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ADV NewsHelinox Swivel Chair: All-New Compact Camp Chair With a Spin

Helinox Swivel Chair: All-New Compact Camp Chair With a Spin

A compact, swiveling camp chair that adds a new dimension of convenience.

Published on 12.21.2020

The ‘light is right’ mantra is something we all strive to live by as adventure riders but even the most minimalist packers among us often make exceptions for certain ‘non-essential’ items that improve the moto camping experience. One of those items many riders feel is well worth the extra bulk is a camp chair. They come in all shapes and sizes with options ranging from a pad on the ground to well-appointed folding chairs with cup holders and arm rests. The question remains, at what point do you reach the law of diminishing returns in your weight and bulk vs comfort and convenience calculations.

I’ve tried several minimalist backpacking chairs that barely get me off the ground and personally, I feel they don’t offer enough comfort to justify bringing them. Other chairs were extremely comfortable but they were too big and heavy for more spirited off-road riding. Finding something that’s just right has been my own personal journey. A backpacking chair with four legs that gets you about 10-12 inches off the ground and packs down to about 14 x 4 inches, is what I found to be about the right size and comfort level.


So when I was given an opportunity to test out a new camp chair from Helinox with a swiveling seat, I was skeptical that unique feature alone would be of much value to warrant the additional bulk. But when I found out it was only an inch and a half longer and wider, and only a few ounces heavier, I figured it was worth a try.

The Helinox swivel chair looks like other backpacking chairs, but its frame includes a central pivot point that allows it to swivel 360 degrees. Made with a strong and light nylon resin hub, the pivoting action is designed to be seamless and smooth. Its seating is constructed with 600 denier polyester material that is both breathable and durable. A shock-corded aluminum pole structure makes up the frame and the swivel chair can hold up to 265 pounds. 

Once packed down, the chair measures 15.5 x 5.5 inches and comes in a handy storage sack with a twin zipper closure. Even better, the storage sack includes external daisy chain lash points that make it easy to strap it onto the outside of your luggage if you’re limited on storage capacity. Plus it weighs just 2 pounds, 14 ounces (1,300 grams) with its storage sack.

First Impressions

Packing the Helinox Swivel Chair for the first time I noticed its slightly larger size, but it wasn’t enough to make a major difference in my packing. Several different lash point options make it easy to strap it on to a multitude of locations on the bike. I opted to strap it onto the outside of my luggage, and the storage sack is made out of heavy duty material that is also durable enough to take some trail abuse. 

Helinox Swivel camping Chair
A rugged storage sack with daisy chain lash points means the swivel chair can easily live on the outside of your luggage.

Once out of the sack, putting the frame together was pretty straightforward. For my 6’2” frame, the seating position is a knee-friendly 15.5 inches which definitely made my tired legs happy. However, the seat back is a bit more reclined than I’m used to. Perhaps it’s good for taking a snooze, but you’ll need to sit up for any engaging conversations.

The swivel function didn’t seem like anything revolutionary and I started to think it might just be a clever sales gimmick. But after using it for awhile, I started to notice how useful it was. For example, something as nuanced as turning toward someone when they are talking, or when you are preparing food while working the stove, and best of all when that smoke from the fire periodically starts hitting you in the face, you can just swivel around until the wind direction changes again without having to get up out of your chair. Pretty soon (probably after a few too many sips on the flask) I was spinning around doing 360’s to the envy of my camping mates.

Helinox Swivel camping Chair
The reclining angle of the chair is a little more laid back than others I’ve tried but the tall seat height does help make getting out of the chair easier.

Is it a keeper? It definitely provides good comfort and increased convenience with not much of a sacrifice in bulk. The weight is just a few ounces more than most standard four-leg camp chairs, which you’re probably not going to notice on a motorcycle. A lot of riders will find it nice and compact for their rides. I’ll likely save it for the more camping-oriented trips, rather than the ‘pack light ride hard’ ones. It’s a bit pricey at $150, but the unique swivel feature does give it added value and it does come with a 5-year warranty. Definitely worth taking a spin at your local sporting good store (pun intended). 

Helinox Swivel camping Chair
At 15.5″ x 4.5″ packed, the Helinox Swivel is still a fairly compact camp chair.

Helinox Swivel Chair Highlights

  • Lightweight folding camp chair with 360° swivel seat.
  • Sets up quickly and easily.
  • Sturdy Aluminum shock-corded single pole structure.
  • Durable 600D polyester with breathable mesh on sides.
  • Zippered storage sack with daisy chain lashing points.
  • 2 lbs. 14 oz. (1300 grams)
  • 265 lbs max. load
  • Dimensions Assembled: (HxWxD): 28.5 in (73 cm) x 19.5 in (50 cm) x 20 in (52 cm)  
  • Dimensions Packed: 15.5 in (40 cm) x 4.5 in (12 cm)
  • Price: $149.99

What We Liked

  • A new feature that adds convenience.
  • Doesn’t add much weight or bulk to the pack size.
  • Convenient lashing points on storage sack for straps.
  • Tall seat height offers more comfort for tired legs.

What Could Be Improved

  • Seat back is a little more reclined than I prefer.
  • Make a shorter legged version to improve pack size.
  • It’s on the pricey side.

Shopping Options


Photos by Rob Dabney and Stephen Gregory

Author: Rob Dabney

Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.

Author: Rob Dabney

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Helinox Swivel Chair: All-New Compact Camp Chair With a Spin - ADVENTURE & OVERLAND MOTORCYCLE TRAVEL
December 21, 2020 12:03 pm

[…] post Helinox Swivel Chair: All-New Compact Camp Chair With a Spin appeared first on ADV […]

January 5, 2021 2:11 pm

The base footprint looks narrower than the normal Helinox chair sans swivel. Is that an issue in use?

Rob Dabney
Rob Dabney
January 7, 2021 11:47 am
Reply to  Kendrick

True, the base is narrower. It is a little more tippy from side to side, but I didn’t feel it was an issue.

Tad Cochran
Tad Cochran
February 26, 2021 9:07 pm

I’ve had mine for 3 years. I am 6ft 3in and weighed 320 lbs. This chair is great. It will even fit in my tent so I can sit and put on my boots and socks. Fits perfectly on the pannier lid of Bmw 1200 gs adv. Won’t leave without it now. . It has been well worth the $$$ for me.


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