There’s nothing like sitting out by a campfire under the stars in your trusty camp chair. If you’re looking for the best camping chairs for chillin’ outside, the choices can be overwhelming. There are thousands of options to choose from!
As someone who’s currently living the vanlife, and who’s spent the better part of a decade hiking and camping, I’ve spent a significant portion of my life sitting in camping chairs. I’ve used cheapo Walmart chairs, overbuilt luxury recliners, and ultralight backpacking stools. I’ve tested dozens of different chairs, and I’m picky when it comes to comfort and functionality.
Finding the right camp chair is a very subjective choice. You need one that fits you comfortably and that works for how you want to use it, whether that’s lounging outside your RV or hiking deep into the backcountry.
I’ll show you the 20 best camp chairs I’ve found, and help you decide which is best for you.
For decades, all camp chairs looked pretty much the same: folding x-shaped metal frames with floppy fabric seats, backs, and armrests. If you were lucky, you might get a cupholder. They weren’t that comfy, were big and bulky, and you had to carry them in stupid shoulder bags that always seemed to rip.
In 2012, Helinox changed all that by inventing the most lightweight, portable camping chair ever using a collapsible design inspired by tent poles. The original Helinox Chair One is still one of their best-selling products, and they’ve expanded their lineup to include a huge range of lightweight, packable, and functional camp furniture.
For a chair to make our top pick for the best overall camping chair, it needed to be extremely comfortable, small when packed away, sturdy, and easy to use. The Helinox Sunset Chair is all of that in a stylish, compact (and pricey) package.
The Sunset Chair far outperforms standard chairs in comfort. Rather than the typical saggy seat and back, it supports your body comfortably. The high-back design lets you lean back, and the seat height is high enough to be easy to get in and out of but low enough that you can stretch out your legs.
I also love the headrest pillow holder that gives you an option for even more support and comfort for your head and neck.
This Helinox chair has built-in side pockets that are perfect for smaller items like keys, wallets, and flashlights, though you won’t be able to fit a cup or anything larger in there.
The innovative design also makes it very lightweight (just over 3 lbs), and it packs down to a slim 18.5” package (take that, bulky folding chairs!). That means it is easier to carry around, takes up less space in your car, and can fit in a backpack for hiking. It’s not as small or light as the Helinox Chair Zero, but it’s also sturdier and more comfortable.
The downsides? This Helinox chair doesn’t come with some of the standard features you may expect, like armrests and a cup holder. It also takes a bit more time to set up than a folding chair, though I think that tradeoff is definitely worth the smaller packed space and improved comfort.
Oh, and it’s also quite expensive, so if you’re on a budget or won’t be using your camp chair on a regular basis, it may not be worth the price.
If you’re on a budget, you’ll probably want something quite a bit cheaper than Helinox. You always go to Walmart and buy the cheapest one you can find, but odds are it won’t be comfortable and will fall apart within a year or two, which kind of defeats the purpose of saving money.
Even if you’re looking for an affordable chair, I recommend you try to find one that’s high-quality and will last a long time.
Kijaro isn’t a popular well-known brand, but they make some solid camp chairs that prioritize comfort, stability, and ease of use. The Kijaro Dual Lock looks like a pretty standard camp chair, but it has a few features that make it stand out.
Traditional camping chairs fold open but then sag down when you sit on them, which makes them less comfortable. The Kijaro Dual Lock camping chair changes that with a design that locks fully open, keeping the fabric taut. That makes it much more supportive and comfortable when you’re sitting around the campfire.
The chair is also locked in the closed, folded-up position and has a built-in shoulder strap. That means you don’t have to deal with stuffing it into a tight carrying bag. Just close it up, and throw it over your shoulder.
The Kijaro Dual Lock is a great budget camping chair, but more importantly, it is comfortable, sturdy, and durable, so you won’t be replacing it next season.
Want another option? The REI Skyward Chair (formerly the Camp X Chair) has a similar design and price, but comes with REI’s awesome warranty and return policy.
