Best Camping Chairs of 2019

Best Camping Chairs of 2019

Filed under: Camping 

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From camping trips to ultralight backpacking excursions, we’ve found the best camping chairs for every adventure.

There’s no better way to end a day outside than gathered around the campfire. And while we’ve all spent many an evening sitting on the ground or balancing on a log, it’s hard to beat the pleasure of sitting in a good camp chair.

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In order to find the best camping chairs, we’ve spent countless hours testing out chairs in a variety of locations and weather conditions. From the wilds of the Desolation Wilderness to the swamps of Apalachicola, from grilling in the backyard to relaxing in the living room, our testers have spent hours setting up, taking down, and sitting.

A group testing camping chairs and gear in North Carolina.
Testing camping chairs in North Carolina

While testing and ranking camping chairs, we focused primarily on comfort, value, and portability (i.e., size and weight). Secondary considerations include durability, ease of setup, and additional features (like cupholders and pockets). And while there’s no single “best” chair that will suit everyone, we’ve broken the list into categories that will help identify the best chair for you.

The Best Camping Chairs of 2019

Before we get started, take a moment to imagine how you’ll use this chair. Will you pack up the car for a weekend of front country camping? Or do you need something that can accompany you on the trail during backpacking trips? Or perhaps you need a camp chair that can do it all. With this chair-use vision in mind, read on to find the best camping chair for you. And if you’re not sure how to decide, see our tips on choosing a camp chair at the bottom of this page.

Best Overall Camping Chair

REI Co-op Camp X Chair

Anyone looking for a classic camp chair will be happy with the Camp X from REI. It’s a good pairing of comfort, value, durability, and extra features. And it does all of this without sacrificing too much in portability, which is why we recommend it for the best overall camping chair.

At 7 pounds, it’s not a good candidate for backpacking (check the other options below for that), but it’s a great choice for camping, concerts, soccer games, and backyard lounging. We like that the mesh keeps it breathable in hot weather and allows it to dry very quickly. We’ve read reviews of some durability concerns but have had absolutely no problem over a year’s use. It doesn’t provide neck support, so it’s not the ultimate lounge chair. But if you want a solid, hardworking, all-around camp chair, the Camp X is for you.

Weight: 7 lbs. 3 oz.
Dimensions: 23″ x 21.5″ x 17″
Pros: Breathable, quick-drying, good value
Cons: Awkward-size cupholder,

Runner-Up Best Camping Chair

Kelty Linger Get-Down Chair

If we could only keep one camping chair, this would be it. It’s supremely comfortable, packs up fairly small, and is a breeze to set up. The high back means people of all heights (our testers ranged from 5’3″ to 6’2″) can relax in this chair with full neck support.

And while the lower seat height can make it challenging for people to get out of — particularly if you have a knee or mobility issue — it makes the lounging abilities that much better. You can easily stretch out your legs, lean back, and take a nap. Plus, the solid bar across the legs adds extra stability and also prevents it from sinking into soft ground. At $150, it’s certainly an investment and isn’t light enough for serious backpacking. But if comfort and ease of use are key concerns, you’ll love the Kelty Linger Get-Down chair.

Weight: 3 lbs. 4 oz.
Dimensions: 23″ x 32″ x 30″
Pros: High back supports neck, good for napping, supremely comfortable and stable
Cons: Expensive, low height can be harder to get in and out of

Best Budget Camping Chair

Coleman Portable Quad Chair with Cooler

Just $25 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, which makes getting in and out easier.

You wouldn’t want to haul this for long distances, and the steel-frame can rust if left out in the rain. But for hanging in the backyard, sitting on the sidelines, or car camping, it’s a solid option.

Weight: 9 lb. 4 oz.
Dimensions: 24″ x 37″ x 40″
Pros: Cheap, built-in cooler
Cons: Large size, less portability, long-term durability,

Best Rocking Camp Chair

Helinox Chair Two Rocker

This was our tester’s favorite rocking camp chair. We particularly like having the ability to add or remove the rocker. This feature makes it adaptable to a variety of terrains and scenarios. Plus, it’s impressively portable.

Our tester wrote, “The standout features are the chair’s low weight and profile. This is the best option for traveling among those we tested. It takes up no room in a campervan, and you could conceivably haul it bikepacking.”

Weight: 3 lbs. 2 oz.
Dimensions: 33.1″ x 25.6″ x 21.7″
Pros: Neck support, deep seat, ability to add or remove the rocker
Cons: Expensive

Best Campsite ‘Couch’

Kelty Discovery Low Loveseat

Get cozy with this camping loveseat. The steel frame is plenty strong (even for two people) and can easily handle 600 pounds. We like that the seat is slightly reclined for comfort, and our testers found the shorter height of the Low allowed for a more relaxed lounge. But tall couples may prefer the standard loveseat, which is a few inches taller.

