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Thread: Thermarest Treo Chair review.

  1. #1
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    Default Thermarest Treo Chair review.

    Like many of you I have spent a lot of time looking for a good camp chair. It has to be comfortable, light and easy to pack. Stable and able to withstand all the riggers of camp life. Ideally it will be cheap.

    I started out not bothering to take a chair and used to sit in my hammock but that was too far from the fire and could not be easily moved. Then I tried the cheap chairs you get in petrol stations and supermarkets. They are light enough and comfortable but break quickly and don't pack easily. I tired a lightweight camp chair that was a bit low slung and fragile. You had to get out of it in a very specific way. Not ideal. Then I got a fishing chair. It was solid and comfortable, if a bit low to the ground. It is heavy and a pain to pack, actually you can't pack it you just have to wedge it somewhere in the canoe but it has lasted the longest and generally earned its keep. It is, however, now well worn with few trips left in it. The stitching and material are starting to part company.

    So here I was again looking for a camp chair. As it happened I got an email that had information about a new Thermarest chair, the Trēo. The specs looked impressive. Packs small. easy to erect, stable, not too heavy but hard wearing. Please let it be true.

    http://www.cascadedesigns.com/therm-...-chair/product





    If all this was true then it would be close to perfect. Is it cheap? Not really. Currently they are going on Amazon for just under 77, http://www.amazon.co.uk/THERMAREST-T...DRD25MKCQDVHCT but are usually closer to 85. This takes it to the same sort of price point as the Helinox which I have not tried but has design similarities until you get to the legs and it packing into itself. Anyway, if it does what it says and lasts I would be happy to pay this price. But it needs to deliver.

    And so it was delivered Not just delivered but taken out, sat on, used on trips, ready for me to give an informed opinion on. First off it looks great when packed. A solid lump that can be thrown about a bit and stuffed in a pack easily. Either in the main pack or a side pocket.



    It can be hard to gauge the size so here it is with a crusader mug, my standard size unit And a 1 litre bottle in the mug in case you need a further guide.



    If we take the rubber band off from around the legs we can swing one leg open to see inside. The rubber band is attached to one of the legs so it does not get lost. The "hand strap" is attached to a plastic disk that is just slid into place. There is nowhere to store this disk and strap when the chair is erected. It is just asking to be lost. Actually it may be a disposable part of the packing but too useful to chuck away so I came up with a solution for this. More later.



    Inside we see some rolled up material and some poles.



    Open the legs out and put them the right way up.



    Unroll the material to find four poles. Two with two sections and silver ends and two with three sections and black ends. The pole sets are shock corded together as is the norm.



    A quick shake to spring them into shape.



    Then the silver ends of the shorter poles go in the two holes that are on the same leg. The longer black poles go into the single holes on each of the remaining legs.



    I know what you are thinking, "John is so going to lose that disk with the hand strap".



    Sticky backed velcro to the rescue



    Alternatively you could loop the hand strap over one of the poles at this point but the velcro solution gives you somewhere to stick the disk as soon as you take it out.

    You unroll, fold out the material and find a seat shaped sling with "pockets" in the corners. You put the ends of the poles in the pockets and voila, you have a chair.



    It takes a lot of words and pictures to describe this but in reality less than a minute to do.



    Now lets put a 6 foot 3 inches tall, slightly under 15 stone, MagiKelly in the chair.



    Mmmmm, comfy Sam wonders if there is a version for dogs



    When I first got this chair I set it up at home a few times and got into it really gently. I was worried I would bend the bars or the material would rip. Logically I knew it had been tested extensively by the manufacturer before they even went on sale but still it felt too light to really take abuse.

    However, once you get out camping and are moving round the campfire, getting up to do this and that, moving the chair, sitting down, getting up again you start to treat it like just a chair. The kid gloves come off and you start to just rely on it. Given time you may even find yourself swinging back on it a bit

    Indeed you will come to think of it as being so robust that every time you lift it you will be shocked at how light it is. In a very short time I have come to think of it as being as solid as the fishing chair it is replacing. So I am always surprised when I lift it and find it is a fraction of that weight. Indeed this lightness is a reel boon as it makes it so much easier to shift position when the smoke changes direction and you are getting kippered by the camp fire. Moving is further helped as the Treo chair has a seat height about twice that of the fishing chair. So getting up is easier and not quite the "turtle on its back" impersonation I could be accused of, when exiting the fishing chair.

    I should have mentioned another benefit of the design of the chair. The plastic legs have a wide foot compared to the rubber tipped ends of most camp chairs (Helinox included). As a result the legs do not easily sink into the ground. I have tried them on a beach and it was fine. My fishing chair would have gone in at least an inch in the same conditions. The three legged design also means you do not get any wobble but of course if you lean forward and out to the side far enough you can tip but you do need to go stupidly far.

    As you can tell I am really taken with the new Thermarest Trēo Chair. Is it the perfect chair? Maybe. It is portable and packable enough. Indeed so packable I will be taking it even on day trips. I may even take it when walking. It is comfortable and high enough. Is it cheap enough? Probably. The deciding factor will be if it lasts well. I am confident it will. Confident enough indeed that I am looking to get a second one.

    Of course I'll keep you updated with how it stands up as time progresses.
    John

    I started at the bottom and I like it here

  2. #2
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    Hmm, interesting. Certainly seems like an alternative to the Helinox I have, without the sinking feet*. I like the design and how it packs into itself, and being Thermarest, I'm confident it will last for years. Great review, thanks!

    I'm totally convinced by these lightweight chairs, Helinox and now T'rest. They are VERY expensive, but the fact I can carry a full, very comfortable, camp chair on overnight and day trips without the weight and hassle of carrying a "normal" chair, makes it worth the money for me. Just about...

