“I don’t need one other thing…not one…I need this–the paddle game and [picks up a chair] the chair and the remote control and the matches, for sure.” This classic line delivered by Steve Martin from the movie The Jerk as he shuffles off in his bathrobe with his pants around his ankles cracks me up every time. And it was the first thing that popped into my head when I unpacked the newly delivered Kermit chair. Maybe I’ve watched too many movies, or maybe I was in desperate need of a compact, comfy chair.
Think about it: How many chairs pack down small enough to strap to a motorcycle and don’t require a chiropractic adjustment after you’ve sat in them for a while? I’ve got chairs for every occasion—low aluminum ones for the beach, tall canvas ones with headrests for car camping, fold-up ones for hanging out in a park—but none compares to the Kermit’s combination of comfort with compactness. After a long day of riding and showing up at that rally or campground, it’s nice to have a soothing place for your weary rear. Packed up inside the canvas bag, the Kermit weighs 5 pounds and is 22 inches long. The 15-inch circumference of the packed bag makes it small enough that it’s not obtrusive. I strapped the Kermit on top of the saddlebags of a Suzuki C50T Boulevard, where it stayed securely strapped—and out of my way—lying flat against the side of the bike.
This sturdy, handmade chair even looks classy with its hardwood base. Two pieces of curved air-dried oak or walnut attach to the chair, giving it support, and double as carrying handles. The wood is double-dipped in marine-grade polyurethane and all the hardware is aluminum and stainless steel so it won’t rust. The cloth that covers the bottom and back is 1,000-denier treated nylon that won’t unravel. The seams are double-stitched in the areas where most of your body weight falls.
We checked the weight capacity, which is 350 pounds, before allowing contributor Clem Salvadori to sit in it. Though he wouldn’t reveal his exact weight, when Clem parked his 6-foot, 3-inch mass in the chair, he enveloped it, but proclaimed to be “wonderfully contented.” Clem’s waist size is 40 inches and his hips 44 inches. (Clem’s wife is quick to point out that his waist was a 36 when they met.) Our Kermit is approximately 19 inches across, from armrest to armrest. The armrests are narrow but functional and are set at a good height.
There’s good support for your back, and it’s slightly taller in the front so that you aren’t forced to sit straight up, rather you’re seated in a relaxed position where you can stretch your legs out. It’s low at just under a foot tall, though you can order 8-inch leg extensions ($30 a set) that raise the chair up to almost full size.
After a little practice, assembling and disassembling the chair takes just minutes. The most time-consuming part for me was trying to fit everything back into the bag the first couple tries. It’s the same thing I go through each time I pack up my tent—it came out of that bag, so it should fit back in…. I felt secure sitting in the Kermit, not worrying that it would collapse or fall apart on me. You need to stand up to move the chair, rather than scooting it, because then it may fold up on you.
OK, here’s the clincher: Starting at $189*, it’s on the pricey side. But if you’re going to scrimp and try to get by with a cheaper chair, you’ll spend that in two chiropractor visits. And you’ll probably have trouble finding anything comparable anyway. The Kermit comes in six colors: burgundy, black, green, navy, red or tan. Occasionally, they have pink in stock, and Kermit can even embroider your name onto it. The chair has a five-year warranty.
I’ve got my chair, and I don’t need one other thing. Oh wait, where am I going to put my drink? I need a drink holder. Fortunately, Kermit Chair Company’s got that covered, too. For $20 you can get a netted cup holder that attaches to the leg and will hold (claimed—we didn’t have one to test) a liter bottle of water or a beer. And for $40 you can get a set of leg extensions so the chair sits higher.
For more information: Visit kermitchair.com
*Editor’s Note: price as of January 2019