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Michael Hodgson

Traveler at HI Travel Tales
Born to British parents in Canada, Michael Hodgson had been schlepped back and forth across the pond since he was a toddler. In college, he took the big leap and spent a few months in Kenya – and never looked back. His biology major somehow led him into a writing career, focusing on the outdoors, hiking and gear testing. Building on his lifetime of travel with travel writing was a natural, although he still loves to seek out the wilder side of a mountain – or a city -- for a good story. Michael also is a partner in a consulting business ( built on a passion to help specialty businesses and brands succeed both domestically and internationally.
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Strongback Chair ReviewDeck, patio, backpacking and camping chairs are everywhere, and there isn’t usually much to differentiate them except color, drink holders and perhaps size. OK, so maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it’s a tough row to hoe to make yourself stand out in the camp/travel chair section.

The Strongback chair, however, has done just that. When the box arrived for the Strongback chair review we heaved it across the threshold and thought, “Wow, this is heavy.” When we pulled it out and opened it to sit on, we thought, “Wow, this is big.”

But then we sat on it. And our neighbors sat on it. And friends at backyard outdoor parties we went to sat on it. Without fail, the first reaction from people when they sat down was, “Wow, this is comfortable.” Funny thing is, you had to prompt them to find out why.

“Because it has back support,” was always the answer. And then we couldn’t get our chair back to sit on ourselves!

And that’s the thing about the Strongback chair products. They have a patent-pending, built-in lumbar support, avoiding the normal sling back, slouch-encouraging structure.

We received the large “Elite” chair to test, and our smaller sized testers found they felt a little bit like Lily Tomlin’s Edith Ann character on the old Laugh In show sitting in a huge chair, kinda swimming in the depth and height, swinging our dangling feet under us (well, nearly… we are prone to exaggeration). This large one will support 300 pounds, conservatively, and has the width and breadth (28.25-inches wide by 26-inches deep x 36-inches high) for that size of person, the one is the “average American” now. It weights 11.9 pounds so you won’t put it on your back readily although tossed in the back of the car for outdoor gatherings, picnics or concerts is a no-brainer.

The smaller “Zen” chair (7.7 pounds) is for the smaller user at (33-inches wide by 23.5-inches deep x 31-inches high), although it’s still pretty wide and still can hold up to a 225-pound person. But with a less depth and a lower height, we won’t do a Lily Tomlin/Edith Ann imitation (if you don’t know what that comparison is about, click here  and you can laugh at us because we’re old enough to have actually watched this on TV.)

Both are made of  heavy-duty polyester tear- and wear-resistant fabric with a silver-power-coated steel frame. Inventor Ladd Lougee said he designed the Strongback after countless experiences squirming in a camp chair with a back ache  — and finding out others have the same problem. I mean, why are all those chairs empty with people standing around? Mr. Closet Inventor became a regular at his local hardware store, tinkering around til he came up with a chair that met his standard. And a business was begun. His motto now is, “Sitting is believing.”

Count us among the believers! We love this chair. Even though heavier than normal, it sits proudly on our deck or patio, with users fighting for it. That’s not to say that a version with slightly lighter weight poles or material wouldn’t make us happy too. But right now the Strongback chair is a fave. And, as Edith Ann would say, spluttering with her little girl lisp, “And that’s the truth.”

Parting Words? Love the Strongback. If the HI Travel Tales team is gonna be sitting, it’s in this chair or not at all.

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