Thoughts of camping chairs may conjure up images of $10 specials out front a big-box retailer, but let’s reorient ourselves to a slightly higher standard. We expect a proper car camping chair to not only fold up for easy transport, but to be comfortable, supportive, and made to last—even in rough and tumble weather. Below are our top picks for 2023, which run the gamut from budget-friendly models to comfort-first chairs and fun designs that rock and recline. For more information, check out our detailed comparison table and buying advice below the picks.
Our Team's Camping Chair Picks
- Best Overall Camping Chair: REI Co-op Skyward Chair
- Best Large and Luxurious Camping Chair: Alps Mountaineering King Kong
- Best Feature-Rich Camping Chair: NEMO Stargaze Reclining Camp Chair
- Best Ultralight and Portable Camping Chair: Helinox Chair Zero
- Best Loveseat for Two Campers: Kelty Low Loveseat
Best Overall Camping Chair
1. REI Co-op Skyward Chair ($60)
Dimensions: 20 x 31.25 x 31 in.
Seat height: 10.5 in.
Weight: 7 lbs. 3 oz.
What we like: A very well-rounded design at an excellent price.
What we don’t: Not everyone will like the low seat and back height.
For many campers, the ideal chair is comfortable, durable, easy to carry, and comes with functional storage for maximizing convenience. REI Co-op’s new Skyward Chair—which replaces their popular Camp X for 2023—fits the bill nicely: The X-shaped webbing effectively tensions the seat and backpanel to distribute weight evenly, the steel frame is strong and confidence-inspiring, and the cup holder and drop-down pocket at either arm rest make it easy to stow a beverage and smaller items like your phone or keys. We also love the mesh-heavy build that breathes well in warm weather and dries extremely quickly should the skies open up. At just $60 (a modest $10 price jump over the outgoing model), that’s a whole lot of bang for your buck.
What are the downsides of the REI Skyward Chair? Like its predecessor, the Skyward sits lower to the ground than most traditional camping models (the seat is positioned 10.5 in. off the ground), and some may prefer the taller back heights that come with larger designs (including the Alps King Kong or Coleman Quad below). That said, we’ve found that both the King Kong and Quad are bulky when packed and take up a surprising amount of space in the back of your vehicle, especially if you are bringing multiple chairs. In the end, while the Skyward may not be the cushiest or most supportive option, it’s a very balanced and well-thought-out design that checks all of the boxes we look for in a quality all-rounder.
See the REI Co-op Skyward Chair
Best Large and Luxurious Camping Chair
2. Alps Mountaineering King Kong ($80)
Dimensions: 20 x 38 x 38 in.
Seat height: 18 in.
Weight: 13 lbs.
What we like: A supremely comfortable and spacious chair.
What we don’t: Heavy and overkill for some campers.
People look for different things in a camp chair, and if comfort and reliability are top priorities, the aptly named King Kong should be on your short list. All told, this is one of the largest and most heavily padded chairs on the market, with a wide 24.5-inch seat, tall back, and burly 600-denier seat fabric. The listed 800-pound limit feels more like showing off than a target number that Alps set out to hit, but that still crushes the competition (for reference, the REI Skyward above is rated to 300 lbs.). Finally, at around $80 (colorways vary on Amazon) and often less on sale, the King Kong hits a really nice balance of comfort and value.
Keep in mind that the Alps Mountaineering King Kong isn’t for minimalists. It’s one of the heaviest chairs on this list at over 13 pounds (a considerable 6 lbs. more than the Skyward), takes up a significant amount of space in the back of your car or truck bed, and not everyone needs such a huge seat (one of our 5’10” testers found that when sitting down, his feet were barely touching the ground). Don’t get us wrong: This is a supremely comfy and large chair that has its appeals, but you can cut cost and weight with the Skyward above or options like the Kijaro Dual Lock or Coleman Quad below.
See the Alps Mountaineering King Kong
Best Feature-Rich Camping Chair
3. NEMO Stargaze Reclining Camp Chair ($300)
Dimensions: 27 x 37 x 41 in.
Weight: 8 lbs. 11 oz.
What we like: Very versatile and comfortable design.
What we don’t: Pricey; set up takes time.
