Helinox Chair Zero review (and comparison to Chair One)

Helinox has a new chair out called the Chair Zero, which is supposed to be their lightest chair and very similar to their model known as the Chair One. I’m a big fan of Helinox products so I purchased it and decided to do a comparison with my current Chair One. I only need one travel chair and had to figure out which one to keep.

Of course, in my typical style, this turned into a very in-depth review of the products. So you understand how these two chairs fit with me, I’m about 5’10” and 210 pounds. Also, my wife says I’m handsome and my dogs love me, especially at dinner time….just in case that’s also need to know info.

First…sizes (while in the carry bag) and weights (while in the carry bag):

Chair Zero: 13.5” x 4”, weighs in at 1.1 pounds, and supports 265 pounds

Chair One: 13.5” x 5.25”, weighs in at 2.2 pounds, and supports 320 pounds

Helinox is advertising the Zero as being very similar to the One, but at a much lighter weight. The material on the Zero has been changed; it utilizes a different and lighter chair fabric, has a different sewing construction, and has a slightly different seat fabric style.

In all the upcoming pictures, the Zero is on the left (black in color), and the One is on the right side (black and green).

Here a picture of both chairs in their bags, along with the Helinox Hard Top Table which is on the right side of this photo:

The One is obviously fatter around than the Zero. The Hard Top table in its bag on the right side is longer than both of the chairs, at about 16.5”.

Here’s a better picture showing the difference of the two chairs in their storage bags. While they are both the same measured length, the width of the bag is obviously different, as the One is 5.5″ in width:

Before I forget to mention it, look at the above photo. The older One storage bag has a system of sewn loops, kind of like a wrong way oriented Molle system. It allows you to connect it externally to a pack using a carabiner or similar. The new Zero storage bag does not have this. While something could be sewn onto it, this feature was obviously removed to help with the weight savings.

A couple pictures of the two chairs assembled side by side:

Just a note that the One has aftermarket (that’s funny right there) cane tips to help with ground stability and to prevent sinking in the ground. I’ve not put any on the Zero…because I literally just got it a few minutes ago.

Going back to our review, you’ll notice a difference in the seat area in the photo above of the two chairs. The Zero has a fabric cutout on each side where you butt is seated since it’s not really needed to support the person sitting in it. This removal of fabric probably helps it shed part of an ounce in weight.

The Zero sits a little lower but not by much. I measured the bottom of the seat fabric to the floor of both chairs: Zero – 9.5”, One – 11”. While closer to the ground, I didn’t notice any harder time getting in and out of the chair, even with bad knees. If you bending down to get into the One, you’ll most likely be fine getting into the Zero.

Which is most comfortable?

Well, it’s hard to tell. If I had to pick one, I’d say that the One could be the slightest of winners…but just by a shade and not enough to keep me from enjoying the Zero. I think the One may have just a little more comfort where it comes into contact with the shoulder blades due to the slightly thicker fabric. Also, the One has a shade more “lean back” whereas the Zero sits you up a shade more. I did not find either uncomfortable, so I did a few more tests. I’d also have to say it’s easy to “nestle” into each chair and get comfortable, but if I had to pick one that may be a shade better, it’s again going to be the One with its thicker fabric. But I was comfortable in the Zero as well.

I sat in each chair for ten minutes and read a book, since I don’t have a gorgeous mountain range to sit and look at as part of this test. When my alarm went off each time, I did an evaluation. I didn’t have numbness in either chair on the back of the legs or lower back like some portable chairs cause. Once I initially got settled into each chair, I did not feel like I needed to move around to find a more comfortable spot. I could definitely sit in either chair for a longer period of time if I wanted to sit and gaze upon the Grand Tetons.

Sitting a little lower in the Zero didn’t feel any different getting into the chair or arising from it than what is felt when using the One.

Both chairs set up and break down the same (there are even directions imprinted on the bottom of the Zero in case you didn’t go to kindergarten and pass the common sense test). They both easily set up and broke down in less than 30 seconds…but I’ve done it a few times in the past, so I figured out the fastest ways. Even my wife figured it out the first time in less than a minute. I’m so lucky!

Here’s a picture with both chairs and the Hard Top table in between. Why? Because it’s my review and not yours. And to provide a little scale…but of course if you never seen the Hard Top in person, guess that doesn’t help you anyways. Oh well, I took the photo, so here you go:

Which one am I keeping?

I don’t need two travel chairs. Wife doesn’t motorcycle camp with me, and if we’re going to an outdoor concert, I’m bringing the real comfortable, real big 15 pound chairs in the truck instead of either one of these. I do a lot of motorcycle camping every year but not every trip needs a travel chair. However, a travel chair comes in handy on some journeys and when that’s needed, I want it to be comfortable and something I want to sit in for a couple of hours around the campfire.

Here they both are in a 37L Givi Outback pannier, this time the Zero is on the right side (the black bag, logo hidden down, sorry about that):

The Zero, being smaller in width, takes up less space in the pannier. The One takes up half of the width and about a quarter of the height in this particular pannier…the Zero does too at one end, but tapers to free up a little bit of usable area.

In addition to motorcycle camping, I’m considering doing more hiking in the future…so need to work on my ultra-light carrying setup if I start doing overnights and have started to given more serious consideration to weight. I don’t like sitting on a stump or the ground or even at a picnic table for long periods of time, so I will put up with the weight of carrying a chair.

So, of the two, I’m keeping the Zero. It’s still comfortable to me, it’s only 1.1 pounds with the carry bag, it gives me a little more space back in the pannier, and if I do get into longer distance hiking, it shaves a pound off my pack weight.

I’d recommend either chair for just motorcycle traveling though. The difference between 1.1 and 2.2 pounds isn’t that big of a deal when you have a motorcycle to carry the item for you. Happy travels!

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