While camping and backpacking are seen as a time to stretch your legs out in the wilderness.
You can’t keep going forever, and there are times sitting on a rock or the fallen trunk of a tree just doesn’t help you recover.
A light camping chair can be just the thing to sit back, soak up the wilds, and catch your breath for a few minutes.
Those precious moments can make all the difference between completing a hike and spending the afternoon with the kids.
However, not all chairs deliver, so we are looking at the best backpacking chair that delivers on all fronts.
What is a Backpacking Chair?
When you compare the two, a camping chair is to be the armchair replacement while you are away camping.
The most comfortable camping chair would be too cumbersome for backpacking.
These are larger in construction and offer a few bells and whistles when it comes to features. You may think that the smallest camping chair would suffice; however, even the way these are made can make them difficult to carry too far.
The best chair for backpacking is custom made for the job. They are lighter and smaller, and can in some cases they lose out on some of the comforts.
Things change, and now some of the best chairs are serving up a comfortable perch without adding much to the weight of your backpack.
Best Camp Chair Reviews
1. Coleman Portable Camping Quad Chair with 4-Can Cooler
The Coleman camping chair is at home on the campsite as it is by the water’s edge with your fishing rod.
It is durable and has plenty of comforts once erected. It is slightly oversized, so no one will feel cramped when sitting in it. This though doesn’t add much to the overall weight.
For warm days, there is the built in four can cooler pocket, and many other storage areas dotted around the chair.
- Adjustable armrests
- Cup holders built in
- Insulated cooler pocket
- Highly affordable
- Supports up to 325 lbs.
- 1 year warranty
- Bag not as durable as the chair
- Can be bulky to carry for smaller people
- Weight: 7.69 lb.
- Dimensions: 8.1 x 37.6 x 9.1 inches
- Frame: Steel
- Fabric: Polyester
- Sitting height: 18.1 inches
During testing, we found the cooler bag very efficient and with a bit of ice, drinks could stay cold half the day.
The Coleman chair was comfortable and folded up easy after use, but like some other users, we found the bag on the thin side so it is prone to rip.
With a price tag of around $35, you are getting plenty of chair for your money. It is durable, easy to clean and most of all; it is comfortable enough to spend a couple of hours in basking in the sun. It could just be the best folding camp chair to cover a multitude of uses.
2. ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Chair
With a name like King Kong, you are expecting a beefy chair, and this is pretty much, what you get.
During testing, it withstood everything thrown at it that isn’t surprising as it can hold 800 lbs. This may be a little overkill but it is built for business.
The seat is comfortable and has padding everywhere, and the chair itself is on the larger side. To carry this too far to a campground will tell because it comes in at 13 lbs., so it is nowhere near ultralight camping chairs for transporting.
- Comfortable – lots of padding
- Good storage pockets
- Cup holders
- Adjustable armrests
- Uses screws not rivets
- Weight: 13 lb.
- Dimensions: 38 x 20 x 28 inches
- Frame: Steel
- Fabric: Polyester 600D
During testing, we were assembling the chair and folding it up. Screws are used instead of rivets and they were beginning to work loose. This can leave you vulnerable if you don’t notice and go to sit.
On top of this, for larger people, the two from supports can push your legs together which isn’t the most comfortable.
With a guide price of a little under $70, you definitely get plenty of chairs, but you are paying a lot for it.
It is a big chair, and for some people, it may be just too big to be comfortable and is better suited to use in the garden than a campsite.
3. Terralite Portable Camp Chair. Perfect For Camping, Beach, Backpacking & Outdoor Festivals. Compact & Heavy Duty
The Terralite chair is the first one in the reviews that can be suitable as lightweight hiking chairs. Coming in at 3 lbs.
You can fasten it to your backpack without feeling too much difference. What we did find in testing was it is supposed to be easy assembled.
It was in fact hard, and to do it easily, you need to turn the chair over and bear down to get the legs into the fabric.
Comfort wise, this packable camp chair does a decent job, and with the mesh, there will be little chance of sweating.
- Terragrip feet wont sink in soft earth
- Removable seat cover
- Seating area cramped for medium to large sizes
- No arm rests and minimal storage pockets
- Need to assemble rather than fold up design
- Weight: 3 lb.
- Dimensions: 6 x 6 x 16 inches in carry bag
- Frame: Aluminum
- Fabric: Polyester mesh seating area
The Terralite has the Terragrip feet that won’t sink in mud or sand, so this makes it ideal for wetter areas, unlike a tripod-folding chair.
Unfortunately, sitting for extended periods isn’t the most relaxing with no armrests. Adding to this, there is limited storage and no cup holder.
A guide price of just under $60 makes it rather expensive for mesh hung between a frame. It is comfortable, but it does sacrifice on features in a bid to keep its weight down.
It does support up to 300 lb. which is decent, but this won’t be for too long due to the seat’s design.
4. Helinox Chair ONE Lightweight, Compact, Collapsible Camping Chair
For a chair that weighs only 2.6 lbs., it is a miracle that it can support 320 lbs. For its size, the Helinox ground chair is durable, but in testing, we had concerns with the feet.
