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The Best Backpacking Chairs of 2024

Planning to hit the trails but don’t want to sacrifice comfort at camp? A lightweight, packable backpacking chair might be just what you’re looking for.
A man sits in a backpacking chair at a campsiteA solid backpacking chair is a camp comfort game changer; (photo/Miya Tsudome)
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No matter how cool or comfy a camp chair is, it’s not a backpacking chair unless you can carry it. Striking the right balance between packability and comfort is what a great backpacking chair will aspire to do. Of course, these chairs are versatile, and our testing process reflected just that.

Our lead tester, Miya Tsudome, took these models on camping trips in California, climbing trips into the High Sierra, and tested them at home at backyard grill sessions and hangouts by the local swimming hole. Trail-worn and having earned it, these chairs were the ones that not only survived her testing but thrived during it.

To choose the best backpacking chairs, we researched and ranked 13 different chairs after carefully researching dozens on the market today to handpick the best ones. We evaluated each chair based on features such as comfort, stability, size and weight, ease of setup, and build quality, to help you make the most informed purchasing decision, and find the best backpacking chair for your next outdoor adventure.

If you need help determining your unique needs, check out our comparison chart, buyer’s guide, and FAQ. Otherwise, scroll through our picks for the best backpacking chairs of 2023:

Editor’s Note: We updated our Backpacking Chairs guide on April 4, 2024, to add the Grand Trunk Compass 360° Swivel Stool, a unique take that offers up a spinning motion for those camp multi-taskers out there.

The Best Backpacking Chairs of 2024


Best Overall Backpacking Chair

REI Co-op Flexlite Air Chair

Specs

  • Weight 16 oz.
  • Seat height 11"
  • Weight limit 250 lbs.
  • Packed size 5" x 16”
  • Materials Ripstop nylon and aluminum
Product Badge The Best Backpacking Chairs of 2024

Pros

  • Lightweight at just 1 pound
  • Quick and easy setup
  • Aluminum poles are sturdy and seat securely
  • 11" seat height is about perfect for kicking back or sitting at a table
  • Affordable pricing

Cons

  • Narrow legs make it feel slightly unstable
  • Back support isn't the best out there
Best Budget Backpacking Chair

Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 Chair

Specs

  • Weight 1 lb., 5.9 oz.
  • Weight Limit 250 lbs.
  • Packed Size 4 x 33”
  • Materials 210-denier coated ripstop nylon, carbon fiber stays
The Best Backpacking Chairs of 2024

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Highly packable and easily transportable
  • Easy setup
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Low height — requires you to sit directly on the ground
Runner-Up Best Backpacking Chair

Helinox Ground Chair

Specs

  • Weight 1 lb., 4.8 oz.
  • Weight Limit 240 lbs.
  • Packed Size 12 x 4 x 4”
  • Materials Ripstop polyester, aluminum
The Best Backpacking Chairs of 2024

Pros

  • Square-base design increases stability
  • Made of high-quality materials

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Low to the ground, might be uncomfortable for taller folks
Most Sustainable Backpacking Chair

Big Agnes Mica Basin Chair

Specs

  • Weight 2 lbs., 3 oz.
  • Weight Limit 300 lbs.
  • Packed Size 3.5 x 17.5”
  • Materials Lightweight 100D Robic nylon with 300D polyester ripstop, aluminum
The Best Backpacking Chairs of 2024

Pros

  • Color-coded frame for easy setup
  • Pre-bent poles help create stability and support the wider seat
  • Made by a sustainability-conscious company

Cons

  • A bit heavy for backpacking
Best Chair for Ultralight Backpacking

Therm-a-Rest Z Seat

Specs

  • Weight 2 oz.
  • Weight Limit None
  • Packed Size 12 x 2.5 x 2.75”
  • Materials Cross-linked polyethylene
The Best Backpacking Chairs of 2024

Pros

  • Ultralight and packable
  • Multiple uses make it a great choice for backpacking

Cons

  • Not as comfortable as a true backpacking chair (it's a slab of foam)
  • No back support
Most Versatile Backpacking Chair

NEMO Moonlite Reclining Camp Chair

Specs

  • Weight 1 lb., 14 oz.
  • Weight Limit 300 lbs.
  • Packed Size 4" x 14”
  • Materials 100% PCR polyester, Bluesign-approved mesh, forged aluminum hubs, 7001 aluminum frame
The Best Backpacking Chairs of 2024

Pros

  • Adjustable straps allow you to sit up or recline
  • All-mesh seat is more comfortable and breathable
  • High-quality materials

