OZtrail Big Boy Camp Chair: Tested
No matter whether you’re a ‘bring the kitchen sink’ type of camping family, or more minimalist, a sturdy and supportive camp chair will be on your packing list. And the reason is simple: nothing beats sitting back in comfort when around the camp fire, enjoying a meal, drinks or a good yarn. There are many variants of the ubiquitous camp chair on the market, from the gigantic, sofa-like versions, through to the lightweight but sometimes flimsy ones. OZtrail’s Big Boy is just one of the Aussie outdoor company’s many variants, and it offers what seems like the best of all worlds in terms of compact packed size, support and comfort.
The OZtrail Big Boy follows a pretty standard camp chair, but with a few very positive caveats. The fold-in/compressed style of the chair is welcome, due to the fact that, when packed down, the chair is not as big as you’d think (packed dimensions are 100cm x 18cm x 18cm). Another positive is the 5kg weight –this is impressive because that weight allows all but the smallest camper to lug the chair around. That 5kg is utilised well by OZtrail’s designers, too, as they have used 22mm high-tensile steel tubing in the chair’s frame. This adds strength to the chair and also means the Big Boy’ can live up to its moniker by offering a maximum occupant weight of 220kg.
For most campers, who won’t be anywhere near that weight, this – combined with three additional cross-braced front and side hubs – brings assurance of the chair’s longevity, stability when loaded with an occupant. It also means the chair can withstand the not-always gentle treatment camping gear cops when out and about (and when stored in your vehicle).
Further boosting the overall impression of toughness is the double-layer ripstop polyester fabric, featured here in a hefty 600-denier (D) weight for increased abrasion resistance. Other nifty features include the fact the seat height is 46cm off the ground (ideal height for anyone from 10-year-olds and up), there’s a large, insulated drink holder/cooler (yes!), and a side organiser and separate mesh pocket. Colour options are navy blue or a grey/back.
In the field
We’ve had the OZtrail Big Boy in our gear shed for a few months now and it’s seen plenty of use on weekend and overnight camping trips. The chair has been very easy to pack, whether in a 4WD ute, wagon or a station wagon, and it is also very easy (and fast) to set up when at camp. All the hinged points and hubs appear over-engineered to cope with rugged treatment and all of them work smoothly – there’s no ‘catching’ or resistance during the set-up process. The chair has been used by testers of varying heights and weights, and all have reported being comfortable, with ease of egress a noted positive; there’s nothing worse than being ‘sunk in’ a camp chair and not being able to lift yourself out. The seat base is very supportive, and the padding used throughout is not too little or too much. The bottle opener has also been a highlight but probably one of the biggest – and often overlooked, until it is too late – is the roomy storage bag. This is made with 150D polyester and, thanks to its generous space, makes removing and storing the folded-up chair a straightforward (read: no trying squeeze in) packing. It sounds like a small point, but there’s nothing worse when packing up camp to have to try and jam a chair back into a bag that is really too small.
The OZtrail Big Boy: the final word
It’d be easy to say this chair is ‘just a camp chair’ but that would be to ignore the thoughtful design points – all of which make for an easier user experience, not to mention comfort – that the Big Boy includes. The robustness of the chair, along with the welcome features, ease of set-up and packing away, and okay packed size, combine with the appealing price to make the OZtrail Big Boy camp chair a fantastic option for all campers, whether you’re a few-times-year camper, or the full-bore outback explorer.
RRP: $105 See OZtrail for this and its complete camp chair range