When you think about portable folding chairs, these types of chairs are just okay for camping. You need something that’s durable and will take your weight (or that of other members of the family) without breaking on you. Many cheaper no-brand models will collapse pretty fast and won’t be comfortable either. The best camping chair has some rigidity when it’s setup ready to fit on. As long as it’s positioned on even ground, it stands up on its own four legs (quite literally) and doesn’t let you down. A lightweight folding chair is okay for something basic, but they’re not going to be that great for long camping trips and situations where the chair was mistakenly left out when it rained. Let’s look at the best camping chairs now, so we can understand the differences between them and which will work best for you. Just complete your kit here with camping tents.
Our Top 10 Camping Chairs Are:
Coleman Oversized Quad Chair with Cooler
The Coleman Oversized Quad Chair with Cooler is offered in four colors (brown, red, blue and a mixture of grey and black). As a camping chair, it’s hard to go wrong with the Coleman brand (other camping gear too for that matter). It has a seriously padded seat that’s comfortable from the front to the back. The polyester-covered back also comes up higher than some other models and has raised padding running around the sides and to the headrest at the back.While the best folding chairs that are sold inexpensively in big-box retailers, the problem is they’re flimsy and will let you down at the worst time. Depending on how much you weigh, a fall to the ground if they collapse on you could cause bodily injury, so spending up for a respected camping brand is worth paying something extra. The steel frame is what holds this chair together. It’s robust enough, but it will rust over time when left out in the rain or getting damp. But for the affordable price, it’s tough to ask for a different material. The big selling points other than comfort with the Over sized Quad is the built-in cooler which stores quite a bit without needing to go back to the tent to find more cans from the ice box. The weight of 9 pounds, 14 ounces is reasonable, and it carries someone up to 300 pounds.
ALPS Mountaineering King Kong
The ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Chair is sold in a Khaki color scheme that’s bound to fit into your camping gear colors because it’s inoffensive. The King Kong is aptly named because it has a steel frame that’s been powder-coated to protect against the element which is a generous width.The 600-denier polyester fabric is thick enough that you know it won’t wear through if you take care of it. However, the major boon here is the 800-pound carrying capacity, so campers of any size can fit into this chair. Quite possibly, a lighter couple could pile on and it wouldn’t collapse. That’s quite a feat. The price you pay for the robustness of the material, better steel frame and increased carrying capacity is the 13-pound weight and a higher price point. There’s two arm rests that can adjust. There’s a cup holder on both sides and a convenient side pocket possibly to hold stacks too? The carry bag provided fits over the shoulder nicely and allows the chair to be transported separately while being protected from scratches and dents.
Big AgnesHelinox – Chair Zero
The Big Agnes HelinoxChair Zero is an odd-looking thing. It weighs a svelte 1 pound, 1 ounce which is a big selling point. The structure of the chair uses DAC (aluminum) which is found most commonly with the lighter tents for backpackers. It holds up well under different conditions. There is a shock-cord design approach that lets the seat pack down very small when it’s not needed.There is no cup holder or attached bag to keep items nearby; it’s minimalism all the way here. The seating position is upright and not leaning slightly back as with most other camping chairs; this won’t be to everyone’s liking. The chair isn’t as comfortable as a regular camping chair. You do sacrifice some comfort for both compactness and being substantially lighter. However, for people who want a small chair to take in their backpack, this is a contender for sure.
Kijaro Dual Lock
The Kijaro Dual Lock Chair is a good-looking camping chair that weighs a typical 9 pounds, 8 ounces. It is large, has a high back and has convenient armrests on either side with a shallow cup holder in each. An organizer is also provided with a mesh pocket and a zip. The seat is actually higher (20-inches off the ground) than many other camping chairs, so if you’re wanting to sit a little taller, then this will suit you more.The folding mechanism locks into place when closed but also crucially when opened up too, so you don’t worry about falling down. It has a 300-pound weight capacity which won’t rival that of the King Kong, but will handle most men and women comfortably. There are 11 different color schemes provided that the marketing team had fun coming up with (Cayman Blue Iguana, Maldives Blue, et al). The design is nicely done and uses a mesh at the back for extra breath ability that will be most welcome in hotter camping locations. Given the features you get, the price is very competitive for the Kijaro Dual Lock Chair too.
