It’s an old question, but it still lingers: Which is better, a Pico Arm Chair or a Kermit Chair? Those who favor one sitter over the other champion their position like anointed defenders of their folding thrones. For this installment of our Head to Head series we carefully evaluate these two chairs to hopefully settle this once and for all.
GCI Pico Arm Chair $120
Our Pico Arm Chair was first purchased in 2009 and has been dispatched to the field on countless adventures. If it is anything, it is well used. At a full ten pounds, the Pico is not a light chair, but it is certainly compact. With overall dimensions of 20 x 3.75 x 12 inches, it’s not so much the size of the folded chair that makes it so convenient, but rather its shape. The dense rectangular packed configuration easily fits into tight spaces. You can also stack other gear on top of it if necessary.
Unfolding the Pico Arm Chair is uncomplicated and literally takes but a few seconds. The telescoping design is impressive, but it’s the sitting comfort that sets the Pico apart. Stable and well proportioned, the Pico supports up to 250 pounds without being excessively wobbly or appearing strained. Once seated in the Pico there are three easy to reach pockets and the carrying case can be draped over the back of the chair to create an additional oversized storage pouch. Large mesh panels in the back and seat provide excellent air pass-through, and overall the Pico is quite comfortable.
This brings us to a couple concerns and considerations. The biggest bummer with the Pico is the tender love and care required to keep it happy. With a multitude of hinges and telescoping pieces, a Pico needs to be regularly maintained and cleaned. If used in sandy environments the telescoping legs will eventually become choked with debris and not slide well, if at all. Our Pico has been jammed a couple times, not that it was hard to get back in working order, but it did take considerable time. The other annoyance is with the two bars connecting the lower-most ends of the outside legs. On uneven ground those bars tend to destabilize the chair and poor placement of the chair could possibly damage it. As a final complaint, ten pounds is a lot of heft for a folding chair.
- Excellent comfort
- Good shape and support
- Plenty of pockets
- Excellent carrying case
- Compact folded size
- Demands regular maintenance
- Can be unstable on uneven ground
Kermit Chair $139
We have had our test Kermit Chair longer than we have had the Pico chair, so this is a very fair head to head evaluation. It would be appropriate to say the Kermit Chair sees more action, and that’s probably due to its compact size and low weight. Favored by motorcycle riders for that packed size, it is quite small at just 22 x 7 inches. Handmade of oak with aluminum hardware and covered in 1000D nylon pack cloth, it has the organic look and feel you would expect of hand crafted furniture. Despite being half the weight of the Pico chair, the Kermit can support an additional hundred pounds for a max weight of 350 pounds. It is however, a smaller chair and it feels like a smaller chair when seated in it.
Setting up the Kermit does require genuine assembly, but once you’ve done it a few times, going from bag to sitting can be achieved in under two minutes. Optional leg extensions bring the seat height up to a standard 17” and add another minute to the set up time. The leg extensions come with their own storage bag, although many users tend to leave them on even if they protrude from the chair’s storage bag.
We have found Kermit chair comfort is not universally loved, although the vast majority of the testers found it to be more than comfortable. A few testers have mentioned not being satisfied with how well proportioned the chair is, and some find the supports behind the back and under the seat create mild pressure points. Those nit picks seem few and far between, but are worthy of mention. Stability is more than adequate for such a light chair with just a hint of wobble.
- Very light and compact
- Made with excellent materials
- Hand crafted in the USA
- Some assembly required
- Not all testers liked the dimensions
There is a reason why both of these chairs have legions of loyal fans. They’re both excellent chairs despite their differences. The Pico is a sophisticated design employing a variety of materials with dozens of individual components. That complexity facilitates the compact size, but it might be too complicated. The Kermit chair is a handsome chair, hand crafted with premium materials in a simple design. It’s far lighter than the Pico and packs into a smaller bundle. The comfort of the Kermit seems to be more subjective, but it might have a slight edge over the Pico in other areas. Lastly, our anecdotal surveys have uncovered a handful of people who have been dissatisfied with their Pico chairs but very few are unhappy with their Kermit chairs. The question remains, which is better? Being as objective as possible, the advantage may go to the Kermit, but just by a hair.