Whilst kayaking an issue, which can arise is where to sit when you come ashore. Not so much of a problem on a day trip but for longer journeys a degree of comfort is appreciated. This is where the REI Flexlite Low Chair could come into its own.
Nicky was keen to look into buying a chair, perhaps she appreciates her comfort more than I do. On a morning with some spare time, whilst waiting for a flight home, we visited the REI store in Seattle, with no particular thoughts about buying a chair.
Visiting a store like REI in the States or Tiso’s in the UK is always a challenge. After numerous many years of being involved in the outdoors there is actually very little that I need in the way of clothing or equipment. The trouble is that there is always plenty of pieces of kit that you might want. So the challenge is to get out the shop before the credit card has taken too much of a hammering.
Whilst I looked at check shirts and shorts, which I definitely didn’t need, Nicky was far more sensible and searched out those items of kit, which might prove useful. To her delight she discovered a number of collapsible camping chairs and one in particular caught her eye as it was clearly small enough to go through the hatch of a sea kayak.
She tested the chair for comfort and almost immediately changed her mind from a possible purchase to not only was she getting one but I needed one as well. Once I had tested the chair for comfort my initial reluctance was overcome and we headed towards the check out with two chairs in our arms.
In the past 12 months we have used the chairs extensively whilst away sea kayaking and have come to view them as indispensable item of equipment. Whether it’s a day trip in our local waters or a longer paddle further afield.
So what are the advantages.
1.) light weight
2.) packs down small
3.) Hard wearing
They are well design, the supports click into place quickly and feel solid. There is a small pocket on one side, which is useful for small items. I found it most useful fo storing the bag, which the chair comes in. A possible improvement would be to have the bag permanently attached to the chair, that way it is less likely to be mis-placed. Something which I do quite regularly.
Having just used the chair for 10 days, whilst sea kayaking in Baja, there are a couple of observations to make. Be careful on soft sand, as the back legs can sink resulting in you falling backwards. Generally to the entertainment of the other members of the group, but it could be more serious if you were holding a hot coffee at the time
I also found that on really hot days the metal seemed to expand making it impossible to collapse some of the supports at times. Just leave it in a hatch and the following morning the legs would come apart really easily.
All in all the REI Flexlite Low Chair deserves to be considered, as a useful item of equipment, by any kayakers who participate in day trips but especially by those who take part in multi-day trips.
As I sat on a warm sandy beach in Baja last week, tequila in hand, I reflected upon my first long trip. In 1981 I spent 4 weeks exploring the southern Danish islands, having crossed from Germany. At the end of the trip all that I wanted to do was sit in my car. I had missed the pleasure of just sitting down somewhere. The REI Flexlite Low Chair is an answer to the problem I faced all those years ago, where do I find somewhere comfortable to sit whilst on a sea kayaking trip?