NEMO Moonlite Elite Reclining Backpacking Chair vs Helinox Chair Zero

NEMO Moonlite Elite Reclining Backpacking Chair vs Helinox Chair Zero.

This Nemo Moonlite Elite Reclining Backpacking Chair vs Helinox Chair Zero comparison is about two exceptional chairs. Due to several reasons, I would go for Nemo, read here why.

Why this comparison

This is about two chairs built in the same style, this means collapsible chairs that need a simple assembly. 

The Helinox Chair Zero has been around for a number of years as the lightest outdoor chair on the market (together with the REI Co-op Flexlite Air Chair). But the Nemo chair is brand new and totally unique.

Both are very easy to use and reliable, with great warranty conditions, more below.

Here is a video about the NEMO Moonlite Elite Reclining Backpacking Chair, please have a look:

And now have a look at the Helinox Chair Zero:

NEMO Moonlite Elite and Helinox Chair Zero – my rating

Here is my comparison table with several parameters/features, with a thumb-up for the one which I find better:

Packed size





Carry bag



Nemo Moonlite
 Elite Chair



Chair Zero



From the score in the table, Helinox should be a winner. But it is far from easy to give a proper rating, and the score can be made different, dependent on the point of view, more below. In any case, here are some facts I used:

Packed size

Here are the numbers for the two chairs:

  • Nemo: 12.5 x 4 x 3 inches (32 x 10 x 8 cm).
  • Helinox: 14 x 4 x 4 inches (35 x 10 x 10 cm).

Clearly, not a big difference, but the same holds for all the parameters as you will realize below.

In terms of volume, you have 2.56 liters packed volume of the Nemo chair, and 3.5 liters for the Helinox. In any case, Nemo wins here, see also how the chairs look when packed:

The two chairs packed.
The two chairs packed.
Overall dimensions

Here they are, the height, width, and depth (H x W x D):

  • Nemo: 23 x 19 x 15 inches (59 x 48 x 46 cm).
  • Helinox: 25 x 20 x 18 inches (64 x 50.5 x 46 cm).

Helinox is clearly a winner here, but there is more to this, see about Comfort below.


The numbers look messy, here it is official, from their sites:

  • Nemo: 1 lb 6 oz (617 g) packed weight. But this cannot be correct because it should be 624 grams if the first number (in pounds) is correct. At their site their also give 1.1 pounds (499 g) for the weight. But wait, there is more: you will see also 1 lb 2 oz given. The same is at their EU site. So, which is which, and which is correct?
  • Helinox: 1 lb 2 oz (509 g) chair alone; 1 lb 2.5 oz (531 g) packed weight. None of these is correct. Namely, 1 lb 2 oz should give 51o grams. On the other hand, 1 lb 2.5 oz should give 524 grams.

At their Helinox EU site, the numbers are 509 g (1.13 lb) and 531 g (1.16 lb). So again, these pound values should give 512 and 526 grams, respectively.

Clearly, they all have an issue with units conversion, a wrong calculator or a wrong pound/ounce version.

Now, go figure. Which is lighter? Frankly, after seeing all the mess, I do not trust what they officially claim. But in any case, I take the packed weight as the parameter, and this is why I give thumb up to Helinox. 

Yet, to be sure, I have asked them both. So far, Helinox has replied confirming what I mentioned, see the reply:

Helinox reply.
Helinox reply.

However, this is still not all; you will see below about the dual feature of the Nemo’s carry case. The weight advantage for Helinox is far from clear.


The numbers are as follows:

  • Nemo: 250 lb (113 kg).
  • Helinox: 265 lb (120 kg).

As you see, Helinox is a winner. Big deal? I do not think so.

Functionality & design

In fact, it was a bit hard to find the right word for this. I guess I could use the word ‘features’ as well.

But there are at least two different important things to mention here, and Nemo is a clear winner. This is big.

1. Reclining feature: 

The Nemo chair is a reclining chair. What you have here is a patent-pending reclining system which allows you to adjust your sitting angle for dining, working on a laptop, or carefree relaxing.

It offers around 9 cm of movement, not much but it does make a difference.

This is a brand-new suspension system that blends HTP and Dyneema. You have no idea what they are? The same with me regarding the HTP. But they write that this is the design inspired by belay devices and rock climbing.

NEMO Moonlite Elite chair reclining feature.
NEMO Moonlite Elite chair reclining feature.

