Monday, 8 June 2009

Product Review: Phillips De Luxe Folding Chair

Product: Phillips De Luxe Folding Chair
Manufacturer / Distributor: Phillips / (see end of table)
Technical Details: Tubular aluminium, lightweight (3.3lbs) with Cordura canvas 11 inch (28cm) wide seat and back. Seat height 17 inches (43cm).
Summary: A high quality sketching chair which is very sturdy and very reliable. Not cheap but well worth the investment. Lightweight and easy to carry - but you need a spare hand
Who should buy this?: Artists and people who sketch. Artists with back problems and/or who prefer to sit to sketch/draw/paint
Who should not buy this? People who prefer to stand and/or prefer to travel light and/or don't have a hand free to carry it when working plein air
  • a very good size for tall people like me - two heights available
  • well made with very durable seating material - takes adults who aren't lightweights
  • folds flat easily - once you understand how
  • survives all that various airline services and airports can do to luggage
Think Again?
  • any colour you like as long as it's green!
  • it ALWAYS requires you to check it separately at airporst so you need to sllow extra time to do this
Suppliers: Available from

My Phillips Chair on its travels Left to right:
  • Me (in 1992) sat on my first Phillips Folding Chair, sketching the temples on Lake Bratan, in the Bedugul area of north central Bali
  • My second Phillips Chair in Albuquerque, New Mexico (July 2006)
  • My second Phillips Chair at Walden Pond, Massachusetts (September 2006)

I've travelled all over the world in the last 20 years or so with my Phillips De Luxe Folding Chair as you can see from the photos above. In my experience, the chair 'travels' really well - albeit with some caveats (see notes below). I've had two and I only had to get the second as the first went AWOL after it was left behind on a luggage trolley by mistake at the end of a 26 hour flight! I immediately went straight out to buy another....which at the time was somewhat easier than it is now.

The Phillips Folding Chair has a killer combination of being both lightweight (3.3lbs) and very robust. It has a lightweight tubular aluminium frame and and comes in two heights which means that I can sit comfortably despite the fact I'm very tall. It has a very strong green Cordura canvas seat and back and I find the canvas back makes a huge difference to my overall comfort. Indeed the back is the main attraction for those of us who have back problems. The material used is the same as that used in top of the range endurance luggage which explains why it doesn't split and tear when anybody who isn't light as a feather sits on it.

This is very much my preferred seat when I'm working plein air for several hours at a time - and I've done a lot of very large pastels while sat on my Phillips chair. The folding mechanism is also very easy to work once you've got used to the hinge which you can see at the back of the chair.

This chair may be totally brilliant, but experience suggests that anybody interested in getting hold of one also needs to know the following!
  • A Phillips De Luxe Folding Chair is not cheap but as with anything which is good quality it will last for years and years and is probably extremely economical in the long run.
  • It's very difficult to get hold of one. The only places that I know of that now list them are Green and Stone in Chelsea and Heaton Cooper. (The latter is currently listing them as not in stock as their supplier is having difficulty getting hold of them). You can get two seat heights 40.5 cm and 46cm but they tend to be similarly priced. Price depends on where you source it from - it's listed at £56.35 at Green and Stones - but do bear in mind that
  • This chair (and any chair for that matter) always has to go in the hold of the aircraft (which makes it an "item of luggage"). It also very often has to go to a separate desk to be checked in at airports. It's therefore advisable to allow a little extra time for drop-off and pick-up (or a lot of extra time at busy times of the year).
  • I've found that a very strong bungee cord is absolutely essential to hold it together while travelling. You need to make it completely taut. Check that the ends can go hook round the tubular aluminium structure.
  • It's also essential to label the chair very clearly with its own luggage label and destination address when travelling. My latest chair has now done many more miles than I have. I've never had any problems in Asia and Australasia - but in the USA I've found it tends to take a diversion to other destinations and only arrives at my intended destination about 24 hours after I do. I think the tubular metal frame (which is extremely robust) is what causes the problem and raises suspicions amongst airport security staff. It went AWOL on 3 out of 4 flights to and from the USA in 2006!!! However it was always delivered the next day to an address of my choosing.
I cannot recommend this chair highly enough for people who want a very good quality chair which will be robust, reliable and longlasting.


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