THE PLACE TO GO WHEN YOU CAN'T GO BACKPACKING

The Coffey Chair Review

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The Coffey Chair from Rambling Raven Designs, Ltd has been designed to be “The True Backpackers Chair.” While the Coffey Chair lives up to its engineered purpose in some respects, it falls drastically short in others. But first let’s talk about what’s working.

The chair breaks down to about the length and width of a rolled up THERM-A-REST at 25 X 5 inches and so it’s easily packable and at only 16 oz is nearly unnoticeable when strapped onto an overnight pack. With the option to use trekking poles as the backrest support you really can’t beat how light this chair is. Also, because the seat is 16 inches off the ground there are really no worries about bottoming out in the sand and snow so the chair is a good choice to take along on just about any adventure.

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I really wanted to love this chair when I got it, but unfortunately I have to take issue with the assembly, comfort level, and even some of the concepts behind this chair. There are too many parts, all connected with wire, tangled and confused, that must be forced into place, and even after a few frustrating minutes, the comfort of the chair is questionable. However, it’s important to mention that I was first assembling the Coffey Chair using the Backrest Poles that are included with the chair (bad idea) and not my own trekking poles or the Hammock Kit that can be bought separately, both of which solve the comfort problem.

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When I first sat in the chair, I felt I was being pushed out of the sling and slipping off the front of the narrow seat. Now, because I’m 6′ 4″ I’ve become accustomed to things not always fitting or working for me that seem to work flawlessly for others so I had my wife and a few slightly shorter friends test it out as well. None of them had the issue of slipping off of the front of the seat but all shared my experience and frustration with being pushed forward by the backrest.

In my opinion, this has everything to do with the length of the Backrest Poles themselves and so an easy fix. When I used trekking poles, I simply shorted them as needed to manipulate the sling into a comfortable seat and the Hammock Kit allowed me again to adjust the height of the backrest and so the size of the seat. But because the Backrest Poles didn’t work for me, the trekking poles and Hammock Kit are not a convenient variant for assembling the Coffey Chair as intended but instead the only remaining options.

Pros

  • You can ditch the included Backrest Poles for the adjustable trekking poles you’re already taking with you!
  • Ultralight- at 16 oz, this is as light as chairs get without considerable losses to stability
  • The aluminum frame is solid and stable on most relatively flat, even surfaces
  • At 16 inches off the ground, the seat will never bottom out in sand and snow

Cons

  • Difficult and even frustrating to assemble
  • have to rely an adjustable components for comfort
  • Backrest Poles are utterly worthless to this reviewer (though cutting them down fixed the issue)
  • The Hammock Kit really limits where you can set up the chair and your ability to readily move around once it is assembled. No escaping the campfire smoke for you and if your campsite or lunch spot doesn’t have a tree to hang it from you best press on until you find one that does.

The ultralight Coffey Chair is a great backpacking chair when you leave the included Backrest Poles at home but if you don’t use trekking poles or if you don’t feel like tying yourself to a tree when you get to camp it might not be the best option for you. It may be the “true backpackers chair,” though I think that statement a bit bold, but it’s certainly not “every backpackers chair.”

Manufacturer: Rambling Raven Designs, Ltd

Date available: Currently Available

Manufacturer’s Website: www.coffeychair.com

MSRP: $94.99

Listed Weight: 16 oz

Actual Weight: 16 0z

 

Loren is a Washington native, avid hiker, climber, and mountaineer. Loren lives in Seattle Washington with his wife Jeannie and dog Ruca and spends his time seeking out new alpine adventures in Washington’s highest places, enjoying the freedom that can only be found in the mountains.

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