    *a certain Bootstrap Bob patented device has now solved this, but I can't release details until Rob has the Patent in place so he can make his millions from a few scraps of old seatbelt. Oops, I've said too much...


    EDIT: meant to say, is anybody else singing TREEEEEOOO, TREEEOOOO, at the computer, or is it just me?
    Covering as many malmiles as possible before being distracted by the pub!

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  3. #3
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    Good review........looks like a cracking chair.......I like the way it folds up into the legs. I have a cheapo version of the Helinox and I like it but it is a pain the way the feet sink into the ground. This design seems to have sorted that problem..........

    just saw Mals post.........helinox may have beat Boostrap to it lol




    Last edited by mayobren; 15th-March-2015 at 07:51 PM.
    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

  4. #4
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    Nice neat little package, but at that price?

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    Interesting, I've been looking at something like this but didn't fancy the helinox. Think I'll hang on till it has had some more use but looks promising
    MarkL
    www.canoemassifcentral.com
    Canoe outfitting packages in the Massif Central


  6. #6
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    Great review of what looks like a great product. But at that price, I might have to wait until someone does a ripoff copy. Of course I may be persuaded if I sit in one and it convinces me.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    Hmm, interesting. Certainly seems like an alternative to the Helinox I have, without the sinking feet*.
    I've seen people putting tennis balls on the feet of Helinoxs to stop the sinking. Not sure how well it works or how it hinders the packing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    EDIT: meant to say, is anybody else singing TREEEEEOOO, TREEEOOOO, at the computer, or is it just me?
    I wasn't but I am now
    John

    I started at the bottom and I like it here

  8. #8
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    Damn! That's a nifty-looking bit of kit! I might well have to add another verse to my song!
    Juvanile delinkwit, vaguely faffing around with a pair of pliers. Du skal ikke tro at du er bedre end mig!

  9. #9
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    Really wouldn't trust the pockets that the poles go into. In convinced they'll rip after some use

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamiemagee View Post
    Really wouldn't trust the pockets that the poles go into. In convinced they'll rip after some use
    I know that seems like it is the case. but like my concerns about the poles I am sure this has been tested to destruction. Certainly I will be using the chair till it breaks. We will just need to see how long that is and what the failure is.
    John

    I started at the bottom and I like it here

  11. #11
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    Great review MK. I saw these in Tamarack last week and I thought they looked pretty good so it's nice to see someone giving them a good work out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    Certainly seems like an alternative to the Helinox I have, without the sinking feet*

    *a certain Bootstrap Bob patented device has now solved this, but I can't release details until Rob has the Patent in place so he can make his millions from a few scraps of old seatbelt. Oops, I've said too much...
    I hardly think it's going to make me millions Mal but it is a solution for those people with Helinox or similar chairs without the added bulk of tennis balls.
    Did you take any pictures of it in action? I haven't had the chance yet as the last time I used the chairs the ground was rock hard. I suspect the Davy90 clan will be looking for some too. Unfortunately I don't have any more strapping at the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by mayobren View Post
    just saw Mals post.........helinox may have beat Boostrap to it lol
    That's a different design Bren. My solution fixes the current Helinox sinking in problem.
    Bootstrap
    There's no such thing as inclement weather - you're just incorrectly dressed

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bootstrap Bob View Post
    I hardly think it's going to make me millions Mal but it is a solution for those people with Helinox or similar chairs without the added bulk of tennis balls.
    Did you take any pictures of it in action? I haven't had the chance yet as the last time I used the chairs the ground was rock hard. I suspect the Davy90 clan will be looking for some too. Unfortunately I don't have any more strapping at the moment.
    I did take some pictures, I can dig them out if you want.
    Covering as many malmiles as possible before being distracted by the pub!

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    I did take some pictures, I can dig them out if you want.
    Perhaps it needs to be a separate thread so as not to hijack MK's.
    There may be more opportunities in a couple of weeks to take a few more.
    Bootstrap
    There's no such thing as inclement weather - you're just incorrectly dressed

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamiemagee View Post
    Really wouldn't trust the pockets that the poles go into. In convinced they'll rip after some use

    See here

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bootstrap Bob View Post
    I hardly think it's going to make me millions Mal but it is a solution for those people with Helinox or similar chairs without the added bulk of tennis balls.
    That's a different design Bren. My solution fixes the current Helinox sinking in problem.
    Just seen your solution on the chair thread...........like it!
    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

  16. #16
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    Amazing looking design. I hadn't heard of these, so thanks for the review. Now I have heard of them, but can't afford them :-)

    Ben
    One year olds want four meals a day: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Paper...
    Two year olds want whatever is most dangerous to get to... (Then to throw it on the floor.)

  17. #17

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    Excellent review MK.
    I saw these mentioned in my caravan magazine and thought just what I need for canoeing, backpacking and camping. However, I thought I would quite like to try one out to see how comfy it is, but haven't found any local stockists. Might just bite the bullet and go for it.
    Regards

    Purley Paddler

  18. #18

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    Mine arrived today. Very comfy. Rest of family have been trying it out too
    Initial thoughts are that it flexes a bit when first lowering my 14 stone bulk into it but you soon get used to it.
    The height is great and means that I can just stand up out of it.
    The loose handle/disc thingy that Magikelly has velcro'd - I am just looping over one of poles to keep safe.
    Next test will have to be on something more uneven than my kitchen floor

    I got mine online from Trekkit for 71.10 (10% off RRP) free P&P. Excellent transaction. Absolutely no association with them.
    Regards

    Purley Paddler

  19. #19
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    It does take some time to get confidence in it. I'll be interested to here how you get on with it in the long run.

    The more I look at it the more I think the handstrap is just there for hanging on the sales display. Still seems too useful not to keep.
    John

    I started at the bottom and I like it here

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