Big Agnes Big Easy chair kit

Big Agnes Big Easy chair kit.

Backcountry Camp Chair
Big Agnes Big Easy chair kit
$40-$45, 1 lb. 1 oz. (20-inch-wide model, including mesh stuff sack).
Sizes: 20 and 25 inches wide

I am loath to carry any superfluous weight backpacking, but this is one piece of non-essential gear I virtually never backpack without: The pound it adds to my pack is well worth the comfort and rest I gain in camp. Just this year, I’ve used it on backpacking trips in Utah’s Coyote Gulch, Idaho’s White Clouds Mountains, Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks, but I’ve also brought it on innumerable past backpacking trips.

The chair kit assembles easily and works with every air mattress I’ve tried it with, including air mats from manufacturers other than Big Agnes. The chair kit comes in two widths; get the one appropriate for the width of your air mattress. I find that the chair gets comfortably rigid by inflating an air mattress a little more than halfway. I’ve never punctured an air mat using the chair kit in camp—the chair’s nylon fabric offers reasonable protection—but I’m careful about avoiding sharp rocks or thorns. I’ve also used the Big Agnes Cyclone SL chair kit ($45, fits only 20-inch pads), which weighs a scant six ounces; but I eventually blew out a pole seam on that chair it, and I weigh under 160 pounds. It’s definitely more delicate.

My wife informed me after a recent trip that she wants a Big Easy chair kit. So the only real downside of getting a Big Easy chair kit is that you might find yourself getting two of them.

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NOTE: I’ve been testing gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See all of my reviews by clicking on the Gear Reviews category at left or in the main menu.

—Michael Lanza

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