In Search Of the Perfect Beach Chair
that time of year again. Time to locate the perfect beach chair.
admit if I took better care of my outdoor furniture I wouldnt have
to purchase a new beach chair every year. But the truth is, although I
have found many wonderfully serviceable chairs, I know that beach chair
technology is far from perfected. I believe that, like the truth, a better
seating option is out there. And I will not rest until I find the one
seaside chair that is perfect for me.
Now I am
not just any beach chair enthusiast. As a writer, I need a computer to
compose, paper to print drafts, and a beach chair to sit in while editing.
This is true for me twelve months out of the year and I do not
I classify my interest in the ongoing development of the beach chair as
professional. Im willing to make long trips to novelty shops, department
stores, hardware stores, discount houses etc. because the effort is worth
it. You never know where the ideal beach chair will surface.
Beach Chair Qualities
a beach chair perfect?
the chair must be comfortable and convenient with slightly more
emphasis on convenience. I can deal a lot better with a little discomfort
than I can with a comparable amount of inconvenience.
need a built-in umbrella and an underseat storage area. I want some basic
creature comforts in a chair that I can get to the beach without calling
Allied Movers for help.
of all I need a strap. After years of finding ways to wedge
beach chairs on my shoulder I was thrilled when those who are supposed
to be thinking BEACH CHAIR 24-7-365 finally came up with the idea of
providing a shoulder strap to make transporting beach chairs to the
beach easier. I appreciate those designers who make chairs that fold
so small they slip in a bag, but I dont want to have to invest
the time in packing up. A simple strap is fine for me. (Those of you
interested slightly more deluxe (read heavier) seating might want look
into the chairs that fold down onto wheels.)
I use the chair as a briefcase, mine must have the pouch thing on the
back. I dont know the official name of the pouch thing
although I suspect it might be the pouch. I cant live without
one. I dont need a full backpack but I do prefer the deeper pouches.
I am always carrying folders and pens and reading glasses with clip-ons,
so I need a fair amount of space. A single pouch works and was
a great development. Nonetheless, I hope that those who are supposed
to be focusing on BEACH CHAIRS 24-7-365 add utility pockets to the pouches.
I am thinking penholders and glass case holders. I suspect the addition
of penholders is an unlikely development but I am very hopeful about
a slot for my glasses. Everyone takes glasses, i.e. sunglasses to the
beach, right? Why not create a slot for them? But an even more likely
scenario is that the BC 24-7-365 crowd will see fit to include a cell
phone holder. Since the last thing I want on the beach is a cell phone,
Ill just slip my glasses in that pocket. I can be flexible.
am undecided on the high back vs. low back issue. I am sure
high back chairs are very comfortable but I suspect that extra height,
and weight, could interfere with the convenience angle. Every beachgoer
has to make the hard decision I have and define the goals for the all-important
beach chair quest. I chose convenience over comfort, but my preference
for convenience doesnt mean that I ignore issues related to comfort.
dont want my chair to have a bar across the front of the seat.
Too often that innocuous little wooden or aluminum tube holding the
canvas in place becomes a source of discomfort. I prefer a chair where
the canvas is stretched from side to side so my legs dont have
to rest on a hard cylinder. Okay, how rough is that? I know. Not very.
But remember, although I said I was more concerned about convenience,
I never said I wasnt somewhat of a weenie about comfort. I am.
why the beach chair of my dreams has arms. Preferably wide
arms. Wide wooden arms that do not grow so hot in the sun that they
burn my skin. Smooth wide wooden arms without grooves to leave marks
on my arms. And in one of those arms, I need the most important thing
of all. A cup holder. If cup holder positioning is a key consideration
when purchasing a car and statistics say it is -- should the
cup holder be any less important when buying a beach chair? Youre
hoping for a lot of sun. Youre going to get thirsty. You need
a cup holder.
like my beach chair to be low to the ground. I love sitting
at the waters edge, letting the waves roll over my feet and chasing
the tide as it goes out or letting it chase me as it comes in.
I would just like to mention, however, for the sake of those who have
aged a bit since the last trip to the beach, the need for rehearsal.
Getting into a low chair sand chair, water chair, whatever you
call them is easy. Getting out? That is something all together
different. Dont find yourself in the position of having to roll
onto your hands and knees in front of friends, family and strangers
simply to get out of your chair -- or of being forced into the other
option, waiting until darkness falls. Trust me. Acknowledge the need
for practice and put in the time. Its a good investment.
As an aside,
this might be a good time to mention those storage compartments tucked
away under the seat of some beach chairs. I applaud the design effort
especially since the seat provides shade for those items that melt
or evaporate in the sun. I suppose it wouldnt hurt to have a pouch
on the back and a compartment under the seat. But I have to consider a
few of my own traits. I like to sit in the water. I tend to be a bit absent
minded. You see where this is going. So let me just say, if you opt for
an underseat storage compartment, remember that you used the space before
you plop your chair in the water.
mention that I did not discuss recliners because I have no need to recline
in my beach chair. Reclining chairs look great but I cant help thinking
how hard it was to get them to the beach especially without wheels.
If I get tired I lay on my towel which I carry to the beach tucked
into the seat of my folded-up, strapped-on, beach chair. Of course its
important to get just the right towel . . . one thats wide enough,
long enough, soft enough and folds into a small enough packet. But thats
a discussion for another day. Right now I have to get going. I am on mission.
I am in search of the perfect beach chair.
Jane Kelly is the author of three mysteries with a humorous twist set at the Jersey shore.
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