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REI Co-op Skyward Chair Review: The Best Seat in the House

When all you want is a comfortable and dependable camping chair, look no farther than the Skyward from REI Co-Op.

REI Co-op Skyward Chair Beside a Campfire(Photo/Miya Tsudome)
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Scrolling through all the modern iterations of camping chairs can get overwhelming. Padding or no padding? Go for the cupholders or go without to cut weight? Low chairs, rocking chairs, high seat backs, extra pockets, straps, or handles — the variations are endless. 

REI Co-op has reliably made its own straightforward, affordable versions of many camping essentials over the years. I tested the latest Skyward Chair over the course of a few weeks, taking it from backyard hanging to lounging at a campsite. 

In short: Comfortable, durable, and lightweight — the Co-op does it again. Everything we’re looking for in a camping chair, the REI Skyward chair has in spades, which makes it a great choice that’s sure to meet your needs on your next overnight.

REI Co-op Skyward Chair


  • Weight 7 lbs.
  • Dimensions 34.25" x 24.75" x 24.5"
  • Cupholders One pear-shaped cupholder for a variety of beverage containers
  • Pockets One smaller mesh drawstring pocket for small items
  • Weight capacity 300 lbs.


  • Simple, lightweight design
  • Made primarily of mesh for easy cleanup and breathability
  • Comes with a shoulder bag for easy transport


  • Mesh could cause concerns for long-term durability
  • Not a tall seat height for ultimate lounging

REI Co-op Skyward Chair Review

A Man Sits in the REI Co-op Skyward Chair Enjoying a Tasty Beverage
Kick back, the REI Co-op Skyward has got you covered; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

Simple Design, Simple Living

Although it’s a fairly basic camping chair, the Skyward does have some notable features that make it stand out from some of the cheaper models on the market. Its seat back and bottom are crafted entirely of mesh, making it one of the most breathable chairs I’ve tested to date.

This is particularly good for relaxing on warm summer nights, although it can make you a bit chilly in the colder months —especially if there is a breeze, as I experienced during my testing time. Having a chair made predominantly of mesh is also nice because it drains and dries quickly when it gets wet, making this chair a great choice for river or lakeside camping.

X-shaped webbing is integrated into the seat, allowing for optimized weight distribution. The Skyward sports a cup holder integrated into the right armrest, as well as a dropdown cinchable pocket under the left armrest for keeping your essentials like a phone and keys secured. And at the bottom of the chair, four study square feet plant to provide all the security I was looking for, be it in dirt, sand, or forest duff.

With burly, steel-constructed legs, and hearty polyester/nylon mesh fabric, this chair seems like it will stand up to the elements and the test of time. With a seat made predominantly of mesh, however, there is always the concern for rips and tears in the more delicate fabric, and this could reduce the durability of the chair overall. I didn’t notice any stress or strain during my lounging, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

REI Co-op Skyward Chair Pocket in Use
The hanging drawstring pocket makes an excellent garage to park our keys or phone; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

Ready to Kick Back

Weighing in at 7 pounds, the Skyward is a moderately portable camping chair. It folds up quickly and easily and comes with a stuff sack with a shoulder strap, which is a welcome feature for easy transport and gives the chair added protection on the go. I took it from backyard to campground, and let different-size friends take turns sitting in it, and it suited them all just fine. 

When it comes to storage, the Skyward has it dialed. On the right armrest is a pear-shaped cupholder that I found to accommodate just about any beverage container, from cans in coozies to insulated coffee thermoses with handles. On the left armrest, a mesh drawstring pocket swallows up keys or your phone and can be tucked away beneath the arm using the integrated hook and loop.

Some may notice that the Skyward closely resembles REI’s Camp X Chair, and they would be correct. The Skyward is replacing the Camp X as the newest iteration of the classic and is part of the Skyward series of camping equipment. Although there are no real noticeable differences between the two models other than the name, it goes to show that REI doesn’t have to mess much with its tried-and-true design.

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REI Co-op Skyward Chair: Conclusion

This no-frills camping chair didn’t draw as much attention from friends on camping trips as the REI Wonderland chair I recently tested, which is a noticeably more design-driven chair. But what I liked about the Skyward as I threw it in my truck for an overnight camping trip was how I didn’t have to worry about banging it up or getting it dirty. This is a tough chair.

Those who want a more aesthetically pleasing chair that looks as good sitting in their backyard as it does on a camping trip might want to splurge on something else, like the YETI Trailhead. But if you want a comfortable, basic camp chair that’s sturdy and easy to transport, look no farther than the trusty Skyward.

Miya Tsudome

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