A super lightweight, packable and stylish chair for backpacking, camping and general outdoor living
If you thought Helinox chairs were the only high quality options to consider for their low weight and packability, then think again. The Robens Pathfinder Lite Chair is right up there with the best of the best, and comes with a rather stylish matt gold frame too! But does the Pathfinder (and its eye-watering price tag) really compete with the likes of the Helinox Chair One? Read on to find out.
Robens Pathfinder Lite Chair: The stats
|Weight:||2.02lbs / 915g|
|Weight capacity:||265lbs / 120kg|
|Pack size:||12.6 x 4.5 x 3.5” / 32 x 12 x 9cm|
|Construction time:||27 seconds!|
|Materials:||Polyester and aluminium|
Features of the Robens Pathfinder Lite Chair
Chair frameThe fold-up frame is constructed of aluminum and finished in a dashing matt gold. Cleverly, the ends of each joint features a screw-on cap. This means that you can repair the internal elastic relatively easily if it breaks. The frame comes with a Velcro strap that holds the frame together when packed down.
Combining polyester mesh panels for airflow and comfort, with 420D polyester fabric, the main seat of the chair is comfortable, durable and supportive. The seat is 32cm / 12.6” off the ground, so relatively low.
Once folded down and dismantled, the chair fits into a zippered storage bag. This has two small webbed loops on the outside which enables you to attach it to the frame of the chair to be used as a handy organiser. There’s also a single handle on the bag for easy carrying or for securing onto the outside of a backpack.
On the side of the chair there is a small attachment buckle which is compatible with a Robens Bottle Holder. I don’t have the bottle holder so it’s currently rendered a little useless to me. Though I’ve not given up trying to find another use for it…!
The four chair legs each have rubber feet on the end to add durability to the bottoms of the legs and provide extra grip on surfaces. These are removable, which is fine on hard surfaces, but not so good if you place the chair on soft / slightly muddy ground that can gobble up the feet!
Robens Pathfinder Lite Chair review
At a mere 2.02lbs / 915g, the Pathfinder is Lite by name and super light by nature. It’s the kind of chair that is very easy to justify slinging in your backpack for an overnighter. And if comfort is really important to you then it’s just about lightweight enough to carry on more lengthy trips. It also comes in a very tidy little package that fits into the side pocket of your backpack or can easily be lashed onto the back of your pack if you don’t have room inside.
It’s not just on the trail that this diddy little chair gets a whole lot of use. Like the Chair One, the Pathfinder is the perfect size for day trips to the beach, picnics in the park, lounging by the lake, day hikes to far flung horizons, campfires in the garden, al fresco dining at the cliffs and much more. It even comes with us on paddle board camping trips for a very civilised evening around the fire on wild beaches. The only thing it’s not so great at is dining at a camping table; it’s just too low.
On the face of it, measuring how well a chair performs sounds kind of easy. It doesn’t fall down when you sit on it and it’s comfortable. Great! But what else? Well, this is no ordinary chair. It’s a fold up chair that’s designed to be carried as much as to be sat on. And with such opposing functionalities at the core of its design, it’s not unthinkable that things could fail.
With this in mind, the first thing to address is its sturdiness. The legs lock together very easily and, once in place, aren’t going anywhere. The design of the joints mean that the legs and seat poles are embedded within a central horizontal pole, and once they’re in, they’re in. The poles themselves, however, seem to give ever-so-slightly when you sit in the chair. In some ways this is a highly positive feature as it means you can gently rock back and forth once you’re sitting comfortably. I have no reason to suspect that this will at some point cause the chair to collapse in a heap! However, it doesn’t feel as secure and sturdy as I would hope.
The next thing to address is the chair’s ability to pack down easily. As predicted, the poles and seat pack easily into the carry bag. You don’t need to cram them in and force the zip closed. It’s smooth and it’s easy. That said (and this is a VERY tiny gripe), the poles are so keen to spring into their chair frame structure that they like to ping back into place as you’re trying to fold them away! I think this is why Robens have smartly included the small Velcro strap to tame the poles into submission and to make getting them into the bag much easier.
And finally, it performs rather brilliantly when it comes to construction. Yes, on it’s last use it took me 27 seconds to put up. This included removing it from its storage bag, in case you were wondering.
What I love the most about the Robens Pathfinder Lite Chair
I love how lightweight and packable this chair is. It’s certainly made life slow down a notch as we’re more inclined to sit and be, rather than be pushing onto the next thing. And because it comes with us to the most unexpected places, we’re ‘being’ much more!
I’m also not ashamed to say that I rather like how stylish this chair is! There isn’t a hint of tackiness about the matt gold poles, in my opinion. And the granite coloured seat adds another element of class about it that I enjoy a disproportionate amount.
What I don’t love so much about the Robens Pathfinder Lite Chair
As mentioned, I feel that the frame isn’t quite as sturdy as I would prefer. However, I don’t feel that the structure will fail.
I also would rather that the rubber feet were attached to the bottoms of the legs. I can’t see any good reason for them to be removable. And as a result I almost lost two of them deep in soft earth. I had to dig them out!
Though accompanied by a somewhat juicy price tag, the Robens Pathfinder Lite Chair is one reliable and highly desirable chair that can be enjoyed in a whole host of outdoor scenarios. It’s made from strong and durable materials to last more than just a couple of seasons of use and abuse. Plus, not only is it exceptionally lightweight and packable, but it’s also one of the most stylish camping chairs around!
Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received this product free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.