‘World’s Oldest Chair’: Trippy Outdoor Rethinks Ancient Design for Van Life

Zero poles, zero plastic, zero hinges, and no fabric. A brand founded in 2022 is taking the world’s oldest chair design and turning it on its head.

This may be the strangest camp chair we’ve seen yet. And we want to preface — this chair concept is ancient! But in 2022, Kyle Rose dropped his career to start up an RV- and van lifer-friendly “adventure chair” company that catapults the idea into the modern age.

Meet Trippy Outdoor. Its camp chairs (there are three models) can hold up to 1,000 pounds, have a minimalist design, and fold nearly flat (about 4 inches thick).

Slide it into a bin, under your bed platform, or between the cabinets — this chair is designed to wedge into small spaces anywhere so you can store them on the go.

‘Trippy Outdoor’ Design: Plank Chair

man sitting in a wooden camp chair outdoors
Trippy Outdoor Founder Kyle Rose relaxes in a Tripster chair.

This chair — and many like it — is essentially two boards joined by slotting a long tenon through a simple mortise, or slot.

Now, it’s not as rudimentary as some of the DIY examples out there (which you could probably make yourself). This one is actually comfortable to sit in — we know, we tried it at the Big Gear Show this month.

Trippy Outdoor builds upon this age-old chair design by adding an aluminum bracket on the back to bring its weight capacity up to 1,000 pounds; the chairs themselves weigh 6-10 pounds.

trippy joint1

Trippy’s chairs have clever cutouts for carry handles, and plenty of back height for reclining (on its larger model).

Trippy also added a set of high-strength magnets for securing the board leg when packed flat, making it easier to keep the halves together while carrying.

trippy size
The Tripster chair folds nearly flat, with both pieces secured together with magnets.

The founder crafts the chairs using seven-ply maple — and all are handmade in Texas. Later this year, it plans to change the slot design in order to accommodate custom patterns and graphics.

Overall, the portability factor and simplicity are really what Trippy Outdoor has going for its chairs.

Trippy Outdoor’s lineup includes the Dreamer (full-length recliner, $178), standard Tripster ($158), and Lil Trip (a lighter, smaller chair great for kids, $132).

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Mary Murphy
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Mary is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and is based in GearJunkie's Denver, Colo. office. She has a degree in English and journalism, and has a background in both newspaper and magazine writing. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.