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 chairs.jpg

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.

Alite Designs Mayfly camp chair.jpg

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.

Crazy Creek Air Chair.jpg

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.

Therm-a-Rest Z.jpg

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

Posted by Mule skinner - 06/20/2013 12:40 PM

That’s it?!? Three chairs? I saw the title and honed right in with much anticipation. It’s about time someone did a camp chair review, I thought. Great potential for an article but an even greater let down.

Posted by Gumbrinus - 06/20/2013 01:22 PM

Including a picture of the Alite Mayfly can be disassembled and bagged would have been helpful. The stock photos that accompany this article raise the question as to whether anyone at gearjunkie even sat in these chairs. Pfffft.

Posted by t-bear - 06/20/2013 04:02 PM

Check out the REI Flexlite chair its just under 2 lbs and pack relatively small for the comfort..BA helinox chair is comparable a bit heavier but can hold more weight….both chairs are similar to the Alite but the REI version is 30% less.

Posted by Andy - 06/21/2013 11:07 AM

What about Big Agnes’s? It’s just a few sticks and cloth similar to the Crazy Creek. You use BA’s sleeping pad to ‘fill it’.
So the extra weight in your pack is a few oz over the pad you already take.
I love mine!

Posted by Camping Gears - 07/03/2013 07:28 AM

Great post

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