ALPS is an acronym that stands for Active Lifestyle Products and Services, and ALPS Mountaineering is a family-owned business that makes a wide range of outdoor gear for hiking, camping, hunting, backpacking, and more. Their gear hits a sweet spot of value between performance and price.
While I’m a big fan of collapsible Helinox-style chairs, it’s true that a folding chair is easier to set up and can be stronger if it’s built right. The ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Chair is a perfect example of that. It’s big, it’s strong, and it’s built to last.
A tough, powder-coated steel frame and burly fabrics make this chair very sturdy and durable. It’s got an 800-pound weight rating! Hopefully you won’t need to test that limit, but it is reassuring to know that if a kid (or anyone) decides to jump up on your lap, this chair will handle it no problem.
The King Kong chair also has a seat width over 24-inches. That gives you plenty of space to get comfortable without feeling like your butt is getting squished by your chair.
While some other chairs on the market are low to the ground, this one gives you a nice high seat (19 inches off the ground), which is easier to get in and out of and makes for a better seat at a picnic table.
You also get a different size cup holder on either armrest, plus three additional pockets on the sides and back. No more setting your stuff down on the ground or holding things between your legs.
While the King Kong camp chair is plenty comfortable, I don’t think it’s as good as some of the more innovative designs on this list. It still does sag somewhat. For a standard folding chair, though, there isn’t much better than this.
Let’s face it, most camp chairs just don’t seem to be designed with bigger folks in mind. They’re too narrow and too flimsy. They don’t give you enough space to be comfortable, and they don’t feel supportive.
The Coleman Big and Tall Camp Chair changes that with a roomier, sturdier, better design that’s perfect for anyone who’s tired of cramped, rickety chairs. Coleman camping gear is durable and reliable, and this chair is no different.
With a beefy powder-coated steel frame, this Coleman camping chair is rated for up to 600 pounds. The fabrics are durable too, and it doesn’t feel like it will rip apart after a few uses.
The design is pretty standard, with criss-cross folding legs, fabric armrests, and a cup holder (only one, sadly). It does have a transparent phone pocket and a little mesh pocket for stashing small items, but beyond that, there aren’t any fancy features with this Coleman Camping Chair.
Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with this Coleman chair, I just wish it wasn’t quite so basic. The armrests aren’t great, and the carry bag is flimsy and a pretty tight fit. Still, this is one of the best overall chairs for anyone wanting a camp chair that’s a bit roomier and sturdier.
5. STRONGBACK Elite: Best Camping Chair for Bad Backs
If you have back issues, finding a camp chair that doesn’t aggravate them and cause discomfort or pain can be challenging. If you want a comfortable seat for your next camping trip, you’ll have to look beyond standard camping chairs.
STRONGBACK was founded specifically with the goal of building a camp chair that provides great back support to help you maintain a healthy posture and avoid pain. They have great information describing how they designed this ergonomic camping chair.
The STRONGBACK Elite is designed to be the ultimate solution for unsupportive chairs that leave you with an aching back. While typical chairs sag under your weight, causing your back to round out, the STRONGBACK Elite has extra structure and support to keep your spine aligned in good posture.
The design of this camp chair centers around the lumbar support. While most camp chairs just have a flat piece of fabric for the back, the STRONGBACK Elite has a design with a structured arch to support your lower back.
It’s hard to understand the difference until you try it, but this is a game-changer for folding camp chairs. Rather than feeling like you’re being slowly folded into a taco, this chair keeps you upright and comfortable.
The overall design is also just a lot more structured and less saggy, which is awesome.
It is a bit expensive for something that otherwise looks like most other camping chairs, but if you want to improve your posture and protect your back while sitting around the campfire, I think this is a worthy investment.
6. YETI Trailhead: Best Heavy-Duty Camping Chair
YETI is probably best known for their burly, apocalypse-ready coolers and drinkware, but they’ve branched out into luggage, backpacks, cookware, camp furniture, and more. Their stuff is costly, but it’s overbuilt and can take some abuse.
