- Buyer's Guide
These Four Beach Essentials from Helinox are Perfect for Summer Adventures
For the longest time Helinox has been synonymous with backpacking and campfires. Their ultralight chairs, tables, and accessories have long been the go-to option for those who wanted some creature comforts on their next journey. Nowadays, Helinox spans a bit of a wider spectrum. Though keeping true to their packable and lightweight heritage, we’ve now got more comfortable, more casual options for a whole slew of outings from the backcountry to the beach.
Most recently we’ve seen a push to that last scenario; the beach. A place where packable chairs often haven’t performed well. Their legs were skinny, so they sunk in, and the chairs needed firm ground to be really stable. Helinox heard those cries and introduced the Beach Chair.
If you’re familiar with Helinox’s other high-back chairs, you’ll feel right at home here. The real breakthrough is in the entirely new DAC frame. Not only does it bring you down to typical beach-chair height, but unlike any other chair in the lineup, the frame’s base is wide and angled in a way that keeps you stable on all sorts of sand. There’s no fiddling with ground sheets or tennis balls here. We also had no problems with wind rocking the chairs around when we weren’t sitting in them. These are truly sturdy chairs, on and off the sand.
The high-back itself is just as comfortable as similar chairs from Helinox; very. My partner and I fell asleep in these multiple times, something the lower back chairs weren’t really designed for. It’s a very cradle-like feeling. Something halfway between a chair and a hammock.
The included carrying case even turns into a pillow. Just stuff a towel in there and slap it on the headrest for added comfort and neck support. The wide strip of loop material lets you adjust the pillow up and down depending on your height and preference. Alternatively, Helinox does offer an inflatable pillow, but we didn’t find that necessary given the included carrying case option.
Since you’ll be using the Helinox Beach Chair at, well, the beach, I can’t not recommend the optional Personal Shade. Unless you’re trying to get a tan, this was a must for me, especially on hot days. The shade attaches to the back of any Helinox chair, and comes with adapters for any size in the lineup. The rear attachment points of the shade itself have a small range of adjustment in order to keep the shade taught. I found that it was pretty set-it-and-forget-it once I had done it the first time.
To keep it secure on windy days, it also comes with an optional tie-down which you can attach to the base of your chair. I do wish this was a bit more intuitive, but it works. Through two weeks of almost daily use, we had no issues, even on windier days, with the shade flapping around or coming undone.
While this isn’t necessarily beach-specific, it’s definitely a beach essential. The hard top is leaps and bounds above the original soft-top Table One. It packs up almost as small, but provides an experience as close to any solid-board table I’ve ever tried. Everything from open bottles and cans to plates of snacks were sturdy. You’d never believe for a second it wasn’t a single slab table.
Unlike the Beach Chairs, the Table One uses the legs and feet you may be more familiar with on other Helinox products. They’re not necessarily beach-friendly, but we didn’t find an issue with them. Frankly, a “beach” version is unnecessary. You’re not sitting the weight of a whole person on the table, so it doesn’t sink into the sand or tip over to one side. If you’re worried about it blowing away, you can purchase the Ground Stake, but while we had one we never felt the need to use it.
Now that you’ve got all this awesome beach swag, you need something to carry it in, right? Head straight to the Origami Tote. It fits a couples-worth of everything mentioned above just perfectly; two chairs, two shades, and a table. And once it’s unpacked, throw it down in front of you to keep the rest of your gear on. It’s got some padding and I’ve even used it to let my dogs lounge about on. If you’ve got kids it’s also a great alternative to a beach towel.
Breaking it down, and likewise packing it back up, is simple enough; two buckles, four toggles, and four snaps. With two hands you’ll have it done in thirty seconds. Oh, and it sheds water and sand with ease thanks to a generous DWR coating. While it does fit everything I needed, I do hope we see some different sizing options in the future – an XL would be great to cover more ground.
While summer is coming to a close in many parts of the world, we still have plenty of time to get out there and enjoy the sun and sand. It was truly a pleasure to be able to pack up and carry (with one hand) everything my partner and I needed to enjoy a day at the beach. No more giant fold-up chairs. No more massive umbrellas. Just a single, lightweight tote. Helinox listened to feedback on beach use, and they certainly delivered on the result.