You can spend a fair chunk of time sitting in a camping chair, and a few months back I started shopping for a replacement. I’d been using a Oztrail Big Boy Chair for nearly 10 years, and have just replaced it with an Oztent Sturt Chair.
As usual, you should know that we paid for this product with our own money, and this is a review done off our own back. We very rarely take products and write about them (and if we do, you’ll know about it as we believe in being completely transparent).
Why replace the camping chair?
I had a pretty solid run out of the previous Oztrail chair. I reckon it was more than 10 years old, and its done several hundred nights of camping in the bush in all sorts of conditions. However, it was time to move it on for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it was starting to fall apart.
Then, I wasn’t feeling overly comfortable sitting in it any more, and looking back it had probably sagged quite a bit over the years. Lastly, I wanted something I could use my laptop on more comfortably, and the Oztent Sturt has a table!
When buying camping gear we try and get something that suits our needs, and isn’t hugely expensive, or dirt cheap as it never ends well.
What’s good about the Oztent Sturt?
The Oztent Sturt has a lot of good things going for it, and like always I spent a fair bit of time ensuring it was going to do what I wanted it to before making the purchase.
It’s light weight
These chairs are almost entirely aluminium, which means despite their size they are actually quite light weight. When you see them in the flesh and go to pick them up you’d expect them to be much heavier than they are. At 5.5kg, its not going to break the bank in terms of payload in your 4WD or camper trailer.
You sit with better posture and its more comfortable
Prior to getting this chair, we’d had a number of discussions about the perfect camping chair. There are times where you want something you can slouch in and relax, but often having a chair that makes you sit with better posture is greatly appreciated too. The problem is that finding a chair that can do both is quite difficult!
I wanted something that made you sit upright better, without the giant curve from your back to backside that makes you quite sore after a while. You can see even in the photos that the Oztent Sturt makes you sit more upright, and that’s great.
Its quite a comfortable chair for me to sit in (and Sarah who’s shorter) and you can sit there for a long period without feeling uncomfortable and needing to shuffle around. Of course, chair comfort is somewhat subjective and you’d be worth sitting in one before you make a purchase!
It has a table
One of the primary reasons I even looked at this chair initially was because it had a table that was attached. This was for two reasons; eating, and working.
If you are still eating food on a plate from your lap, you’ve been missing out. Being able to put your food on a table right in front of you (that’s attached to the chair) is so much nicer. We eat outdoors all the time (unless its pouring with rain) and that means we need to be comfortable doing it.
Yes, we could all cram into the Reconn R2 and eat around the tiny table (which we have done in foul weather), but it wouldn’t be much fun, and the kids are messy enough that we’d rather do it outside.
Asides from eating off the table though, its perfect to fit my 15 inch laptop, which I use extensively when we travel to write blog posts and edit photos.
The table only just fits the laptop and is only really used for writing these posts, but its nice to sit outside under the awning, or under a nice tree, amongst nature and work.
The table can be adjusted to a range of different heights and swung around the side too, so if you have young kids chasing a table from their camp chairs it can do that as well (just not at the same time).
It’s great quality
Oztent has a solid name for making good quality products. Sarah’s previous chair was an Oztent King Goanna which has been hammered over the years and was still working just fine.
We used our Oztent (see Oztent RV5 Review) for years and years, and had an awesome run out of it (and then sold it to my brother, who’s still using it!).
I knew that the Oztent Sturt would be a good quality product, and looking at the detail within the chair I haven’t changed my mind.
These also come with a 5 year warranty, which is a testament to a good quality product. I’ve never had to deal with Oztent for warranty, but imagine they’d be helpful.
It’s quick and easy to setup
Some camp chairs can be a pain in the backside to open and close. The Oztent Sturt is really simple to use. You simply push down in the middle of the chair and it pops open. There’s nothing to grab, catch or make it hard to do (except the back straps, which we cover below!).
Is the Oztent Sturt the same as the Gecko and Mawson?
When I was shopping for the Oztent Chairs, I looked around for the best deal and kept coming across the Gecko and Mawson chair, which are essentially the same, but a different colour. The Mawson has a little esky on the side too, and costs even more.
I suspect they are all the same chair, but just named and coloured differently for marketing. You’ll see that the big camping stores often don’t sell the same product names.
What’s not good about the Oztent Sturt?
Like everything, there’s no free lunch. You wont find a product that doesn’t have its shortfalls, and we like to cover both sides of the coin.
I remember actually feeling quite shocked when I saw the size of the Oztent Sturt Chair in its case at BCF. I had to ask a sales person to find them for me, as I’d walked past them thinking they were a table, or something else. They are 94cm x 57cm x 13cm, and come in a bag.
We have stopped using the bags as they are just annoying to pull in and out, but there is no denying the fact that these take up a lot of room. Part of the reason is that these fold up into a big, flat rectangle instead of the normal square tube shape of most camping chairs.
For us, the weight is far more important than room and we have a fair bit of storage capacity in the back of our vehicle and Reconn R2. I was willing to overlook the size in favour of the comfort, weight and practicality of the chair. If you only have a 4WD though, and have limited space I can see they’d be quite annoying.
You have to undo the back straps to pack it away
If you do the back strap up, which makes it more comfortable to sit upright you’ll find that the chair doesn’t fold shut again until you loosen them. Its not a major issue, but it can be annoying when you are packing up in a hurry!
It tips over easily
Another random point that you’d never know from looking at it is that these chairs have a habit of being able to fall forward really easily. I suspect its due to the large surface area on the back that catches the wind, but also the additional weight on the front from the table.
If its windy, I make a point of moving the chair away from the camp fire if I’m not in it, as I have had it blow over a couple of times. It just falls and wont keep going, but it is annoying.
Also, if you have food on the table, and you go to walk away, make sure you push the table as far around as possible so its less likely to tip.
I had my laptop on it one day and went to walk away, only to realise that the tiniest amount of wind would send it flying, and my laptop would end up in the dirt. Not what you want to happen!
Its not exactly quiet
This might seem a bit random, but there are times where we can sit on our Oztent Sturt chairs, and they make a fair bit of noise. Not anything loud and disruptive, but loud enough that you’d hear it nearby. It just creaks and groans a bit, and really is no big deal, but they aren’t exactly silent.
What do they cost?
The Oztent Sturt is normally $179?. We managed to purchase ours on sale both times for about $130, which I feel is fair for what you get.
12 month update
After using two of the Oztent Sturt Chairs for more than 12 months (and more than 6 months full time travel), we have nothing to complain about. They are fading fairly badly, which is expected when they live outdoors most of the time, and some of the screws have come loose, but nothing has broken, and they’re still working well.
We are still really happy with them, but something slightly smaller would be handy. They are comfortable and provide decent posture though, so we’ll keep using them.
Oztent Sturt Chair Review
We are happy with the Oztent Sturt. So much so that when they came on sale again, we purchased a second one for Sarah, who’d frequently steal my chair when we were camping!
We’ve used both for a number of months now, and are quite happy with them. I think they are decent value for money, and if you can live with the extra bulk of these chairs then they are a great option.
We’d get another one for sure.