outdoor rocking chair

Best Camping Chairs (That Rock)

Filed under: Camping 

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From struts to curves to suspension, here are the best outdoor rocking chairs for enhanced camping relaxation.

Rocker alternatives provide relaxation at the campsite, stow-and-go festival seating, and anchored swinging in the backyard. And in our testing, we found a host of designs that offer different experiences. So it’s likely one will suit you most.

While outdoor rocking chairs still don’t quite fit the niche of “fast and light,” they offer a noticeable comfort upgrade to the standard camp chair. And with more alternatives on the market, there’s probably one that suits your needs.

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Here’s our rundown of the best outdoor rocking chairs.

Helinox Chair Two

outdoor rocking chair

The lightest, lowest-profile, and most portable of the outdoor rocking chairs we tested, the Helinox Chair Two Rocker weighs under 4 pounds and breaks down small enough to go in a narrow storage sack. That said, this is a premium brand, so this minimalist rocker comes with the biggest price tag of the three we tested.

The Helinox Chair Two proved easy to put together, even for those of us who don’t like to read directions. It has a deep seat and high back, which makes it pretty comfortable for a polyester and mesh camp chair.

But 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.

Helinox Chair Two outdoor rocking chair

The Helinox Chair Two Rocker also has some convertible features that come in handy. For example, you can remove the bowed rocker feet if you want something more stationary. And for neck support, you can add an attachable mini headrest, sold separately.

While we liked this chair, we did notice a couple of drawbacks. First, it has a narrow profile without armrests and limited rock-ability. I found myself wondering where to put my arms — squished inside or dangling awkwardly outside the chair. So this probably not a great choice for those with a wide frame.

Also, we couldn’t really get the Helinox rocking as much as we’d like. The geometry of the feet and low stance simply didn’t allow it. Basically, those of average height or above will have their rear resting below their knees and that makes rocking a little awkward. But for the weight and portability, the Helinox Chair Two Rocker adds a little something extra to the standard camp chair.

Pro: Most portable

Con: No armrest

Price: $180

Weight: 3.2 lbs.

GCI Freestyle Rocker

CGI Freestyle outdoor rocking chair

The Freestyle Rocker is certainly a step up and will amp any armchair adventure. While it doesn’t have the high back of the Helinox, it sits much higher off the ground, which allows you to leverage your body and get this chair moving.

With a wide seat base and lightly padded armrests, it’s quite comfortable. There’s also an attached cupholder, a feature you don’t know you’re missing until you’re deep in an active recovery session. Sturdy powered-coated steel makes up the frame. I even left it outside in some Colorado rain and early snow, and it seemed no worse for wear.

outdoor rocking chair

But the Freestyle outdoor rocking chair has one standout feature: hydraulic shocks. This spring-action technology makes it possible to keep pumping even when you’re off camber. This makes for more consistent rocking action even when the terrain is less than level.

Plus, the Freestyle rocking chair folds in half with one swift pull. I’d throw it in the trunk just like that for camping, festivals, tailgating, or watching kids’ sporting events.

The Freestyle also now comes in a road-trip version that has a higher mesh back and a carrying bag, but it’s also a little heavier than its non-road trip cousin.

Pros: Rocking shocks, cupholder

Con: Heavy

Price: $65

Weight: 13 lbs.

ENO Lounger Hanging Chair

eno lounger hanging outdoor rocking chair

If you want to pull out all the stops, the ENO Lounger Hanging Chair is for full-on R&R. Technically, it’s not a rocker: It’s a hanging chair. But with a single anchor point and webbing to modify heights around trees, for example, you could rock close to the ground, pushing with your feet. My favorite position was to hoist it high and elevate my legs on the adjustable leg rest to recover after a long trail run.

The aluminum and nylon lofted lounger comes with a detachable footrest, pockets, a cupholder, and a headrest. But for all that, it’s surprisingly lightweight at just over 3 pounds. Out of the box, it took my son less than a minute to snap together three affixed tension rods, much like the latest tent poles.

While I plan to keep this one in a backyard tree, the ENO Lounger is a nice choice for car camping and some light backpacking. The recline angle is so tranquilizing that people even sleep in these. I found this to be true, and I’m not a napper.

rocking chair leg rest

After hanging the ENO inside from a stair railing, the second I cocooned and took the pressure off my overworked legs, I was nearly lulled to sleep. (There were even fights over who would use the full-body rocker to watch the Broncos game.)

One con I see on the ENO Lounger Hanging Chair is its flimsy, shallow, and awkwardly located attached cupholder. A beer bottle would quickly upend and dump on the floor. And the nonadjustable headrest is an issue. For a smaller body, it was well above head height, which also changes the angle kids can recline in the hanging chair.

Pros: Adjustable leg rest; hammock-like comfort

Cons: Nonfreestanding; flimsy cupholder

Price: $125

Weight: 3.38 lbs.

Of course, there are a variety of outdoor rocking chairs on the market. These three rose above the rest in design and comfort. You’ll have to see what rocks your world best. Looking for more ideas? Check out our rundown of the best camp chairs for car camping and overlanding.

By
Associate editor Julie Kailus has spent a career covering people, places, and products in the outdoor industry. Julie can be found testing the latest and greatest in her favorite activities — trail running, mountain biking, swimming, snowboarding, and the underrated endurance sport of chasing two sons around the mountains.
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