gear PRODUCT TEST – ARB CAMP CHAIRS
IF THERE’S one essential item on anyone’s camping list, it is a decent camp chair. Surprisingly, it can be hard to find good quality ones that will take a beating whenever they’re squeezed into tight spaces – let alone ones that will survive having heavier gear thrown on top of them.
The camp chair market usually falls into two distinct segments: the lightweight and compact jobs that ‘roll up’, and the spacious, flat-folding and heavy units that take up copious amounts of precious storage space in your vehicle’s cargo area.
ARB is renowned for its top-end engineering and ingenuity of design in regards to its mechanical products.
This ethos has carried through to its camping gear – with these two camp chairs, dubbed the Sport and Air Locker (after the company’s famous air-operated differential lock), proving that even though camp chairs have been around for many years, there are still a few tweaks that can improve the basic design.
The company has managed to combine a relatively compact (packed) size with the robustness that’s needed for a camp chair to survive years of use. When packed, the two chairs are of very similar size (the Air Locker may be slightly smaller in its bag), and they both share the same unique set-up process.
Once out of the carry bag it’s a simple matter of unclipping a small locking mechanism on the rear of each chair arm, before extending the arm to full length. Once the chair is fully open, the clip-lock at the arm’s rear then clips into the rear vertical metal tubing on the chair’s back. It’s quick, easy and results in a chair that feels solid and stable when set up.
To pack the chair up you just reverse that procedure, sliding the arm back and down until the chair is collapsed and the clip locks marry up with a corresponding lock on the chair leg. This is not only easy but, because the chair legs are locked in place even when packed up, it reduces the chances of them splaying out when you’re trying to feed the chair back into its carry bag.
For the space-conscious among us, you’ll be pleased to know the packed size of the chair is comparatively small.
Anything but the smallest hatchback should have no trouble fitting a few of these in, meaning that these little beauties will hardly impact on your ability to carry everything you need for a weekend away.
The chairs are constructed of rugged Oxford-weave nylon material and feature comfortable padded seats, as well as side-pocket sections that house a Velcroenclosed pouch for your keys and wallet, and a drink holder.
On the back there’s also a cool mesh pocket that can hold a magazine or iPad.
Both chairs are rated to a hefty 120kg, so durability shouldn’t be an issue.
Now you can focus a bit more of your hard-earned camping time on the more important tasks – sitting in the chair, grabbing a beer from its holder and kicking back in comfort!
AVAILABLE FROM: www.arb.com.au RRP: $65 WE SAY: Sturdy, convenient, comfy.