Now for something a little different: The NEMO Stargaze Reclining Camp Chair is equal parts recliner, hammock, and rocking chair. The chair’s mostly mesh body is suspended above its aluminum frame, allowing it to swing back and forth, recline, or stay upright—all equally as easily—depending on how you position your back and feet. And feature-wise, the Stargaze is no slouch with a padded headrest, a thoughtfully designed carrying case, and a pocket at each side for stowing beverages or small electronics. Finally, overall build quality is top-notch—everything looks and feels noticeably robust, from the sturdy aluminum frame to the thick mesh seat and burly tensioning straps for adjusting your position.
NEMO updated the Stargaze recently, and notable changes include a wider seat (the prior version was a little narrow for some broad-shouldered campers), larger headrest, and streamlined pole design that makes setup a little easier. Price also jumped by a significant $50—at $300, the latest Stargaze is now tied for the most expensive design on our list (along with YETI’s Trailhead below). Simply put, it’s hard to justify spending this much on a camp chair when big-ticket items like a sleeping bag and tent could run you the same amount (or less). In addition, despite the improvements to the pole design, the Stargaze still requires considerable time to set up compared to the quick, easily foldable models above. These complaints aside, it’s hard to deny the versatility and all-around fun factor of the design. And for a cheaper option from NEMO that reclines but doesn’t swing, check out their Moonlight below.
See the NEMO Stargaze Reclining Camp Chair
Best Ultralight and Portable Camping Chair
4. Helinox Chair Zero ($150)
Dimensions: 20.5 x 18.9 x 25.2 in.
Seat height: 11.5 in.
Weight: 1 lb.
What we like: Incredibly lightweight and packable.
What we don’t: Expensive.
With the ultralight and compact Chair Zero, Helinox makes it that much easier to justify hauling a chair into the woods or even the backcountry. Weighing an impressively low 1 pound even, the Helinox is surprisingly sturdy thanks to an aluminum structure with poles from highly regarded DAC (the same DAC that makes poles for many of the top backpacking tents). In addition, the shock-cord design means that the Chair Zero packs down to a compact size that is easy to pack down and carry and fits on the inside or outside of a backpack. In terms of portability and low weight, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better camp chair.
What do you sacrifice with the Helinox Chair Zero? To start, we recommend this chair only for campers who prioritize keeping weight to an absolute minimum—the overall comfort and stability just can’t compete with a heavier model. The good news is that the Chair Zero is more comfortable than the competing designs like REI’s Flexlite Air (also 1 lb.), although not everyone loves the upright seating position of these styles. For those who want a more balanced design, Helinox sells their popular Chair One and Chair Two, which are pricier and heavier than the Zero but boast more natural, laid-back seating positions. Helinox also offers a Highback variation of the Chair Zero, which adds a taller seat and boost in support for an additional 8 ounces and $30.
See the Helinox Chair Zero
Best Loveseat for Two Campers
5. Kelty Low Loveseat ($140)
Dimensions: 44 x 23.5 x 31.5 in.
Seat height: 13.5 in.
Weight: 15 lbs. 6 oz.
What we like: Very comfortable and good build quality for the price.
What we don’t: Bulkier and not as versatile as a single seater; some won’t love the low seat height.
Other camp chair models on this list are made for one person, but why stop there? Kelty’s Low Loveseat is a totally viable option for camping and even can double down as cheap outdoor furniture for your patio. Importantly, it’s a comfy option with a wide (double wide, to be exact) and supportive seat that’s slightly reclined, nice detailing like adjustable armrests and insulated drink holders, and a durable build made of steel and robust, 600-denier polyester. Keep in mind that the seat is rather low at just 13.5 inches off the ground (many camp chairs are closer to 18 in.), but the upside is that the Low Loveseat is stable and still pretty easy to get in and out of.
All that said, there are some notable downsides to choosing a double-wide model. The Kelty Low Loveseat is rather heavy at over 15 pounds, and even though it rolls down nicely and includes multiple grab handles, the chair is bulky for hauling. The other big issue is cost: You can find two similarly comfortable chairs and save some cash in the process. And some won’t love the low-slung design of the Kelty, although they do offer it in a standard version with a taller 19-inch seat height (tradeoffs include a heavier weight and noticeably larger packed size). But if you want a double chair and don’t mind the inherent compromises, the Low Loveseat is well made and fun.
See the Kelty Low Loveseat
Best of the Rest
6. GCI Outdoor Kickback Rocker ($67)
Dimensions: 32.5 x 31.7 x 27.2 in.
Seat height: 17.1 in.
Weight: 10 lbs. 9.6 oz.
