The Moon Lence chair swipes our Best Buy Award this year for its low weight and comfort at an extremely nice price. The relaxation factor is on par with most similar chairs and could only be slightly improved with a more upright sitting position. Mesh panels in this chair make it a great option for summer, and we appreciate the hanging pocket that fits a phone or even a water bottle. While the weight is low for its price, packed up, this is a bulky model. However, folks looking to make an economical chair purchase will find this one packs high value even if it isn't the most compact option on the market.Editor's Note: This review was revised on August 17, 2022, with info on the updated version of the Moon Lence Camp Chair.
Moon Lence Camp Chair Review
Cons: Large packed size, lack of instructions
Manufacturer: Moon Lence
Our Analysis and Test Results
Product Update Note — August 2022
Moon Lence updated their Camp Chair since our last test cycle. The photos above show the old Camp Chair (left) and the new version (right). The new version updates the seat design and improves the 600-denier Oxford cloth to a stronger 900-denier Oxford cloth. This camp chair now has a square frame, which is designed to make the chair more stable. But with these upgrades, the list price increases as well. While our review still pertains to our experience with the old version, we are now linking to the updated camp chair, which is more readily available.
The price of the Moon Lence is its immediate differentiator. We were surprised by the features and quality offered for a fraction of the cost of most tent-style chairs we tested. It is comfortable with a wide seat, feels more stable than many models in our test, is easy to both set up and pack away in its bag, and is the only chair in our test to have a hanging pocket! Read on to see if this inexpensive option can offer you everything you want in a backpacking chair.
We find the Moon Lence chair to be comfortable because the seat is wide and not confining on the edges, so it accommodates many bum sizes. Also pleasing is that the back comes up fairly high, around the middle of the shoulder blades on our 5'8" tester, which means it feels smooth across the back and doesn't cut into the flesh. This chair puts your bum 9" off the ground, which is on the higher end of models we tested. Only the tallest users will feel like they have to go into a full crouch to get into the chair, and unless you have trouble getting up from a moderate squat, you will find it easy to extract yourself from this seat.
Though we really like the overall comfort of this chair, there are a few quirks that cause it to lose some points. When leaning against the seatback, you can feel mostly relaxed, but its position reclines a bit too much, causing some neck strain. We found ourselves wanting to sit up straighter. The high seat makes it easier to get in and out of but also presents a long lean forward if you are cooking on the ground and a higher likelihood of tipping forward when you lean down to tend your camp stove.
Mesh side and upper back panels give the Moon Lence more breathability than others we tested, making it a good choice for summertime activities like group campouts and neighborhood BBQs. Overall, the chair is plenty comfortable and ranks above average of models we tested. There are chairs that offer more comfort, but we really didn't find much to complain about here!
Size and Weight
The Moon Lence ranks in the middle of the pack for size and weight. Its measured weight of 29 ounces means that it is moderately light for a tent-style chair, yet its measured packed size of 4.5" x 4.5" x 13.5" makes it tougher to stuff into the side pocket of most backpacking packs.
The measurements themselves don't actually sound that large and, indeed, are actually very similar to some of the small ultralight models in our test; however, the Moon Lence, with its large plastic hubs, takes up all of its stuff sack where some of the others are easily squeezed, making it much simpler to put them in a pack pocket. In its bag, this chair can fit into the side storage of some packs, but it will be too large for many. However, if your main reason for getting a compact camp chair is to use it in more of a front-country setting, the Moon Lence packs plenty small and weighs little enough to throw in your car or bring along in a day pack without much thought.
Most tent-style chairs in our test have a similar size base — that rectangle on the ground bounded by the points of the four legs. The Moon Lence falls in with these similar base sizes, but we were impressed by the stable feel both when sitting still, as well as when we needed to shift around and sit down quickly.
The hubs are solid, the poles rigid, and the fabric well-tensioned without much stretch. These aspects give you the feeling of a solid chair under you rather than one that flexes and feels as if you might break a pole if you lean over to grab something out of your pack or pluck your beer off the ground.
The rubber feet are rounded and slightly larger than some models we tested but not significantly enough to impact the stability in soft ground. This isn't, however, a chair you would want to set up on loose sand or saturated soil if you don't want to sink in and slowly tip over.
Ease of Use
You won't find much difference between the setup of most tent-style chairs, and we found the Moon Lence to also be fairly quick and easy to set up. However, this chair offers on-chair storage, which appears to be a rare feature in backpacking chairs.
As with most tent-style chairs, this model consists of shock cord-attached aluminum poles that fit into a plastic hub. The fabric seat then stretches over these poles. Among models we have tested, some come with instructions for setup, others use color-coded pole tips that match the receiver pockets on the fabric, but a few leave it up to the user to figure out which side is up. While we're confident everyone can puzzle this one out, there are no instructions with the Moon Lence. In use, we learned that the top can be differentiated by the pull tabs where the poles insert.
The fabric of the Moon Lence is one that requires a bit more force to get together, which can be a bit frustrating but helps the chair feel securely assembled; conversely, some chairs we tested required very little force, which made us think twice about picking up the chair because we didn't want the fabric to slide off the frame.
Breaking down this chair for storage is also quick. While there are no instructions for getting it back in the bag either, we found that whether we folded the fabric into halves or thirds, we could wrap the poles up inside and fairly easily tuck it back into its bag. The hardest part is containing all the spidery legs while breaking the others down, but this isn't unique to the Moon Lence.
Our testers appreciate the small side pocket that fits a phone or even a one-liter water bottle. Additionally, the chair's stuff sack is designed to fit onto the poles, giving you not only somewhere to stash some backup "sodas" or a book but also a way to keep your bag from blowing away.
The Moon Lence Camp Chair proves that the top brands aren't the only ones who can do outdoor gear well. You aren't getting an ultralight or uber compact chair from Moon Lence when compared to the high-end backpacking models we tested. But if weight and bulk are less of a concern to you and what you want is a comfortable, durable chair that is compact enough to toss in with your camping or tailgating gear and even load onto your backpack for certain trips, this chair's value can't be beaten.
Overall, we feel the Moon Lence is decently comfortable; it leaves a little to be desired in the reclining position, and it is a bit large for packing into most backpack side pockets, but for the price, it offers a high level of durability and is well constructed and easy to use. We don't recommend it as a great pick for backpacking due to its bulk, but we think you'll be stoked on it for sunset hikes and car camping trips where trunk space is limited. This was an easy pick for our Best Buy Award, and we think you'll be pleased to lounge in it for seasons to come.
— Elizabeth Paashaus
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