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I'm going on my first big touring trip (2 weeks – that's big for me). I've found some nice light-weight camping chairs and I'm wondering if it's worth investing in one.

Two basic options seem to stand out:

  1. The Eureka Helinox is a proper foldout chair. price ~$100. weight: ~1kg. very well reviewed, folds up small.

  2. Thermarest plus is basically a frame for your thermarest sleeping pad (which i already have). price ~$40. weight: .2kg. very well reviewed, and folds up even smaller than than helinox.

I'm happy to spend the dough if it's worthwhile, but I don't want to waste money or space on something totally frivolous. Put another way, a bit of luxury would be nice but I dont want to be cursing my every pedal all trip either.

Does anyone have experience with this? Is it the sort of thing where you're like 'I'd kill for a chair after biking all day' or is sitting on the ground for weeks totally fine?

thanks!

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Save the weight, bulk, and money and just sit on your sleeping pad. –  Blam Jul 19 at 14:02
3  
Same answer. Pack what is essential not what you might like to have. It I am going to treat myself to .2kg at the end of a the day it would be a beer. Read Lost and Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. –  Blam Jul 19 at 17:11
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You fail to say whether this is a self-contained trip or your baggage will be hauled for you. When running self-contained the bulk is probably even more of a factor than the weight. –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 19 at 19:20
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@jon - I mean cubic inches (or cubic cm, if you prefer). One of the biggest challenges of self-contained touring is getting everything to physically fit on the bike. –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 20 at 12:54
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(And there's also the question of whether you'll even be able to find the thing in your bags when you want it.) –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 20 at 12:55

2 Answers 2

up vote 11 down vote accepted

In my experience (week long camping / bike touring trips), I have never thought "Man, I wish I had a chair." I have often thought, "I have packed way too much stuff."

There are a few things to consider. You have looked into weight and cost, but there is also space and time considerations.

  • Volume: Do you have space on your rack to put this? How small does it fold up? Does it fit in a bag, or will you have to strap it on top? The surface area can also be a factor: a smaller profile is going to be nice to have on those windy days.
  • Time: How long is it going to take to unpack this item / everything else? If it takes 5 minutes to unpack this and another 5 to pack it up, then you probably are not going to bother with it for a short break or even a lunch stop.
  • Utility: How many uses does it have? Do you have other items that would work just as well in a pinch? For example, if you already have a towel, you can sit on that or use it to lay down.

So... as it always is with these questions: it depends. Personally, I just sit on the ground.

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what about option #2? i.e. the thermarest frame. –  jon Jul 19 at 14:57
2  
I don't know... seems like a neat gadget. But I'm guessing that your trip will be great with or without gadgets. If you want to, take it. If not, don't worry, just about anything is comfortable compared to a day in the saddle. –  superdesk Jul 19 at 18:08

By day 3 of my first long bicycle tour I realized how much stuff that I thought was essential was not. I ended up shipping stuff home, giving it away, and whatever else I could do. I would recommend that you skip the chair - even if it's lightweight, it's going to take up precious space.

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I hear you. I actually wound up doing the same thing on my trip (sending a big package home). Funnily, the chair made the cut though as it packed in nicely with my tent and made evenings by the fire so much more pleasant after a long ride. The big thing me and my friend brought too much of was clothing. It also turned out that we packed for the wrong season (we got really cold at nights) and had to swap some gear (new sleeping bags, nice wool clothes, etc). I came to realize of essential camping was to the trip – its not just a bike trip. –  jon Sep 15 at 7:43

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