What we like: A comfortable and well-built rocking chair at a good value.
What we don’t: Heavy and fairly bulky.
A few chairs on our list allow you to rock back and forth, but none come closer to resembling a traditional rocking chair than the GCI Outdoor Kickback Rocker. GCI achieves this with a spring-action “tube” at the back of the chair, which allows the metal frame to move up and down as you push off the ground. All of the components have a high-quality and confidence-inspiring feel (especially notable given the affordable price), and there’s just enough play in the system for smooth movement without impacting stability. And when you’re ready to pack up, the chair folds down in one quick motion with its attached carrying handle—no need to stuff it into a tote on the way out.
Although the Kickback Rocker includes a handle for transport, it’s one of the heaviest options on our list and relatively bulky for hauling. Further, some users have reported that the rocking mechanism becomes squeaky and loud after only a few uses, and you’ll want to be sure to clean out the spring-action system occasionally to prevent dirt and dust from accumulating inside (a can of compressed air should do the trick). But we haven’t experienced any issues thus far and have been impressed by the chair’s overall comfort and build quality. All told, it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon at camp and a great all-around value. And if you like the rocking functionality but want something a little different, GCI also makes the taller and more durable Freestyle Rocker, unique Pod Rocker, and summer-ready Sunshade Rocker, among others.
See the GCI Outdoor Kickback Rocker
7. NEMO Moonlight Reclining Chair ($160)
Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 26 in.
Seat height: 10.5 in.
Weight: 1 lb. 14 oz.
What we like: Another well-made and comfortable NEMO design for $100 less than the Stargaze above.
What we don’t: Not as plush, supportive, or feature-rich as the Stargaze.
NEMO has been on a roll lately in the camping chair market, and their Moonlight joins the Stargaze above as an exceptionally well built and comfortable option. Notably, the Moonlight lacks the swinging functionality of the Stargaze, but the multiposition reclining system is very well executed and allows you to sit forward or lean back with a simple tug at each side. Durability is another hallmark: The Moonlight’s sturdy aluminum frame and seamless mesh seat give the chair a high-quality, confidence-inspiring look and feel while keeping weight in check. And we found the 10.5-inch height to be just about perfect for enjoyably sitting around the campfire, although the deeper seat does make it a little harder to get out of.
Overall, we love the simplified design of the Moonlight and think it’s a great match for comfort-focused campers that aren’t willing to spend $300 on the decidedly luxe Stargaze above. However, in addition to foregoing that chair’s swinging ability, the Moonlite also compromises on plushness with no padding and very little upper back support. For $100 less, the top-ranked REI Skyward above has a noticeably taller back and includes features like an integrated cup holder and pocket for valuables. To be clear, we think the Moonlight’s robust construction and well-designed reclining function outweigh the downsides, but the barebones feature set and higher price tag will be deal-breakers for some.
See the NEMO Moonlight Reclining Chair
8. Coleman Oversized Quad Chair with Cooler ($45)
Dimensions: 24 x 37 x 40.5 in.
Seat height: 18.1 in.
Weight: 9 lbs. 14 oz.
What we like: Cheap, comfy, and comes with a built-in drink cooler.
What we don’t: A step down in build quality from the Alps King Kong above.
The popular Coleman Oversized Quad checks all the boxes we look for in a camp chair. Its padded seat and backpanel are comfortable, it’s spacious enough to accommodate most campers, and it’s simple to fold up and carry. If you’ve been tempted by those ultra-cheap, $15-$20 camp chair models beckoning on the internet, trust us: The additional cash is worth it. The Coleman’s steel frame and burly fabric will outlast its flimsier competition by years, and it’s hard to argue with a built-in cooler in the armrest.
What complaints do we have about the Coleman Oversized Quad? At this price, it doesn’t feel quite as comfortable or confidence-inspiring as the Alps King Kong above, and the materials are good but not great (the frame will start to rust if you don’t take good care of it, for example). And for around the same price (colorways vary on Amazon), the Kijaro Dual Lock below weighs a little less and boasts a higher-quality construction, although you forgo the built-in cooler. All told, we think the Coleman outperforms its price tag and offers more than enough camp chair for most people and uses. For a more premium alternative with a similar design, check out Mountain Summit Gear’s Cooler Chair, which comes with both an insulated cooler and folding table for $80.
See the Coleman Oversized Quad Chair with Cooler
9. YETI Trailhead Camp Chair ($300)
Dimensions: 30 x 36 x 25 in.
