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Thread: Camping Chairs: Pico vs Kermit vs Flex-Lite vs Packseat

  1. #1
    Administrator Mellow's Avatar
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    Camping Chairs: Pico vs Kermit vs Flex-Lite vs Packseat

    I just received my REI Flex-Lite camping chair and decided to do a review of the FOUR! chairs I now have - can you say obsessive compulsive?

    This review will compare the following 4 Chairs:
    1 - GCI Outdoor PICO Arm Chair ~ $100
    - Capacity: 350 lbs
    - Weight: 10 lbs
    - Packed size: 21.1" x 13" x 4.3"
    2 - Kermit Chair ~ $140
    - Capacity: 350 lbs
    - Weight: 5.3 lbs
    - Packed size: 4" x 6" x 22"
    3 - REI Flex-Lite Chair ~ $70
    - Capacity: 250 lbs
    - Weight: under 2 lbs
    - Packed size: 4" x 14"
    4 - GCI Outdoor Packseat ~ $20
    - Capacity: 250 lbs
    - Weight: under 2 lbs
    - Packed size: 4" x 14"

    Note: The prices above do not include shipping or any discounts or additional options available for these chairs.

    Here's a pic of the 4 chairs in order from top-to-bottom - Pico/Kermit/Flex-Lite/Packseat:



    Here are all the chairs outside of their bags:



    Let's start by talking about pack size. The Pico is the one with the big disadvantage here being the
    largest and heaviest of the chairs. Your only real options for packing this chair will be on your
    passenger seat or luggage rack.



    The Kermit offers some more flexibility here, you can even put it in your saddlebag but it's a tight fit.
    Most folks are going to pack this on top of or with their camping gear.



    Here is the Flex-Lite chair, as you can see, both it and the packseat offer endless packing options
    and both are under 2 lbs so there is not much bulk or weight to deal with with these two chairs.



    Here are the chairs setup, 1st the Pico and Kermit. As you can see, the Pico is taller than
    the Kermit and so you don't need the leg extensions that many Kermit owners tend to buy to
    get that extra height. The Pico is also a wider chair and the legs are such that they are
    less likely to sink into soft soil. The other 3 chairs may have a tendency to sink a little if
    the ground is less than firm.



    Here is the Flex-Lite chair next to the Kermit.



    And finally, the Packseat next to the Flex-Lite.



    Some more comparing the 1st 3 chairs.



    The Flex-Lite is relatively new so here are some pics of that offering. The bottom two pockets are
    connected to the bottom poles 1st then the loop is used to pull the top pocket up and connect to
    the top poles.





    Conlusion

    Comfort:
    1 - Pico
    2 - Kermit
    3 - Flex-Lite
    4 - Packseat

    I don't think this was much of a surprise. The Pico is the tallest and widest option reviewed and for that
    reason gets the comfort win. It's also more of an upright chair vs the Kermit which makes you sit back
    at more of an angle. This is a personal preference so some may prefer the Kermit's angle and Kermit
    also offer a wide-chair version and optional leg extensions.

    The Flex-Lite is not as comfortable as the Pico or Kermit mainly because you are sitting in a 'pocket',
    similar to a hammock, so it feels a little unstable at first but after sitting in it a while you adjust. It's
    just not the stable feeling you get from the 1st two options given the way the frame holds the material.

    The Packseat - well, it's more comfortable that you would thing actually but you aren't going to fall
    asleep in it. LOL

    Ease of Use (setup/break down):
    1 - Packseat
    2 - Pico
    3 - Flex-Lite
    4 - Kermit

    The Packseat is simply a set of 3 short shock-corded poles so it is the easiest set up and repacking of the
    bunch.

    The Pico has no 'parts' to it, you simply move it around and lift up then spread the seat and back
    and you have an almost full sized chair. It takes a few tries to get used to it but once you do it's
    a very fast setup and repacking procedure.

    The Flex-Lite is constructed of Cordura fabric, mesh and DAC poles and thick plastic hubs and while the
    association to a tent setup may scare some, it's actually a pretty fast setup.

    The Kermit, simply due to it's number of loose parts and more involved setup is last in this category. I
    will say it's not complicated, it's just a tad slower of a setup due to the parts involved. Also, repacking
    is not very fast as the fit in the bag is tight and it sometimes takes a few tries to get it right. Again,
    not complicated or a deal-killer, just more involved than the rest in this group.

    Winner?:

    Well, it's a close race... LOL

    Between the Kermit and the Flex-Lite with the Flex-Lite just edging out.

    My personal preferences with regards to camping chairs are comfort and pack size. If you throw in cost
    then the Flex-Lite wins.