If you’re looking for a tough, heavy-duty camp chair that will last for decades, the YETI Trailhead fits the bill. It’s big, heavy, and strong. For some, it may be too big and heavy, but the quality of this camp chair is hard to beat. There’s nothing flimsy, saggy, or rattly here.
Seriously, this chair just doesn’t feel like other camp chairs. It’s built like a tank, and the powder-coated steel frame feels super strong. Instead of the typical floppy fabric armrests, the YETI Trailhead Camp Chair has solid plastic armrests that can support your full weight if you push yourself up on them.
The carry bag is also much better than what you typically find. It has a wide zipper opening that makes it easy to load, and it even comes with a pair of backpack straps that make it easy to carry. That’s a welcome addition with a chair this heavy.
The downside is going to be the bulk and weight. It clocks in at over 13 lbs and still takes up a lot of space when it’s folded up. It is also tied with the YETI Hondo as the most expensive chair on this list by far. You pay for what you get, though, and this camp chair will last a lifetime.
GCI Outdoor is a company that builds an array of outdoor furniture and shade canopies. You won’t find any ultralight backpacking chairs in their lineup. They specialize more in casual camp chairs for car camping, tailgating, outdoor events, or just hanging out outside.
If you want the ultimate outdoor relaxation, you need to check out the GCI Outdoor Freeform Zero Gravity Lounger. That name is quite a mouthful, but this chair is a pretty impressive piece of engineering that makes it easy to lounge and relax.
The Freeform Lounger can be used as a normal upright chair, or it can operate in two different modes for lounging. The first mode lets you just lift the footrest up with a built-in handle. The second mode makes it so you can recline your whole body. It’s easy to set and lock in any position you choose.
The seat material is comfortable and very breathable. You’ll be able to hang out on hot summer days without creating a pool of sweat.
The overall construction is solid. This camp chair has a sturdy steel frame, heavy-duty composite armrests, and high-quality materials.
With a generous seat height of 20.7 inches off the ground, getting in and out of this chair is easy, even if you’re a bit stiff in the joints.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t fold very small, so you’re going to need a lot of space in your car if you want to take this on a camping trip. At over 20 lbs, it’s also the heaviest chair on this list. If you’ll be taking your chair to a lot of different places, you may want to check out one of the more portable outdoor chairs on this list.
If you read through this entire article, you’ll start to notice a pattern: I am a big fan of Helinox. Their chairs are innovative, comfortable, and high-quality, and they don’t take up a ton of space in your car, backpack, or garage.
High Back chair designs are great because they let you lean back and provide a lot more comfort and support than a camp chair that only reaches halfway up your back. The Helinox Savanna Chair sticks to Helinox’s proven lightweight yet sturdy construction, but it adds in a new level of comfort and durability. This chair is the top of their lineup, and it’s deeper, wider, and stronger, while still packing down remarkably small.
The Helinox Savanna chair is rated to support up to 320 lbs, but it only weighs 4.3 lbs. Those numbers blow me away. I haven’t found anything else with a comparable capacity that weighs so little.
Unlike most Helinox chairs, the Savanna Chair comes equipped with two cup holders, plus extra pockets. This is the feature that’s typically lacking in compact collapsible chair designs, so it’s awesome to see those included here.
One bummer is that, while many of Helinox’s other chairs come in a range of fun colors, the Savanna Chair is either black or tan, both of which are decidedly not fun.
It’s also one of the more expensive chairs on this list, so you’ll have to decide if the comfort, quality, and small packing size are worth it for you.
There’s nothing quite like the relaxation of sitting in a good old-fashioned rocking chair. What if you could have the calming motion of your grandma’s old wooden rocker combined with the portability and convenience of a modern camp chair?
That’s exactly what the ALPS Mountaineering Rocking Chair promises to deliver. It’s the best rocking chair I’ve encountered, and while it doesn’t fold up super small, it’s compact enough to take in your RV or on low-key car camping trips.