Seat height: 17 in.
Weight: 13 lbs. 5 oz.
What we like: Super durable and comfortable.
What we don’t: Pricey, heavy, and overkill for casual campers.
After the extreme success of its premium coolers, Texas-based YETI has expanded its product offerings substantially over the last few years. Not surprisingly, the Trailhead Camp Chair sticks to the formula: It’s super durable and built with high-quality materials, is both comfortable and sufficiently large, easy to fold, and has a sleek design that looks the part. At $300, the YETI is tied for the priciest chair on this list (along with NEMO’s Stargaze above), but it’s a fun option for camping, sporting events, and concerts that should last for many years.
It’s worth noting that YETI also makes a second camp chair model in the Hondo. The price is the same but the Hondo weighs more at over 16 pounds, making it slightly more difficult to lug any significant distance away from your car. The Hondo also has horizonal bars running along the bottom for support, which work well when things are relatively flat but aren’t quite as good as the four feet on the Trailhead at campsites with varied terrain. Both are quality chairs, but we prefer the lower weight and better stability of the Trailhead.
See the YETI Trailhead Camp Chair
10. Helinox Sunset Chair ($170)
Dimensions: 38.6 x 28.7 x 23.2 in.
Seat height: 18.1 in.
Weight: 3 lbs. 4.8 oz.
What we like: Tall back and wide seat.
What we don’t: Pricey considering the lack of features.
In stark contrast to Helinox’s minimalist Chair Zero above, their Sunset Chair puts a premium on comfort and support with a high back and wide, cradle-like seat. Overall, it’s a high-quality and supremely comfortable camp chair that’s built to last with a hardwearing aluminum frame and thick polyester/mesh seat, and the shock-corded design makes set up quick and allows the chair to pack down reasonably small. At 3 pounds 4.8 ounces, it’s too heavy and bulky to bring on overnight backpacking trips, but this Sunset is well made, easy to unpack and stow away, and offers great upper back and neck support for those that want it.
The biggest drawback to the Helinox Sunset’s design is that it doesn’t come with features like cup holder or pockets, which makes stowing beverages and electronics inconvenient. Helinox does sell a few fun add-ons including a groundsheet, sunshade, and cup holders, but the chair alone is already a pricey investment at $170. This is enough to push the Helinox down in our rankings, but it’s nevertheless a quality option that nicely balances comfort and weight, and many campers love the sling-style seat that makes it easy to sink into. For a similarly built option with a slightly taller (20 in.) ground-to-seat height and lower weight, check out Big Agnes’ Big Six.
See the Helinox Sunset Chair
11. Kijaro Dual Lock Folding Chair ($45)
Dimensions: 26 x 35.5 x 37 in.
Seat height: 20 in.
Weight: 9 lbs. 8 oz.
What we like: Large and very comfortable
What we don’t: Tall ground-to-seat height may be too tall for some.
Kijaro’s Dual Lock Folding model is among the most popular camp chairs on the market due to its high levels of comfort and value. As the name indicates, the chair locks in both the open and closed positions for stability and easy hauling inside the stuff sack. And the chair’s strong seat and slightly reclined back offer an excellent feel overall. The Kijaro’s 300-pound weight capacity falls well short of the burly King Kong above, but the chair still is made to last.
Within our top grouping of chairs for car camping, the Kijaro is a formidable competitor. Build quality exceeds the similarly priced Coleman Quad above, although it does fall a little short of the well-made Alps Mountaineering King Kong. And the real clincher for us—and the reason the Dual Lock is ranked here—is seat height: The Kijaro has a relatively tall ground-to-seat height of 20 inches (the Alps above is 18 in.), which can leave some people with their feet dangling off the ground. But this can be a plus for some folks, and the wide and comfortable seat and budget price make it a nice choice for camping. If you don’t mind the height, GCI Outdoor’s Comfort Pro is similarly strong and comfortable for just $47.
See the Kijaro Dual Lock Folding Chair
12. REI Co-op Flexlite Camp Boss ($90)
Dimensions: 29.5 x 24 x 24 in.
Seat height: 14 in.
Weight: 2 lbs. 14 oz.
What we like: Wider base/seat and more substantial build than the standard Flexlite.
What we don’t: Also heavier, less packable, and more expensive.
