When you’re headed out to go camping or hit the beach, one of the best pieces of gear to bring along is a great chair. For long hours sitting around and relaxing, you want a chair that will offer good comfort and stability to make your experience as enjoyable as possible. What you don’t want is a bulky, heavy chair that’s a pain to haul from place to place.
For years, the market for camping chairs and portable furniture was dominated by companies producing exactly those kinds of cumbersome folding chairs. Traditional camping chairs are reliable and reasonably comfortable, but with typical weights of 10+ lbs. and bulky designs, most users wouldn’t want to carry them any further than the distance from the car to the campfire.
In more recent years, innovative manufacturers have begun to use lightweight materials and clever design to cut down on weight and make chairs easier to pack and carry. Two of the companies leading the way on this front are CLIQ and Helinox.
In the guide below, we will take a look at what CLIQ and Helinox bring to the table with their camping chair offerings. We will look at some of the key features distinguishing each company’s chairs, including comfort, portability, ease of setup, price, and more to help you make the best purchase for your camping chair needs.
CLIQ is a growing company based in Santa Barbara, CA, offering its signature CLIQ portable camping chair. The CLIQ chair is a highly compact, portable chair that folds down to the size of a water bottle. CLIQ started out as a crowdfunded Indiegogo project, raising $1.5 million from nearly 10,000 backers who believed in the CLIQ product, and the company’s reach has only grown since. CLIQ has quickly become popular with car campers, beachgoers, festival attendees, and others looking for a mix of comfort and portability in their camping chairs.
Helinox started in South Korea in 2009 and pioneered many of the lightweight camping furniture design features common in the market today, like the use of collapsible aluminum tent pole frames. Helinox today offers a variety of camping furniture and other gear, including several different chair designs, tables, cots, trekking poles, and shades. Helinox’s top chair offerings are the ultra-lightweight Chair Zero, the lightweight Chair One, and the high-backed Chair Two. However, Helinox’s product line includes many slight variations on these chair options to accommodate special use cases, like festivals or the beach, or additional features to improve comfort or functionality, like rockers, swivels, and shades.
Comfort is always one of the main factors that shoppers look for when purchasing a portable chair. And while some may assume that more lightweight, portable chair options must sacrifice comfort to achieve their lower weights, CLIQ and Helinox both offer products that prove this is not the case.
The CLIQ Chair has a wide, stable base, a sturdy frame, and high-quality materials that make the chair feel substantial and hold up to long sits. The seat uses a more human contoured canopy design—a feature that is relatively rare in lightweight camping chairs—which means that users can sit comfortably for hours without putting too much strain on the back. The CLIQ Chair has a relatively low height and a design that adjusts with users as they shift in the chair, which helps improve stability and allow users to find the right position without the risk of tipping over. CLIQ has clearly spent a lot of time thinking about comfort because their chair is surprisingly comfortable for it's portability and ease of setup.
With Helinox, the comfort levels vary depending on the product. For instance, Helinox options like the Bench One and Speed Stool are bare-bones options with narrow seats and no back or arm support, which means they are more utilitarian than they are comfortable. Helinox’s other products, which mostly have a scoop-shaped seat for support, are more enjoyable to sit in than their no-frills options. In particular, the Chair Two and its variations have higher seat backs with more support, and while some Helinox offerings run on the narrow side, the Chair One XL and Savanna Chair are built with bigger frames to improve comfort and accommodate larger users.
Portability & Weight
The biggest advantage of more modern camping chairs is the innovative use of materials and designs that make chairs lighter and more easily packable. Many lightweight options are just a fraction of the weight and packed size of traditional camping chairs thanks to aluminum alloy frames and sophisticated tech fabrics. CLIQ and Helinox each deliver products that exemplify these advances in chair design.
Helinox is one of the leading options on the market for light and ultralight chair options, thanks to its high-performance but lightweight frame and seat materials. Its lightest product, the Speed Stool, weighs in at just 1 lb., while the Chair Zero weighs just two ounces more. For hikers and backpackers, who need to be mindful of every ounce of weight they carry, Helinox’s ultralight chairs are tough to beat. However, these ultralight options involve trade-offs when it comes to comfort and stability. Most users looking for a chair suited to car camping or other daily use may want to opt for a slightly heavier but more comfortable option. Fortunately, the CLIQ Chair and Helinox’s other chairs come in at manageable weights between 2 and 4.5 lbs.
The CLIQ Chair was designed with portability in mind. The telescoping frame and folding design allow users to pack the CLIQ down to the size of a water bottle, perfect for carrying in a bag or backpack on your way to the campsite, park, or other destination. CLIQ’s weight comes in at around 3.5 lbs., which puts it outside of the true ultralight category, but still compares favorably to many traditional camping chairs, which can easily weigh 10+ lbs. and are also much bulkier. Additionally, CLIQ has a 2-chair bag which allows you to very easily pack 2 chairs together into an extremely compact set - making it the easiest option for carrying 2 or more chairs together.
Ease of Setup
Often what you think of when you think of a camping chair is a four-legged, wide-based chair that folds up and frequently comes with a carrying bag. One of the reasons these designs remain popular is because they are intuitive and can be set up in one step. To reduce weight and improve packability, however, lightweight designs usually require a little bit more effort.
