U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- For writers, outdoor industry shows are perfect places to sniff out great products, flesh out story ideas, catch up with fellow communicators and get our fingers on the industry’s pulse, especially as it relates to hunting and shooting. While SHOT Show is the largest trade show of its kind, the NRA owns the two the two largest consumer shows, the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits (NRAAM), held annually in various places, and the NRA Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; in fact, this year’s NRAAM, in Dallas, Texas, was the best yet. While scores of exhibitors filled the booth space to the hilt, nearly 90,000 people, including show media folks like me, wandered the show floor for must-haves and want-tos; in fact, NRAAM is where I first ran into Chama Chairs.
Fit, Form, Function… and COMFORT
Looking for fit, form, function AND comfort? Take a seat. Class is now in session. While the Chama Chair is based on a minimalist design, nothing about this chair, save weight and compact carry, screams minimal at all—not the seat size, not the quality and most certainly not the features. As an avid bowhunter with countless hours in ground blinds under my belt, I’m no stranger to the minimalist blind chairs you may be thinking of, the ones with the small, triangular seats and little else, if anything, to offer. The only benefits I took away from those blind chairs were weight and the idea of a triangular seat for easier drawing with a bow from the seated position without worrying about hitting my leg with my bow limb.
Chama chairs may look like those triangular blind chairs but a vaguely familiar design look is where all similarities end—this isn’t your buddy’s blind chair… unless he already knows what you’re about to learn. Chama chairs are not only perfect for bowhunting, but they are also a great seating solution for a laundry list of activities; of course, my testing of a Chama Chair was essentially fixed on hunting and shooting activities alone.
My lengthy testing experience with a Chama Chair left me to a singular opinion—hands down, it is the best chair I’ve used. Why? Fit, form and function of course. The Chama Chair boasts a wealth of must-have features and sets up in seconds by spreading out the three legs, securing them in place with a swivel-locking system and installing the seat back. The oversized triangular seat isn’t just perfect for shooting a bow while seated, it’s the best seat in the house for a spotter on the shooting range. For bowhunting, the triangular seat shape allows for easy drawing and shooting without worrying about hitting the limb or bottom cam on your leg; however, the seat dimension is oversized and ample enough to support a wider load like mine.
The seat back is also high and wide, offering robust support when it’s time to relax. With a simple twist, the Chama Chair’s Ever-Level legs telescope individually. The combination of Ever-Level legs and swivel feet make for a rock solid, even sitting experience, even on rough, uneven and yes, sloping terrain—perfect for ground-blind hunting setups on less than perfect ground. Moreover, extending the legs also increases or decreases seat height for a truly customized fit.
While I mentioned telescoping legs and swivel feet as seriously desirable features in a hunting chair, there’s more to smile about. From swivel bucket seats (literally) and bulky rotating chairs to run-of-the-mill chairs lacking any swivel or movement at all, including chairs with arms, I’ve still-hunted and shot from virtually every seat combination I can think of; more specifically, I’ve sent scores of arrows from them at moments of truth. Shooting a bow from a vertically challenged ground blind, while sitting in a chair lacking swivel can be difficult—add arms and it can be frustrating at best. Ensuring your limbs are free from contact with other surfaces, like your leg or the arm of a chair during the violent discharge of an arrow is even more taxing; it’s tough enough simply focusing on the animal and making a well-placed shot.
I Like What I See… In Every Direction
As a quick recap of comfort features, especially as they relate to my passion, bowhunting, the seat and seatback are wide, roomy and double-stitched. I have yet to sit in the Chama Chair and feel as though the circulation at the top-back of my thighs is being pinched. I’ve sat for hours upon hours in a ground blind, as well as behind a spotting scope on a shooting range, with no discomfort. The lack of arms is also welcome. When it came to shooting a doe recently, the triangular seat and armless design ensured zero potential for limb contact.
One of the greatest benefits of the Chama Chair is 360-degree swivel. If you bowhunt, the benefit of the swivel is a no brainer and the ability to turn 360 degrees is always a game-changer. Of course, I’ve hunted from swivel seats in the past and have blown a few hunts because of noise in the swivel—rubbing washers, grinding gears, etc. To some extent, I learned to avoid swiveling chairs and if I found myself in one, I always checked for swivel noise first.