REI’s Flexlite collection ranges from the light and minimalist Flexlite Air to the durable, headrest-equipped Camp Dreamer. The Flexlite Camp Boss here slots in right in the middle, combining a near-ideal mix of weight, comfort, and durability for many campers. Compared to the standard Flexlite that we had ranked here previously, the Camp Boss model sports a bigger and more stable base, 4-inch-wider seat, 3-inch-taller ground-to-seat height, and 50-pound-higher weight capacity. It is pricier by $20 and heavier by a significant 1 pound 3 ounces, but we consider the Camp Boss the more approachable and well-rounded pick.
That said, from a comfort perspective, the REI Flexlite Camp Boss still can’t hold a candle to larger and bulkier options like the Alps King Kong above. For $10 less, the King Kong is taller, offers considerably more support and stability, and comes with helpful features like beverage holders and side pockets. However, given its well-balanced build, the Flexlite Camp Boss strikes us as a nice middle ground between comfort-focused designs like the Alps and true UL models like the Chair Zero above and aforementioned Flexlite Air, earning it a spot on our list.
See the REI Co-op Flexlite Camp Boss
13. Dometic GO Compact Camp Chair ($150)
Dimensions: 32.01 x 28.74 x 24.52 in.
Seat height: 15 in.
Weight: 9 lbs. 6.2 oz.
What we like: Comfortable, well built, and strong with a pretty compact shape for transport.
What we don’t: A little pricey for what you get.
Dometic made a name for themselves in the vanlife and overlanding communities with their class-leading electric cooler collection, but their latest “GO” series takes aim at the upper end of the camping market. Like the rest of the lineup—which includes hard- and soft-sided storage cases, hydration systems, a waterproof blanket, a table, and a bench—the GO Compact Camp Chair here is well built and sleek with a very high-quality feel. The chair is made with heavy-duty 600-denier fabrics, sturdy aluminum legs, and beechwood armrests that add to the high-end, streamlined look. As its name suggests, the GO Compact Camp Chair also folds down quickly and easily for transport with a relatively streamlined shape for storing in a full trunk.
At $150, however, the Dometic GO falls into a bit of an awkward spot price-wise. For a significant $90 cheaper, the top-ranked REI Skyward weighs a couple pounds less, has a wider seat, and offers better storage with pockets at each armrest (the Dometic features a single rear pocket that’s harder to access). Alternatively, stepping up to YETI’s Trailhead above will get you a noticeable bump in overall durability and build quality (including a 220-lb.-higher weight limit), and the 2-inch-taller seat height offers a more natural seating position. But the GO Compact Camp Chair hits a nice middle ground with great comfort and support for half the price of the YETI and may very well see a jump in our rankings in the future. For $50 less, it’s also worth checking out REI’s new Wonderland Chair, which boasts a similar overall design that’s taller by an inch and lighter by 1 pound 9.2 ounces but less roomy than the Dometic.
See the Dometic GO Compact Camp Chair
14. REI Co-op Outward Low Lawn Chair ($90)
Dimensions: 23 x 24 x 26.5 in.
Seat height: 10 in.
Weight: 6 lbs. 9 oz.
What we like: A capable camping chair that looks the part at home too; quick and easy to set up.
What we don’t: Underbuilt for regular outdoor use.
All of the camping chairs above look the part outdoors, but REI’s Outward Low Lawn Chair bucks the trend with a sleek and modern design that can easily pull double duty on your patio or in the yard. The wooden armrests and smooth nylon seat give the chair a sleek, classy look, while the sturdy aluminum frame offers a planted, confidence-inspiring feel whether you’re setting up camp in the forest, hanging out on the beach, or enjoying a backyard cookout. And perhaps the biggest draw: The Outward takes essentially no effort to set up and pack away with a simple but effective bifold design and portability via the top handle or backpack straps behind the seat. And a final bonus: The single buckle at the top allows you to stash other gear inside (like towels or extra layers) during transport.
Why do we have the REI Outward Low Lawn Chair ranked here? Despite its multi-use intentions, the chair is decidedly less outdoor-ready than many of the picks here: The ripstop nylon seat doesn’t breathe as well as mesh and is more prone to showing dirt and stains, and the wooden armrests—while streamlined—lack built-in storage for a beverage or phone. Finally, you can get better comfort and support for less with alternatives like the Alps King Kong or Dometic GO above, although there’s no denying the Outward’s chic styling and intuitive setup. In fact, we frequently reach for the REI over other camp chairs (especially on short day trips) simply because it’s so quick and painless to prop open and stash away. For another stylish option with a taller seat height (12 in.) and included carrying case, check out Snow Peak's Low Beach Chair.
