I love summer picnics, who doesn’t. I love the food, the time outdoors, the opportunity to slow down and spend time with family without any distractions. I don’t love the inevitable back pain, neck pain, fatigue and exhaustion that follows because sitting on a picnic blanket is not something I can do comfortably. The Ergolife chair caught my eye for a few good reasons.
First, it is not a chair. I am not excluded from the circle or immobilized out of reach of the food. A very important point. Second, it is lightweight and rolls up. It can be carried in its shoulder sling bag or packed into a large day pack. Third, it makes a great impression. Fourth, I hoped it would offer me plenty of back support so that I can join in without hiking up my fatigue or pain levels. Fifth, it is a sold at a very reasonable price. Also, it can be used by children and adults alike and did I mention that looks really neat?
Full back support anywhere
The back support offered by the Ergolife Stol is very good. The canvas and birchwood flexible slatted design allows the backrest to mold itself to your profile. The secret is to shuffle all the way back, no matter your size so that the base of your spine connects firmly with the backrest. It also allows quite a lot of movement, providing support in an upright and reclined sitting position.
It works very well when sitting on the floor, but also at picnic benches or backless stools, including bar stools and bench seating like at Wagamama Restaurants. It can be used on a hard or soft surface. I haven’t taken it to the beach yet, but I think it’s going to be perfect for that too. Update: We have now taken it to the beach and it has become a must-have item on our beach days.
It also works well at providing superior back support than most standard chairs. It does not work with an existing backrest, but where there is a choice of seating with or without a backrest, like most of the local pubs and restaurants in my area, bench + Stol > chair with backrest.
Portable travel chair
It is extremely compact and weighs 950 g. It rolls up and slots into its own drawstring pouch and can be carried over the shoulder. It also fits well in a day pack. I actually prefer not putting it into the pouch as it is a snug fit and instead just roll it up and add it to a larger bag with everything else. It is convenient to pull out even for short periods and using it consistently, whether sitting on the floor at home building Lego towers or on a picnic in the New Forest, has decreased my overall back and neck pain levels and I can sit comfortably for longer periods.
“Ergolife is a Swedish health company. We work by adhering to a clear philosophy which is valid for each and every product in our range… To be included in the Ergolife product range, each item has to fulfill three important criteria: Health: Ergolife range increases well-being, both body & soul. Design: Clear timeless form follows function. Function: Practical, simple and innovative solutions.” Read more…
Yes. It is a durable well made product with a one year warranty that is suitable for a variety of situations.
Included in the box/price
Dimensions: 10 cm (height), 40 cm (length), 10 cm (width)
Rolled up: Length: 40 cm and diameter: 10 cm.
Weight: 950g. (incl box and bag 1200g)
Material type: Canvas and natural Birch wood
Design:: Leslie Aisner.
Warranty: 1 year no quibble guarantee
The Ergolife chair is marketed to both individual buyers and larger companies responsible for hosting outdoor events like festivals. Corporate bulk orders can have their logo printed on the carrybag and laser-etching the wooden birch slats is also possible.
Ease of use
It is an extremely easy product to use and the varnished wood and canvas are both easy to keep clean.
There is no additional requirements, however if using the Ergolife Stol independently, there is a physical requirement to sit down and get up somewhat independently.
It is highly accessible for anyone with a visual impairment, including blind users, those who experience visual symptoms like photophobia or are colour blind.
It is highly accessible for anyone with a hearing impairment, including the deaf, those who experience auditory symptoms like tinnitus or hyperacusis (sensitivity to sound). It does not creak when in use and when carried in its carrybag or inside a backpack, it does not make any annoying clicking or grating noise.
Input and touch
The chair itself requires little dexterity, precision or grip to unfold and use. There are no clasps or velcro fastenings, it unrolls and unfolds using one hand or two. The carrybag is relatively easy to use, but it does require a low level of precision and grip to slide the rolled chair into the back, particularly around the chair seams. The drawstring needs to be pulled tight to close the bag. I personally prefer packing it in my own bag inside the main pocket, both for convenience and access.
The canvas is standard and the birch wood is smooth and varnished. It is comfortable to use when clothed and when wearing a swimsuit where the chair makes skin contact. I have not used it extensively in a swimsuit, but the couple of occasions I have done so, I did not experience any chafing or discomfort. It also has a pleasant feel that should suit those who experience sensory overload.
Movement and mobility
It is accessible for anyone with reduced mobility that has the upper body strength to sit upright without support. It can be used with benches and stools by those who are not comfortable reaching the floor and I would recommend it for older adults who would appreciate the added back support on seating that offers none.
It does not stay upright on its own, so either someone else needs to hold up the backrest for you as you sit down or it required a little wiggling in to get comfortable. I would particularly recommend it for anyone with hypermobility like myself who is perfectly capable and may even find it more comfortable to sit on the floor. I will happily use it outdoors, but also at indoor events like conferences where the seating provided usually does not offer comfortable back support.
It is easy to carry over the shoulder when using crutches or other walking aids and can hook over a push chair or wheelchair as well.
Motion sickness and balance disorders
No restriction. I would recommend it to those who are working on improving their balance as the chair provides room for some movement.
It is a highly accessible product for anyone who experience cognitive symptoms as there is no mental tasks involved with using it. I would particularly recommend it to anyone in the later stages of recovery from a neurological condition like a stroke or head injury who have reached the point where some but not full support is required for seating.
I would also recommend it to those with ADHD, Asperger syndrome or who is on the autistic spectrum. It allows for plenty of free movement, including a rocking motion whilst at the same time providing some extra support.
It is made out of standard canvas and varnished birch wood and contains no common allergens.
The Ergolife Stol is an innovative and exceptional product. My daughter loves it and it is sturdy enough that she often rests into me for support whilst I am using it for support. It is beautifully made and I unpack it with pride when out and about. I have used it on picnics, long walks, at picnic benches, in the woods, in the garden, indoors and outdoors.
Highly recommended for children, adults and older adults who appreciate some back support when sitting.
The review is based on the Ergolife Stol kindly provided by Ergolife.