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Expensive
Best of the Rest

REI Co-op Flexlite Camp Boss Chair

Specs

  • Weight 2 lbs., 14 oz.
  • Weight Limit 300 lbs.
  • Packed Size 6 x 18”
  • Materials Ripstop polyester, aluminum
The Best Backpacking Chairs of 2024

Pros

  • Wide, comfortable seat
  • High weight capacity

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Bulkier than other backpacking chairs

Grand Trunk Compass 360° Swivel Stool

Specs

  • Weight 1 lb.
  • Weight Limit 330 lbs.
  • Packed Size 11” x 3”
  • Materials 450D polyester, 7000 series aluminum frame
The Best Backpacking Chairs of 2024

Pros

  • Ultralight
  • Easy Setup
  • Swivel
  • High weight capacity
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • No back support

Helinox Chair One

Specs

  • Weight 2 lbs.
  • Weight Limit 320 lbs.
  • Packed Size 3.5 x 13.5 x 4.5”
  • Materials Nylon, mesh, aluminum
The Best Backpacking Chairs of 2024

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Packs small
  • Sturdy weight capacity

Cons

  • Heavier than other chairs

Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair

Specs

  • Weight 10 oz.
  • Weight Limit 300 lbs. (tested with a NeoAir sleeping pad)
  • Packed Size 4 x 20”
  • Materials 75D ripstop polyester, fiberglass stays
The Best Backpacking Chairs of 2024

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to pack
  • Makes a chair out of your already-packed sleeping pad

Cons

  • Designed to be used with Therm-a-Rest NeoAir sleeping pads but some have been able to configure with other pads as well

Helinox Chair Zero

Specs

  • Weight 1 lbs., 2 oz.
  • Weight Limit 265 lbs.
  • Packed Size 13.8 x 3.9 x 3.9”
  • Materials Ripstop polyester, aluminum
The Best Backpacking Chairs of 2024

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Packs down to the size of a 32 oz. nalgene
  • Made of high-quality materials

Cons

  • Low to the ground, some may desire a higher seat

ALPS Mountaineering Dash Chair

Specs

  • Weight 3 lbs., 2 oz.
  • Weight Limit 250 lbs.
  • Packed Size 17.5 x 6 x 4”
  • Materials 420D honeycomb ripstop polyester, aluminum
The Best Backpacking Chairs of 2024

Pros

  • Made of durable materials
  • Comfortable and tall

Cons

  • Heavy and a bit bulky to take backpacking

Big Agnes Skyline UL Chair

Specs

  • Weight 1 lb., 12 oz.
  • Weight Limit 275 lbs.
  • Packed Size 3.5 x 3.5 x 17”
  • Materials Ultralight nylon ripstop, aircraft aluminum
The Best Backpacking Chairs of 2024

Pros

  • Prebent poles and wide base make for a large, comfortable seat
  • Supportive
  • Made of durable materials

Cons

  • A bit bulkier than other chairs in our lineup

Backpacking Chairs Comparison Chart

Backpacking ChairPriceWeightWeight LimitPacked SizeMaterials
REI Co-op Flexlite Air Chair$1001 lb.250 lbs.5 x 16″Ripstop nylon and aluminum
Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 Chair$651 lb., 5.9 oz.250 lbs.4 x 33″210-denier coated ripstop nylon, carbon fiber stays
Helinox Ground Chair$1301 lb., 4.8 oz.240 lbs.12 x 4 x 4″Ripstop polyester, aluminum
Big Agnes Mica Chair$1502 lbs., 3 oz.300 lbs.3.5 x 17.5”Lightweight 100d Robic nylon with 300D polyester ripstop, aluminum
Therm-a-Rest Z Seat$332 oz.None12 x 2.5 x 2.75”Cross-linked polyethylene
NEMO Moonlite Reclining Camp Chair$1601 lb., 14 oz.300 lbs.4 x 14”100% PCR polyester, bluesign-approved mesh, forged aluminum hubs, 7001 aluminum frame
REI Co-op Flexlite Camp Boss Chair$902 lbs., 14 oz.300 lbs.6 x 18”Ripstop polyester, aluminum
Grand Trunk Compass 360° Swivel Stool
$701 lb.330 lbs.11” x 3”450D polyester, 7000 series aluminum frame
Helinox Chair One$1102 lbs.320 lbs.3.5 x 13.5 x 4.5”Nylon, mesh, aluminum
Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair$65-7010 oz.300 lbs.4 x 20”75D ripstop polyester, fiberglass stays
Helinox Chair Zero$1501 lb., 2 oz.265 lbs.13.8 x 3.9 x 3.9”Ripstop polyester, aluminum
ALPS Mountaineering Dash Chair$1203 lbs., 2 oz.250 lbs.17.5 x 6 x 4”420D honeycomb ripstop polyester, aluminum
Big Agnes Skyline UL Chair$1501 lb., 12 oz.275 lbs.3.5 x 3.5 x 17”Ultralight nylon ripstop, aircraft aluminum
A solid backpacking chair can immediately boost camping comfort; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

How We Tested Backpacking Chairs

Our expert gear testers have been reviewing backpacking chairs for this guide since August 2020, meticulously researching dozens of the best chairs on the market to keep this review up to date several times a year. 