    The Kermit is compact enough to be packed with your other typical camping gear however it is
    much heavier and expensive than the Flex-Lite.

    The Flex-Lite is quite comfortable - more so than the Packseat for obvious reasons and very
    close to the Kermit and Pico.

    I think if you did not already have any chair the Flex-Lite would be a nice option. Light, easy to pack,
    easy to setup and comfortable. If you have a Kermit then you probably love it and won't like the
    Flex-Lite.

    That's all I got... obviously, this is all just MY opinions and MY observations. I hope this information
    is helpful in case you're looking for a chair and these are some you're considering.


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    Don't sweat the small stuff, it's all small stuff"

  2. #2
    Paul's Avatar
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    Re: Camping Chairs: Pico vs Kermit vs Flex-Lite vs Packseat

    Joe,
    Thanks for the excellent review. I ordered the Big Agnes Helinox chair and should receive it tomorrow. I hope it is as comfortable and nice as the Flex-Lite chair. I went with the Helinox because of the 350 lb capacity (even though I only weigh 235).
    Paul

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    Site Supporter junglejim's Avatar
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    Re: Camping Chairs: Pico vs Kermit vs Flex-Lite vs Packseat

    Thanks, great info.

    Now just bring them all to Spearfish and those assembled there will be able to help you evaluate the durability. Or stated differently, we can break anything.

  4. #4
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    Re: Camping Chairs: Pico vs Kermit vs Flex-Lite vs Packseat

    Quote Originally Posted by junglejim View Post
    Thanks, great info.

    Now just bring them all to Spearfish and those assembled there will be able to help you evaluate the durability. Or stated differently, we can break anything.
    Lol, NO!....

  5. #5
    RedNigel's Avatar
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    Re: Camping Chairs: Pico vs Kermit vs Flex-Lite vs Packseat

    I got the REI Camp-X Low
    I got it because it is low enough to use inside my tent, and it opens right up ready to use
    Packs about 30"x9", so it takes some room on the bike
    It does fit inside my dry duffel though

    PS
    I really enjoy Mellow's reviews

  6. #6
    Moderator Phil Tarman's Avatar
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    Re: Camping Chairs: Pico vs Kermit vs Flex-Lite vs Packseat

    Good review, Joe! Since I can't sit as low as some people can after all my knee replacements, the Kermit with the leg extensions is my pick. It's not, as you say, particularly light and having two bags, doesn't help any either. The leg extensions go into a bag that's about 8-9" long and slightly smaller in diameter than the chair itself.

    But with leg extensions, the bottom of the chair is not raked back quite so much and it's 17" off the ground. I couldn't sit in it inside the Halfdome 2+, but it works great inside the Halfdome 4 tent.
    Phil Tarman
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    Read about the "Epic Ride" at: www.ptarman1.com


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    Site Supporter DirtFlier's Avatar
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    Re: Camping Chairs: Pico vs Kermit vs Flex-Lite vs Packseat

    I also bought the Big Agnes Helinox and got it from LL Bean. It looks a lot like the Flex-lite and nearly identical in construction but is rated at "300 lbs." As Mello said this type of chair does feel a little insecure at first but to me that drawback is outweighed by its tiny packed size - only 14" long. The Kermit Chairs has been considered the Rolls-Royce
    of camp chairs used by motorcyclists for decades but its packed size (22" long) is too much, at least in my mind.

  8. #8
    rcase13's Avatar
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    Re: Camping Chairs: Pico vs Kermit vs Flex-Lite vs Packseat

    I have been enjoying my Flex-Lite for awhile now. I leave it permanently in the NT. It fits perfectly in the pass through.

  9. #9
    Site Supporter junglejim's Avatar
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    Re: Camping Chairs: Pico vs Kermit vs Flex-Lite vs Packseat

    There is no chair on my bike - yet. I travel pretty light and haven't committed to getting a camp chair - yet. But as I get older the ground keeps getting farther down and comfort becomes more important. This thread may be timely for me. Thanks, Joe, for getting the good information out.

    I'm leaning toward the Kermit chair mostly because of the construction. Should something break I could probably fix any of the wood or metal brackets that keep the chair upright. I have had a few disappointments with the "plastic and pole" construction of some folding chairs I've seen. It is pretty hard to visually evaluate the quality differences between the cheap WallyWorld chairs and some of the others. I just don't trust them any more.

  10. #10

    Re: Camping Chairs: Pico vs Kermit vs Flex-Lite vs Packseat

    Excellent review. I need another chair anyway, was considering the Kermit but I need to get my hands on the Flex-Lite before I make the final decision. Thanks Joe.

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