Packable Chairs offer Comfort, Support ’round the old campfire

In a pinch, an old-fashioned log will do. But for more comfortable seating around the proverbial campfire this summer you should go with one of these lightweight, made-for-camping chairs. We put three different models to the test last month, from a lux “hammock” seat to a simple square of foam. —Stephen Regenold

Alite Designs Mayfly, $100. Hands down the most comfy seat in this review, the Alite Mayfly cradles with a swoop of lightweight fabric. You can sit stable or gently rock on the chair’s frame.

Light aluminum poles connect to give structure to the nylon “hammock” of a seat. The whole unit packs up small and weighs just 1.4 pounds, allowing for use in backpacking or car camping situations. 250-pound weight limit.

Crazy Creek Air Chair Plus, $124. A chair/sleeping pad combination, this Crazy Creek product kills two birds with one stone. The inflatable pad lies flat on the ground or in a tent and is 70 inches long for sleeping.

Come time to sit up, straps and plastic buckles convert the pad into an L-shape chair. Total weight is about 2 lb. 13 oz., making the combo unit ostensibly lighter weight than the two products it will replace.

Therm-a-Rest Z Seat, $15. Minimalist backpackers will love this no-fuss seat from Therm-a-Rest, which is just a small square of foldable foam. It weighs almost nothing (1.8 ounces), packs small, and is made in the USA.

No back support, but the pad does offer insulation from the cold, hard ground and keeps your butt dry, too. Bonus: The Z Seat’s price is as low as $12 online.

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of

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Stephen Regenold is Founder and Editor-In-Chief of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for nearly two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of four small kids, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.