Meet REI Flexlite Air: The 1-Pound Backpacking Chair

The REI Flexlite Air chair is built for minimalist backpackers who want a place to rest at the end of a trek. It’s a chair that sets up in under a minute, uses only two pieces, and weighs one pound.

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The REI Flexlite Air Chair.

When something is built for such a single purpose, and does its job efficiently, there’s only so to pontificate about. What we can say is that the chair affixes to the four tent-pole-style hubbed corners with durable, simple corners. It offers a comfortable, deep seat and raises you 11 inches off the ground. And it works as well in the backcountry as the backyard, soccer practice, festival, or protest.

REI-Flexlite-Air-Chair-person-sitting-2
A laid-back seat that weighs a pound. Take it with you.

The REI Flexlite Chair comes in three distinct parts: the bluesign approved ripstop nylon seat, the aluminum hubbed-pole frame, and the see-through mesh case. The case is oversized to make packing away a no-fuss experience, and the total packed size is 16 inches long and about 5 inches wide — roughly the size of a sleeping pad.

REI-Flexlite-Air-Chair-water-bottle-size-comparison
The REI Flexlite Air Chair packed up next to a 32-ounce Nalgene.

The Flexlite Air Chair has a weight capacity of 250 pounds and comes in three distinct colors.

See the REI Flexlite Air Chair

Unique Features of the REI Flexlite Chair

The REI Flexlite Chair hub pole design is unique in its construction — the hub runs perpendicular to the orientation of the chair, rather than parallel. This gives you a lot more stability back to front, which is great for leaning back, kicking out the legs, and sinking in around the campfire.

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Perpendicular pole hub provides more stability. Rubber feet keep the Fliexlite Air from sliding.

The hubbed pole is well made and breaks down just like a tent would. The setup process is even easier — you can just shake out all the pieces by gripping the center pole and watch as each pole snaps into place.

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Viewed left to right: breaking down the Flexlite Air. Viewed right to left: setting up the Flexlite Air. Yes, it’s that simple.

Each of the four legs has a rubber tip for solid traction, and the chair lifts you 11 inches off the ground. This is noticeable, and is great for those with slightly longer legs (though it is still a small chair).

The 1-Pound Camping Chair

We all know the value of a single pound when you’re hauling 30-plus into the wilderness. Whether or not you’re an ounce counter, one pound is the general measurement by which every item makes it into that pack, or not.

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Collapsing and packing up the Flexlite Air Chair.

REI knows this, and the designers worked hard to create a chair that clocks in at that ideal one pound weight. As everything gets lighter — puffy jackets, sleeping pads, even backpacks — it makes it easier to bring a somewhat luxury item like a backpacking chair on long treks.

REI-Flexlite-Air-Chair-pieces-of-chair
Two simple pieces that pack up into the oversized mesh stuff sack.

The size and weight allow you to throw it in the main chute of a pack easily, or slide it into the side water bottle pocket, and not think twice.

See the REI Flexlite Air Chair

Who is REI Co-Op?

REI Co-Op doesn’t really need an introduction — it’s the in-house brand of the largest U.S. outdoor retailer. The company is known for creating thoughtful, sustainable products that rival (and often beat out) big brand competitors.

The REI FLexlite Air Chair is the lightest Flexlite on the market, and one of the lightest backpacking chairs in existence.


This article is sponsored by REI Co-Op.

Backpackers.com Affiliate Policy: This guide contains affiliate links, which help fund our website. When you click on the links to purchase the gear we get a commission, and this goes a long way to creating guides, gear reviews, and other excellent content.

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