Miya Tsudome is one of the primary gear testers for this review. Combining over a decade of backpacking experience with years of authoring gear reviews, she’s well-suited to help you make the most informed purchasing decision for your backpacking chair needs.

Living in Bishop, Calif., on the flanks of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Miya spends most of her summers backpacking out to alpine climbing objectives, and knows how nice it is to have a comfortable seat to lounge in at the end of a long hiking day, but knows that finding a chair that won’t be cumbersome to pack is also crucial. 

She and the other testers on this review spent several weeks in the spring, summer, and fall months with each of these chairs. Some chairs traveled all the way out to basecamp beneath the Incredible Hulk, a popular alpine climbing objective in the Sierra Nevada mountains, or to camping trips in Sequoia Kings National Park, and even came along on road trips to southeast Utah. 

Our testers assessed the comfort, stability, ease of setup, packability, and more for all 14 chairs in this lineup. Making notes about these metrics on every outing allowed us to build an objective and informative review, with data collected from first-hand experiences. 

We hope this information will help you wade through the plethora of chairs on the market to find the best backpacking chair for you.

A man sits down into a NEMO backpacking chair
Climbing, camping, backpacking, and backyard lounging — a lightweight backpacking chair offers unique luxury in the midst of an adventure; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Backpacking Chair

Kicking back after a long day of hiking is one of our favorite things (up there with finally hitting the sack for some shuteye), and while any old stump will suffice, a true backpacking chair adds a certain civility to relaxing at camp — and at minimal pack weight. But finding the best backpacking chair isn’t as easy as snagging one in your favorite color. There are a few factors to consider.

Below we’ve broken down the decision process, from the big deals (comfort and support) to the less-so (patterns, etc) to help you narrow in on your next camp throne.

Comfort and Back Support

The Helinox Ground Chair sits low to the ground, allowing you to stretch out and lean back comfortably; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

Although you might want a chair that is light and small enough to pack on your backpacking trips, it’s nice to find one that doesn’t skimp on comfort or back support if you’re looking to lounge at the end of a long hiking day.

The REI Co-op Flexlite Air Chair provides the perfect amount of comfort and back support along with its light weight, which is why it’s our top pick. With an 11-inch seat height, your back is well supported when you settle into the chair, allowing you to lean back without feeling unstable.

The Helinox Ground Chair, Chair One, and Chair Zero all have similar seat heights and durable, supportive fabrics in their large bucket seats — making them all comfortable models.

Although the Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 chair doesn’t have the rigid legs or structure of a typical camping chair, this model is remarkably comfortable. Because you have the ability to adjust the straps, you’re able to configure the angle of the back support just how you like it, and we loved being able to lean back with the full support of the chair cradling our bodies.

A man lounges in a backpacking chair at camp
Backpacking chairs need to be lightweight and packable to earn a spot in your pack; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

Taking the concept of the Crazy Creek even further is the Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair, which allows you to insert your sleeping pad into the chair design to create the plushest seat out of all the ones we reviewed. The only downside is you must have a compatible sleeping pad in addition to the chair.

A chair in our lineup that scores among the highest in comfort and back support is the NEMO Moonlite. With adjustable straps, this chair can be cinched up when you want to sit up straight, and reclined when you want to kick back and relax. Its all-mesh seat construction also conforms well to your body for ultimate comfort.

Lower on the general comfort list are the chairs without any back support at all. This includes the Therm-a-Rest Z Seat and the Grand Trunk Compass 360° Swivel Stool. These chairs are made for more practical use instead of long-term lounging, and are also lighter than traditional camp chairs as a result, which may be desirable for some folks.

Stability

The square-shaped base of the Helinox Ground chair makes it stable across many surfaces; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

Because these backpacking chairs will likely be used on varying terrain, stability is an important feature to consider when making your purchasing decision. Our runner-up chair, the Helinox Ground Chair, is a great choice in this regard, with its low-to-the-ground, square-shaped base.

