Sitting down is killing us. The warning signs are everywhere, folks on the whole are fatter than they’ve ever been, hearts are more clogged and creaking, bodies built for hunting down beasts on the savannah are reduced to tapping at keyboards and staring at screens 30cm from their boggling eyes. The sedentary life is killing us, maybe faster than global warming – but the jury is out on that.
That said, we are climbers, we pride ourselves on our beast-of-burden-like capacity to lug over-stuffed packs and cumbersome mats up hill and down dale all day, crank till our forearms burn and cores collapse, then hump back out of the wilds again. A good sit down at the end of it all is not only needed it is deserved
I think we have arrived at the point that we can all admit the $2 Bunnings’ chairs we are using are garbage. With that in mind we’ve been looking around for some other options and the Alite Monarch Balance Chair piqued our interest.
It’s an ultralight (it only ways a feathery 580 grams), pack-down-to-tiny chair, that intrigues straight off the bat as it’s bipedal, that’s right, it only has two legs. If the development of chairs was subject to the pressures of Darwin’s theories you could say that two-legged chair is naturally evolved from four-legged forebears. That would be bullshit though, they are intelligently designed.
Rule one: Chairs shouldn’t need instructions. If they make you curse Ikea – The God of Unmanageable Furniture – then they are out. The Balance chair falls out of the bag in a heap, and so it does require some assembly but nothing that your person equal in intelligence to the average climber can’t handle. It’s a hammock of ripstop nylon supported by some baby tent poles (apologies for the technical term). Insert Flap A into Slot B and you’re good to go. Or stay.
Fact: You will fall. In addition to accommodating general sitting, the balance chair will undoubtedly provide some entertainment for your audience, who are guaranteed to get the thrill of watching you topple over once. Before you get the gist, or when you forget that you are only on two legs, you will lean too far, you will topple backward, flinging your legs towards the sky in a moment of delightful slapstick.
However, it takes a surprisingly short period of adjustment for you to find your fulcrum. We propose that conquering the tippiness is a lot like getting your sea legs. In no time we were in a comfortable and stable recline, lightly rocking ourselves into relaxation. And everyone in the audience who chuckled at you the one time you did hit the deck will be queuing up for a turn themselves, which will very quickly lead to a game of ‘Balancies’ – seeing who can balance on only the two chair legs with their feet in the air for the longest. Hours of campsite entertainment.
Sitting is good after a day of cragging but eating a bowl of spicy chorizo pasta as big as your head is even better. Cooking on the Monarch took a moment of balance rejigging, arse back a touch, knees up, teeter forward. It wasn’t too onerous but it did mean some scooting around and after hitting the sweet spot there is a surprisingly light amount of strain on the body.
Suits: the weight and size conscious. It’s versatile, it’s small and light enough that you can take it up to the crag with you or to whack in your pack if you are hiking.
Doesn’t suit: drunks with associated inner ear issues that compromise balance. Note: be careful after too many post-send celebratory beers.
For more information visit www.frontierequipment.com.au