ALPS Mountaineering Tri-Leg Stool
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.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $8.72
A great little stool for your backpacking trips. Not too heavy, but very durable.
- Simple to use
- Folds up easily
I bought one of these stools for myself when I was planning a backpacking trip and didn't want to sit on the ground. I was concerned that the stool might not support my weight (208 lbs), but it didn't have an issue. No creaking or groaning when I sat down. The added webbing around the bottom of the legs also provides additional support which I think is a great idea.
The fabric on the seat is heavy duty and appears to be well designed to last a long time. I like that the stool folds up quickly and easily and has a simple keeper strap (similar to an umbrella). It also has a shoulder strap so you can carry the stool without the storage bag.
As is typical with a stool you have to sacrifice a little comfort, as there is no back and it is a little on the shorter side. When you are sitting on the chair you will be about 14 inches off the ground which is perfect for me (5'6") but if you are on the taller side you may find it a little less comfortable.
I find it most comfortable to sit on the stool with one of the three "wings" protruding outwards in front of me. That way I feel the most stable and the stool does not wobble.
After using it on several campouts and hiking trips I've purchased two more for my boys. They are both in Boy Scouts and this is the perfect size for their camp trunks when they go off to summer camp.
When you compare this stool to typical large and bulky camping chairs with arm rests and a back, this chair is more convenient when it comes to portability. It weighs about 2 lbs and fits easily in my backpack. If you plan on kayaking, canoeing, hiking, or some other form of travel where bulk and weight might be an issue, I highly recommend this chair.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $20
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Current Retail: $19.99
Historic Range: $7.47-$24.99
Reviewers Paid: $8.72-$20.00