Don’t let me down, Big Agnes

How to keep your Helinox chair from sinking into the sunset

That sinking feeling you get when you sit on a backpacking chair on soft ground.

That sinking feeling you get when you sit on a backpacking chair on soft ground.

As mentioned in a previous post, I love my Big Agnes Helinox backpacking chair. At two pounds, it proved to be a great alternative to the 8-pound beast I had been lugging around. But, once I used the Helinox in the real world — on soft ground — the honeymoon was over. Temporarily.

As indicated in numerous reviews, the legs of these chairs, and similar designs, are narrow and tend to sink into the ground when you sit on them. Unless you happen to be camping in a parking lot or your living room. I found a solution to the problem using leftover materials from my “poor man’s Yakima bar” (another post for another time).

Well tubing sections. Note that one is marked with an “F” to indicate that it goes on the front.

Well tubing sections. Note that one is marked with an “F” to indicate that it goes on the front.

After I bridged the legs with plastic 1.25 inch diameter well tubing, I no longer got that sinking feeling every time I tried to sit down at my campsite.

Weight’s obviously a concern, but it’s a lightweight material. Both leg attachments combined weigh 5.3 ounces (about 152 grams for my friends on the other side of the pond).

With the Helinox legs, I noticed the front ones were spaced slightly wider apart than the rear. I compensated for that in drilling my holes. To avoid confusion come set-up time, I used a gasket scraper and screwdriver to burn an “F” into the front one.

I used a hole cutting drill bit to make the holes. In my first attempt, I used a 7/8 inch bit. This prototype worked well. It kept the legs from disappearing into the sand. However, the holes were too big and the brace fell off when I picked up the chair.

Not a big deal, but you kind of want them to stay with the chair when you have to pick it up to move out of the smoke from your campfire. Or if you have to move it for some other purpose, such as fending off a charging bear. Or a fellow camper who wants to steal your chair.

For the finished product, I bored a 3/4 inch hole and reamed it out with a domed grinding bit. This put a slight bevel on the hole to allow the braces to pop onto the leg ends. They fit snugly and stay with the chair when you move it.

Problem solved. I put my  leg braces the ultimate test — sitting on the chair atop a sand pile. This is all the farther it sank with my full weight on it.

Problem solved. I put my leg braces the ultimate test — sitting on the chair atop a sand pile. This is all the farther it sank with my full weight on it.

They are too long to fit into the bag that comes with the chair. I got around that by packing them with my tent poles.

It also helps to wipe down the braces with Armor All, pure silicone spray or a similar product.

What do you think? Should I start mass-production?

 

 

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Don’t let me down, Big Agnes

  1. smooth, real smooth.

    mass production. most people are to lazy and cheap to make or buy these. besides you retired to canoe not get into manufacturing. i believe. i would probably notch the front with the grinder when reaming the holes. or use the grinder to make an f. not that i’m lazy or anything.

    i kind of wonder why agnes doesn’t sell em?

    sherbit. raz

    Like

  2. Pingback: Campsite chairs – RedDirtRiders.com

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