DIY Camp Chair
On a recent camping trip some friends of mine and I got to thinking about how to have a chair with you on a trip without having to haul a chair in. This was prior to learning about the hammock chairs and bush chairs and I have to admit that this was before I was converted off the ground. We came up with an idea that I won't go into right now, but that got me to thinking about what I could come up with as far as a chair goes. Now what I have made would never make the ruck of someone who is looking to go as light as possible but if you don't mind a few pounds for a little comfort I think it is a good idea. And hey, you've already shaved pounds converting from a tent so you're still ahead of the game.
Although the finished item does have some weight, I did try to consider how to make it as light as possible while still being sturdy. Basically what I was trying to design was a stool. My first idea basically had 4 legs, but I thought if I moved to 3 it would help it not wobble and it would save the weight of one leg. I decided to try to use electrical conduit, or emt, not rigid. You can find pre-bent 90 degree elbows at your local hardware store. I tested these to see if they would hold my weight. I weigh 190 lbs and one 1/2" elbow could support me if I put it under one cheek and balance on it. Obviously, a one legged stool wouldn't be too comfortable so I had to figure out how to attach three together.
Once I settled on a full design I had to bend the conduit. That didn't go too well and since I don't have a conduit bender at home I got restless waiting for my brother to have time to bend them so I just tried using electrical pvc.
Once you have the elbows you can lengthen the legs with additional conduit. The legs are attached to a bucket lid with two-hole conduit straps, two per leg. I used a framing plate cut into a triangle to reinforce the bucket lid and ran bolts through the triangle, then the lid and then through the straps. The center straps are tied together in an over-lapping fashion where the left side is always under the next strap and the right is always on top, or vice versa. The two safety features are the chain and key chain ring at the base and the tent stakes sticking through the lid. Obviously the chain keeps the legs from kicking out when you sit on the stool and the tent stakes keep the legs from torquing left or right. My brother is 250+ and he had no problems sitting on the chair.
The metal looks like it would hurt to sit on, but you don't even feel it, but if you add a folded jacket, shirt or even gloves to the seat it is very comfortable and stable. The chair in the pictures is made from 1 1/4" conduit, but I have made one with 1" pvc and it worked just as well and was considerably lighter. The chairs disassemble and pack down pretty well. Someone might even figure out a way to make the stool a frame for a pack or something. You could definitely go shorter than what I have and save weight and if you use 3/4" conduit it would be even lighter. The 1 1/4" stool weighed about 4 lbs and is about 19" tall. Without the extensions the stool is about 10" tall I think and that's not bad. I haven't weighed it without the extensions but I would guess that you would save close to a pound there. The 1" stool is probably 2 1/2 lbs. If I had used emt it would have been less than two lbs I bet.
I'd love to see what you guys think about this and see if it inspires any mods.
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