This unique design feature distributes weight more evenly across the ground, making it less likely you’ll tip over on uneven terrain. It is also lower to the ground than other backpacking chairs in our lineup, making it even more stable.

Other chairs that rank high in the stability category are the Crazy Creek Hex 2.0, the Therm-a-Rest Z Seat, and the Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair. Since none of these chairs have legs and all are seats that are placed directly on the ground, there’s little to no chance they will tip over, and they easily can be used in sand, on rocks, on slopes, or snow.

Size and Weight

Therm-a-Rest’s Z Seat disappears in your pack and weighs next to nothing; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

Backpacking chairs are not really an “essential” backpacking item, but they sure can make your camping experience much more comfortable. Still, size and weight are important things to consider when choosing a chair to purchase. You want to be sure the chair won’t be too bulky to fit in your backpacking backpack and that it’s light enough to justify bringing along.

The Therm-a-Rest Z Seat is without a doubt the lightest and most compact “chair” in our lineup. Weighing in at a mere 2 ounces and folding up accordion-style into a size barely wider than a Nalgene bottle, this seat can easily fit in your pack without adding bulk or weight. It’s definitely the best choice for ultralight backpackers who aren’t looking for a chair but a nice seating pad to keep your bum warm at camp.

The Grand Trunk Compass 360° Swivel Stool comes in at a close second, weighing in at 16 ounces and also folding up into a compact cylinder that can be stowed easily in one of the outside pockets of your pack.

Many backpacking chairs come with their own stuff sacks, and are put together easily by attaching their frames to their fabric seats; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

Both of these chairs are the lightest but also lack back support. If you want a lightweight, packable chair that is actually a proper “chair,” the lightest one is our category winner, the REI Co-op Flexlite Air. Weighing in at only a pound and folding up into a small 5×16-inch package, this chair is a great choice for those who are conscious about weight but don’t want to sacrifice back support.

The Helinox Ground Chair and Chair Zero are also good bets, weighing in at 1 pound, 4.8 ounces and 1 pound, 2 ounces, respectively, and both pack up into a small size.

Lastly, the Crazy Creek is also a great compromise between being lightweight and packable (but without sacrificing back support). It comes in at a lightweight 1 pound, 5 ounces and is a more comfortable folding chair overall, making it our preferred choice of chairs in this design category.

Ease of Setup

Attaching the fabric seat to its frame is a breeze with the REI Flexlite Air; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

Every backpacking chair we reviewed has relatively simple setups, allowing you to get from pounding the trail to lounging at camp as quickly and painlessly as possible. Some chairs are noticeably easier to set up than others, however, which we will discuss in this section.

Indisputably the simplest chair in the lineup is the Therm-a-Rest Z Seat. Since it’s just a small, insulated pad, it folds up accordion-style and can be dispatched as quickly as removing the attached rubber band holding it together, opening it up, and sitting down.

The second easiest to set up is the Grand Trunk Compass 360° Swivel Stool. Simply extend and twist the legs open, and the stool is ready to use.

The Crazy Creek is also a breeze to set up but takes a second to adjust. You’ll want to open up these folding seats and sit inside of them while adjusting their side straps for the most comfortable fit and to find your preferred angle.

The rest of the chairs in our review follow the standard camping chair setup: unfold the chair legs and connect them into all their joints to make the frame, then simply stretch the seat fabric and install their corners into the designated chair legs. This takes a minute or two, tops.

Backpacking Chair vs. Camping Chair

The Big Agnes Mica Basin chair is a bit larger and heavier than other chairs in our review, making it a good choice for camping rather than backpacking; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

This comprehensive review specifically covers the best backpacking chairs, which might make some of you wonder what the difference is from camping chairs. This is an important distinction to make.

To qualify as a backpacking chair, these seats must be lightweight, pack down to a relatively small and portable size, and simple to set up. When going on a backpacking trip, whether it’s overnight or a multiday trek, space in your pack and weight matter. All of the chairs in our review (besides the Coleman Quad) pack down to a size that will fit into or on the outside of a backpacking pack.

If you do a lot of car camping, however, which means you’re driving up to a campsite and carrying all of your gear in your car, you might want to consider buying a camp chair instead. These types of chairs will typically be bigger and more comfortable, with taller backs for support, and sometimes accessories like cup holders or extra cushioning in the seat or backrest.

The REI Co-op Skyward Chair is a great example. It simply folds open and closed, making it a breeze to grab out of the tailgate and pop open by the fire.

