The Ultralight Bush Chair

Reader Jenny wrote to tell me about these wonderful chairs she makes when hiking. She thinks she could get the pack weight of her chair down to 50 grams. She writes, ‘The material is just a rectangle of fabric, with big seams top and bottom (bottom for the cross piece of wood to thread through; and top for the cord to thread through and tie off at the top of the tripod).

On this one, I was using light plastic raffia type string to hold some of it together (surprising how strong it was) – and much heavier cord at the top than I would ever carry now (I am going to try dyneema thread/cord next time), but it gives the idea. We usually have no trouble finding wood around camp, to make this set up – sometimes I pinch wood that my husband has already innocently gathered for the fire, not realising it’s just what I want; and other times we have to look a bit further afield. If the lower cross piece of wood is put at the right height, and enough slack is allowed, it can be very comfortable to lay back in of an evening in front of the fire.

I am thinking the Robic nylon fabric and dyneema thread ties could do the job for around the 50gm mark (give or take)…

For the knots for the chair, I’ve been working with a system of coming from the back with loops, instead of pulling the full length of cord around – and retrieving the cord without tangle, at pack down time, has usually been OK (I find that four loops on each intersection with the lower cross bar give a reasonable hold – then I go at least a couple more to be sure…. I wrap around the top while all 3 pieces are on the ground) – It is all done ‘girl style’ (slightly different every time) and finished off with some kind of knot that just needs a pull at the end in order for it to come loose when time comes to undo it.’

They look like a great idea. Thanks Jenny . think you could make it even more comfortable by adding your inflatable mat. You can see that the chair is moveable, so you can take it inside your shelter when it rains.

Jenny’s chair, details:

Bush chair comp 2

Sitting back relaxing on the track to Tali Karng. Looks comfy.

bush chair comp 1

Possibly the original. This chair was spied by Ron Edwards ‘Australian Traditional Bush Crafts’ at Dick Rimmings Hut at Kooboora 145 km west of Cairns many years ago.  As you can see it has made use of a forked stick and a hessian bag. Very minimalist.


Another reader’s comment, ‘I used to carry an old sugar bag to hang from a tree branch and stake the bottom two corners to the ground. If you wanted to lay back all you did was move the stakes further in front of the branch and lengthen the drop at the top’

Here is another version of it (only 100 grams):

This neat little 41 gram saw will allow you to make this easily.


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