Chair Buddies are clip-on chair feet compatible with popular backpacking chairs like the Helinox Chair Zero and the REI Flexlite Air Chair that prevent the chair feet from sinking into sand, gravel, and loose dirt. You can leave them on your chair between uses or remove them easily.
If you already own a lightweight backpacking chair, you know that sinking feeling when your chair’s feet begin to sink into the ground. It’s hard to believe that outdoor chair manufacturers didn’t have the foresight to include feet that don’t sink into the ground when the chairs are used outdoors.
Chair Buddies fixes that problem and rather cleverly. They’re plastic discs that clip onto your chair’s existing legs. Each Chair Buddy measures 70mm (2.75″) in diameter and fits camping/backpacking chairs with leg diameters up to 13mm (1/2″) and foot diameters up to 25mm (1″). The result is a chair foot surface area that is 6-8 times greater than camping/backpacking chair feet alone.
The raised profile of the disc on one side ensures that the chair foot does not slip out under pressure, while the S-shaped side connectors allow flexing due to uneven ground and sitter movement. To secure the leg, pull the connector upwards over the chair’s foot and snap it around the chair leg tube.
As you can see, I’m sitting on an REI Flexlite Air Chair outfitted with Chair Buddies in the top picture above, along a sandy riverbank without sinking.
Here’s a video demonstrating how to attach them to a chair.
Chair Buddies are compatible with:
- Helinox Chair One
- Helinox Chair Zero
- REI Flexlite Air Chair
- All chairs with leg diameters up to 13mm (1/2″) and foot diameters up to 25mm (1″)
Where Can You Buy Chair Buddies?
Chair Buddies are made in the UK by a London-based cottage manufacturer. They ship worldwide, including to the USA. They cost $31 USD per set of four. Visit ChairBuddies.com. They’re also looking for resellers if you want to resell a pretty unique product (that has legs).
Disclosure: The author received product samples from this manufacturer, but I’m not obligated to tell you about it and I’m not compensated by Chair Buddies in any way. I just think it’s a brilliant solution to a vexing problem and want to share it with my readers.SectionHiker is reader-supported. We only make money if you purchase a product through our affiliate links. Help us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.
I ordered 2 sets of these as soon as I read this review. We take the Helinox chairs on canoe trips and love them except when we sink in the sand or mud. Thanks Philip for reviewing this item!
I think they’re brilliant. You’ll love them.
I ordered a set, too. Thanks Philip! If they arrive in time, I’ll take them with my new Helinox Chair Zero to Philmont later this month.
I was at Philmont in August, 2019 and going back again this August, too. I used my Chair Zero with no issues ever sinking in. The ground there is HARD!
That’s great information, thanks! I’m sweating my tent choice a bit because it’s not freestanding. But I figure I’ll be able to make it work. The Chair Buddies will come in handy most places I hike in the Southeast.
Yeah, not a lot of rain to keep the ground soft!
I used a Zpacks Duplex in 2019 and will again this year. No issues getting Toaks titanium v-stakes in the ground.
Even more good intel! Thanks. The weather forecast models for next week (our first week on trail) have been bouncing around between trace rain and up to a half inch. This morning they show trace amounts, and warmer temps than I expected.
I’m also taking a non-trekking pole tent because we need two sets to set up our two dining flys and I and one other adult are the only trekking pole users.
If they’re predicting trace amounts, be ready for the half inch!
These look good but Helinox makes an attachment that hooks onto all 4 legs and covers essentially the entire footprint area of the chair. It weighs about 8oz while this (w/o the case they come in) is a bit more than half that, but it is really indestructible and has the advantage that by attaching to all 4 legs it adds a lot of strength to the chair itself. I.e., it eliminates any sideways torque on the legs which could eventually break or wear out the leg to chair joints.
Yes, I got the original Helinox Ground Sheet for my Zero. It is 146 grams and works great – even on not too loose snow. The buddies do look nifty though, but with not much weight difference it is hard to justify the cost.