Different Types of Backpacking Chairs

The REI Flexlite Air is a classic backpacking chair, but chairs these days can be very varied in their designs; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

While they may seem like a relatively simple purchase, backpacking chairs actually come in many different shapes and sizes. The most common type is the two-piece, legs plus fabric bucket seat chair. The REI Co-op Flexlite Air, Helinox Ground, Chair One, and Chair Zero, ALPS Mountaineering Dash Chair, and Big Agnes Skyline UL Chair are all of this design, with collapsible legs and a fabric seat that can be rolled up and packed into your backpack.

Other types of chairs you can find for backpacking are stools, like the Grand Trunk Compass 360° Swivel Stool, or foldable chairs like the Crazy Creek. Stools can be great to have on a fishing or river trip, and foldable chairs are a great ultralight option for lounging at camp after a long day of hiking without carrying too much weight or bulk.

The most unique style of backpacking chair we’ve come across is the Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair, which uses your sleeping pad to make a plush, comfortable camp seat. While it requires you to have a compatible sleeping pad, it utilizes something that’s already in your pack to create a chair, which we really like. Plus you can use it without the pad as a foldable seat, making it a versatile option.

Lastly is the ground pad style seat, like the Therm-a-Rest Z Seat. While it may not look like much, this insulated pad is also versatile and so light it’s hard not to pack. The difference between sitting on the cold ground and having an insulated piece of foam underneath you is night and day, and you can also use it as extra cushioning underneath your sleeping pad or to extend it if you have a three-quarter-length pad.

It’s worth taking a moment to think about how you will most likely utilize your chair before deciding which will be the best backpacking chair for your needs.

Build Quality

A comfy and solid backpacking chair makes early morning hangs much better; (photo/Honey McNaughton)

Backpacking chairs come in all shapes and sizes and are made with different materials that affect their overall build quality. Helinox is high on the list in terms of the quality of materials in its chairs, with its lightweight, aluminum leg poles and ripstop polyester seats. The REI Co-op Flexlite Air and Flexlite Camp Boss are made with the same materials, ensuring their light weight is met with a high-quality design.

Big Agnes is a company that doesn’t skimp on quality either and is known for top-shelf tents and sleeping bags. The company’s chair game is no different. The Mica Basin and Skyline UL are made with what Big Agnes calls “aircraft aluminum pole systems,” and the proprietary high-tenacity Robic nylon with polyester ripstop ensures durability.

While the Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 may look like a simple chair, it’s made with 8mm high-density cored EVA closed-cell foam which provides insulation and has a durable outer shell made with 210D coated ripstop nylon for abrasion-resistance and weatherproofing. The carbon fiber stays within the folded seat are remarkably strong and ensure you’ll have a chair that lasts trip after trip.

The Mica Basin and Flexlite Camp Boss are made with quality materials and have easy set-ups; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

FAQ

What is the best backpacking chair?

Finding the best backpacking chair has to do with your threshold of comfort and how much you’re willing to carry. If weight isn’t your primary concern and you will only be hiking for a short amount of time, hauling something like the Big Agnes Mica would be a great option, as it packs a lot of comfort into a relatively small package.

If ultralight minimalism is key, however, you may want to stick with the bare-bones, no-frills Therm-a-Rest Z Seat, a simple square of foam that will disappear in your pack. It totally depends on personal preference.

That said, not all backpacking chairs are equal. Some are definitely higher quality than others, and it’s important to consider the durability and dependability of anything you take into the backcountry. Everything in this guide has been tested by adventurers who know what to look for in solid, reliable gear, and you can trust their honest opinion.

What is a backpacking chair?

Backpacking chairs offer the ultimate level of backcountry comfort. There’s nothing quite like sitting in an actual chair around the fire after a grueling hike instead of getting sap all over your shorts and leaning against a knobby tree. Comfort almost always comes at the cost of weight, though, which backpackers are always trying to whittle down.

A backpacking chair should strike an appropriate balance between comfort, weight, and bulk. If you don’t feel comfortable carrying it for miles on your back, it won’t be worth the reward you get at the end of the day.

Backpacking chairs should be able to pack up small enough to fit easily inside, or strap to the outside, of your pack.

What is the lightest backpacking chair?

While the lightest backpacking “chair” we have on this list is the Therm-a-Rest Z Seat, this really doesn’t offer much support and comfort. The lightest product we’d classify as more of a classic “chair” we reviewed is the REI Co-op Flexlite Air Chair, coming in at around a pound.

What is the difference between a backpacking chair and a camping chair?

Camping chairs, in general, don’t pack down as small and are quite bulky but do offer a good deal of comfort. To qualify for this list, each backpacking chair must be lightweight, pack down to a relatively small and portable size, and be simple to set up.

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