Best Camping Chairs: Don’t Sacrifice Comfort in the Great Outdoors
Stop sitting on that log and upgrade your outdoor experience with these camping chairs
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BY Dorian Smith-Garcia / LAST UPDATED ON October 13, 2019
A lot of people love spending time roughing it outdoors. But becoming one with nature doesn’t mean that you can’t have a few amenities, such as a comfy chair for relaxation. If sitting on the ground isn't appealing, you’ll need a camping chair that is sturdy enough to stand up to the elements and strong enough to support your weight without being uncomfortable. We’ve done the research, and these are the top camping chairs on the market.
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Benefits of Camping Chairs
- Better social experience. Whether you’re camping with friends or family, it’s a great idea to carry a camping chair as it enhances your social camping experience. Instead of worrying about your clothes getting dirty on the ground, you can sit comfortably around that warm bonfire while you share stories and have a good time.
- Comfort. One of the main reasons to carry a camping chair on your trip is for comfort. We all agree that sitting on a rock is definitely not as relaxing as sitting on a comfortable chair. Many camping chairs feature a backrest as well, so you can lounge comfortably after a long day of hiking.
- Cleanliness. Maybe the ground is damp due to recent rains, or maybe it’s just a beautiful chilly day with lots of dew on the grass. Whatever the case, a camping chair will help you keep your clothes from getting dirty. You can even get away with carrying fewer spare clothes as you won’t be sitting on the ground.
Types of Camping Chairs
These are the most basic type of camping chairs that provide you with the bare minimum functionality, which is a place to sit. Minimal camping chairs include folding seats without any additional features and folding stools. These are generally lightweight and compact, and therefore best suitable for hiking and backpacking.
Regular camping chairs generally have a few additional features such as armrests, backrests, and aluminum legs. They typically come with a carrying bag for convenience. You should consider this type of chair if you’re going on a car camping trip or staying at a single campsite.
Luxurious camping chairs are designed to offer maximum relaxation at a premium price. These chairs often have additional features such as leg rests, cup holders, reclining capability, and more. They are strong and durable and offer amazing comfort which enhances your camping experience.
ALPS Mountaineering is a popular camping gear manufacturer founded in 1993 by Dennis Brune, who previously worked at Kelty. They produce tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, air mattresses, and camping furniture like chairs, cots, and tables. The ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Chair is a best-selling product.
Coleman Company, Inc. is one of the oldest and most popular brands that manufactures sports and outdoors equipment. Founded as early as 1900, Coleman equipment, like the Coleman Portable Camping Quad Chair, is trusted by campers and backpackers from all over the world. They also produce tents, camp stoves, sleeping bags, backpacks, and other outdoor gear.
CORE Equipment is a company founded by a team of artists, designers, and business gurus who are all camping enthusiasts at heart. The company is based in the scenic Midwest, and produces high-quality camping gear with a mission to "enhance all your outdoor adventures, whether they are in the backyard or in the mountains." The Folding Padded Arm Chair from Core Equipment is a great option for casual camping.
Camping Chairs Pricing
- $25-$50: Camp chairs in this price range offer basic features like foldability and a bit of storage, like a four-can cooler pouch and an easy-access side pocket. These chairs are generally made from polyester fabric, so they’re lightweight. Therefore, they are easy to transport and suitable for backpacking.
- $50-$100: Camp chairs in this price range offer better build quality and a few extra features. They are generally made of powder-coated steel frames for enhanced strength. They also have additional features like an adjustable armrest, cup holder, and bigger side pockets. Thanks to the extra amenities and medium weight, these chairs are best suited for camping trips where you’re going to stay at a single campsite.
- $100-$200: At this price point, you can expect premium build quality with many additional features like adjustable arm and backrests, cup holders, spacious storage pockets, and even a recliner design. These camp chairs are made from premium materials like quilted 600D polyester, which makes them highly durable. They generally come with a storage bag. Due to their size and weight, these camp chairs are made for lounging and car camping where transportation is not a problem.
Cup holders on camping chairs make for an enhanced lounging experience. Most camping chairs feature a cup holder or even a cooler depending on the type of chair. Minimal camping chairs usually have the most basic cup holders made from mesh fabric. Regular camping chairs have solid, cut-out cup holders made from the same material as the chair. Some luxurious camping chairs even feature attached coolers along with cup holders.
Armrests and Back Rests
Armrests and backrests prove to be a critical addition when it comes to the comfort a good camping chair can provide. Minimal camping chairs like folding seats and stools do not have armrests or backrests. Most regular camping chairs feature a nylon fabric backrest. Luxurious camping chairs provide ultimate comfort, with padded foam backrests, armrests, and leg rests, and sometimes even have reclining capabilities.
- Weight. Weight is the most important factor if you’re choosing a camping chair for backpacking or trekking. Minimal camping chairs are usually foldable and fairly lightweight. You can also consider folding stools, which generally weigh in at around two pounds. Weight is not very important if you’re looking at luxurious camping chairs unless you’re already overloaded, in which case you can consider a regular camping chair while sacrificing a bit of comfort.
- Size. For backpacking, you’ll want a chair that is not only ultralight but also easy to carry. Minimal camping chairs and stools are foldable and can be strapped directly to your backpack. Regular camping chairs, although foldable, are usually bigger and not the best option for backpacking. They do, however, come with a carrying case to make things easier. Luxurious camping chairs are the biggest of the lot and are not meant to be moved around.
Best Camping Chair Reviews & Recommendations 2020
- Most camping chairs are collapsible, but not all will fold down to a small size. If you’re going to hike between campsites, opt for torpedo-style chairs that fold inward rather than a flat-fold model.
- If your focus is versatility, opt for a camping chair that’s labeled as an “everyday chair”. These types of chairs can pull double duty and be used at the beach, at your child's soccer game, or even at the park.
- Don’t forget to focus on ease of use. A camping chair that requires additional tools for proper setup isn’t ideal if you’re trying to pack light and will be moving between campsites frequently.
Q: How do I know that a camping chair is designed for longevity?
A: One of the most important aspects is material composition. In addition to confirming the weight rating before purchasing, look for camping chairs that feature a powder-coated frame. These types of chairs are meant to be rust-resistant and will last longer than chairs that don’t offer this feature.
Q: Which type of camping chair is best suited for comfort?
A: Of the popular chair styles, a chair that is listed as a “camping chair” rather than backpacking or everyday chair will offer the most amenities and comfort. Options can range from built-in coolers to cup holders, added padding and back support, or the ability to expand and become a loveseat.
Q: Which type of camping chair is best for rugged conditions?
A: A backpacking chair is designed to be agile, quick to set up and break down, and able to withstand some punishment. It also usually features thinner but stronger framing made from aluminum instead of steel. Note that backpacking chairs tend to be the most expensive options you can buy.
For the ultimate experience, upgrade your campsite with our best overall selection, the ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Chair.
Budget-focused shoppers can rest easy knowing that our best value choice, the Coleman Portable Camping Quad Chair with 4-Can Cooler, will offer them plenty of functionality at a price that won’t break the bank.