Gear junkies like me can’t resist products that are well-designed, aesthetically pleasing, and simultaneously create and fill a new outdoors need. I had no idea that I needed the Therm-a-Rest Treo Chair, but it’s so easy to pack and so downright enjoyable to use that I’ve found myself plotting the next time I’ll get to use it.

A few weeks ago I went to a new three-day music festival at the base of Snow King Mountain in Jackson, WY. I had to camp out for the afternoon to do some sustainability outreach to festival-goers, so I set up a pair of Therm-a-Rest Treo Chairs for my friend and I. Both of us found the setup to be intuitive, forgoing reading the directions in favor of just going for it.

The teal blue pod that doubles as a protective carrying case opened up to form the base of the camp chair. Inside, the Dyneema and nylon fabric seat was wrapped around four poles, 2 short and 2 medium-length. Just by looking at the product photo on the outside of the pod, we figured out how to configure the poles, with the 2 short ones in the front, and, voila, the chair was assembled and we were lounging.

We sat back in the chairs a little tentatively at first, not sure how we’d like them. It became clear in a few moments that they were rad. For coming in such a small package–about the size of a Nalgene bottle–they were remarkably comfortable and sturdy. The seat height (13” off the ground) was just right; I could get in and out easily, even in a sundress. My friend, a graphic designer, appreciated their design and construction. A number of people came up to us to chat and check out the chairs, drawn to their modern, simple design. At the end of the night, even with only the light of our cell phones to guide us, we were able to fold and roll up the seat fabric around the poles and get the parts back inside the pods. My friend liked them so much, she borrowed them for the next day of the festival.

The Therm-a-Rest Treo Chair’s compact design makes it ideal for so many occasions. For in-town activities like outdoor concerts and barbeques, I love that I can fit a pair of Treo Chairs in a tote bag and ride with them on my scooter or bike, something I’m much less likely to do with full-sized traditional camp chairs.

I’ve also brought the chairs along while floating and fishing nearby rivers; they provide comfy on-shore seating for lunch and dinner breaks, a nice upgrade from sitting on a log or rock (although that tried and true method certainly works as well, and I actually prefer it over the Crazy Creek-style camp chairs that I abandoned using a decade ago). The chairs are small enough to stash in a dry box or small dry bag–again, something I would not attempt with a normal camp chair. I’ve also noticed that the tough composite tripod base, which has anti-skid rubber pads, does well on uneven surfaces like sandy and rocky river banks and also seems more stable than the collapsible chairs with all-pole frames that I’ve tried before.

Next up? I’ll probably take them on a casual overnight backpacking trip when I’m not trying to go super minimalist with space and weight. They only weigh 2 lb. 4 oz., but I still consider them to be a luxury on the trail. The Therm-a-Rest Treo Chairs are available in one size in the following eco-chic color combinations: Sapphire Seat/Sapphire Base, Slate Seat/Slate Base, Lime Seat/Lime Base, Sapphire Seat/Slate Base, Lime Seat/Slate Base, Slate Seat/Sapphire Base, and Slate Seat/Lime Base.

Bottom Line: A uniquely-designed camp chair that provides comfort and support in an innovative, small package (and may inspire coveting).

Manufacturer’s Site: www.cascadedesigns.com/therm-a-rest/

buy-now $100 at REI