REI Flexlite chair
Photo credit: REI

The Best Backpacking Chairs of 2020

Planning to hit the trails but don’t want to sacrifice comfort at camp? Invest in a backpacking chair.

No matter how cool or how comfy a camp chair is, it’s not a backpacking chair unless you can carry it. For this review, we looked for chairs that offer a good balance of support and durability, are packable, and weigh under 4 pounds.

To choose the best of the best, we research and ranked more than 10 chairs from eight brands on their features, price, feedback from our testing, and the volume of positive reviews and feedback.

Scroll through our picks for the best backpacking of 2020, or jump to a category below:

Best Backpacking Chairs

Best Overall: REI Flexlite Air Chair ($100)

REI flexlite air

At only a pound, this camp chair from REI offers the perfect balance of comfort, stability, and price. In testing, it checked all our boxes: a very light packed weight, easy setup, and comfort while sitting. This chair has a four-leg aluminum pole design with a ripstop nylon and mesh chair seat cover.

Why choose this chair? It’s got a great design and isn’t too pricey. If you’re looking to invest in a chair that offers back support and doesn’t add too much weight too your pack, the Flexlite Air Chair is a great option.

Weight: 1 lb.
Weight limit: 250 lbs.

Check price at REI

Best Budget: Crazy Creek Hex Chair ($52)

crazy creek hex chair

For those looking for an even more packable, ultralight option, you can’t beat Crazy Creek. These camp seats are super versatile — think day hike picnics, soccer games in the park, and, of course, camping and backpacking.

The seat doesn’t have any legs, poles, or setup required (making it great for uneven surfaces and easier packing). Simply unfold and tighten to your desired reclining angle. The side straps adjust to provide tension and support when you lean your weight back.

The Crazy Creek Hex is also an improvement on the brand’s original chair — it has 8mm high-density EVA closed-cell foam for better insulation, reinforced connection points for the straps, and a durable outer 210-denier shell.

Why choose this chair? This one’s great if packability, versatility, and price are most important.

Weight: 1 lb. 7.9 oz.
Weight limit: 250 lbs.

Check price on Amazon

Runner-Up: Helinox Ground Chair ($110)

helinox ground chair 2020

Helinox redesigned its popular ground chair for 2020. And we loved testing it. Under 1.5 pounds, the new Ground Chair is slightly lighter than the previous model.

The Ground Chair has DAC aluminum-alloy poles and a 240-pound weight capacity. And, of course, it has a hallmark square-base design, which provides a little more stability on surfaces like sand, slopes, and snow. One note: Make sure to read the instructions before use on the quickest way to connect and fold up the legs to assemble the base.

We liked testing the Ground Chair both car camping and backpacking in Colorado. It packs down to a great size, and Helinox’s durable materials should make the price point worth it.

Why choose this chair? If you don’t mind spending a bit more for a sturdier and more durable option, pick this one up.

Weight: 1 lb. 4.8 oz.
Weight limit: 240 lbs.

Check price at Helinox

Best of the Rest

REI Flash Trail Seat ($45)

REI Flash Trail Seat

REI’s seat-pad style chair is a great price, and great weight, but didn’t make it higher on our list due to comfort. Some reviewers didn’t like the feel or alignment of the fiberglass stays (which give the seat extra structure).

However, the chair is padded with a cushy closed-cell foam across the seat and back, which helps in terms of comfort. The chair rolls and folds up accordion-style to a packed size of about 5 x 5 x 16 inches.

Why choose this chair? If you’re looking for a no-frills chair and don’t mind sitting near the ground, consider this one.

Weight: 1 lb. 9 oz.
Weight limit: None

Check price at REI

Hillsound Equipment BTR Stool ($55)

Hillsound btr stool

I’ve loved testing and using this camp stool since we received a sample at Outdoor Retailer in January. While it isn’t a traditional chair (no back support) it is lightweight, super packable, and a great budget-friendly option.

I’ve packed it in a dry bag on long-mileage paddle days, strapped it to my bike for a much-needed resting perch on an 80-mile gravel ride, and more.