GCI Outdoor Wilderness Recliner
The GCI Outdoor Wilderness Recliner looks very much like the camping chairs you sat in as a child. It doesn’t have a modern design in that sense, but it’s a reliable, feature packed camping chair that reclines. Nice!The chair weighs only 7 pounds, 8 ounces making it one of the lighter ones despite the wooden armrests. There’s an adjustment system to tweak the seat. When it reclines, a fabric footrest moves up with the frame at the lower front, so it works like a home recliner seat does. The back support is decent, but it’s best at the center and lumbar areas and not so much at the shoulders or neck. The chair folds up and can be carried directly using a strap provided. It does support up to 300 pounds carrying weight. It comes in two color choices which are both on the darker, discrete side of the color spectrum. The chair doesn’t fold up as small as some others, but it’s striking a delicate balance between robustness, portability, arm support, back support and as a camping recliner. Tough balancing act which is manages pretty well.
The Therm-a-Rest UNO Chair is a lightweight option that weighs just 2 pounds, 3 ounces making it one of the lightest choices. This is partly thanks to the aluminum poles (6,000 series) used. For value added, it can also be upturned and used as a small table too. The chair is useful for backpackers and also campers at a push and it comes in a choice of 5 vibrant colors. You’re pretty low to the ground with this chair, so if you’re tall, then you’ll probably want a different option. Rather than use legs for a frame, the chair has a round disc and then has four legs that attach to the left and right front and to two points at the back.The chair won’t fit directly into a bag despite it’s small size which is a shame. Perhaps its best use is an impromptu chair at a long outdoor music concert or for sitting out for short periods when taking time out from driving. As a camping chair, it’s a bit of a stretch. It does come with a handle to carry it directly when it’s folded up, so it can be carried to the spot at the concert where you want to setup. The pricing is the tricky part. The chair isn’t cheap at all because of the aluminum used. It makes a bit of a fashion statement with it’s bright colors and unusual design too. It has specific uses, but probably a more limited one for camping. For serious long-stay camping, we’d look elsewhere despite the robustness of the aluminum used in the frame.
ENO Eagles Nest Outfitters – Lounger DL
The ENO Lounger DL Camping Chair looks space age in its design. The material is undeniable rip stop nylon (210-denier) which is unlikely to let you down. It weighs only 4 pounds, 10 ounces making it a low weight for the more padded camping chairs in the category.The chair itself is comfortable (almost like lying on a hammock) and adjustable. The headrest is raised significantly for a plusher feeling when laying your head back. The design reclines nicely, but there’s no footrest sadly. It does have a drinks holder, but it’s not really well design and is flimsy, so it’s finickity to use. Two of the tri-leg setup are adjustable for length. The chair will support up to 250 pounds which falls short of most of the reviewed models that can handle more. You sit 10 inches from the ground which is low-ish but it’s adjustable somewhat. The one thing that gets difficult to swallow is the price which is on the high end.
The Helinox Swivel Chair is a single size seating option that comes in a choice of two colors with the frame one color and the seating area darker. The chair is designed very upright and the framed legs are also that way. The weight is 2 pounds, 8 ounces which is light.The chair is stable even though it looks less than at first glance. There’s no cup holder or other niceties. It has two vents on either side of the back to let in some air flow which is useful. The carry capacity is an exact 264.4 pounds; someone’s clearly done some testing! It falls short of the 300-pound carrying limit on most of the other chairs. The major selling point with this chair is that is has a sturdy swivel base that allows you to turn around to face the person talking or someone walking toward you from behind at a camp site. From a security standpoint, this feature has a lot going for it. The downside is the astounding price point.
Alps Mountaineering Rendezvous
The Alps Mountaineering Rendezvous Chair is a curious one. The chair sits so low to the ground, your only choice is to either cross your legs or stretch them out in front of you which could potentially trip other campers up. The chair itself weight 6 pounds, 13 ounces, so it’s got some heft to it for sure.The frame is steel and powder-coated to protect from the elements. The fabric is 600-denier nylon, with a mesh rear seating area and back to vent warm air. It returns to fabric at the top to rest your head more comfortably but there’s no discernable headrest. There’s no cup holders either because the design simply doesn’t allow it. There are plastic feet on all four corners of the folding frame that touches the ground to prevent the chair moving around on slippery surfaces. The size does fold down neatly, and it carries 300 pounds which is surprising given its low height.