This is a mark against Helinox. Most of the Helinox chair options require a multi-step assembly: first, users must build the frame by snapping the poles into place, and then, they must pull the seat fabric onto the frame before assembly is complete. On designs like the Chair Zero, Helinox does attempt to make this easier by having shock cords running through the aluminum tubing that guide users in setting up the frame and by printing diagrams on the seat fabric so users know where to attach the fabric. However, assembling a Helinox chair can easily take more than a minute.
CLIQ does much better than Helinox and other lightweight options on ease of setup. Its assembly is spring-loaded, so all users have to do is undo the velcro strap and extend the arms on the chair frame until they click into place. The whole process takes less than 5 seconds. Among lightweight camping chairs, CLIQ has one of the easiest and fastest processes for setup so users can get settled in as quickly as possible.
One concern that some customers may have when looking at a lightweight camping chair is durability. Because the materials are lighter than what one might find in a traditional camping chair, it is easy to assume that they will not stand up to wear and tear. In reality, these chairs use sophisticated materials that can handle years of regular use.
CLIQ’s camping chair shows impressive durability in its materials. The frame is made out of aircraft-grade aluminum and is built to hold users up to 300 lbs. The CLIQ’s seat fabric is a ripstop ballistic nylon that is sewn with double seams for extra reinforcement and weatherproofed to withstand the elements & wash easily. The springs are stainless steel and they use oxide coated fasteners. CLIQ customers can expect many years of use from their chairs.
Helinox similarly uses lightweight but reliable materials in its offerings. Helinox chair frames are built from a high-performance aluminum alloy that resists corrosion, while the fabric on most of its chairs is a ripstop polyester that resists damage from the sun and other weather. Because Helinox does have options in their chair lineup, users should expect different levels of durability depending on the Helinox chair. Minimalist options like the Chair One Mini and the Speed Stool only hold around 200 lbs. of weight, while the full-sized Chair One and Chair Two have similar weight ratings to CLIQ.
Lightweight camping chairs can be a little bit more expensive than other portable chair options, but in terms of comfort, portability, and convenience, users often find that paying a slight premium delivers excellent value.
CLIQ’s chairs typically retail for between $90 and $100. This price point places the CLIQ slightly higher than most chairs in the traditional camping chair category, but compared to the cost of other premium products, this is actually excellent value. And because the CLIQ chair is so versatile, people can use it more often and in more situations than a traditional camping chair. In addition, shoppers who order directly through CLIQ’s website can often get a free bag and bundle discounts for up to six chairs that bring down the price as low as $80 per chair.
Most of Helinox’s chairs come in at a higher price point than the CLIQ. At the low end, the Speed Stool can be had for $80, but most of Helinox’s core options like the Chair One ($100), Chair Zero ($120), and Chair Two ($130) run more expensive. The most luxurious Helinox options, like the Chair One XL and the Savanna Chair cost even more, at $150 and $200, respectively. While steap prices are certainly not unheard of in the high-tech camping space, some customers may prefer a more affordable option in the lightweight category.
Customer Service & Warranty
For anyone considering a camping chair that’s on the more expensive side of the market, it’s important to consider the company’s customer service, return policy, and warranty in case you have an issue with the product. Both CLIQ and Helinox offer generous warranties and return policies to assure customers that they are receiving a high-quality, reliable product that meets their expectations.
Both companies offer generous warranties that cover manufacturing defects. Additionally, CLIQ offers a 45-day return period starting at the day of arrival. Users who are not satisfied with their purchase can return the CLIQ for a full refund, minus the cost of return shipping. Helinox has a shorter return period, only allowing returns for a refund within 30 days of receipt. As with CLIQ, Helinox customers must cover the cost of return shipping.
CLIQ vs. Helinox: The Final Verdict
CLIQ and Helinox are two of the standout companies on the market today providing high-quality, lightweight camping chairs. Helinox pioneered many of the lightweight material and design features now common in modern camping chairs, while CLIQ has made waves in just a few years of doing business with its clever, easy-to-set-up design. Both companies offer great products, but if you are picking between the two, which should you go with?
CLIQ’s biggest strengths compared to Helinox are its comfort, versatility, ease of setup, and price. The CLIQ chair is built for hours of comfortable sitting, with comfortable materials and a stable design that can safely accommodate users up to 300 lbs. Its packability and low profile make it a great option for wherever users are setting up, whether it be at the campsite, the beach, or a festival. The CLIQ Chair takes less than 5 seconds to set up, which means that users can spend less time assembling their chair and more time relaxing. And for all of these benefits, the CLIQ comes in at a lower cost than most Helinox offerings.
Helinox is not without its own benefits, including the variety of product offerings and its lighter weights on certain models. Helinox has iterated on its tentpole-style design to create chairs that are specifically built for increased comfort (e.g. the high-backed Chair Two) or specific uses like the beach or festivals, but they require a more involved setup process than the CLIQ Chair. Helinox’s chairs, particularly the ultralight Chair Zero and Speed Stool, mostly come in at lighter weights than CLIQ’s, which makes them a good choice for backpackers or others primarily concerned with weight.
Overall, however, CLIQ’s numerous benefits make it the best camping chair option for most people. Users with specialized needs may prefer Helinox, but CLIQ’s signature camping chair is comfortable, convenient, and priced right for the majority of users and situations. Whether you’re headed to the beach, a picnic, the campsite, or anywhere else your adventures take you, you’ll find that the CLIQ is exactly what you need.