The armrest cupholders have a divider so you can fit both larger and smaller bottles. Though it certainly isn’t the lightest chair on the list, we were still impressed with how easily it packed up. The carrying bag simply clips around the chair and has a comfortable carrying strap. You wouldn’t want to hike any distance with this, but for campfire nights or outdoor concerts, this is a top pick.

Weight: 15 lbs. 6 oz.
Dimensions: 44″ x 23.5″ x 31.5″
Pros: Campfire snuggling, adjustable cupholders
Cons: Heavy, bulky

Price: $100
Shop Kelty Loveseat

Best Camp Chair for Tall People

Helinox Savanna Chair

For the ultimate in comfort, look no further. The Savanna chair is the most luxurious new offering from Helinox. It offers a wide seat and tall back for total lounging comfort. The double cupholders keep drinks close, and the mesh back keeps things cool even on the hottest summer days.

This was the favorite among our taller testers. They appreciated not having to scrunch their legs up to sit and also noted that the back was actually tall enough for total neck support. Helinox has built a reputation for building top-quality chairs, and this is no exception. The Savanna is one of the most expensive chairs on our list, but it gets high marks for durability and comfort.

Weight: 4 lbs. 3 oz.
Dimensions: 27.5″ x 31″ x 17.5″
Pros: Tall back, fast setup, cupholders
Cons: Expensive

Best Backpacking Chair

REI Co-op Flexlite Air Chair

New to market in 2019, this aluminum-frame chair is sure to be a favorite with backpackers. The ripstop material is very durable, and the chair has a weight capacity of 250 pounds.

As with all lightweight backpacking chairs, it’s less stable than other full-size chairs. The legs are a little close together, making it possible to tip from side to side if not careful. It’s pretty wild, though, that for $100 you can get a camping chair that weighs just 1 pound.

Weight: 1 lb.
Dimensions: 19″ x 22″ x 22″
Pros: Lightweight, portable
Cons: Expensive, less stable

Best Lightweight Thru-Hiking Chair

Therm-a-Rest Z-Seat Pad

Ounce-counters, this one’s for you. It comes in at a mere 2 ounces, and the accordion fold allows it to pack up small. It can easily attach to the outside of your pack for anytime trail stops.

Best of all, it can serve multiple uses. We’ve known weight-obsessed thru-hikers who use this as their seat, tent doormat, dinner placemat, and extra hip-cushioning at night. It’s not as luxurious as a chair, but it’s tiny, it’s light, and it won’t break.

Weight: 2 oz.
Dimensions: 16″ x 13″ x .75″
Pros: Ultralight and packable, affordable, serves double duty as a sleep pad, doormat, and more
Cons: Still basically sitting on the ground

Best of the Rest

REI Co-op Flexlite Chair

If you’re looking for a chair that’s equally at home backpacking, camping, or lounging at the lake, check out the Flexlite. The mesh kept back sweat at bay during the hot summer months. And it dries quickly, so you can happily play near the river without worry.

That said, we did find it less stable than some of the other chairs tested and it had a propensity to easily sink when set up on soft ground. But it’s a good value for the small size and comfort offered. However, if portability is a top priority for you, we recommend checking out the new REI Flexlite Air Chair, which retails for $100 and weighs just 1 pound (including the carrying sack).

Weight: 1 lb. 12 oz.
Dimensions: 26″ x 20″ x 20″
Pros: Breathable mesh, lightweight
Cons: Less stable, legs easily sink into soft ground

Alps Mountaineering Rendezvous Folding Camp Chair

This low-to-the-ground chair is a breeze to set up and take down thanks to its folding design. The steel frame can hold up to 300 pounds, and the mesh panels keep you cool. We liked that it was so quick to set up and will certainly last through lots of use.

That said, it didn’t have the neck support we’d like in a campfire lounge chair. And though it’s not heavy at a little over 6 pounds, it’s also not light enough to take backpacking, making it only good for front-country adventures. But it’s a good value at just $36.

Weight: 6 lbs. 8 oz.
Dimensions: 22″ x 14″ x 24″
Pros: Affordable, durable, easy to use
Cons: No neck support, low to the ground

Helinox Chair Zero

The Chair Zero from Helinox revolutionized the backpacking chair world. Suddenly, bringing a chair on the trail seemed not only doable but rather reasonable. It weighs just 1 pound and packs down to the size of a Nalgene bottle.

