Date reviewed: February 2023 | Tested by: John Milbank | Price: £49.99 | www.oxfordproducts.com
I love riding back-roads, and I love having a destination. Sometimes that’s a café (Super Sausage in Northamptonshire and Factoryheads at Donington Park are my current favourites), sometimes it’s a radio control model shop (yeah, I know), but more often than not I just set myself a route of a few hours on Calimoto and see where I send up.
But I’ve spent far too long looking for just the right park bench to pull up next to and enjoy my Morrisons meal deal while taking in the views, so the Oxford Camping chair promised to be the perfect solution. I could pull up almost anywhere I fancied and still have somewhere to sit.
Call me an old man all you like, but the creature comforts matter to me now. Oh, and that’s why you won’t see me talking about my experience with this while camping; I don’t do tents…
The Oxford Camping Chair is made of tough 600D polyester with reinforced sections and mesh panels, which is stretched over a tubular aluminium frame that’s held together with strong, 3.2mm diameter elastic.
The frame also incorporates two very solid nylon joints, and there are rubbery feet at the bottoms of the four legs.
The seat packs very neatly away into a carry bag that can be strung between the supports for a bit of extra storage if you need it – you can pop your keys, phone etc in there if you like; handy if they’re uncomfortable in your pockets while sat down.
All packed up, the seat in its bag measures about 34cm x 13cm x 11cm (4.9 litres), and weighs just 941g, so it’s really easy to sling in a top-box, pannier or tail pack, or to strap on a seat. There’s also a single run of MOLLE loops along the base of the bag, if that helps you.
The Oxford Camping Chair fits easily in my top-box and sets up in seconds
Setting the Oxford Camping Chair up really couldn’t be much easier, given its compact size. There are just two parts: the frame is kept together by the elastic, and the fabric stretches over it.
It’s impossible to get confused with how the frame goes together thanks to those tough elastic straps, so it takes seconds to set it up.
Pulling the seat fabric over is slightly more fiddly, and you do need to make sure the folds that the ends of the rods poke into are open, but once you’ve got the knack it’s simple. I find it best to put the back on the rods first, then pull the bottom of the seat over the shorter rods; the flex in the longer back rods makes it easier.
The maximum stated weight for the Oxford Camping Chair is 100kg. I’m just over 90kg fresh off the loo in my birthday suit, so I’m getting close, but I’ve never felt like the seat’s struggling to hold me, and – unlike me – it doesn’t moan and groan as I drop into it or push myself out.
What it does do is twist a little as I move around. The Oxford Camping Chair’s not like a big comfy armchair that you can jiggle around in; you’re set into one position. But it’s certainly a comfortable one.
I have noticed a very slight bend to one of the legs while photographing it for this review; it’s not bad at all, and I struggled to spot it, but most importantly it’s not kinked. Time will tell how well this lasts, but I intend to use it a lot more this year. As with all our reviews, I’ll update if necessary.
The seat is a snug fit, but it’s really comfy as long as you don’t mind getting down low to get in. You might struggle in one-piece leathers, but it depends how nimble you are; I’m usually in riding jeans and a leather jacket. I do notice it twisting a little as I get in at times, but never worringly so, and it’s better on a flat surface.
While the rubbery feet will spread the load a little, you’ll need to be careful on soft earth as they can sink in. Or, as Stuart MacAlister suggested on our Facebook page, crushed beer cans help spread the load well!
Once packed, the Oxford Camping Chair takes up very little space
Camping chairs aren’t something we review much on BikeSocial, but here are some other options we’ve found…
The Oxford Camping chair isn’t cheap, but I love how easy to sling in my bike’s luggage, how quick it is to set up, and how it saves me getting a muddy bum or wasting ages looking for a park bench.
Finding a slight bend in one of the legs is slightly worrying, but it’s not shown any signs of kinking. While it does twist a bit as I move around, even my bulky frame is comfortable and secure once I’m settled in.
Fans of racing will appreciate being able to get comfy while watching the action, though of course BikeSocial members can take advantage of the exclusive access to pit garages at many of the BSB rounds. We’ll give you free coffee too.
Adding relatively little bulk to a camping set-up means this’ll appeal to many adventure riders, but I’ll leave that to those who enjoy being woken up at 4am by rain and cockerels.
Here’s to another summer of weekend rides and BLT sandwiches… If you see me sat at the side of the road, give me a wave!