The Best Hiking Chair? Certainly the Most Romantic! Enter to Win.

The Best Hiking Chair? Certainly the Most Romantic! Enter to Win.

We recently fell in love with the ‘Helinox Chair One’ so we bought 12 of them to take on all our tours. It weighs less than a kilo, has a mesh back for air flow and it’s very portable. This month, Helinox have kindly donated a Chair One to give away to a lucky blog reader. Read on to find out how you can win one.

We asked Norm Moxley, the creator of the Helinox Chair One, what motivated him to make an ultra light weight portable chair. This is Norm’s “romantic” story in reply:

Once upon a time (about twenty years ago) I took my “wife to be” into the bush. I’d spent far too much time in the bush, and she’d spent far too much time in Sydney. It was a “compatibility test”. I was out to impress her and she was out to humour me  . . .  sound familiar?

We spent the first day pushing our way through some tough country. We finally arrived at a beautiful and remote creek. While my glamorous companion watched the rainbow trout in the creek, I applied my bush skills to the camp site. It was idyllic – a small sand beach on an inside curve with rapids either side. We felt like no one had ever been here before. Trout cooked on the coals, a nice sauvignon blanc chilled in a mountain stream, a full moon  . . .  wonderful.

The next morning, my glamorous companion complained of a little back pain. Oh no! It hadn’t occurred to me that a spine raised on a 200 mm thick latex mattress would have problems with a 15 mm thick closed cell sleeping mat. Panic  . . .   what to do now! My gracious lover stayed calm, and just said politely, “I’d be fine if I could just sit in a chair”. Oh no! This is even worse. I suddenly realised that Sydney glamour ladies don’t squat. They don’t even sit on damp logs or hard boulders. They like chairs with leather covered foam for their derriere.

But then, a flash of inspiration! Tim Leatherman had just invented his amazing tool, and I was an “early adopter”.  “That’s OK”, I casually said, “I’ll make you a chair”. I’d spent 6 years in engineering studies, but nothing had prepared me for this “mating game” challenge. I have no idea why I had so much confidence in Leatherman’s advertising, but I really thought his multi purpose tool could create anything I needed.

Amazingly it worked! I used the knife blades to cut branches. I split green bark for lashings. I used the little boring tool to drill holes and the pliers to pull my lashings through the holes to connect the frame components. I slipped a zipped up down sleeping bag over the frame to create an amazingly comfortable lounge chair with a backrest and even arms carved to hold a wine glass – it was an engineering masterpiece – worthy testament to the ingenuity that true love can inspire.

We stayed two more days. More trout, more bush tucker, more moments admiring my beautiful princess resting gracefully in her lounge chair on our private beach.

Then it was time to go. We rose early on the final day and I quickly transformed our camp into two packs – my 30 kg pack and a 2 kg pack for my princess. I was thinking about how the climb out was going to be tougher than the downhill walk in when I heard my princess in distress. “You can’t leave my chair” she said, “that’s the most beautiful thing anyone has ever done for me. I will treasure that chair for the rest of my life. I couldn’t possibly leave here without it”.  I thought it would be easy. I just said, “The chair’s too heavy to carry out. It can stay here for the next lucky bushwalker”. That didn’t do it. She pulled the ultimate weapon on me. She lowered her head and quietly murmured “OK”, with just the gentlest hint of a tear in her eye. SHIT, I thought. How the hell am I going to carry a bunch of sticks out of this gully (actually I was thinking “bloody ravine” not gully).

I was still thinking about it as I disassembled the chair frame and lashed the components onto my pack – now close to 45 kg. I’d done some tough bushwalks. I’d spent time in the military and been forced to carry heavy packs for many miles in steep country, but no Regimental Sergeant Major could ever have motivated me to my physical achievement that day. I reached the Landrover with just a few calories of energy left in my entire body. My princess had found the going tough, so my final pack weight was 47 kg (including her 2 kg)  . . .  but the chair was safe.

The chair has long since rotted away, but my princess is still my inspiration. She’s became much more robust and we’ve survived many arduous adventures together. I get embarrassed when she brags about her creative and capable partner with his “amazing” bush skills – she frequently bores dinner guests with “the chair” story.

As for me   . . .  well, when my Helinox design engineer colleagues first talked about developing an ultra lightweight portable chair, I instantly felt a powerful responsibility to all men in love. I had an overpowering urge to ensure this new chair had comfort fit for a princess, but also that it had to be the LIGHTEST and MOST PORTABLE chair that ever, ever was.

The End

For your chance to win a Helinox “Chair One” leave a comment below this post telling us why you would like to win. And, for a bonus entry, if you have a romantic bush story, tell us about it in the comments! 
Prize will drawn on Wednesday 1st May 2013. The winning comment will be drawn randomly. One entry per person (or two with a story).

“Chair One” is available direct from Helinox – $97 delivered  (that’s not an affiliate link – just direction to what we think is a great product).

1st May: We’ve spun the random name picker and it has revealed that Sue O’Connor is our winner this time. Well done Sue – we’ll be in contact via email. Thanks to everyone who entered and we wish you good luck next time.

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