Saturday, April 13, 2013

Ultralight Camp Chair - 1.7 lbs of Pure Pleasure

This BSA Ultralight Camp Chair is Going to Jamboree!

The Lafuma next to the BSA chair.
Update (4/18/2017):  now offers a 2017 Jamboree Version. Rated at 300 lbs. I cannot say how it compares, but it looks like the original versions we love so much. It is slightly heavier at 2.25 lbs and more pricey than the 2014 version at $75.99.  Here is the link
Item: 636658
We took our original chairs to the 2013 Jamboree and they were the single best piece of gear we had for the duration.

Big Agnes / Helinox have really expanded their chair line from the ultralight to larger car-camping versions and even a rocker. Do check out Big Agnes / Helinox at this link

Update (3/31/2014):  The Chair is back at  We have no idea how long it has been there, but it was there today. Here is the description.
Item: 618758
Availability: In Stock
This BSA-exclusive, top-quality design combines affordability with strength and durability. The sturdy frame-with 250-lb. weight capacity-is made from anodized aluminum tubing with reinforced aluminum alloy joint hubs for added stability. Seat, back, and arms are made of 600D PVC with mesh inserts. Lightweight and portable, chair folds up quick and easy, and weighs just 1.9 lbs. Black. Imported."
These were the greatest comfort at the National Jamboree and has been on most of our camps and trips since! 

Update (5/6/2013):  We took the BSA UL chairs to the NE4VOA Summit in PA and toted and used these chairs in a number of instances.  We can assure you that these chairs are worth it!..

Our review of the LaFuma Micro Popup Chair from REI last July is our second most popular blog post.  We still like those chairs, but two new chairs from the Boy scouts of America are now here in our house and part of @scoutingcouple's favorite gear.  We first saw them in the jamboree catalog and you can see them at where they currently sell for  
Even holds a Jamboree
Scoutmaster comfortably!
$59.99.  We showed these at our Jamboree Troop and Crew meetings and there were a lot of promises to run out and buy them.  The fit in a duffel or a backpack and while 1.9 lbs packed is heavy by ultralight standards, it is so worth it to have a back and a comfy spot when you stop moving.

Turns out that Kimberly's National Jamboree crew (F610) will be camping about 2 miles from my Troop (B326) at Jamboree and it will be great knowing that when we meet in her camp or mine or at Summit Center or a ton of other places we can "sit a spell" in the beauty of those WV hills and watch the action of scouts and venturers having fun. (Or we might just find a quite spot in them their woods and sit and visit in solitude. Wondering if it is possible to visit in solitude when 40,000 youth as so near... ).

carrying case in the seat
As the ad in scoutstuff.or says this is "The ultimate camp chair!" It features "the same aluminum pole technology used by DAC in their trekking poles and tent poles, this camp chair is light, strong, and comfortable. With a carrying bag and breathable mesh backing, this chair is one to always keep on hand in your pack or gear bin."  While they list the weight as 2 lbs, I pulled out the backpacking scale and packed the chair is 1 lb 14.2oz and without carrying case it is 1 lb 11.2 oz.  Seriously ultralight - 1.88 lbs packed and 1.7 unpacked.

If fits sideways in my day pack,
yes completely inside.
I have it sticking out for scale.
It is a 40L REI Lookout Day Pack
We will be testing these out at the NE Region Area 4 Venturing Summit and will let you know how they worked out, especially in and out of our day packs and how they fit with all the other items we may want to carry daily at the Jamboree.  I can already tell you that setup and take down is a snap.  I even handed our two packed chairs to two scouts that had never seen them and asked them to set them up and they did so pretty quickly.  then didn't want to get out of them.  There is no way to set it up incorrectly since the pole structure is ONE PIECE where every link is shock-corded.  The joints seem very heavy and strong plastic.  The "feet" seem on tight and secure. I did worry when some of the scout leaned back in them, but while I was worried the chairs seemed to take it.

The BSA chair is 13.5" off the floor
compared to the Lafuma's 8.5"
Sitting in the chair is very comfortable, at first it doesn't seem firm and then you realize it is flexing giving you a feeling that is moves a bit with you almost like a bit of rocking.  Not sure I am explaining that well, but the flex moves from worrisome to comfy very fast.  The other night I sat in it for an extended time during a meeting (when I could get one of my assistant scoutmasters out of it). I love the Lafuma Micro Popup Chair, but this one wins hands down for me for two reasons.  First is its smaller size (14" packed vs, 29" folded) and lighter weight (1.9 lbs. packed vs. 2.5 lbs folded).  Second, the seat height of 13.5 inches vs. the Lafuma's 8.5 for me makes all the difference in how gracefully one can get up out of the chair.  One of my 6'5" friends agreed, the seat height really helps.  If the Lafuma gets better points, it has to be in the feet.  If the ground is mushy, I think the rounded feet of the Lafuma will hold better than the sharp points of the legs on the Lafuma. 

Specifications from ScoutStuff:
The BSA UL chair in its bag.
Best Use: Backpacking Chair
Frame Type: DAC Aluminum Pole Technology
Pack Weight: 2 lbs / 900g (actually 1.88 lbs packed 1.7 unpacked)
Pack Size: 14" H x 4" W x 5" D / 35 × 10 × 12 cm
Assembled Dimensions: 26" H x 21" W x 20" D / 65 × 52 × 50 cm
Seat Measurements: 13.5"/ 34 cm from ground; 13.5"/ 34 cm deep
Load Capacity: 300 lb/ 136kg

Here is a puzzle, the BSA chair looks exactly like the Big Agnus Helinox, but the specifications seem to be a bit different, for example the BSA chair is rated for 300 lbs, the Big Agnes at 350 lbs.  I have included a link to the BigAgnus Helinox so you can see for yourself.  Also, my favorite store REI carries a REI branded Flex Lite Chair that looks just like the BSA chair, but is rated for 250 lbs.  It lists 1 lb 12 oz weight which is consistent with ours.  I think a road trip to REI is in order to try theirs out.  The REI and Big Agnus Helinox are both more expensive than the BSA chair.  Good job BSA!The advantage of spending more is you can get them in their offered colors.  For example here is the red one at our store.

Steve and Kimberly Myers


  1. Any idea where to find this chair? The BSA website comes back with an error when you try to find it there.

  2. I have some ideas. Just because National supply is currently out don't think the scout shops are. Call a few council stores and national stores and ask if they have it in stock. That is how we got ours in the first place. They will hold them or ship them. If that doesn't work you might want to try our store and spend a few more dollars to ge the Big Agnus Helinox ...same chair and in colors.

    good luck...

  3. National must have gotten another shipment. The chairs are available at Item # 616177. I ordered one today.

  4. Apparently they have discontinued this chair completely now. I am really disappointed that they introduce new, great products like this - that everyone loves - and then discontinue them within 4-6 months. I really don't understand the strategy. I bought this chair in May '13 for Wood Badge - loved it - now want one for my husband and can't get it, so I'll just have to go to REI or elsewhere for a chair. Sad.

  5. I have sat in the REI version and can recommend it. True you cannot get it emblazoned with Boy Scouts of America, but you can get it in colors, it is cheaper than the Big Agnes and it is just as cozy.