GCI Outdoor Quik-E-Seat
The GCI Outdoor Quik-E-Seat is another oddity. It is designed with a triangular shape from the lower frame to the seat too. You end up pretty much sitting astride the seat itself with your legs going out on either side with the point seat at the end between you. The product weighs 4 pounds, 4 ounces.There’s a cup holder that’s most like the holders you get at the side of a daypacks than a traditional cup holder, but it functions just fine. The frame is made from steel and there’s black feet to keep the chair in place (we’re tempted to call it a stool because of its design). The difficulty with recommending this chair is that it’s not light enough for a backpacker to carry around. For camping and sitting around the camp fire, the Quik E-Seat is kind of awkward and not comfy enough. There’s a carry strap when it’s folded up. The chair comes in two colors. It also supports someone up to 250 pounds.
Categories and Features of Camping Chairs
A camping chair tends to be fancier models designed with some comfort in mind and perhaps a cup holder or two. They fold up or pack down and slide into the trunk or the back seat of the car nicely. Some chairs have taller backs and even a headrest; one or more may even offer a reclining feature. Storage bags or pouches are not uncommon to add essential items to avoid having to keep getting up at camp. These types of chairs are useful for long camping trips and hours each day sitting down in the tent or on the grass. Durability is important with these chairs too.
The backpacking chair isn’t the same as a camping chair. It’s much lighter (1-2 pounds usually) and will pack down small enough to fit inside a backpack. Because of the focus to make everything smaller and lighter, corners are cut with comfort, durability and functionality. You won’t see high denier nylon used as the fabric in most cases or cup holders provided. These are minimally designed and often sold at a premium price for this cramped design
The everyday chairs are larger than the backpacking ones and not as light. The idea is that they can be carried into an outdoor concert area and setup. They won’t have high backs on them because some concerts have restrictions on acceptable height levels for these types of chairs to not obstruct the view of people farther back. Some of these models are very low to the ground as result which might not be comfortable seated for long periods of time. The everyday chair, therefore, is a bit of inbetweener. If you go to concerts regularly, they’ll be good. But if you want it for serious camping use or backpacking use, then it won’t be ideal for either option due to its size, construction materials, weight, and lack of features.
Build Qualities of Good Camping Chairs
The build quality matters. Steel frames is common with some having been powder-coated for rain/rust protection. Other models use aluminum. A heavier chair doesn’t necessarily make it more reliable with build quality though.
The weight matters more to backpackers looking for an everyday chair than it does for regular campers. Few true camping chairs aren’t much over 9 pounds.
The seat height varies surprisingly much between one camping chair and another. Some are intentionally low-rise (often backpacking chairs) because they’re to be used at concerts and cannot be too tall. In other cases, the low seat height is just uncomfortable for taller people.
Generally, a seat height of between 5 to 10 inches is respectable. The King Kong and The Oversized Quad from Coleman are predictably higher up for a majestic feel, but they’re also more likely to be bought by taller or bigger people in general, so that makes sense.
The seat height varies a fair bit. Some are also partially mesh to vent heat which is nice. Backpacker seats used for concerts sometimes must be low height to avoid breaking the rules. True camping seats are often higher back and may even have a headrest built in.
Dual cup holders and a mesh storage bag are the most likely extras you may have. With a reclining chair, the mechanism will allow the chair to recline and then a fabric footrest will rise up; this is the ultimate in luxury.
Choosing the best camping chair, you must first decide whether you want an everyday model, a true camping chair with all the bells and whistles, or one suitable for a backpacker to carry. Once you’ve narrowed the field to what you really want, then it comes down to construction, design, materials, and features like a cup holder or mesh pocket. It’s certainly worth paying up for durable materials and good build quality from a respected camping brand. On the other hand, some of the backpacking chairs are sold at ridiculously high prices and are difficult to recommend.