2. Tool roll–style Platform Pack carrying case:

There is no classic carrying bag with the Nemo chair. You have a unique tool roll that doubles as an optional platform for sandy surfaces. See how it looks:

The Nemo Tool roll–style Platform Pack carrying case.
The Nemo Tool roll–style Platform Pack carrying case.

From the picture below you realize how it works. The question is, would you really use the carry bag in a mud? What after that, will you put it in your backpack when it is dirty, together with your clean stuff? All this aside, what you have here is an ingenious design.

Nemo's Platform Pack carrying case in use.
Nemo’s Platform Pack carrying case in use.

On the other hand, Helinox also has a Ground Sheet that weighs 6-7 ounces. So you can have the same functionality but with extra weight and money (around $35). 

When you add this weight (i.e., 6 ounces) to the Helinox chair, you get that it is heavier than Nemo. The weight become 1 lb 8.5 oz (694 g) or more.

Design: The design of the NEMO Moonlite Elite Chair is truly on another level, as simple as that, and you can see it in many tiny details. Below you see some details from the Helinox chair:

Helinox Chair Zero details.
Helinox Chair Zero details.

But look at the Nemo’s reclining details above, and also those clip-in elements instead of the usual tiny pockets for the poles attachment, and completely different hub elements:

NEMO Moonlite Elite Reclining Backpacking Chair details.
NEMO Moonlite Elite Reclining Backpacking Chair details.
Carry bag

This is already described above related to functionality. With Helinox you have a standard carry bag, but the Nemo’s Platform Pack carrying case is far batter.


This is again a bit tricky. But on their sites, as of the moment of writing this text, I find the following:

But, to have the same functionality, you would have to order the Helinox Ground Sheet and pay additional $34.95. You see the point?

So the Helinox Chair Zero is more affordable, and I give it a thumb up, but the things are not so simple.

What about warranty?

This is something that should be included in the comparison table above. The only reason for not having it there is that it is hard to understand the true meaning of their statements.

With Helinox you have their incredible 5-year warranty. On their site they write:

“We hope you never have an issue, but if there is, we’ve got your back. Our warranty covers manufacturing defects for up to five years from the original purchase date.” and “We proudly stand behind everything we make. Helinox will repair or replace any manufacturing defect free of charge within 5 years of the purchase date.”

At Nemo, you have their Lifetime Warranty:

“We strive to design and build the best outdoor equipment on the planet. We obsess over every design decision and each material we choose, and work tirelessly to ensure the highest level of workmanship. We believe our products should provide you the greatest comfort and protection in the elements, and we proudly stand behind this promise. All NEMO products carry a lifetime warranty against defects in workmanship and materials to the original owner, with proof of purchase from an authorized NEMO dealer.”

But there is more, so it is best to follow the link and see it yourself. 

It is impossible to know which is better, unless you are in a situation to send them both your chairs back and see how they treat you. 

How about comfort?

I did not include this in the comparison table because this is a subjective and personal rating. 

However, there are a few things to consider:


Observe the height (the first number in the dimensions above). Helinox chair’s backrest is taller, and this makes it more comfortable for some users.

The low backrest of the Nemo Elite chair may dig into the back of some taller users. But this is still not all.

Seat height

These are low chairs, but there is difference:

  • Nemo seat height: 10 inches (25 cm).
  • Helinox seat height: 8.5 inches (22 cm).

I think these two parameters will play different role for different users, dependent on height, weight, and age as well. 

Note also that Nemo’s chair has a bit shallower seat. Bear all these differences in mind when you choose.

Where to buy these chairs

NEMO Moonlite Elite chair is available:

Helinox Chair Zero is available:

Final thoughts – which I would choose?

I have no doubts, I would always choose the NEMO Moonlite Elite Reclining Backpacking Chair. My reasons are the following:

  1. It is more functional with its reclining design, and its Platform Pack carrying case.
  2. If you want the same functionality from the Helinox Chair Zero, you would pay a bit more, and you would have a heavier package. 

From that perspective, the rating in the comparison table above would be on the side of Nemo.  

But if you do not want/need the same functionality, and perhaps also if you are much taller, then you might consider Helinox. It will be lighter and you will pay less.

Let me know what you think. Did I miss mentioning something important? There is a comment box below.

Bookmark this site and visit it when you find time, this will keep you informed, you have new texts added here on a regular basis. Thank you for reading and have a nice day.

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