I love that this chair has a fully padded seat and backrest. That makes it super comfy to sit in for extended periods. The downside though is that it doesn’t breathe well. This camp chair definitely wouldn’t be my first choice for hot summer days.
It’s also missing a cup holder. It would have been such a simple feature for ALPS to add, and it would have made this rocking camp chair even better.
It also comes with a pretty hefty price tag, though if you keep an eye out, you can often find sales on REI or Amazon.
This is the second GCI Outdoor chair on this list, and there’s one more to come. They just make solid chairs with innovative designs that you can’t find anywhere else.
The GCI Outdoor Sunshade Rocker is a perfect example. This chair adds an awesome shade canopy built into the back of the chair. If you’re at the beach, a kids’ sports game, or a sunny campsite, having built-in shade is a huge bonus.
The shade canopy on the Sunshade Rocker has 50 SPF sun protection, and it is adjustable so you can have shade where you need it. No more squinting to try to read your book in the sunlight and no more sunburns from sitting out too long.
Not only is it shaded, but this chair also has one of the best rocking chair designs out there. The innovative spring design comes from the unique GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker, and it turns this into a comfy rocking chair without needing a smooth ground surface like typical curvy rocking legs.
For a chair with so many features, you’d expect it to be super heavy and bulky, but the Sunshade Rocker packs into a surprisingly compact bag. It’s definitely still bigger and heavier than a standard portable camp chair, but it’s small enough to fit easily on car camping trips or be carried out to the beach.
REI is one of the most well-known retail stores in the outdoor business, and they also now offer their own line of products under their REI Co-op brand.
After Helinox released their first ultralight, portable chairs, REI Co-op was one of the companies that was quick to follow suit, designing similar collapsible camp chairs. To this day, REI is one of the few brands that can keep up with Helinox in the ultra-portable camping chairs category.
The REI Co-op Flexlite was the brand’s first foray into lightweight camping and backpacking chairs, and it is a solid success. It’s lightweight, packable, and costs significantly less than the comparable Helinox Chair One.
When packed, the REI Co-op Flexlite is only 4.5 x 15 inches. That means it takes up way less space in your car than a typical camp chair. You can easily fit it in a backpack for relaxing on a day hike.
Even with the compact size and minimal weight, this chair has an impressive 250-pound weight limit. In real-world use, it feels sturdy and reliable.
You will give up some features like cup holders and armrests, but I think the portability is worth that tradeoff.
This REI camp chair is also impressively comfortable. I’ve sat in one for hours at kids’ soccer games or watching outdoor movies, and it’s kept me plenty comfy.
There’s no way around it, Helinox is king when it comes to ultralight backpacking chairs. In the past, I’ve always scoffed at taking a chair on a backpacking trip; who wants to carry that extra weight?
After using the Helinox Chair Zero on a few trips, I’ve changed my tune. The Chair Zero weighs just one pound, and if I know I’ll be spending much time in camp, that extra pack weight is definitely worth it for a comfy seat up off the ground.
Since Helinox practically invented the category, and most backpacking chairs on the market are essentially copies of their design, it’s no wonder that the Helinox Chair Zero is the best overall lightweight camp chair.
The Helinox Chair Zero starts with a lightweight aluminum alloy frame that snaps together the same way tent poles do. With a 265-pound weight limit, this thing is impressively strong for its feather-like weight.
Inside its carrying bag, the Helinox Chair Zero is a minuscule 13.5 inches long. That’s pretty amazing considering that a typical folding camp chair is about 36 inches long when packed.
Be aware that the Helinox Chair Zero is not as structured and supportive as most chairs on this list. If you don’t go backpacking, you don’t need something this light and should probably choose a sturdier option.
There are no pockets, cup holders, or fancy doohickeys. That works for backpacking, because any extra features equal weight you have to carry. The Chair Zero is a place to put your butt, and that’s it.