Why choose this chair? There’s no assembling poles or fiddling with chair covers — simply extend the legs, and you’re set. The BTR (“better than a rock”) Stool weighs also only 12.2 ounces and comes in two sizes.

Weight: 12.2 oz.
Weight limit: 240 lbs.

Check price at Hillsound

Helinox Chair One ($100)

Helinox Chair One

The Helinox Chair One is wildly popular, and for good reason — it’s comfortable and serves its purpose well outdoors. What we like about the Chair One: It’s comfortable, made with lightweight materials, and is less than 14 inches tall when packed.

However, the Chair One has legs, putting it on the heavier side. (There’s a pretty big weight difference between this and the ground chair, but it all comes down to which shape and style you prefer.)

Why choose this chair? If you’re looking for a more traditional chair style (with a back and higher off the ground), want a sturdier weight capacity, and don’t care too much about weight, get the Chair One.

Weight: 2 lbs.
Weight limit: 320 lbs.

Check price at Helinox

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Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair ($40-50)

Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair

This newer chair from camp and sleeping pad brand Therm-a-Rest deserved a spot on our list simply for the weight. At just 10 ounces, it’s the lightest “chair” out there. Similar to a flat-folding chair seat, the Trekker relies on your sleeping pad for comfort and structure, and tension straps to adjust to your preferred reclining angle.

It’s definitely a great option if you already have a Therm-a-Rest and don’t want to invest more than $100 in a lightweight camp chair, but it does have some limitations.

Why choose this chair? If you’re looking for a camp chair you can add to your kit without adding much weight, the trekker is a great option. It’s designed for use with Therm-a-Rest’s NeoAir sleeping pads only, although several online reviewers have rigged it to work with other brands’ pads as well.

Weight: 10 oz.
Weight limit: 300 lbs. (tested with NeoAir sleeping pad)

Check price at Therm-a-Rest

ALPS Mountaineering Dash Chair ($80)

ALPS Mountaineering Dash Chair

This lightweight camping chair from ALPS Mountaineering just made the weight cutoff. But even though it’s on the heavier side, it still has great construction and price.

The Dash Chair — the lightest chair in the brand’s camp furniture lineup — has an aluminum frame, a burly 420-denier ripstop fabric, and comes with a carry bag. And its seat back height is on the taller side at 27 inches.

Why choose this chair? The Dash Chair is a good choice if you don’t yet own any camping chairs and want a one-size-fits-all option that works in both the backcountry and front-country.

Weight: 3 lbs. 2 oz.
Weight limit: 250 lbs.

Check price on Amazon

Best Base Camp Chairs

While these don’t make the cut for backpacking (they don’t meet our weight requirement), they’re still some of our favorites from base camp to trailhead, and lots of places in between.

REI Camp X Chair ($40)

REI Camp X Chair

Anyone looking for a classic camp chair will be happy with REI’s Camp X. At 7 pounds, it’s not a good candidate for backpacking, but its balance of comfort, value, and durability is great for just about anything else.

We like that the mesh keeps it breathable in hot weather and allows it to dry very quickly, and its design includes armrests and cupholders. Its packed size measures 33 x 7 inches, so it’s pretty portable too.

Why buy this chair? If you want a solid, hardworking, all-around camp chair, the Camp X is for you.

Weight: 7 lbs. 3 oz.
Weight limit: 300 lbs.

Check price at REI

Coleman Quad Camping Chair ($30)

Coleman Quad Camping Chair-

Just $30 and it comes with a built-in cooler? Yep, this is a bargain-hunter’s dream. And to top it off, we found it impressively comfortable. At 24 inches wide, it provides a roomier seat than the smaller backpacking options we’ve reviewed. It also has a taller seat height and more upright back.

This is a great option for those who don’t mind more weight and who want more stability. The only con? The steel frame is heavy and can’t be left outdoors during inclement weather.

Weight: 9 lbs. 4 oz.
Weight limit: 300 lbs.

Check price on Amazon

Check out more of our camp chair recommendations here.


Have a favorite backpacking or camp chair we missed? Let us know in the comments for future updates to this article.


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Mary Murphy
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Mary is based out of GearJunkie's Denver, CO office. Her outdoor interests span from climbing to landscape photography to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.

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