Thermarest Camping Chairs

compackthermarestThis is the first of a few videos that I took at the Fiets en Wandelbeurs, an outdoor bike and trekking fair, in Amsterdam last weekend.

I had heard of Thermarest chairs, but never had a chance to get a good look at them. And I didn’t know you could use the chair kits with solid foam mats as well as the inflatable mattresses! This all of a sudden seems much better than the plastic bags we mostly sat on while camping.

Mandy, a member of the Dutch backpacking club, Rugzaklopers, was happy to demonstrate the Thermarest chairs for us. In the video, you’ll see the very lightweight and small Compack Chair ($49.95 from REI) and a slightly heavier but possibly more robust model, the Trekker Chair ($49.95 from REI).


  1. Nigel Tennant
    4th March 2010 at 5:07 pm #

    I carried a Trekker Chair kit with me for 9 months, and used it regularly with a large Pro-Lite 4 sleeping mattress (now Pro-Lite Plus). I have to say it was certainly worth its weight for me – the comfort and back support was an extremely welcome luxury after a long day of riding.

    Sadly, the Trekker Chair recently let me down on a camping trip – one of the rigid support rods punched through the stitching at the top. It is still usable, but it slips and twists quite easily now, so I’m going to try and repair it before spring arrives.

    The lighter weight Compack Chair looks attractive for its weight, but I’d be a little concerned about durability.

    Another must-have for me was the inflatable Lite-Seat – fantastic all-purpose 90g cushion, great for protecting your rear from chilly concrete benches, or for sitting on ice while repairing a puncture!

  2. Ingrid
    4th March 2010 at 5:44 pm #

    I use the Therm-A-Rest Trekker Chair for more than 3 years every day when we camp. It is an especially comfortable office chair while writing the diary on my laptop. When we spent a rainy day in the tent, we were able to sit comfortably vis-a-vis. In cold weather, you can also wear a sleeping bag in the seat. It takes no space to carry and as we always take as much equipment as possible with us, we do not talk about the weight – it’s nothing 😉 And we already carry our mattresses (ProLite 4 Woman and Trail Comfort). The Trekker Chair fits perfectly to our gear.

  3. Becky
    5th March 2010 at 1:22 am #

    Amusingly, we had thought about thermarest chairs – I had even bought one when I was a youth leader as they were great at conferences. We didn’t bring them on our world tour, and interestingly, we never really missed it either. We realize that because we sat back on our bikes all day, we didn’t really need the back support when sitting camping – an interesting side benefit to riding bent!

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