Camping is all about relaxing, so pick a good chair

May 22, 2008 

Camping is all about sitting. There's sitting by the fire. There's sitting in the morning sun enjoying a cup of coffee.

There's sitting around watching other people set up camp.

There's sitting around talking about what to do instead of sitting around.

Sitting on the ground and leaning up against a log gets old after a while.

That's why one of the most important pieces of camping equipment is the camp chair.

Some camp chairs don't last a season, even a weekend. They range in price from $6.95 to $200 and you can guess which one lasts a weekend.

So, I thought for this camping issue, it was time to sit around on the job.

I went to several outdoors stores and sat in camp chairs. I sat in lounge chairs, bowl-shaped chairs, director's chairs, and mushroom-shaped chairs.

I bypassed all the cheapo chairs and went straight to the ones with higher price tags:

Here's what I found:

WILDERNESS RECLINER

Comfort: Very, very comfortable. It has padded headrest, back and seat. You don't want to get out of this chair.

I liked the wooden armrests that had a comfortable feel. Fairly easy to get out of.

Features: It has beverage holders, which hide under the armrest, shoulder straps for carrying, a good padded feel, and pretty good-looking water-resistant fabric. The chair comes with a life-time warranty. Folds up easily. Definitely a good all-around choice.

It can be used for rafting, too.

Weight: 9 pounds.

Cost: $59.97; seen at Boise Army-Navy and other areas around town.

COLUMBIA SUMMIT CREST CHAIR

Comfort: Comfortable; feels real snuggy. I sank into this one. Definitely a good choice for the price because it feels sturdy. Easy to get out of.

Features: Foam-padded arm rests add a touch of comfort and comfortable, padded feel. Folds easily.

Weight: 13.7 pounds.

Cost: $49.99; seen at Joe's. Moderate price for a sturdy chair.

REI COMFORT LOUNGER XI

Comfort: Very, very comfortable. It will put you to sleep; excellent for napping. It's the Godzilla of camp chairs but has monster comfort. It takes a little more effort to get out of this chair.

Features: Quick-drying, breathable mesh fabric provides soft but firm support; a headrest pad that slides up and down; and strong steel frame. It's definitely a brute of camp chairs.

Weight: 24 pounds.

Cost: $139; seen at REI.

THE BLUE RIDGE CHAIR

Comfort: Comfortable, except the seat is hard wood. It's not as soft as other camp chairs but definitely has good support.

It's a classic chair and an ideal chair for on-the-go and quick set up. I've owned two of these for several years and used them for car camping and river running in my drift boat.

Features: Carrying straps, sturdy two-part construction which only takes seconds to assemble or disassemble. Packs flat for the trunk of the car or on a raft. A little difficult to get out of it because it's low to the ground.

It's sturdy but remember, it's handcrafted from ash hardwood and needs a little care, especially in wet conditions.

The best thing about it is how it disassembles and stores flat.

Weight: 9 pounds.

Cost: $54.95; seen at www. blueridgechair.com

pzimowsky@idahostatesman.com 377-6445

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