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Dometic Forte 180 camping chair review: large, strong and boasting a bonus feature

A robust folding throne, the Dometic Forte 180 comes complete with a solid side table

Dometic Forte 180
(Image: © Dometic)

Our Verdict

An alfresco camping chair that can accommodate plenty of weight, the foldable Forte 180 with built-on side table is sturdy, transportable and proves perfect for a range of outdoor scenarios.

For

  • Extremely tough and durable
  • Solid and secure
  • Integrated side table
  • Easy to get in and out of
  • Packs flat

Against

  • Heavy
  • Too upright to lounge in
  • No carry case
  • Not great on uneven terrain

Dometic Forte 180: first impressions

Initially this large director-style Dometic Forte 180 feels heavy and seems a bit bulky for a camping chair, but when you unfold it and put up the integrated table, all that heft starts to make sense.

Specifications

• List price: £105 (UK)
• Weight: 8.22kg / 18lb 2oz
• Seat height: 45cm / 20in
Size (WxDxH): 88cm x 56cm x 93cm / 35in x 22in x 37in
Pack size: 60cm x 90cm x 15cm / 24in x 35.5in x 6in
• Capacity: 180kg / 396lb
Colors: Ore
Compatibility: Car camping and other alfresco adventures

Made with tough powder-coated steel and 1200D polyester, the Dometic Forte 180 instantly instils confidence. This is no flimsy, semi-disposable chair; it can hold a huge amount of weight and it is extremely robust.

At a little over 18lb, this is definitely not a lightweight camping chair, but it will easily last long enough for a lifetime of outdoor escapades, from camping trips to picnics and patio parties. And while the Dometic Forte 180 doesn’t come with a carry case, the whole setup does fold (nice and easily) into a fairly flat package that can usually be accommodated and transported in the boot of a large car or standard camping van.

Dometic Forte 180

The side table flips out to the right… shame you can’t choose which side you’d like it if you’re left-handed (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

Dometic Forte 180: on the trail

I’ve been testing the Forte 180 chair in a range of outdoor settings, from campsites to beach visits, picnics in the park and garden sleepouts. It’s undeniably large and demands a bit of space, but for car and van campers with good carry capacity, this chair folds flat and can be transported pretty hassle free. And here’s a hint: pack it first, so that it lies flat with other gear stored on top.

There’s no carry bag, which is a shame, as it would provide protection from scratches during transportation and help people cart the chair over short distances (to the tent pitch or beach, for example). However, once you reach your camping or picnic spot, it opens extremely easily, supplying a super-strong seat for wining, dining, watching the sun set over the sea or relaxing around the campfire

If you’re a parent or grandparent who usually ends up with a little passenger every time you sit down, this chair will easily support the extra weight – it can comfortably handle 180kg (which us where the numerical part of the name comes from).

Dometic Forte 180

You could plonk a small child in Pat’s lap, and the chair would still handle the weight comfortably (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

It also boasts an integrated side table on the right-hand side, which pops up very simply and makes for the ideal perch for a cup of coffee or a glass of something cool and refreshing. Lefties (like me) have to improvise, but we’re used to that.

The seat height is relatively high, making it easy to get in and out of, even for those with limited mobility. The positioning is very upright, which is excellent for posture and performing practical seated tasks, but won’t suit slouchers more inclined to recline. The arms are padded for comfort, and there’s extra cushioning on the back, although it’s not high enough to have a headrest.

The feet are two parallel bars (part of the integral structure) that extend for the full depth of the chair and make it fantastically stable on even ground and some other terrain (sand and soft turf for example), but can be problematic on rough or ridged ground, where rocks or roots can make it wobble if you’re not careful.

Writer, editor and enthusiast of anything involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing adventure stories. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon (opens in new tab) and Dorset (opens in new tab), and once wrote a whole book about Toilets (opens in new tab) for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades here (opens in new tab).