It sure as hell beats sitting in the dirt.
As you get older, camp chairs can start to become problematic. Many are low to the ground, making them hard to get into and out of. The seats and backs aren’t well supported and can become uncomfortable. The armrests are weak and are no help if you’re trying to lift yourself up.
Dometic makes some of the best equipment for RVs, vans, and car camping. Their camp furniture is simple, supportive, and well-built. In particular, the Dometic Quattro Milano is a fantastic camp chair for seniors. It has an accessible seat height, sturdy construction, and armrests you can actually lean on.
The Dometic Quattro Milano has comfy padding in the seat and backrest. The fabric is stretched taut over a sturdy aluminum frame, so it doesn’t sag when you sit on it.
Plus, it can also become a reclining chair. It’s easy to set the backrest into seven different positions, and you can also buy a footrest to turn it into a full lounger. Even with the footrest, this chair is still less expensive than some other reclining camp chairs.
It’s missing a few features though. It doesn’t have a cup holder, stash pockets, or a carrying bag. It also doesn’t pack very small, so it isn’t the best for portability.
If you want a comfy, supportive chair that’s easy to use, though, the Dometic Quattro Milano is a great option.
If you’re traveling in an RV, you don’t have the same space limitations as someone who is car camping or backpacking. You also may be staying in one place for a little longer, and having a sturdy, comfortable chair makes more sense than an ultralight, ultra-compact one.
The YETI Hondo Base Camp Chair is designed for making yourself at home when you’re far from home. It’s bigger, sturdier, and more supportive than most chairs on this list, and it won’t get blown away in a gust of wind (as long as you’re avoiding tornados). It’s meant to be set up and left up, and it’s great for creating an outdoor living space on RV trips.
What first looks like the biggest weakness of this camp chair, turns out to be the same thing that makes it great. Unlike most camping chairs, it doesn’t collapse into a neat little tube-shaped package. Instead, it folds flat-ish into a big rectangle.
That makes it less portable for car camping, but it also makes it very sturdy and supportive. This is the kind of chair I wouldn’t hesitate to use at home as a patio chair, hang-out chair, or even an impromptu work-from-home office chair.
It weighs nearly 17 lbs, which means you won’t want to carry it very far, but all that weight makes for an extremely sturdy frame. The YETI Trailhead chair is tough, but this one is even stronger.
I really like the FlexGrid fabric in this camp chair. It’s super breathable, which makes it comfortable on hot summer days. It is also stretched taut over a rigid frame, which makes it much more supportive than typical saggy camp chairs. It has just enough flex to be comfortable without drooping.
The best thing about this chair is that, unlike all the upright chairs out there, you have so many options for how to relax. Want to sit up straight but stretch your legs out? It has a handle to lift just the footrest. Ready to lean back for your afternoon nap in the shade? It’s got four different lounge positions so you can find your happy place.
It’s easy to get comfortable in this chair. Not only does it fully recline, but it also has a built-in headrest pillow that’s perfect for nap time.
The build quality is also pretty impressive. With a sturdy steel frame, heavy-duty armrests, burly fabrics, and a 250-pound weight rating, you don’t have to worry about it falling apart anytime soon.
It’s also packed with neat features. There’s a cinch-adjustable cup holder, extra pockets, and backpack straps that make it easier to carry.
Unfortunately, the Legz-Up Lounger doesn’t fold into a neat little package. Instead, you get a bulkier flat rectangle when folded, so it isn’t the most portable camping chair. I’d say that’s a fine tradeoff for the luxury lounger experience though.
When it comes to a reclining chair for camping, GCI Outdoor has the market cornered, and their Legz-Up Lounger will have you snoring in no time.
If you like to sit back and kick your feet up, the ALPS Mountaineering Escape could be the perfect camp chair for you. No, it doesn’t fully recline like the Legz-Up Lounger, but it’s more compact, and the built-in footrest does a great job at keeping you comfy.
