Extensively tested and reviewed by Cairngorm Treks throughout late summer to early winter 2018/19 in the Cairngorms, surrounding mountainous regions, and low-level woodlands.
Have you ever needed a reclining chair whilst out in the hills? The answer would most probably be, "no, but it would be nice." After all, the base of a tree, a rock, or a strategically placed rucksack will suffice for most. Luxuries tend to get forgotten about when considering light-weight trekking, so the Mountainsmith Slingback chair, weighing in at 144 grams, will be an item that won't make its way into the pack on every outing.
It's certainly built well, made from tough 610d HP CORDURA® material throughout with equally tough stitching. When rolled out it reaches just over a meter in length and is 38cm at its widest point. Two pouches let you insert collapsed walking poles which you cross over, and then take your seat. Sitting down will require a few attempts to find the sweet spot. It's best to push a bit of the fabric back towards the poles as you'll find when you sit down everything becomes a bit taught. Once in your position you can slightly adjust the poles to suit the ground you are on.
It has to be said that this system is very comfortable and whilst out with a group there were some envious glances our way. Now and again even the sceptics would ask if they could try it out only to find your chair would be commandeered for the rest of the evening. The more we used the Slingback the more accustomed we became to this amenity and often eating meals would be the time it came into best use. Either enjoying those morning views or resting of an evening after a tough days climb, the Slingback certainly has its qualities.
It packs up surprisingly small. Simply roll it into its integrated pouch, or as we preferred you can further pack it down back folding in the sides and using the strap to hold in place.
Like with most outdoor items they can be adaptable, and we found the Slingback didn't need to be used solely with poles and could make a very quick seat on wet ground for one or two people. This was particularly great in the winter when direct contact with frozen ground can be uncomfortable.
Have we been convinced that a reclining chair is needed in the outdoors? We have been left unsure. But that's not to say that we don't see the qualities within the Slingback and have often pondered to ourselves the arguments as to why we should take it rather than not. The comfort of having a seat that you can lay back in, no matter where you camp, is a feature that after a few uses you can understand why many will carry this extra weight. It's a simple design that we like a lot, just two walking poles and the Slingbackitself, makes for a very stable and comfortable seat. We can see this working very well for extended journeys where over the course of a few days/weeks having a place to eat, plan your next route, or simply sat back enjoying a view, the Slingback could become a much sought-after item.
Cairngorm Treks is a small family business based in the picturesque village of Tomintoul in the North East region of the Cairngorms National Park. They provide bespoke Mountain Guiding for Single Day Walks and Lightweight Multiday Trekking experiences, including wild camping, in the stunning Cairngorms wilderness and surrounding areas. Whether in the high mountains or lower valleys, their Multiday Treks are equipped with high quality, lightweight camping and trekking gear. They only work with small groups and, whatever your ability, pride themselves on designing your outdoor experience completely to your needs and with professional guidance and expertise. Adventure is waiting...