When we shut the vehicle doors and drive countless hours down rocky dirt roads, it is often in search of something we can’t find at home. Perhaps it’s adventure or the stillness of remote locations. Maybe it’s just a change in routine. Regardless, it nearly always involves the pursuit of simplicity. Leaving the fully furnished, comfortable house behind forces us to change our priorities. The slower pace gives us the opportunity to see the path ahead in a new light and reset our focus. Our gear is no exception to this perspective shift.
For those of us who aren’t traveling and living out of our vehicles, time and efficiency are of the utmost importance. When we hit the road on those one or two long trips we get each year, we don’t want to spend our time dealing with equipment that doesn’t function properly. Simple, well-made gear is a cornerstone of stress-free travel and maximizing vacation days.
Our pop-top Land Cruiser Troop Carrier provides us with an incredibly liveable space, but it’s not spacious enough to bring every accessory on the shelf. Olivia and I limit ourselves to gear capable of high mileage while being ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing. Items that don’t noticeably enhance our travel experience quickly find their way to the chopping block. Generally, we have found that most camp gear on the market doesn’t meet these requirements. Though as the American overland scene continues to expand, quality products are becoming easier to find.
The Chama Vaquero chair represents a divergence from the path of ultra-light, synthetic materials. It is a modern interpretation of the classic campaign chair and a well-crafted piece of camp furniture. The folding frame is constructed of hardwood and metal fittings, while 20-ounce canvas is utilized for the seat. The natural colors of the canvas and wood allow the Vaquero to blend seamlessly into any landscape. The chair design achieves a luxurious feel while the aesthetics maintain a strong sense of ruggedness. Campaign furniture was built to endure the harsh travel conditions of the 19th century, and in our opinion, the Vaquero would have fit right in.
Over the course of two weeks of travel between Eastern Oregon and Western Montana, we were able to test the Vaquero in multiple terrain types. Using a chair with wooden legs on rocky ground had me a little worried, but the chamfered end-grain feet had zero issues with splitting. After the first few days, all my worries about damaging the feet were gone. We also never had any problems with the chairs sinking into the ground, something our ultralight REI chairs struggle with in all but the most ideal settings.
The weather conditions on our trip were anything but ideal. Much of our time was spent in the rain-soaked Bitterroot Mountains on the Idaho/Montana border. The humid air and frigid temperatures chilled us to the bone. In the deserts of Eastern Oregon, we were met with sandstorms lasting all night and well into the morning. Despite the harsh conditions, the chairs needed nothing more than a quick shake-out at the end of our trip. This weather effectively highlighted what I love so much about canvas and wood. They are two materials that age incredibly well. As the miles are tacked on, the stains and scratches create a character-filled patina.
With limited time and money, it is crucial that we choose products with intention. The mindset that led us to purchase our Land Cruiser is the same mindset we apply to all of our gear. Choosing durable equipment from the outset not only saves us money in the long run, but it also allows us to confidently travel to remote locations. Assembling a well-rounded camp setup shouldn’t require an endless stream of purchases, and prioritizing durability is one of the best ways to avoid that. Bonus points if your durable gear looks as good as the Vaquero.
Chama Vaquero Chair | Price: $150