I have long been a keen camper. And though I’m no Bear Grylls (I only go camping May to September), over the past few years, I’ve begun wild camping. This is camping that generally involves a bit of a hike to find that beautiful and secluded location to pitch up. (To note, wild camping is only legal across Scotland and in England’s National Park Dartmoor, otherwise you’ll need permission from the landowner.) This hiking element of wild camping means that you need to keep your kit light. I have refined my wild camping pack list to ensure everything fits in my Berghaus rucksack (as well as each item having the optimum weight-to-comfort ratio). This kit list includes a lightweight tent, a self-inflating pad to sleep on, as well as a pocket stove, a hydration reservoir for my water and a supply of noodle and porridge pots — these keep cooking/washing up to a minimum. But the item you may not expect to make the cut on my packing list is a chair.
I’ll explain: Though I like the outdoors, I’m still a pleasure seeker. I already had a bog-standard folding camping chair but found it too heavy to lug around on a wild camping trip. And whilst my shoulders and I were very happy about my minimalist packing, I missed something proper to sit on. Initially, I used one of those foldable seat pads, which I find useful on hikes but don’t offer much respite or back support after 15 minutes — or when you’re having a well-earned drink by your campfire. So I did some research online about supportive (yet lightweight and affordable) chairs, and came across the Trekology Yizi Go. Trekology is based in Portland, Oregon, and specializes in ultralight camping gear. You can also pick up the Yizi Go Plus (which has adjustable height), or the Yizi Lite, which is a little lighter (unsurprisingly) and sits closer to the ground. I wasn’t convinced that the Yizi Lite’s seat height would be comfortable enough (I’m quite tall) and the 200g weight difference didn’t seem like it would be make or break, so I opted for the Yizi Go. I bought it from Amazon and took it to Scotland on its first outing later that week.
It was a resounding success. The chair weighs less than a kilo and takes up the same space as a pair of trainers when packed in its included carry bag. It is also very easy to set up: The poles tend to pop into the correct holes when you start the process, and then it’s a case of clicking the rest of them together and sliding the poles into the corner pockets on the underside of the seat. All in all, the setup takes less than two minutes and is very user-friendly. There are other nifty design features, too — the carry case can slot under the seat through the poles, so you don’t lose that whilst using the chair; and there are two pockets on either side, big enough for a can, your phone, or some snacks. And crucially, the chair is very comfortable, too. I’m around five-foot-ten and can recline with legs outstretched and stay seated for several hours.
In the ten months that I’ve owned it, my chair and I have been all over west Scotland, from the depths of the Quiraing on Skye to the banks of Loch Ard in the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. Due to its compactness, my Trekology Yizi Go has also replaced my regular camping chair so has joined me on trips to the Lake District and Peak District as well as to a number of London parks during our year of outdoor socialising. Overall, this nifty chair has really elevated my wild camping experience; never underestimate the satisfaction of a good sit-down.
Some other products I use while wild camping
I use a Coleman Cobra 3 tent when wild camping with one other person. It’s under 3kg, super-easy to put up as the inner sheet is already clipped to the outer sheet, and it’s tall enough that you can sit up in it.
I use a Thermarest Pro Lite Regular sleeping mat. It’s around 500g, rolls up to the size of a pair of trousers and keeps you warm and comfortable at night.
I use a Berghaus Trailhead 65L (coincidentally, so do adventure athletes the Turner Twins.) “It’s the perfect pack for longer hikes, campaign trips, and expeditions,” says Hugo Turner, who relied on the pack when he and brother Ross climbed Russia’s 5,642-meter Mount Elbrus.
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