if you are concerned about toppling the Treo.

Ease of Set-Up


This chair has the most involved set-up because it has the most parts. In addition, the connection socket where the aluminum poles attach to the fabric sling was the least secure of all of the portable models we tested. This resulted in the two parts accidentally separating mid-set-up. With practice, the Treo could be set-up in a few minutes. This is a lot of time compared to the two-second set-up of many of the traditional chairs.

An unassembled Treo. This product was one of the hardest to set-up.
An unassembled Treo. This product was one of the hardest to set-up.

Features


Like the rest of the portable models we tested, there were no additional features for this chair. No armrests, no cup holders, not even an umbrella. Nada.

Best Applications


We recommend this chair first and foremost to children as its size and fun colors/look appeal more to the younger crowd. That being said, for adults we would recommend it for times when you don't have enough space/weight to carry a full sized camping chair or for situations where you won't be sitting a lot. We highly recommend limiting this chair's use to flat, stable surfaces.

The Treo balancing act. The hard metal tripod base of this chair made it unideal for setting up on rocky or uneven surfaces.
The Treo balancing act. The hard metal tripod base of this chair made it unideal for setting up on rocky or uneven surfaces.

Value


Considering the limited use options for the Treo, we think $100 is too much to spend on this chair. The Big Agnes Helinox also costs $100 but was our Top Pick for Portability. If you have the budget to spend this much money on a chair and want something portable, we recommend the Helinox instead. If you have a smaller budget, check out the REI Camp Stowaway Low, which is another portable model that costs $45 and is very sturdy and comfortable.

Conclusion


We think the Therm-a-Rest Treo is better looking than it is functional. It could be a hit for kids or teens who want to be able to carry around their own seating, but it is ultimately too unstable, annoying to pack, and expensive to be a universally appealing model.

The Treo's pole-seat connection was not ideal since the poles are not secure in their loose pocket fittings. This caused the poles to repeatedly fall out while setting up the chair.
The Treo's pole-seat connection was not ideal since the poles are not secure in their loose pocket fittings. This caused the poles to repeatedly fall out while setting up the chair.
Laura Lingeman

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: June 14, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (1.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
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5 star: 0%  (0)
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2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 100%  (1)


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