We've owned plenty of beach chairs, low-slung camp chairs, stadium chairs, folding chairs, low-back chairs and others -- and none have yet entered into the realm of what we would dub THE perfect event or lounge chair.
So, when we heard about the WearEver Backpack Lounger -- the deluxe version, mind you -- we admit we began to twitch a little in anticipation of an upcoming test that might, finally, reveal the perfect chair.
The WearEver Backpack Lounger is a four-position chair with a fold-out footrest that can be folded back toward you to transform into a small lap tray suitable for an eating, writing or computer space. Made of 1-inch aluminum frame tubing, the chair has been made to support up to 275 pounds -- and no, we didn't test its max level, even with two of us. Hardwood arm rests provide durable comfort and a nice aesthetic appeal. The seat material is 600-denier polyester fabric.
The entire lounger folds up and, thanks to two padded shoulder straps, converts into a kind of a backpack, complete with large carry pouch on the backside of the chair sufficiently spacious to hold a beach towel, a few drinks, and a few other picnic items. While not overly comfortable to tote, it works fine over your shoulders for short jaunts to a park, onto a beach or down a trail to a race aid station, and is a darn site easier than schlepping a chair and a tote bag under your arms.
What received the most comments from passers-by and friends during our three months of testing was the lounger's four-position recline ability, as well as the padded footrest. When combined with the padded footrest, the recline ability allows the user to find a perfect position for napping, reading or simply whiling away the hours while waiting for a runner to come in -- that aid station thing again.
A pocket cup holder sewn into the right armrest works well to secure cans or bottles (but not larger Lexan bottles) and keeps the drink close at hand. While the chair does come with a sort of padded headrest, it's really not much to speak of and, frankly, we used it more often as a lumbar support than a headrest.
Is this the perfect chair? Close, but not quite. For one thing, it sits so low to the ground that it is rather hard to get out of -- especially if this chair is being used by adventure racers or ultra marathoners as an aid station or post-race chair. And while it fits smaller folks quite nicely, larger individuals of, shall we say, broader proportions might find the seating a bit cramped. Lastly, it is a bit heavy at 12 pounds base weight.
Still, it is the most comfortable folding chair we've ever used, and it is now THE chair we choose when heading to concerts, races and events where BYOS (Bring Your Own Seating) is required.
SNEWS® Rating: 4 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $80
For more information:www.weareverchair.com