My rating: 9.5/10
The Monarch folding chair by Alite.
The solution to comfortable seating around camp! This may be extravagant, unnecessary, extra weight, extra bulk and a bit of a wimpy accessory but I think it’s amazing. For years I’ve complained about back ache after a long days ramble carrying a huge pack. When you finally drop the pack off your back and setup you tarp/bivvy and get a brew on the go, you then spend the rest of the evening sat on the damp cold ground or on an uncomfortable rock. Even sitting on you sleeping bag may improve things but you still end up with a stiff back from hunching over all evening. When I discovered the Monarch folding chair by Alite I was intrigued but a little sceptical. In the end I decided to give it ago and return it if it didn’t live up to its claims. I bought the chair from my favourite outdoors online shop Backpackinglight and set about testing it at home.
To begin with it was tricky to get into a comfortable position without tipping over but after a little practice I soon mastered it. The chair is available in a four leg version but I liked the idea of being able to swing backwards and lean the chair over. After testing it properly I realised that two legs works better when the ground isn’t flat or even. It allows you to set it up on a hill for example and lean back so your upright. The chair comprises of a strong fabric (210D ripstop nylon fabric) with reenforced corners that the metal frame (7075 aluminium) locates. Each corner is colour coded to match the colours that each leg is tipped with. It takes less than 60seconds to put the thing together and fold away. As the fabric is sort of hung from the frame you can sit in it in a variety of ways.
I found the most comfortable way is to lean back and slouch down so your shoulder blades are level with the back of the chair. Then stretch your legs out and cross them over which acts as a counterbalance. I’ve used the chair twice now and probably sat in it for 4 hours or more and I’ve had the most comfortable evenings around camp ever. The seat keeps you well of the ground (7″) but low enough to reach your cooker etc. Both times I’ve used it it’s received huge admiration from fellow campers! It all folds away into a neat roll and can be stowed away in a side pocket of your pack or under the top flap easily. This means you can whip it out at every coffee stop and no longer need to suffer sat on a cold rock or wet tree stump. I’m looking forward to testing it more and to see if it stands up to the abuse all my kit gets.
- Weight: 590g
- Materials: 210D Ripstop Nylon, 450D Polyester, 7000 Series Aluminium
- Unfolded: H 58.4cm x W 54.6cm x D 43.2cm
- Packed: 30.5cm x 11.4cm x 11.4 cm
- Seat height: 17.8cm
- Max Capacity 113.4kg
The chair comes with a life time guarantee and in a variety of colours.
- Extremely comfortable
- Very strong and well made
- Quick to setup and pack away
- Better than any rock or log
- Price is a little on the high side (approx £55)
- Packed size is very good for what it does but some may struggle to stow it away
- It’s a bit of a wimpy accessory (but I don’t care)