Therm-a-Rest Treo Chair Review
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Portable seating in the form of camp chairs are a dime a dozen at your local Walmart or sporting goods store but most come with the downside of being cumbersome to transport and relatively heavy. The Therm-a-Rest Treo chair looks to address this by offering a relatively comfortable seat in a very portable package that can be brought along to everything from car camping to hunting to spectator events. The key to the Treo chair is a tent pole and sling system that rolls up and goes inside the collapsible tripod base.
Therm-a-Rest Treo Chair Review: Portability
Let’s get this straight right off the bat; you wouldn’t be looking at a camp chair at this price unless you place a lot of value on portability. The Treo chair looks to balance comfort and portability by using a system that allows the chair to collapse into a very small package and expand into a solid 13″ seat height. A backpacking chair would be lighter but it’s not going to offer the easy in and out and sitting comfort of the Treo chair. When disassembled, the chair is a mere 4.5 x 10.5 inches, which is not much bigger than a Nalgene bottle. To accomplish this small size, the entire seat and support posts roll up and are stored inside the three-legged folding base and secured with an attached elastic rubber band. I loved the size that this results in because it makes the Treo chair something you can just grab without thinking about it. Normally when I go car camping and want to bring a couple of seats, I need to consider how the rather long and bulky camp chairs I normally use will fit in with the rest of the gear in my trunk. Two Therm-a-Rest Treo chairs take up so little space, I don’t even have to give it a thought. They will even fit under the front seats of most cars and take up zero effective space. The same portability can be appreciated when going to an outdoor concert where lugging around a seat can be a pain. Carrying this chair is not much different than carrying a large water bottle. To summarize, the size of the Therm-a-Rest Treo chair opens up possibilities and adds convenience to bringing an elevated seat to places where it is normally more of a hassle.
Therm-a-Rest Treo Chair Review: Assembly
While not as simple and fast as a traditional camp chair, the Therm-a-Rest Treo takes very little time to set up with little effort or skill. The steps to assemble are straightforward and I didn’t need to look at any directions to figure it out, even though Therm-a-Rest includes a convenient instructions sticker on the inside if needed. Remove the rubber band that holds the legs together and extend the tripod legs. Now unroll the sling and take out the collapsible poles that act as the supports. The poles are similar in design to tent poles but much stronger and without the flexibility. They quickly snap together with their tension elastic when opened up straight. The shorter poles insert into the front of the base and the longer ones insert into the back. Assembly of the Therm-a-Rest Treo chair is completed by slipping the sling’s four reinforced corners onto the four poles. The entire assembly process might take 1-2 minutes at most! In camping products, portability often comes at the expense of deployment convenience and I’m happy to report that this wasn’t the case with the Treo chair.
Therm-a-Rest Treo Chair Review: More comfortable than expected but not quite up to traditional chair standards
Obviously, comfort is a very important factor when evaluating a seating device because you will be spending a lot of time planted there. The Therm-a-Rest Treo chair makes a valiant effort towards providing comfort that is hard to imagine from such a portable design. However, it doesn’t quite reach the comfort level of a traditional camp chair. Therm-a-Rest wisely chose to address the issue of low seat height common in highly portable chairs with their smart reversing leg and extending poles design. By doing so, the Treo chair offers a 13-inch seat height that is easy to get in and out of and doesn’t require any real thought like a ground-level seat would. Being able to sit with my legs at a relatively normal angle definitely made me more fond of the chair. Moving on to the sling itself, my 6’1”, 190 lb frame felt like it was pushing the Treo chair towards its limits [250 lb weight limit]. While the sling itself is nicely shaped for comfort and I was very happy with its positioning, an issue sprung up in the form of pressure on the bottom outside of my legs when my weight brought me in touch with the front support poles through the sling. Because the poles are straight and rigid and the sling is flexible, weight brings the seat lower and the poles are a bit in the way. The impact of this wasn’t extreme by any means but it got slightly annoying when I sat in the Therm-a-Rest Treo chair for extended periods of time. However, this didn’t stop me from sitting on my patio reading a book for an hour and a half in the chair. Keep in mind that this is much more of an issue for heavier, larger guys like me and that the females and more average-size guys who tried the chair did not notice this. What it comes down to is that the portability of the Therm-a-Rest Treo chair outweighed the sacrifice in comfort level for me.
Therm-a-Rest Treo Chair Review: Review Summary
Overall, the Therm-a-Rest Treo chair offers a reasonably comfortable seat with go-anywhere portability. Innovative packing design makes it extremely easy to transport and quick assembly keeps it convenient to use. A solid 13-inch seat height keeps you comfortably off the ground in a wide range of situations from camping to spectator events. The Therm-a-Rest Treo chair is available in a good selection of really fun colors and retails for $99.95. For more information visit thermarest.com