Helinox Chair Zero — 5 reasons I take this camping chair everywhere I go

Helinox Chair Zero in its bag and assembled outside
(Image credit: Future)

In this age, there's no need to lug around a heavy, bulky camping chair. The Helinox Chair Zero, for instance, weighs just 18 ounces and packs down to the size of a large water bottle for easy carrying. It also snaps together in a jiff.

I've been testing one out for a few weeks now and it's quickly become a must-grab item when I leave the house for leisurely outdoor adventures, whether hitting the trails, the lake or simply doing some good old-fashioned American tailgating. 

Helinox Chair Zero: $149 @ REI

Helinox Chair Zero: $149 @ REI
The Helinox Chair Zero is an ultra-lightweight and compact camping chair built for taking anywhere. It features a strong aluminum alloy frame, ripstop fabric seat and super-easy assembly. The max weight limit is 265 pounds.

Here are five reasons why the Helinox Chair Zero is my new favorite outdoor accessory and why you might want to pick one up too.

1. It assembles in 45 seconds

Helinox Chair Zero camping chair on its side on the floor

(Image credit: Future)

Full disclosure: I've long owned a Helinox Chair Zero "dupe," so assembly felt like second nature. In my first attempt to "build" the chair inside my living room, I clocked my assembly time at roughly 45 seconds. That said, I'm sure I can get it down to 30 seconds or less. 

Once you pull the aluminum alloy support beams and ripstop fabric seat from the stowage sack, all you need to do is connect the frame pieces into their corresponding plastic slots and affix the seat cover to its four anchor points on the frame. 

2. It only takes a minute to disassemble

Helinox Chair Zero camping chair ready to store away

(Image credit: Future)

Disassembly is also an easy affair, though it does admittedly take a little practice to get everything tightly packed together. The trick is to lay the support beams in the middle of the folded fabric seat and then roll everything up.

I advise practicing this a few times indoors before bringing the Helinox Chair Zero out on your first adventure. The chair ships with a set of easy-to-follow instructions for both assembly and disassembly, should you need some additional guidance. 

3. It's easy to carry

Helinox Chair Zero camping chair in a backpack pocket

(Image credit: Future)

Weighing just 18 ounces and roughly 13 inches tall with a 3-inch diameter, the Chair Zero adds very little bulk to a daypack. Better yet, it easily fits into the water bottle sleeve of just about any backpack. 

I managed to fit it into my tiny 16L everyday carry pack, and even jammed into the side pocket of such a minuscule option, the Chair Zero doesn't look terribly out of place. The stuff sack also has a handy loop to attach the chair to other things via a carabiner. 

4. The frame is connected via elastic chord

Helinox Chair Zero camping chair support frame

(Image credit: Future)

Never worry about losing a piece of your camping chair again. All of the support pieces are connected to their adjacent pieces via stretchy shockcord. 

This also means that you don't need to worry about accidentally assembling the chair incorrectly, it's literally impossible. The shockcord additionally ensures that the pieces stay securely connected once everything is assembled. 

5. It's pretty comfy

Helinox Chair Zero camping chair outside in the sun with a dog sitting on it

(Image credit: Future)

I'm five foot, eleven inches tall, and find the Helinox Chair Zero quite comfortable to sit in, even for extended periods. That said, it does take some time to get used to sitting just eight and a half inches off the ground. 

Plus, my 19-pound Chihuahua, Dachshund, Miniature Pinscher mix, Belvedere, also finds the Chair Zero quite comfortable for his apartment balcony sunbathing needs. 

The maximum weight limit for the chair, by the way, is 265 pounds — Helinox also makes the Chair Zero L, which is the same price but with a weight limit of 320 pounds. Want something a little more comfortable and also higher off the ground, check out the Chair Zero High-Back

Should you buy the Helinox Chair Zero?

Helinox Chair Zero camping chair held in someone's hand outside

(Image credit: Future)

Priced at $149, the Helinox Chair Zero is nearly three times the price of the dupe version I already own. However, my older knock-off is also bulkier, heavier, less comfortable and less stable on slightly uneven ground. 

Ultimately, if you love to get outdoors and kick it, the Chair Zero is an excellent investment. The same can be said if you're into camping, tailgating, fishing, picnicking and so much more. Helinox also has you covered with a five-year warranty should any parts fail. Happy camping!

More from Tom's Guide:

Dan Bracaglia
Senior Writer, Fitness & Wearables

Dan Bracaglia covers fitness and consumer technology with an emphasis on wearables for Tom's Guide. Based in the US Pacific Northwest, Dan is an avid outdoor adventurer who dabbles in everything from kayaking to snowboarding, but he most enjoys exploring the cities and mountains with his small pup, Belvedere. Dan is currently training to climb some of Washington State's tallest peaks. He's also a big photography nerd.