I don’t have this chair yet, just looking into the issues before I pull the trigger, but…
I feel the same way. I suppose the worst case scenario for the legs would be sitting on it and 3 of the legs sinking into the ground while one hangs up on a rock/root and suddenly has 50-60 lbs of sideways torque placed on it at the foot. The groundsheet will reduce sinking and evenly distribute the sideways forces to all of the legs. The bigger feet hopefully reduce the sinking to where it doesn’t result in a lot of torque on 1 leg. Regarding the weight of the groundsheet, I’ve seen other users state it’s weight as being in the 5-6oz range, but it seems to have an edge in reliability. On Reddit, a couple of years ago a DIYer made his/her own groundsheet from leftover sturdy fabric and snaps, looked like it would work fine.
There are a few significant differences between the Groundsheet and Chair Buddies.
Helinox designs its groundsheets to fit only one or two chair models. Chair Buddies can be used with all chairs that have 10-14mm legs. That includes many Helinox, REI Flexlite chairs, Big Agnes, Sportneer, Nigor, Robens, Vango, Alpkit, Alite, and chairs of other brands. In, other words, unlike Helinox Groundsheets, the Chair Buddies are multi-brand accessories.
Chair Buddies are the only available anti-sink accessories for REI Flexlite and Big Agnes Mica Basin Chairs. Both companies do not provide add-ons for their chairs.
Helinox groundsheet will not minimize damage on tent groundsheets or lawns much as the pressure points created by the legs of the chair are not that different. Chair buddies disperse the pressure created by the chair feet into 6-8 times bigger area.
If you are using your chair next to a muddy riverbank or in a festival, you might find that groundsheet, which is made of fabric, is not as easy to clean as a set of rounded chair feet.
Regarding structural stability, using the groundsheet can improve it. However, that will be an important factor only if the seater’s weight is close to the max weight recommended by the chair’s manufacturer.
There will not be much difference in performance between the Helinox groundsheet and the chair buddies if they both are used on soft soil or sand. On snow, the groundsheet will, for most of the time, perform better. The chair buddies will be a better choice if you want to use your camping chair on lawns or in tents, or if you are looking for anti-sink accessories for other chair brands.
You need to lower the price or offer free shipping via Amazon prime. Your pricing and fulfillment are hurting you. Listen to your customers.
Juris, that is a very helpful response, several things were mentioned that I hadn’t visualized. Regarding structural stability, that isn’t likely to be challenged with the large footprint of the chair buddies being a good mitigation for the uneven sinking possibility. Also, the lower weight becomes more relevant to me now.
What with shipping costs to “other” countries it’s getting to $50 a set, half the cost of a chair. Time to work out how to make them for the 4 chairs in the family.
You might prefer the “practice golf ball mod” that Philip mentioned on the Chair Zero post.
Thanks for that. It’s a good start, I’ll give it a go.
My buddy with a 3D printer made me a set of these swap-on feet:
the original feet weigh 7.4 g and these weigh 11.4 g
There are lots of other designs, too.
These 3D printed feet can be used with one-size feet only. On top of that, you would have to remove the plastic tip in order to connect it to the chair leg. These feet cannot change the angle and would break on uneven surfaces.
If you make the bottom part rounder and print it PETG, and use or on a smooth lawn it might work for some time. Or it could possibly be printed in Nylon to give it a bit more flexibility. It is a very light but impractical design. A good DIY project tough.
I bought a pair of these for our two older Helinox chairs and they work better than I expected in sand. That said, they are outstanding at the campsites. The Helinox chairs do not get taken on the backpacking trips because of the size and weight, but we use them canoeing and on bike trips every time and they at great addition to the chair.
A couple of years ago I stopped in at a local bike shop and picked up four flexible plastic disks that come shipped with the bikes to protect the hub, axles, seat post tube, etc. They’re about the same diameter and have an inner socket to snap over the hub quick release, etc., and kind of snap onto the legs of my chair zero. Altogether they weigh less than 2 oz, and even though they aren’t indestructible, they’re free!
chair buddy for a set of 4 with shipping to the US is roughly the same price as the chair Zero ground sheet. the chair buddy say 150g or 5oz, ground sheet is also 5oz but not sure if the buddy weight is with stuff sack