ALPS Mountaineering Tri-Leg Stool
For those of us of stout build who are desirous of…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $8.72
For those of us of stout build who are desirous of a seat over a stove or by a fire, the Alps Mountaineering Tri-Leg Stool offers a powder-coated steel frame with both center support and leg support to accommodate up to 250 pounds, a weight some of its lighter cousins in the industry would find crushing.
Heavy for ultralight use, but a nice luxury for car camping, base camps, day hikes, or even backpacking when you are willing to carry extra weight for added luxury.
- Cost and value
- Strength (250 lbs.)
- Relative comfort
After years of sitting on logs and rocks at campsites, I decided that I wanted a more comfortable perch and made the conscious decision to carry a bit more weight to accomplish this goal. I contemplated the multi-use contraptions that convert sleeping pads into seats; I eyed collapsible stools. The seats were comfy, but middle-aged me found getting up from them after being warmed by a fire to be a Herculean task. The stools' weight limit hovered uncomfortably close to more charitable interpretations of the weight indicated on my scale.
And then I chanced upon the Alps Mountaineering Tri-Leg Stool (hereafter AM Tri-Leg) at the bargain price of $8.72, a stout but relatively compact stool that allowed me the luxury of indulging at the Thanksgiving table without fearing the subsequent collapse of my camp stool.
The AM Tri-Leg comes in a very adequate carry bag with a cord-lock drawstring closure. Being perpetually in contact with the ground, the legs of the stool may get dirty; I find I carry the stool on the exterior of my pack, but for those who may have need to keep residual dirt from the legs separate from other gear, the carry bag is quite useful.
Removing the stool from the bag, one finds the legs are held together by a hook-and-load strap. This strap is heavy duty; I have contemplated replacing it with a lighter strap as part of my gram-shaving compulsion (ironic, given the weight of the stool, but some will understand this compulsion).
Heavy but attractive 600D polyester fabric forms the seat, a triangular shape of cloth that includes pockets on the underside to hold the stool's three legs in place. With the fastening strap undone, simply spreading the seat fabric open readies the stool for use. The salient dimensions are 14 inches wide for the seat at a 16 inch height; the stowed stool is about 3 inches in diameter. I have found this to be a good height for my 6' 2" frame.
Moving down the stool from the seat, one finds a round center support that holds the steel, powder-coated legs securely in place.
At the bottom of the legs, a sturdy band of webbing encircles them, limiting the horizontal spread of the legs and contributing strength to the stool's design. An adjustable carry strap allows one to discard the carry bag and still have a convenient means of carrying the stool; of course, this trap could be jettisoned, too, if one so desired.
In use the AM Tri-Leg is solid in feel and offers no hint of weakness or instability. The tripod form is inherently strong by geometry, and I have found that this configuration is also reasonably comfortable. I've used it on numerous trips now, relishing my newfound ability to perch above my stove or fire without having to endure roots, rocks, or dampness. The simple stool offers a measure of civilized comfort in the wilderness, not something all seek, but something I have found to be a welcome physical and psychological boost after a long hike when my camp chores are finished and a cup of steaming coffee beckons.
I will say that anything that shapes itself around one's nether anatomy risks being not wholly comfortable: the AM Tri-Leg rather reminds me of some bicycle saddles I have used that required a period of acclimation. It is not as comfortable as a doubled Therm-a-rest, but I am not using this stool for hours on end, either: I typically pull it out at meal time or coffee time, and it has been perfectly comfortable for this sort of use. I find value in being up off the ground, and the AM Tri-Leg provides that for me with a weight limit that exceeds that of lighter weight tripod stools.
If one trade-off of this stool is luxurious comfort compared to other camp seating options, the other is weight: at 779g/27.54 oz, the AM Tri-Leg is heavier than some of its industry peers, for all its manufacturer cites low weight as a perk. I have no problem with this because it is also stronger, and that is what I sought.
So what is the bottom line? Well, given the price at which I got this, the AM Tri-Leg was a no-brainer. It is adequately compact, reasonably comfortable, and very sturdy. I don't carry it on all of my outings, but it is a calculated luxury item that I enjoy on a frequent basis. If you are seeking a solid seat that can support up to 250 pounds, this one may well be worth your consideration.