Love the beach but hate lying on a towel or sitting in the sand? Sick of lugging all your heavy gear from your car across the burning hot sand?
Small, compact, and lightweight, the Helinox Beach Chair could just be the Ultimate ‘beach bums’ accessory.
Design, Comfort & Durability (Rating: 100%)
As the name suggests the Beach Chair is a purpose-built chair for lounging on the beach. It’s from Helinox and weighs in at 1,485 grams. This may sound heavy when you compare it to Helinox’s Zero or Ground Chair at more than double their weight, but in reality, it’s still super light. To put the weight in perspective my previous beach chair, which lives in the car as a folding camp style chair, weighs in at about 11 kilograms in the bag. I know which one I’d rather be carrying from the car across the hot sand.
As far as the design goes, I’ve gone into detail in my previous review of the Helinox Chair Zero – the Beach Chair is the same design although has a few key differences. The Beach Chair uses the same plastic ‘hubs’ and shock corded aluminium poles to create the chair’s upper frame and legs. The ‘seat’ is put together by stretching fabric over the frame which is a mix of solid and mesh. The Beach Chair uses more mesh than the hiking models which I can only assume would be to aid drying time after a wet body sits on it. I had my chair soaked at times walking directly from the water to sitting in the chair and found that the chair dried really quickly when placed in the sun. A definite plus for use around the water.
The Beach Chair is said to be a lower version of the Sunset Chair and as such it has a much longer back than the hiking chairs I’ve used. Unless you’re a giant the back, it’s long enough to support your head. Adding to the comfort level the seat’s bag has a Velcro strip attached so you can stuff a towel or some clothing in it. You can then Velcro it to the seat’s back to create a pillow for your head and neck. The bag has a flap which covers the Velcro patch when not in use so it doesn’t stick to everything it touches; a well thought out feature which really shows that the small details are important to Helinox.
The key difference in design on the Beach Chair and what makes it suitable for use on the beach is the leg design.
The Beach Chair’s legs are a wider and almost square tube instead of the usual round tube. The legs are also ‘splayed’ or curved and have large plastic feet/pads on the end. The result of this leg design means the chair doesn’t sink extensively in soft sand and doesn’t sink at all in the firmer sand closer to the water. In fact, at one point we carried the chair out to a sandbar and sat surrounded by water for some time. It was a great place to sit and watch the world go by.
I was with a large group on this trip which went for a little over three weeks long and the chair got shared around quite a bit during that time. Everyone that used the chair was able to sit comfortably. As far as comfort goes, I personally thought it was great and had no complaints, even sitting in it for several hours at a time on the beach (it’s a hard life but someone has to do it).
One thing I really like about Helinox chairs is the pack size. The Beach Chair is no exception in this regard. This seat packs down small and due to the size and weight can be packed in places a normal camp chair wouldn’t fit. I can easily pack mine in my 4wd drawers or on the front of my fridge slide which is great for packing the car for a day on the beach.
As with all the Helinox products I have, the build quality is first class and I always enjoy using them. The attention to detail is always high and I have no concerns about the longevity or quality of the product. Helinox really do make a top quality product.
Functionality & Ease of Use (Rating: 100%)
The Beach Chair is just as quick and easy to set up (and pack down) as all the other Helinox chairs I’ve used. The main difference between this and the smaller hiking chairs is the back is longer and as a result has a couple of extra sections to click together. Other than that, it’s business as usual and (if in doubt) the instructions are on the base of the seat.
To set up the chair, you straighten all the aluminium arms and legs out and lock them into the plastic hub sockets to make up the seat frame and legs. You then slide the fabric back onto the back posts, lay the chair back and stretch the seat fabric over the chair base and you’re done. As mentioned earlier the chair bag on this model doubles as a head/neck pillow and can be attached with Velcro to the top of the chair back. I found that this increased comfort significantly and I’d recommend using it. The main trouble was finding a towel or the right piece of clothing to fill it. An inflatable pillow which Helinox sell would sort that issue out quick smart although I didn’t have one to test.
Pack up is the reverse, the seat fabric once removed folds up and wraps around the folded frame before it slips easily into the supplied bag. The bag on this chair is a lot of heavy mesh which I’m guessing is to aid with drying if the chair is packed up wet or damp. The bag is also a zip up bag instead of a stuff sack which does make it super easy to get the chair in and out of the bag and also to stuff towel or clothes inside it.
As far as seating position goes, the Beach Chair places you quite low to the ground (lower than the Chair Zero but higher than the Ground Chair). It’s a nice height to sit once you’re seated but does require a bit of effort and dexterity to get in and out of the seat. Some people might struggle to get up out of the chair (elderly or people who are not very agile or mobile) but that’s not a knock to the chair – more related to the person, not the product. I personally don’t have an issue with it and neither did anyone in my group.
What I Like
- Small packed size.
- Quality built product.
- Ability to add a neck/head pillow which improves comfort.
- Dries really quickly when wet.
What I Don’t Like
- To be honest there really isn’t anything I don’t like about the beach Chair. As mentioned the only improvement from my use would be adding the pillow to the headrest so I’ll have to get that and give it a go..
The Helinox Beach Chair available online direct from Helinox in a couple of different colours. They also supply the air and headrest accessory.
Disclaimer: Helinox provided a Beach Chair for review. This has no influence on the opinions presented in here.
Have you tried the Helinox Beach Chair? Got any questions or comments? Let us know by commenting below.