The footrest system looks a bit sketchy at first. Essentially it’s a fabric panel suspended by a pair of criss-cross metal and two adjustable straps. It works though, and it’s cheaper than the more sophisticated reclining chairs on this list.
It’s also more compact: this chair takes up barely more room than any standard folding chair. That means it’s easier to throw in the car for weekend getaways or nights by the campfire.
Honestly, there’s not much else to be impressed by beyond the footrest. If you’re happy with a basic portable camping chair and just want a place to stick up your feet, this fits the bill.
REI is one of the best brands out there when it comes to gear for car camping. They make great tents, sleeping bags, pads, and of course, chairs.
A good chair for car camping doesn’t need to be ultralight like a backpacking chair, but the more compact, the better. Your car will already be full of other gear, and bulky chairs can take up a lot of space. Of course, comfort is also key.
The REI Co-op Flexlite Camp Dreamer uses a collapsible tent pole design like Helinox chairs, which makes it light and compact. It’s also super comfy for chilling at camp.
When you take it apart, this chair packs down to a small 22-inches. That’s way smaller than most folding chairs, and it’s also lighter weight at 3.4 lbs. This thing is easy to toss in your car or in a backpack for a day outside or a longer trip.
The high back design makes the Flexlite Camp Dreamer perfect for long lazy days at camp. It’s high enough to support your entire back, neck, and head. Plus, it comes with a removable pillow for extra neck support and comfort.
While it doesn’t look like it has armrests, the padded “wings” on the sides actually make for a perfect way to rest your arms, and you don’t have to deal with the awkward floppy fabric of typical camp chair armrests.
The Flexlite Camp Dreamer doesn’t have a cup holder, but it does include a few smaller zippered pockets for holding smaller items like your wallet, keys, phone, or some snacks.
I honestly can’t think of many reasons not to get this camp chair unless you really prefer a standard folding chair. I get it, some people are stuck in the past. It’s not the lightest. It’s not the strongest. It’s not the cheapest. It just hits a great balance of everything.
Lastly, the value is pretty impressive. A comparable chair from Helinox is much more expensive. I honestly think the REI Co-op Flexlite Camp Dreamer is one of the best chairs on the market for the price.
If you shop at Costco, it’s possible you’ve seen a few products from Cascade Mountain Tech. Their trekking poles, snowshoes, and camp blankets are often on sale at the big warehouse supermarket.
Their outdoor gear prioritizes value. They don’t believe getting outside should cost an arm and a leg, and their products are designed to be durable and functional while hitting an affordable price point.
There are many reasons you may want to sit closer to the ground. Maybe you go to outdoor concerts and events and don’t want to block others’ views. Maybe you’re a gourmet marshmallow roaster and want to be closer to the campfire. Maybe you want to stretch out your legs and look up at the stars. Maybe you’re afraid of heights.
Whatever the reason, the Cascade Mountain Tech Low Profile Camp Chair is a perfect choice for sitting down low. It’s comfy, well-built, and very affordable.
The seat of the Low Profile Camp Chair is only 5 inches off the ground, which means you can be right up close to the campfire. Plus, the low height means you don’t need to stick a cooler under your feet to stretch out your legs.
I’ve also found that low-profile camp chairs tend to be stronger and more durable than taller folding chairs. The steel frame pieces aren’t as long, so there’s less stress on the components and pivot points.
This chair has a 250-pound weight rating, which is a bit lower than many chairs on this list. It feels sturdy though, and as long as you’re within that limit, I wouldn’t be worried about this chair.
Of course, there will be times when a low-profile camp chair won’t be the best choice. If you’re trying to eat dinner around a picnic table or sit in a circle of friends with taller chairs, things could be awkward. Also, if you have stiff joints, getting into and out of this low chair could be difficult.
But if you know you want to ride low, this is the chair for you.
19. ENO Lounger DL: Best Comfortable Camping Chair
ENO sells some of the most popular hammocks on the market, plus a wide range of hammock gear. It’s no wonder they know their way around getting comfortable outdoors.
