I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited, so pleasantly surprised by a chair before, that I actually let out a “yew!” when I sat down until I encountered this little Mountainsmith Slingback chair.

Though “chair” is probably an overstatement. The Slingback is just 40 inches by 15 inches of strong Cordura 610d fabric propped up with trekking poles. It’s really a glorified backrest, which, while that doesn’t sound like much, can be a bonafide luxury in the furniture-free backcountry.

And it’s brilliant.


It’s so ridiculously simple I can’t believe I didn’t invent this years ago, patent it, and start swimming in that sweet backpacking chair wealth.

Here’s how it works. Lay the Slingback flat on the ground. Collapse two trekking poles to about two feet long. Cross them into an “X,” then stick each handle butt into a little pocket in the Slingback.

Now the fun part—you will probably fall backward the first time you try this, maybe even the second time too—but sit on the fabric then raise the poles to a vertical-ish position, and use your bodyweight to create tension on the fabric. Voila, you’re sitting in a “chair.”

It’s a little bit of physics magic and far more comfortable than it may seem.

Sitting on the ground, or a rock, maybe a tree stump is fine, but never comfortable, and foldable backpacking chairs, no matter how light, have never, um, sat well with me.

But the Slingback weighs only 4.75 ounces, and rolls up like a napkin. That too heavy for you? Shave an ounce or two by cutting off the strap and buckle if you must.

This clever little chair is the best weight-to-joy ratio in the backpacking universe. Assuming you’re already a trekking pole user, you may as well pitch one in your bag.

Also—it costs only $25. Easily the coolest backpacking gadget I’ve seen in a long time.

$25 • BUY

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