It sacrifices a little stability in order to maximize portability but still manages to be very comfortable. The Chair Zero was more popular with our smaller testers, but it does accommodate people up 265 pounds, and our 6-foot tester fit in it just fine. For $20 less you could get REI’s new Flexlite Air Chair. Or, if you don’t mind balancing, save even more on a Monarch Butterfly Chair from Alite.

Weight: 1 lb.
Dimensions: 20.5″ x 18.9″ x 25.2″
Pros: Lightweight, portable
Cons: Expensive, narrower seat

Alite Monarch Butterfly Chair

Were you that kid in school who was always tipping back to balance your chair on two legs? Well then, you’re going to love the Monarch. It has a cult following, packs down to the size of a 1L bottle, and is light enough to take backpacking, paddling, or anywhere you please.

But it’s different than other chairs. It’s designed to balance on two rubber feet, meaning you never get to completely rest in the chair (and certainly won’t be taking a nap in it). This rocking feature is loved by some and hated by others. It’s really a matter of personal preference. That feature aside, though, the chair sets up easily and is a good value.

Weight: 1 lb. 4.8 oz.
Dimensions: 23″ x 21.5″ x 17″
Pros: Lightweight, portable
Cons: Constant balancing, easy to fall over

NEMO Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair

If a hammock and a camp chair had a baby, it would be the Stargaze. This suspended chair allows for rocking on any type of terrain, and the tall back provides full neck support. The cupholder keeps your drink close by, and the padded armrests proved plenty comfortable.

We did find this takes a bit longer to set up than other chairs listed. And some of our testers found it a bit constricting through the shoulders. But if you’re looking for a unique chair and don’t mind making the investment, the Stargaze will serve you well.

Weight: 6 lbs. 5 oz.
Dimensions: 45.5″ x 36″ x 25.5″
Pros: Fun, hammock-chair hybrid
Cons: Expensive, takes longer to set up

Price: $220
Shop Nemo Stargazer

Choosing a Camping Chair

Here are eight factors we used when testing that will help you find the best camping chair.

Type of Use

How will you use the chair? Whether you enjoy car camping, backpacking, soccer game viewing, backyard barbecuing, or some mix of it all, it helps to have a clear idea of how you’ll use your camping chair. It will help you narrow down which of the other factors are most important.

Value

This ties into the above consideration. Are you looking for a chair that works for backpacking? Do you plan to use it once a month, once a week, or every day? These factors will affect price and can determine if it’s worth spending more for a chair that pairs comfort with packability (like the Helinox Zero). Or perhaps a budget pick like Coleman will suit your needs well without emptying the wallet.

Comfort

Nobody wants an uncomfortable camping chair. When considering comfort, we looked at seat-back height, width, materials, and overall design. Comfort varies from person to person and depends a lot on your size, build, and mobility.

Weight and Packed Dimensions

This is paramount if you’re backpacking, semi-important when packing the rig for car camping, and not very important when setting up in the backyard.

Ease of Setup

No one wants to spend 20 minutes fighting to set up their camp chair. Or worse, trying to wrangle it back into its carrying bag. We want to be able to set up and take down the chair without instructions or excessive time dedicated to the task. Of our favorite chairs, the NEMO Stargazer does take a bit more time to set up. But we were able to do it without reading the directions, and the trade-off for the fun, rocking chair feature is worth it.

Height

The height from the ground to the bottom of the seat is an often overlooked, yet extremely important consideration. This dictates not only how bent your legs will be, but also makes a chair easier or more difficult to get out of. In general, those with knee issues or mobility concerns will have an easier time getting out of taller chairs. Consider something like the Coleman Quad Chair or the Helinox Savanna.

Stability

Sitting around the campfire should be a relaxing time. And that means not having to worry about falling out of your chair (especially if you’re enjoying a few campfire cocktails). A wider leg base provides extra stability but often comes at the cost of weight and pack size.

Features

Drink holders, pockets, carrying bags, and more — these extra features may seem inconsequential, but they can really take a camp chair from OK to awesome.

Whether you choose the tiniest camp chair, the cheapest camping chair, or something in between, don’t forget what it’s really all about: getting outside. Throw a fresh log on the fire, pull up a chair, and enjoy an evening under the stars.

Have a favorite camping chair we didn’t include? Let us know in the comments and we’ll check it out for future updates to the article.


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Mallory Paige
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Mallory Paige is a Storyteller and Adventurer. As the creator of the Operation Moto Dog adventure, she spent a year traveling and camping her way across North America on a motorcycle-sidecar with Baylor the Dog, proving you don’t need to be fearless or perfect to live your dreams.
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