ENO is also one of the best brands on this list when it comes to sustainability and making a positive impact. They work with 1% for the Planet and other environmental non-profits to donate 1% of all their sales (not just profits) to planet-related causes. They’ve funded the planting of nearly 3 million trees, and they use a wide range of recycled fabrics in their products.
The Lounger DL packs all of ENO’s hammock expertise into an extremely comfortable camp chair. It honestly feels a bit like hanging in a hammock, but you don’t need trees, and you aren’t swinging around in the wind. If there’s one chair on this list that’s perfect for taking a nap under the trees, this is it.
By using a tent-pole-inspired design, the Lounger DL manages to pack down into a smaller bag than typical folding chairs. Yes, you can get great comfort without a heavy, bulky package.
With its unique triangular base, the Lounger DL is also impressively sturdy. The aluminum frame is strong, and the ripstop nylon seat fabric feels durable.
Another unique feature of this chair is that the height is adjustable. You can sit close to the ground or pop up the extending legs for a higher seat. Even in the higher position, though, the Lounger DL is still fairly close to the ground, so it’s not great for sitting around a picnic table.
If you’re looking for the best comfort in a lightweight, compact package, the ENO Lounger DL is a fantastic choice, just know you may fall asleep before you can finish reading your book in this chair.
Kelty is one of the most well-known brands in the outdoor industry. They’ve been around for decades, and it seems like everyone who enjoys the outdoors has owned a Kelty tent, sleeping bag, backpack, or chair at some point.
While Kelty isn’t known as much for high-performance adventure gear anymore, their camping equipment is top-notch and offers great value for your money.
The Kelty Low Loveseat is an iconic two-person camp chair that lets you snuggle up close. It’s comfy, stylish, easy to use, and perfect for nights by the campfire. If you’ve got someone you want to sit close to, this sure beats sitting in separate chairs.
The Kelty Low Loveseat camping chair is very durable and well-built. It’s rated to support up to 400 lbs. The fabric feels very durable and has some built-in padding for support and comfort.
I really love the carrying system for the Kelty Low Loveseat. Rather than making a floppy tube-shaped bag that’s impossible to fit around the thair (unless you have seven hands), they opted for a simple “wrap.”
Essentially, it’s just an extra piece of fabric that wraps like a burrito around the folded-up chair and buckles closed. This is way, WAY easier to use than those stupid chair bags, and it has a nice comfy carrying strap.
They even advertise that you can use the unfolded chair wrap as a dog bed. Of course, that’s not needed, because you were saving the seat next to you for the dog, right?
Even if you’re flying solo, this two-person chair gives you extra space to stretch out, or to stack your pile of s’more supplies.
How to Choose the Best Camping Chairs
There’s a lot to consider when shopping for a camp chair. Do you want light and compact or big and sturdy? Do you want a cup holder? extra pockets? a reclining backrest? How much are you willing to spend? Here is a full guide to help you make sure you find your new favorite camping chair.
Types of Camp Chairs
Most camp chairs can be divided into three categories: scissor folding chairs, flat folding chairs, and compact collapsible chairs. Which one you get will depend on what you need it for and how often you use it.
Scissor Folding Chairs
This is the most common type, and if you imagine a stereotypical camp chair, this is probably what you think of. Scissor folding camping chairs are made up of a fabric seat and backrest stretched between several metal tubes in a criss-cross pattern. This lets them fold into a relatively small package, and most slide into a tube-shaped carrying bag.
These folding camping chairs are great for ease of use: you just pull the chair out, unfold it, and you’re ready to go.
Flat Folding Chairs
Flat folding chairs are the bulkiest, heaviest, and strongest type of chair. Imagine a classic beach chair or lawn chair. Rather than folding into a narrow tube-like shape, these chairs just fold into a flat rectangle.
That means they are much less portable than other camping chairs. They also take up more room in your car or in storage.
