Helinox Chair Zero Review

A chair rarely ends up on a thru-hiker’s essential gear list, but for those hiking shorter miles and spending more time at camp, a comfortable place to sit does have a certain, significant appeal. While not for the ultralight crowd, Helinox makes an assortment of camp chairs and their Chair Zero is relatively light and packable.

Helinox Chair Zero At a Glance

a hiker reclines in white helinox chair zero in grassy field

MSRP: $149
Materials: Green Anodized DAC aluminum alloy frame, nylon resin hubs and Aramid ripstop fabric
Colors: White, grey, black
Weight: 17 oz advertised weight. My scale tipped at 18 oz, including the cinch bag
Origin: Fabric is from Vietnam and DAC frame is from South Korea
Warranty: Five years

Circumstances of Review

I received a white Chair Zero for review in the spring of 2024. However, I have owned a black, but otherwise identical chair for approximately five years. The white version has taken a few short test trips, but my older chair has been used extensively on backpacking trips in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Helinox Chair Zero Features

Lightweight: Helinox states that the Chair Zero weighs 17 ounces. At that weight, it’s among the lightest chairs I could find. You can save just under an ounce by leaving the included stuff sack at home, but let’s be honest. If you’re worried about saving an ounce, you’re not bringing a chair. In fact, you’re probably not reading this article.

Packable: The frame breaks down into 11 sections, but all are shock-corded together, making assembly and disassembly quick and easy. Both the frame and the one piece fabric portion easily fit into the included stuff sack. Packed up, the chair is close to the size of two Nalgene bottles.

blue aluminum pole set for helinox chair zero

Built for the trail: Once assembled, the chair is rated to handle 265 pounds. At 180 pounds, the chair still felt solid when I used it. If the weight limit is an issue, there is a large version that is rated for 320 pounds. Both versions come with a five-year warranty. If you camp in swampy or sandy areas and are worried about the chair’s feet sinking, an optional ground sheet is available to distribute the weight at a cost of five ounces and $35.

How’d it do?

For starters, I’m 6’2 and weigh 180 pounds. The chair is fairly comfortable. I don’t mistake it for a Lazyboy recliner, or even the bigger, heavier folding chairs many use at the state park campground. For me, though, it’s significantly more comfortable than a sit pad, a (heavier) Crazy Creek legless chair, or your typical log or rock. I like being a little (8-9 inches) off the ground, especially on rainy days.

The chair assembles and breaks down quickly. Without rushing, I can pull the chair out of its bag and have it set up in under a minute. Breakdown and return to the stuff sack takes about the same time.

My backpack is either an Osprey Exos 58 or an Osprey Levity 45, depending on the weather and what clothes I bring. For a 2-4 day trip, I’ve not had any problem finding room in either for the Helinox’s 4” x 4” x 14” packed size.

Of the color options, white stands out the most and is attractive when new. However, backpacking takes it out into the dirt, sand and mud. I would not go with the white for the same reasons I don’t have a white carpet at home or a white interior in my truck, only more so. My black version has seen many dusty or muddy campsites over the years and has held up very well.

The optional groundsheet keeps the Chair Zero from sinking into softer ground


Through my travels, I’ve generally not felt the need to bring along the ground sheet. However, more than once I have used a piece of bark or a flat rock under a leg or two to keep from sinking into soft earth.

As a test, I tried the chair on my freshly tilled garden and quickly sank into the loose soil. In the same spot, the ground sheet did its job and kept me on top of the ground. If your trip involves swamp or beach camping, the optional ground sheet may be worth the added cost and weight.

Helinox Chair Zero Pros

Solid: The chair feels well made and steady while being used.

Quick assembly: If it’s at the top of the pack, I’ll pull it out and use it even for breaks or lunch on the trail.

Comfortable: Everyone is different, but for me, it’s a pretty comfortable seat that keeps me off the ground.

Five year warranty: Peace of mind.

Helinox Chair Zero Cons

Cost: $149 is fairly steep. The REI Flexlite Air Chair weighs about the same but costs $50 less. From what I can tell, there’s no groundsheet available and the warranty isn’t as good on the REI model. I can’t speak to its comfort.

Weight: While very light for a chair, it’s still an extra pound to carry throughout the trip. The groundsheet, if needed, adds another five ounces. If you’re cutting the handle off your toothbrush, this product may not be for you.

Overall Value

At $149, this is not a cheap item. It does appear to be quality made and should hold up to years of use. The five-year warranty provides some piece of mind as well.

Would I take this on a long thru-hike? No. If you’re hiking all day and camp is merely a place to sleep until you start walking again the next day, the extra weight is not remotely worth the added comfort in camp.

If you’re on a trip where the daily mileage isn’t “as far as I can walk,” that’s a different story. Maybe you spend more time at camp, around a fire, or take long lunch breaks by a lake or stream. In that case this chair starts making a lot of sense.

Myself, I rarely find a really comfortable log to sit on and sitting in the dirt (or mud) just isn’t that appealing. Because of that, my Helinox Zero ranks at/near the top of the list for comfort extras to consider taking.

As I get older, having that nice place to relax off the ground at the end of the day is becoming more important, almost mandatory. I’m looking at hiking South Dakota’s Centennial Trail this fall. It’s just a bit over 100 miles through some woods, but often prairie. Could I build a seat out of dried buffalo chips? Maybe, but the Helinox is working its way toward the essential pile.

Shop the Helinox Chair Zero

Other Options

Beyond the big heavy chairs designed for car camping, there are some similar choices.

REI Flexlite Air Chair

  • MSRP: $100
  • Weight: 16 oz

Nemo Moonlite Reclining Camp Chair

  • MSRP: $160
  • Weight: 30 oz

The Helinox Chair Zero was donated for purpose of review.

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Comments 2

  • Donna : May 14th

    Regarding the Helinox chair, I used mine for 60 consecutive days. Luckily I purchased it through REI and it was still within the one year period when the chair fabric split where the pocket for the frame was. I’m 5’2” and weigh 110 pounds. Needless to say, I returned it to REI. The cashier did mention they’ve had others returned for the same reason. In a pinch I bought a cheap chair, $7.99, at a grocery store to replace the Helinox chair to get me through until I had the opportunity to do research and read reviews on other chairs. Two years later the cheap grocery store chair still serves the purpose. Hopefully others have better luck with this chair than I did.

  • Rick "Quiet Man" : May 14th

    I am a section hiker, weighing in around 200-215 depending upon which pie eating holiday recently passed. I use my Zero all the time. Also over 60 years old, so that added comfort for sitting at camp is worth the weight penalty, especially if at a dispersed campsite or stealth site with no picnic table like shelters.


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