My experience with the Chama Chair’s swivel feature has been refreshing, even blissful considering previous swivel-chair experiences. Whether on the shooting range or hunting, this Chama Chair has been my go-to seat for seven months. My experience with the Chama Chair doesn’t come after a one-weekend-wonder. It comes after months and months of intense use.
As an outdoor writer, I can most often be found year-round either bowhunting for hogs or on the shooting range, spotting for other shooters or jumping on triggers myself to ring long-range steel. To say I’ve spent more hours in a Chama Chair than I would ever care to recount may be an understatement. Even so, with as much as I’ve put the Chama Chair through, fit, form and function, including the swivel feature, remain in near-new condition. The swivel feature, perhaps partly due to its self-lubricating design, continues to be whisper quiet—no concerning noise whatsoever. While those who know me may argue that I wouldn’t hear swiveling anyway, compliments of the Marine Corps, the animals, as well as other people who have spent time in the Chama Chair haven’t heard swivel or creep from the Chama Chair either—and they do hear exceptionally well.
The Chama Chair’s compact size, weight, overall comfort and swivel feature has also caught the eye of my wife, a second-grade school teacher. She is now eye-balling a Chama Chair as the reading seat for her classroom. During reading sessions, students gather around her in a horseshoe formation—swiveling allows her to face and engage at every degree throughout the lesson without adjusting her seating position.
At the risk of sounding cliché, the Chama Chair is a home run. Honestly, when it comes to reviewing products, regardless of how impressive they are, I look hard to find cons—areas of concern or design attributes with potential for improvement. The Chama Chair is no exception but in that, an exception—I simply can’t find any real fault in its fit, form or function—it’s a remarkable product and an instant favorite must-have in my hunting and shooting pursuits. That said, a couple of potential improvements come to mind.
Room to Grow
Not long ago, my hands were numb from the cold and I wasn’t sure I had tightened the twist-nuts enough to ensure the legs wouldn’t collapse under me—they didn’t. In looking a bit closer, there is some passive resistance built into the telescoping legs. As a result, even lightly tightening has resulted in secure leg positioning—my wife and my son also had no issue in locking in leg positions. I suspect twist-tightening is a non-issue but worth mentioning. Perhaps Chama Chair can shed light so people like me aren’t bent on twist-locking overkill.
Second, the swivel lock component (the rotating orange-trimmed part located above the swivel joint) is designed to lock the three seat supports in place, and conversely collapse the chair when rotated out of the support-locking position; however, it is exceptionally tight and can be difficult to move into and out of locked positions. I use a decent amount of force with my thumbs to manipulate the part into and out of locking position. Again, not a real problem but increased leverage without increased effort would be a nice design improvement here.
I would also love to see some Chama Chair accessories! Maybe chair arms designed for even better-sitting comfort but also collapse out of the way for a shot when it’s time to go to work? A bow-holder? Shooting rest? A pocket to stow some minimal amount of gear? A little-added comfort and convenience to a comfortable and convenient chair just might take the Chama Chair to even greater heights. That said, I do believe Chama Chair is seated comfortably ahead of industry competitors—but sitting is believing. To me, the Chama Chair is well worth the sit and the spend. Considering what you get in the Chama Chair, MSRP sits comfortably at $169.95 and the price includes an exceptionally rugged travel/carrying bag complete with an extra, roomy gear pocket.
Even with the menial improvement suggestions I’ve offered, the Chama Chair is a huge win for us and for Chama Chair. I’m always excited to see a small business come up with something so far and above what others dream up, including industry titans with teams of expert product developers. To me, this is a testimony to hope, innovation, strength in our industry, especially when it comes to growth and the benefits of increased competition—the only constant is change, that’s a good thing. Of course, it’ll be interesting to see how Chama Chair dreams up a product capable of toppling this amazing first-offering. You can learn more about the Chama Chair at www.ChamaChairs.com.
About Kevin Reese:
Kevin is an award-winning outdoor writer, photographer, videographer, speaker, host of Global Outfitters TV Show’s GO Tips and a Marine Corps veteran. He owns and administers www.mainbeammedia.com and Main Beam Blog at blog.mainbeammedia.com. The Main Beam Blog offers great articles, press releases, outdoor industry news and reviews.