Folding camp chairs have been around for a long time. The expert team behind Quest Outdoors Australia have also been around for a long time. The oldest known folding chair appeared 4500 years ago and the camping chair as we know it grew popular just after WWII.
Quest Outdoors Australia hasn’t been around as long as the old army camp chairs have been – but the team behind it have been designing and manufacturing folding chairs for decades. In that time, we’ve sold over 3 million of them in Australia. So we definitely know what we’re talking about.
In this article, we’ll share our approach to folding camp chair design. By going into the level of detail only experts with deep experience (or with no lives) would know or care about, we’ll show you just how much thought goes into each camping chair we make, so you can be certain you’re getting the very best camp chair your money can buy.
We found that many people think all camp chairs are the same – that it doesn’t matter if it’s a $5 chair from the hardware store or a fancy $150 chair from a fancy brand. We get it, people just want to sit down. We know it’s on us to spend time researching, planning, and designing different chairs for different purposes and budgets. We spend countless hours working on our chair designs making sure they’ll last for countless hours of use. Quest camp chairs are not the same as the others.
The biggest thing we think about at Quest is the end result. The best end result we can think of is – our customers enjoying doing whatever it is they’re doing and forgetting about the chair. You won’t notice some of the features and specifications we’re obsessed about, and that’s great. Ultimately what we do is all about you enjoying your life outdoors more easily.
If you’re still reading and consider yourself a bit of a camping chair guru (like us – welcome to the club) it’s time for some expert information. We’ll talk about the frame, the ‘skin’ (well, that’s we call the fabric in the game), and the features that work together to make the perfect folding camp chair for any purpose and budget.
Camping chair frames
Let’s start with our frames. Camp chairs can have as low as 14.5mm diameter metal frames but our range is where we believe the sweet spot is between 17.5mm and 19mm as it’s a balance between weight and strength. We combine this with tough joining knuckles and extra vertical supports to calculate the final weight rating of the chair. These vertical supports are what makes our higher weight rated chairs feel so sturdy. Virgin ABS plastic (it’s much tougher when it’s new) knuckles around the key stress points on the frame dramatically increase the reinforcement so we use them a lot on our higher end chairs.
But wait there’s more! Look behind the chair at the top of the frame. Does your chair have a frame mounted vertical support? What’s stopping the frame from eventually tearing through the fabric? No worries with our chairs.
Last but certainly not least, we’re mixing the quad-fold camp chair with the classic folding directors’ chair to bring you a hard-armed quad-fold camp chair. The sturdy hard arms offer a touch of non-camp chair comfort and make it so much easier to get in and out of for those who need a little help. Remember, we don’t want you to think about the frame of you chair too much – so we made it as supportive and unbreakable as we could.
Camping chair fabrics
Now for the bit you sit on – the ‘skin’. Our chairs use a 600D polyester face fabric. What’s 600D? The D stands for ‘denier’ and it means there’s 600 yarns per thread in the fabric. 600 denier polyester is the right balance between durability and weight anything over that becomes too bulky and hard to manage. We want you to open and close our chairs many times over the years and not even think about the fabric yarns.
When it comes to padding, we think there’s really only two varieties. PE (polyurethane) foam and polyester wadding. We use the wadding – not only does it give our chairs a more comfortable loft and look – wadding dries out much quicker when wet. Our camp chairs will still be resilient and comfortable when your mates are already thinking about replacing theirs.
Lumbar support isn’t something you’ll see on a camp chair every day. Which is why most of our higher end chairs have it. A thick side strap on each side lets you choose your lower back level of support. You’ll wonder why you never thought about until you try it!
Australian-designed camp chair features for Australians
Our obsession with making the best camp chairs in Australia had us thinking – what do Aussies do the most when sitting in their camp chair? Many of us are watching the kids sport on a Saturday, or a concert in the park, enjoying a family picnic, or spending lazy days and nights around a campfire somewhere in the country. The truth is, all of those things involve having a space for beverages, and a space to store other bits and pieces, like snacks, keys, devices, books, spare jumpers… you know… all the important stuff.
We built a fully insulated six-can side cooler into one of the arms that’ll even hold your ice! We also insulated the drink holder in the other arm on most of our range so the summer campers, cricket fans, and our northern mates can always keep things cold. We knew there was no point having all this insulated storage without a bottle opener, so we added a fixed bottle opener to some of our chairs while offering an innovative retractable bottle opener on our big chairs. Our chair range comes with progressively better and bigger side organiser pockets as you move up the range and most have a mesh storage pocket on the back of the chair. It’s a handy spot for when the day warms up and you just want to stash the kids’ jumpers somewhere without thinking about it.
So that’s it! We’ve done the design work, we’ve fine-tuned every detail, and we’ve finessed the fabrics. We camped, we watched sport, we picnicked, we travelled, and we learned. We also learned that price is super important, and we’ll always offer as much as we can to as many people as we can. That’s why the features in our camp chairs vary a bit. We’ll always be tweaking things to balance the range in terms of price, functionality, and longevity.
Got questions about folding camp chairs? Ask the experts! The camping gear gurus from Quest Outdoors Australia are always on hand and keen to hear from you. Drop us a line any time or keep an eye out for the next article in our ‘Ask the Experts’ series.