Traveler's Gear Box: Alite Continues The Evolution Of The Backwoods Chair

The Mayfly is a light, easily portable chair well-suited for campfire gatherings or summer hillside concerts.

For millennia, ever since humankind grew weary of squating or simply reclining on the ground, we've continued to evolve the chair. No doubt it had something to do with either the muddy or rocky ground, or a suffering posture.

That evolution continues today, as Alite Designs so ably demonstrates with its Mayfly chair, a chair so light you could backpack with it, though it's likely more at home in your canoe, kayak, or car.

A collection of 210 denier ripstop nylon and aluminum alloy tubing that weighs less than 2 pounds and packs down to 11-and-a-half inches by 4-and-a-third inches, the Mayfly (MSRP $100) can be rigged as a rocking chair, or as a more stable three-legged seat that will keep you above -- but not too much above -- the ground.

The Mayfly, which can handle individuals up to 250 pounds in its sling-type seat, raises you just 2 inches off the ground. But that's plenty, and negates the need for a side table to set your beverage of choice on after a day on the trail, or paddling across the lake, or driving to your favorite campground.

Assembly is quick and easy, and so is disassembly. The nylon sling has mesh panels for good air circulation, and can always be tossed into the washer when too much dirt sticks to it.

Proof that chair evolution is ongoing, the Mayfly has two siblings: the Monarch, which balances on two legs, and the Mantis with its four legs for added stability.

Now, if Alite could just design one to work in a canoe...