These were narrow, so on the wrong type of ground, it could topple if used with a larger person much like the Helinox Chair Zero is prone to doing.
The Helinox Chair One camp chair is at the top end of many peoples budget with a guide price of almost $120. This is a lot of money for a small folding camp chair that comes with no cup holders or other features.
- Strong frame
- Delivers plenty of ventilation
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- 5 year warranty
- No cup holders or storage
- Needs assembling
- Low seating height
- Weight: 2.6 lb.
- Dimensions: 23 x 21.5 x 29 inches assembled. 14.5-inch seat height
- Frame: Aluminum
- Fabric: Polyester
For something as expensive as this, you do get top-end comfort, albeit without armrests. It is more for a bit of a lazy hour and not a lazy afternoon.
It does deliver where the company wants it to, and that is being lightweight and easy to assemble, although not quite as light as the Helinox Chair Zero. On those fronts, it does a sterling job, but for a seat on a campsite, it is out of its depth.
Backpackers will find the Helinox camp chair ideal, but sitting around a campfire just a few inches off the floor, and you may find yourself getting backache when you reach over an hour.
It is close to the smallest portable chair, but it only comes into its own when used in the circumstances it is made for.
5. Crazy Creek Products HEX 2.0 Chair – Lightweight and Packable Camp Chair for Hiking, Backpacking, Camping, Boating, and Stadium use
For sitting around a campfire on a campsite, this isn’t the ultralight camping chair for you. The Crazy Creek chair is just a pad with a supported back.
Saying this, unless you are sitting on rubble, you are comfortable.
You will need to find a seating position where you can hang your legs, or they will be stretched in front. For a relaxing afternoon, the Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 will leave you severely lacking.
For features, there is not much apart from weight, size when packed and insulation it delivers when sitting on the floor. With no frame, it rolls up as small as anything does.
- Packs up small
- Good insulation
- Can be used as a longer mat
- Low seating height – on the floor
- No features
- Uncomfortable for long periods
- Weight: 21.9 oz.
- Dimensions: 33 x 15.5 inches
- Frame: No frame. Carbon fiber stays
- Fabric: Ripstop nylon 70D
The Crazy Creek cam chair is more suited to the beach or an outdoor stadium, or a backpack-folding chair.
For this, it is ideal, but the guide price of around $55 is expensive for what you are getting. It does nothing for long periods of comfort, and you will find yourself standing to stretch after a while.
While it is just a mat on the floor, it is rated for weights up to 250 lbs. For camping, it isn’t ideal, and for the cost, you can get a more comfortable option.
What to Look For When Buying a Camping Chair
There are a few things to consider when looking at purchasing a camp chair. Therefore, to make things easier, we have the main factors that can help you make your choice and get the best chair to add to your backpacking checklist.
Ease of use
Chairs need to be assembled and packed away with little effort. Fold up are the clear winners because they don’t require assembly, they do come in a little heavier as a result.
Fold up chairs will be heavy-duty compared to the lighter models you assemble. Nevertheless, in some cases, this doesn’t make them any better.
Frame design and materials
This carries on from ease of use because they will need to be made from rust-resistant materials. They also need to be strong and carry 250 pounds or more.
The fabrics also need to be resistant to wear. When asking how strict are weight limits on chairs, you need to be sure they will hold what they claim.
It will be hard to find a folding backpack chair that is as light as a beach chair; however, these are only useful for sports, outdoors use such as a stadium or on the beach.
These ground chairs can be used as a sleeping pad, and will be the lightest you can find.
If you think this is a good option, consider the ground is wet and you want to take your muddy pad into your tent to lay flat under your sleeping bag.
The entire point of a chair is to make you feel comfortable. A backpacking stool may be great for ten minutes while you eat lunch, but if you want to spend the evening chatting around a fire, then you will lose any comfort after a short period.
A camping chair is nothing like your armchair at home. There, you have a side table or a coffee table where to stash your gear.
A camping chair needs a cup holder as a bare minimum, because the last thing you want is your drink to fall over in the dirt.
Check for plenty of storage pockets and if they come with an included towel bar, or drink cooler.
Ease of carrying
All camping chairs will need carrying. The packed size can make a huge difference depending where you campsite is.
If they don’t fold small enough to fasten to your backpack, then the supplied storage bag will need to come with carrying straps to make things easier.
When looking at all the chairs in these reviews, we put them all through the same tests to see how they stacked up against each other.
Some shone while others fell in some tests, but that was evident from the types of chairs.
When looking for the best lightweight camping chair, comfort for long periods and value needs to be at the top of the list. With this in mind, there was one clear winner.
The Coleman Portable Camping Quad Chair with 4-Can Cooler. While not the lightest on the test, it was the lightest which delivered the most comfort, and that is what we were looking for.
Being highly durable, strong, easy to pack up it came top in most of the tests.
When it came to features, there was no other chair that was near, and ultralight backpacking chair can’t offer a drink cooler or as many storage pockets with armrests.
It was a well-deserved winner, and the affordability put it in a league of its own.
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