woman sitting in REI Flexlite chair
Photo credit: REI

The Best Backpacking Chairs of 2021

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 researched 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.

This article focuses specifically on lightweight backpacking chairs. If you’re looking for more, we have a separate guide on the best camping chairs.

Scroll through our picks for the best backpacking chairs of 2021, or jump to a category below:

The Best Backpacking Chairs of 2021

Best Overall: REI Flexlite Air Chair

REI flexlite air

At only a pound, this camp chair ($100) 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 to your pack, the Flexlite Air Chair is a great option.

  • Weight: 1 lb.
  • Weight Limit: 250 lbs.

Check Price at REI

Runner-Up: Helinox Ground Chair

helinox ground chair 2020

Helinox redesigned its popular ground chair, and we loved testing it. Under 1.5 pounds, the new Ground Chair ($110) is slightly lighter than the previous model.

The Ground Chair has DAC aluminum-alloy poles and a 240-pound weight capacity. And, of course, its hallmark square-base design 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 while 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. However, larger folks and those with longer legs might find this chair a bit uncomfortable.

Why Choose This Chair?

If you don’t mind spending a bit more for a sturdier and more durable option, pick this one up. (And if you don’t mind being close to the ground.)

  • Weight: 1 lb. 4.8 oz.
  • Weight Limit: 240 lbs.

Check Price at REICheck Price at Amazon

Best Budget: Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 Chair 

crazy creek hex 2.0 chair

For those looking for an even more packable, ultralight option, you can’t beat Crazy Creek ($58). 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 2.0 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: 21.9 oz.
  • Weight Limit: 250 lbs.

Check Price at NRSCheck Price at Crazy Creek

Most Sustainable: Big Agnes Mica Chair 

two nature prints of the big agnes mica camp chairs

We scoured the internet for chairs made with recycled materials or that were USA-made, and … couldn’t find many. And the ones we did find weren’t designed for backpacking. However, one chair does fit the bill — Big Agnes’ Mica Chair ($129).

Big Agnes built its Mica with a hubless joint design, meaning there’s just aluminum (infinitely recyclable) and no plastic in the structure. It also uses high-tenacity yarn for increased durability, while keeping weight low. And this chair doesn’t use any EVA foam, which can release harmful VOCs into the environment.

Big Agnes also incorporated a giveback component this year, donating a portion of the proceeds from its new prints back to the Continental Divide Coalition and the Yampa River Fund.

Why Choose This Chair?

If you are looking for a lightweight chair with a lighter footprint, the Mica Chair is the answer.

  • Weight: 2 lbs. 3 oz.
  • Weight Limit: 300 lbs.

Check Price at EvoCheck Price at Amazon

Best of the Rest

REI Flash Trail Seat

REI Flash Trail Seat

REI’s seat-pad style chair ($45) comes at a great price and great weight, but it 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 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 padded 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

Hillsound btr stool

I’ve loved testing and using this camp stool ($55) since we received a sample at Outdoor Retailer two years ago. 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. It is always worth carrying, and sometimes I forget it’s even in my pack.

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 only 12.2 ounces and comes in two sizes.

  • Weight: 12.2 oz.
  • Weight Limit: 240 lbs.

Check Price at Amazon

Helinox Chair One

helinox chair one

The Helinox Chair One ($100) 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 and made with lightweight materials, and it’s less than 14 inches tall when packed.

However, the Chair One has legs and thicker fabric, 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?

Consider this chair if you are looking for a more traditional chair style (higher off the ground with a back), want a sturdier weight capacity, and don’t care too much about weight.

  • Weight: 2 lbs.
  • Weight Limit: 320 lbs.

Check Price at REICheck Price at Backcountry

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Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair

Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair

This newer chair ($40-50) 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. Its tension straps 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.

Check Price at BackcountryCheck Price at Therm-a-Rest

ALPS Mountaineering Dash Chair

ALPS Mountaineering Dash Chair

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

The Dash Chair ($80) — the lightest chair in the brand’s camp furniture lineup — has an aluminum frame and a burly 420-denier ripstop fabric. It also comes with a carry bag.

Its seat back height is on the taller side at 27 inches. We didn’t like the joints and frame configuration as much as other chairs on this list, but once set up, it’s comfy.

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 at AmazonCheck Price at Walmart

The Best Base Camp Chairs

While this didn’t make the cut for backpacking ( It doesn’t meet our weight requirement), It’s still one of our favorites from base camp to trailhead and lots of places in between.

Coleman Quad Camping Chair

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 a more upright back.

Why Buy This Chair?

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.

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Check out more of our camp chair recommendations here.


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