Sea to Summit Air Chair
This is one of those items that is a luxury and unnecessary weight/bulk to carry around (especially for light/fast backpacking)—like my portable Wacaco espresso machine. But once you try it it’s hard to go without in some trips.
- It works
- Very comfortable
- Well designed and built
- Insulates and protects from cold/damp ground
- Durable (so far no issues)
- It uses the sleeping pad
- It’s a luxury, so it’s an extra weight and bulk to carry around
- It uses the sleeping pad
Comfort and convenience in the wilderness
Every once in a while I buy a new item or piece of gear that has me looking and tinkering with my bag to see what could be dropped to make way for the new gadget (or become mentally prepared to carry the extra load, which is not too uncommon).
This has happened many times before. One example is my Wacaco Nanopresso: it’s almost a pound of luxury just to have a creamy, thick, and tasty espresso out in the nature. Since that’s no little pleasure in my book, something had to give.
The same happened with the S2S Air Chair. I bought it mostly to sit comfortably when I’m in the mood to spend some time outside (i.e. backyard camping), or even camping in a club. Or to take to outdoor concerts, picnics, and other activities. I have never had a camping/outdoor chair before, only a small foldable stool that I never took with me for backpacking.
I’m not the comfort type of backpacker/camper. On the contrary, I‘m not masochist either but I look for challenging situations in which I can test myself and develop resiliency and toughness. That’s what I like about outdoor activities.
But not every trip has to be a sufferfest. Sometimes it’s good to have moments of comfort, take some time to enjoy a music, a book, a cigar, or just the scenery when in the field. The Air Chair is an item that can provide a lot in that way.
It is one of those simple gadgets that are well designed, thought out, and perfectly executed. I also like the fact that it utilizes a sleeping pad: I love gear that has double or triple functions, and even more when it’s a luxury item like this. The chair itself works as insulation, so it’s perfect for cold and wet situations when you still need to relax the body and get some refresh from hard efforts.
The Air Chair has two sizes, regular and large. I opted for the regular as it’s more than enough for me (6” / 176 lbs) and the large would be overkill, too much of a luxury at extra weight and bulk. If you’re looking for one, just know that the regular works with small and regular sized pads, while the large sized ones also require the large sized chair.
I use my S2S Ultralight because I’m afraid my other pads may blow or develop leaks. I haven’t had a leak or other issue with my S2S pads until now, so currently I’m quite reliant on both the Ultralight (for summer) and the Ether XT (for cold) hammock camping and backpacking.
Very comfortable in use
There’s a short learning curve to get the right inflation so you can fold and fit the pad into the chair right away, but it‘s simple and straightforward after that. The first time I was afraid I’d ruin the whole thing (pad and chair) by sitting on it. But after that I was resting my entire weight and completely relaxing.
It’s a joy to read, listen to SW or hit the airwaves with the ham, or just smoke a cigar and relax while watching the sun set in this chair. Yes, I enjoy doing all that while resting on a fallen tree, a rock, whatever. I love all that. But I confess that my old and beat up body can appreciate a sleeping-pad-chair every once in a while.
And often it’s cold and/or damp too, so the chair acts as insulation adding even more comfort. In those occasions I use my Tyvek tarp to keep things clean and protected (after all the pad will turn into bed soon).
Cooking and eating is especially nice while sitting on the Air Chair. Just spread the stuff around and do everything without even needing to stand up. It’s not often that we can find a rock or other place to sit exactly where it’s most convenient for doing those things.
When it’s time to hit the bed, just remove it and inflate a bit to put in the hammock (or tent, if you’re using one).
The Air Chair is a luxury item for sure, but one I look forward to use in many occasions. I’m a light/fast outdoor type and not too much into comfort, but occasionally I will take the chair for camping because it’s inexpensive, not too heavy, and it’s so much comfortable. It can be used for other situations as well not just camping or backpacking, for instance open air cinemas and shows, parties, etc. so all the better.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: USD25
Where to Buy
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Current Retail: $44.96-$64.95
Historic Range: $29.93-$64.95
Reviewers Paid: $25.00
|Dimensions||Fits all Regular, Small Air Mats (except Comfort Deluxe Insulated)||Fits all Large Air Mats (except Comfort Deluxe Insulated)|
|Weight||8 oz / 230 g||10 oz / 280g|