Photo credit: Lindsey Mulcare

My All-Time Favorite Camp Chair: The NEMO x First Lite Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair

It’s a hammock chair. It’s a recliner. And, out of the thousands of chairs I’ve sat in over my lifetime, the NEMO recliner is my favorite chair. Period.

Oh, the NEMO x First Lite Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair, how do I love thee? Let me count and recount the ways. I’ll be honest, I wanted to love the NEMO x First Lite Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair because I’m a lover of all things hammock-related. I love to swing. And I enjoy a good sit.

But the first iterations of NEMO’s hammock chairs didn’t go so well. They were breaking, and that posed a falling hazard. NEMO had to recall a lot of chairs. I had actually seen friends tip over in these things. And my GearJunkie crew was a little hesitant to test these after such discord.

I wanted to truly put the chair to the test. After nearly a year of camp trips, horse shows, random places I needed a chair, and hunting trips, I come bearing good news.

NEMO Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair

Let’s Talk Details: The Chair Itself

First Lite x NEMO Luxury Stargazer
First Lite x NEMO Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair, $220-230

Retailing at $220 for solid colors and $230 for the dressed-up First Lite Cipher Camo version, I’ll be the first to say that it’s not your mom’s $15 folding chair. This is an investment, and being so, it must hold up to years of use.

The aircraft-grade aluminum base is heavy-duty, built with a low center of gravity that provides stability on all types of ground. The chair is a monofilament mesh, with fabric reinforcements. Built into the chair are a drink-holder and a pocket for phones and other knickknacks.

Packed up, the chair weighs about 8 pounds; it ain’t a backpacking chair. But the padded case is nice and stashes easily below the backseat of my truck. And really, that’s where it lives full-time, ready for whatever comes my chair-needing way.

Stargaze Luxury Chair Usability, Sit-ability, Rock-ability

2019.09.16_1050Setup was initially a bit confusing, sort of like buying a new tent. The base is easy enough, and four separate poles provide structure in the armrests and the back. It takes a bit to figure it all out. But I can now set it up without thinking, and within a minute or two, it’s ready to swing.

Once it’s up, good luck finding it empty. Everyone wants to sit in it. And they do. Kids as young as 7 could easily recline and rock away, while some of the more refined elders of my equestrian community loved it so much they asked where to get one.

Stability is important, and I’ve been using this a lot while recovering from knee surgeries. The stiff and weight-bearing armrests have been essential for easily getting out of the chair, and never once have I (or anyone else) tipped. Even the crazy kids who might have gotten a little too into it stayed upright. Impressive.

A Few Points to Note

The biggest drawback my frugal Midwestern upbringing points me to is the expense. It’s hard to mentally justify so much money for a camp chair. But it’s worth it if you’re looking to luxe up your camping gear.

I had only one other issue. The monofilament mesh is super breezy and nice, but if left near a campfire, expect a few sparks to melt holes in the mesh. The tiny holes have been less than problematic, but don’t leave it near a campfire empty and you won’t have that problem.

I also do a lot of cold camping, and you’ll want a blanket to help insulate against a cool booty breeze.

Final Thoughts

It seems NEMO learned from its earlier mistakes. The stability and durability of the Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair is quality, bar none. It’s packable, comfortable, and, best of all, envy-inducing.

Swinging is just fun, and swinging while sitting in this nifty setup just brings a childlike smile to everyone’s face. I’m always excited to use it and share it. And if that’s not the point of great gear, I’m not sure what is.

Check out the NEMO x First Lite Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair on NEMO’s website.

Nicole Qualtieri

Based in Montana, Nicole Qualtieri is GearJunkie's Hunt + Fish Editor. She also serves as a Board Director for Orion the Hunters Insititute, a non-profit promoting fair chase and hunting ethics nationwide. A DIY hunter, she comes from a non-traditional hunting background and began hunting and fishing in her 30s. She's been a voice for hunting, fishing, and conservation since 2014, when she got started working on the television show MeatEater. She's an avid horsewoman, bird dog aficionado, snowboarder, hiker/backpacker, food nerd, and all-around outdoorswoman. Find her online at @nkqualtieri.