The Montbell Light Weight Trail Chair 26 is a compact and inexpensive folding stool for camping and backpacking that is sized to fit into the side pocket of a backpack. Weighing 11.7 oz, it’s one of the lightest weight camp chairs you can backpack with. It’s also one of the smallest, hilariously so, something I did not realize when I ordered it. It’s so funny, that I thought I’d share it with you.
Specs at a Glance
- Model: Light Weight Trail Chair 26
- Type: Three-legged Stool
- Weight: 11.7 oz (331 g)
- Seat height: 10.2 in / 26 cm
- Weight capacity: 176 lbs
- Folding: Yes
When I ordered the Montbell Trail Chair 26, I thought it’d be a great way to shave a few ounces off the weight of the 17 oz Helinox Chair Zero that I carry on trips when I want a little extra luxury. Not knowing any better, I thought that seat height would be a good proxy for comfort and usability since it’s one of the most salient dimensions you can use to compare trail chairs.The Helinox Chair Zero (left) is slightly larger than the Montbell Trail Chair 26 (right) when folded up but both are easy to pack in the side pocket of a backpack.
With a seat height of 10.2 inches (26 cm), the Montbell Light Weight Trail Chair 26 stacks up pretty well against other leading camp chairs including the Helinox Chair Zero, the REI Flexlite, and the NEMO Moonlite Chair. I own all three of these chairs. They’re quite comfortable and they get a lot of use. But, as I discovered, seat height isn’t always a good indicator of comfort.
- Helinox Chair Zero seat height: 11.5 in
- REI Flexlite Air Chair seat height: 11 in
- NEMO Moonlight Chair seat height: 10.5 in
- Montbell Light Weight Trail Chair 26 seat height: 10.2 in
- Montbell Light Weight Trail Chair 33 seat height: 13 in
First off, the Montbell Light Weight Trail Chair 26 is actually a three-legged folding stool and not a chair. I knew that from the image on the Montbell website. What I didn’t grasp was just how small it really is.The Montbell Trail Chair 26 is tiny compared to the Helinox Chair Zero
While I can squat down low enough to sit on this chair, doing so requires bending my knees at an angle that’s a little more extreme than I’m comfortable with. While I have the strength and agility to stand from the deep squat required to sit on it, it’s not something that I want to repeat that often. In fact, the least strenuous way to off this stool is to rotate your leg around while sitting and plant one knee on the ground so you can get up from a lunge position rather than a squat. Frankly, I’d rather just sit on a downed tree or a rock.
While this chair won’t get used on backpacking trips, buying it hasn’t been a total waste. Our stuffed (plush) animals love sitting on it and it would probably make a good plant stand too!Our stuffed animals like to sit on the Montbell Trail Chair 26.
On a more serious note, Montbell also sells a 13 in (33 cm) high version of the Trail Chair (stool), though I imagine the size of the seat is also quite small.
Disclosure: The author purchased this product.
Editor's note: If you’re thinking about buying gear that we’ve reviewed or recommend on SectionHiker, you can help support us in the process. Just click on any of the seller links above, and if you make a purchase, we may (but not always) receive a small percentage of the transaction. The cost of the product is the same to you but this helps us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides. Thanks and we appreciate your support!