Neil IrwinOutdoor and adventure photographer, film maker and writer. Born in the flat lands of East Anglia, UK – but the mountains and thrill of adventure is where the heart lies.
A lightweight, easy to carry, straightforward to assemble camping chair with a durable, premium feel and aesthetic. The Tactical Sunset Chair is definitely an investment, but you are buying into a brand renowned for its design and durability.
3lbs 2oz / 1.43kg
38.5″ / 98cm
23″ / 59cm
28.5″ / 72cm
Comes with a 5-year warranty
Small side pocket
What I’m Looking For
When searching for a small, lightweight camping chair, portability and durability are top priorities. The chair should be compact when folded, easily stashed in the back of the van or tent porch and comfortable to carry a short distance, yet sturdy enough to support the user’s weight and withstand everything the UK weather can throw at it!
Comfort is also important of course, as users may spend hours luxuriating in said chair, ideally with a cold drink or camping snack in hand.
Additional features to consider might include extra accessories such as cup holders, pockets for storage, and a carrying case. Ultimately, the ideal camping chair should strike a balance between size, strength, and comfort, providing a reliable and comfortable seating option for outdoor adventures.
users may spend hours luxuriating in said chair, ideally with a cold drink or camping snack in hand
The Helinox Tactical Sunset Chair makes a strong first impression with its sleek, modern and simple design. It has a streamlined, minimalist look that is both attractive and functional, and dare I say almost tactical. The chair is lightweight and easy to carry, making it ideal for camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities. From the start, it certainly feels and looks like a premium and robust outdoor camping chair in part thanks to it thicker looking poles and what feels like a durable and hard wearing seat material.
Who Is This Chair For?
The Tactical Sunset Chair is a great option for campers and outdoor enthusiasts who value comfort and portability. It is ideal for those who enjoy backpacking, hiking, or other outdoor activities where space and weight are at a premium.
The chair is designed to be lightweight and compact, making it easy to carry. However, it is also sturdy and supportive, providing a comfortable place to rest after a day of adventure. It’s a versatile and practical option for anyone looking to relax and unwind in the great outdoors.
The ‘pre-test test’ took place in a field near Edinburgh on a sunny spring day in April. Nothing crazy or fancy about that, but being able to take it somewhere flat certainly gave me more time to dive in to the features and functionality of the chair before its maiden camping trip. Helinox is a brand name renowned for its outdoor chairs, but having never used one before, it gave me a chance to see what the brand is all about.
Assembly was straightforward, all the poles are joined together by elasticated cord and can only fit together one way so it’s hard to go wrong. The seat fabric attaches via four reinforced pole holders. It may take a little bit of effort to put the chair together, but the benefit of this when compared to others that don’t require assembly is of course, the compact size of the chair. Despite this, the chair is almost surprisingly comfortable. With a longer back than other packable chairs, it felt bigger without actually being too big. Sitting slightly higher off the ground than other packable chairs also means that taller folk would certainly find this more user-friendly. A slightly padded top pole has been designed in to allow for something better than a bare metal pole that could be uncomfortable on freezing nights or no pole at all where the fabric would dig in to the back of the neck.
I like where Helinox were going with the added side pocket, but it seems more like an after-thought than an actual part of the design. Unfortunately, the only thing I could really use it for was my mobile phone, but even that was a tight fit whilst sitting in the chair. Given the no-frills nature of the chair – I think this could have just been left out.
The chair has since been subject to rougher ‘off road’ testing as a camping companion, slung in car boots and hauled to scenic spots to watch the sun set in total, portable comfort. It packs down into a pouch measuring 47cm x 12cm x 14cm so is pretty compact. There are other chairs that will pack down smaller, but the trade-off is in the height and longer back which make for a much more comfortable sitting experience.
What Stands Out?
Simply unpack the chair, join the poles together and attach the seat fabric and away you go! You really can’t get simpler than that.
With a frame made from aluminium that is rated to a higher specification than aircraft grade, alongside a durable material with reinforced panels and tough stitching, it’s safe to say this chair has been designed with robustness in mind. It’s been tested to withstand up to 145kg of weight partially thanks to its high-strength fibre reinforced nylon pole connecting hubs, alongside an anodised frame to help with protection against the elements. Safe to say it’ll do the job. Not forgetting the 5 year warranty should anything go wrong too!
The combination of a longer back and slightly higher-than-usual seat mean this chair is definitely comfortable.
Packability and weight
The tough pouch is pretty nifty and compact enough to not be too cumbersome when carrying. Coming in at 1.59kg, it’s fairly light too.
A bit too small for anything really useful, this particular feature could either have been expanded or left out altogether in my opinion.
Value For Money
At £175 RRP it’s by no means cheap! While it is certainly more expensive than some other camping chairs on the market, it is also built to last and is designed for serious outdoor enthusiasts who prioritise comfort, durability, and portability in their camping gear.
There’s no denying that Helinox put a lot of time and research into their products, materials and testing, but in the current financial climate, the price might be off-putting for some.
BASE Bottom Line
In the outdoor gear world, it seems as though Helinox is well known as THE outdoor camping chair brand. But a chair is just a chair – right?
The Helinox Tactical sunset chair performed well and is certainly something I will get a lot of use out of. Being 6ft 1″, the extra height this chair has over others is certainly advantageous and a longer back definitely helps make the chair more comfortable. Although mostly only tested on grass, I see no reason why this chair can’t perform on tougher more rugged terrain. Sand may be a problem however, but Helinox does have a range of accessories for its chairs that can be bought including a ground sheet that can help prevent sinking.
Now – the pocket. For me, it really is a downside. It’s something that I would probably forget about using because it is so impractical which is a shame. Pockets are always useful, but not when they’re this small.
For those looking for a versatile, comfortable and reliable camping chair for chilled out bonfires and camp outs that can be hauled in and out of places, then this might be just be the chair for you. If you can afford it…