The tradeoff is that they are typically the most supportive and can be made with some awesome features like footrests or full reclining positions.
Flat folding chairs are typically best if you aren’t limited on space and won’t be carrying them very far.
Compact Collapsible Chairs
Compact collapsible chairs are the newest variety, introduced with the Helinox Chair One in 2012. These chairs are usually made of two pieces: 1) a lightweight aluminum frame that comes apart like tent poles, and 2) a fabric or mesh seat that attaches to the frame.
This design made it possible to create a chair that was a fraction of the size and weight of a standard folding camp chair.
Because you have to put different pieces together, these aren’t as good in terms of ease of use, but they are still pretty quick to assemble.
Compact collapsible chairs are best for backpacking and for anyone who wants to carry a chair with them in a backpack or take up less space in their car.
Personally, I think these chairs are more comfortable than standard folding camping chairs.
Materials and Durability
Once you know what type of camp chair you want, it’s important to consider the materials and durability. Sure, you can buy the cheapest one on Amazon, but it probably won’t last very long (and it isn’t very comfy).
Look for chairs that have durable fabrics like ripstop nylon or polyester. Because your chair may spend a lot of time in the sun, UV-resistance is also a big plus.
A good camp chair will also have a sturdy metal frame. Aluminum is lightweight and corrosion-resistant, while steel is the best for sheer strength.
Ease of Use
Trust me, you don’t want to be spending precious time trying to figure out how to set up your chair.
Cheap carry bags are a pet peeve of mine. Many folding chairs come with cheap floppy fabric drawstring bags that barely fit the chair. Look for something like the YETI Trailhead Camp Chair that comes with a more structured bag that opens wide.
Packed Size and Weight
Even if you aren’t going on a long backcountry backpacking trip, size and weight matter. Camping chairs can take up a lot of space in your car, and on camping trips, every inch counts.
In general, when in doubt, choose a smaller chair. Compact chairs are just more versatile. You can throw them in a backpack, they take up less space in your car, and the good ones are still very comfortable. I use my Chair Zero from Helinox for everything, backpacking, car camping, and hanging out at the RV.
If you know you won’t ever want to take your chair hiking, something bulkier but much sturdier like the YETI Trailhead Camp Chair may be more to your liking.
A camp chair can be much more than just a place to put your butt. Additional features can increase the comfort, versatility, and ease of use of your chair. Just know that additional features will often also increase the weight and potentially the price tag.
Here are a few camp chair features you may want to look for:
- Cup holder to keep drinks handy and off the ground
- Extra pockets for your phone, a book, or snacks
- Reclining positions so you can lean back and relax
- Headrest for better comfort and support
- Padded seat and backrest
- Ventilated mesh to prevent the dreaded sweaty butt
- Rocking chair design like the GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker
Why Trust TravelFreak?
So why should you trust us? Our entire business is based on giving you the best information possible to help you get outside and enjoy the journey, and we want to make sure we get it right. We don’t use a fancy test lab; we use the real world to test products on our own travels. And we only recommend gear we would actually want to use ourselves.
I’ve been camping since before I could walk, and I’ve sat in hundreds of camping chairs over the years. I’ve tested everything from the burliest heavy-duty loungers to featherweight backpacking chairs. I’ve even broken my fair share of chairs (can I get a rhyming award for that?).
All the camp chairs on this list are the absolute best in their specific niche. I’ve tested them in real life to find the best chair for each purpose.
Camp Chair FAQs
What is the most comfortable camping chair?
The ENO Lounger DL chair is like laying in a hammock, and it’s extremely comfy.
Why are camp chairs so expensive?
The best camp chairs cost more because they use high-quality materials and advanced manufacturing.
What is the most expensive camping chair?
What is the best fabric for camping chairs?
The best fabric for camp chairs is durable ripstop nylon or polyester.
Can you use camp chairs at home?
Absolutely! Camp chairs work great as patio furniture. You may want one like the DOMETIC Go.