See the REI Co-op Outward Low Lawn Chair
15. Alps Mountaineering Rendezvous ($60)
Dimensions: 14 x 20 x 24 in.
Seat height: 6 in.
Weight: 6 lbs. 13 oz.
What we like: Our favorite low-slung model.
What we don’t: Unless you need a low chair, there are more comfortable options.
Chairs with a low seat height excel in places where it’s required, like an outdoor concert, or for times when it’s best to be low to the ground, like a beach. Of these chair types, the Alps Mountaineering Rendezvous is a standout in terms of comfort—the chair sits at a recline to stretch out your legs—and material quality. It's also a good value, consistently priced around $50-$70 online. You don’t get the ability to raise the seat like you do with the ENO Lounger DL below, but you’re not paying for it either.
At a campsite, we find the Rendezvous a bit too low and not as comfortable overall as an upright model, and we do miss having a cup holder (although the ground isn’t far away). The 600-denier fabric and powder-coated steel frame are borderline overbuilt for its use, but other than costing a little more, we sure won’t complain about a tough construction. All in all, the Rendezvous is a great long-term purchase for certain uses. And if you like the low-slung style of the Rendezvous but want to explore other options, check out REI Co-op’s Camp Low Chair, Mountain Summit Gear’s Ground Chair, and Helinox’s unique Incline Festival Chair, which features adjustable legs to maximize stability or recline.
See the Alps Mountaineering Rendezvous
16. ENO Lounger DL Chair ($150)
Dimensions: 23 x 32 x 37 in.
Seat height: 3 or 10 in.
Weight: 4 lbs. 10 oz.
What we like: Adjustable leg height is great for transitioning from concerts to camp.
What we don’t: Less durable and stable than the competition; takes a while to set up.
Eagles Nest Outfitters, better known as ENO, is a hammock company first, but that expertise has translated nicely with their Lounger DL Chair. Like the brand’s hammocks, the Lounger practically cradles you on all sides, with an aluminum frame that suspends the nylon seat. And unlike the similarly shaped Helinox Sunset above, the ENO includes a cup holder, two cargo pockets, and even a pillow for cushioning your head as you recline. But the real reason we include the Lounger here is its adjustable leg system, which allows you to extend the legs (10 in.) at camp or fold them down (3 in.) for outings like concerts or afternoons at the beach where the lower height matters (or is required).
However, despite the fun and adaptable design, the Lounger falls short in a few key areas. First is durability: With a 210-denier seat, it’s noticeably thinner and less hardwearing than many of our top picks with a flimsier feel to match. Further, the triangular layout of the legs detracts from overall stability and comfort, which can lead to a top-heavy and tippy feel on uneven ground. The 250-pound weight limit is also fairly low for this category, and the sheer number of joints in the design strike us as a potential area of failure over time. A final nitpick is the involved setup process: The legs have a lot of moving components that must be connected before attaching the seat, which can be a pain if you’ll be setting it up and packing it away frequently. These downsides are enough to push the ENO to a last-place finish, but it’s nevertheless a versatile and functional option for those who don’t mind the added effort and are careful with their gear.
See the ENO Lounger DL Chair
Camping Chair Comparison Table
|REI Co-op Skyward Chair||$60||Comfort||20 x 31.25 x 31 in.||10.5 in.||7 lb. 3 oz.||300 lbs.|
|Alps King Kong||$80||Comfort||20 x 38 x 38 in.||18 in.||13 lbs.||800 lbs.|
|NEMO Stargaze Camp Chair||$300||Comfort||27 x 37 x 41 in.||Unavail.||8 lb. 11 oz.||300 lbs.|
|Helinox Chair Zero||$150||Lightweight||20.5 x 18.9 x 25.2 in.||11.5 in.||1 lb.||265 lbs.|
|Kelty Low Loveseat||$140||Comfort||44 x 23.5 x 31.5 in.||13.5 in.||15 lb. 6 oz.||400 lbs.|
|GCI Outdoor Kickback Rocker||$67||Comfort||32.5 x 31.7 x 27.2 in.||17.1 in.||10 lb. 10 oz.||250 lbs.|
|NEMO Moonlight||$160||Lightweight||20 x 20 x 26 in.||10.5 in.||1 lb. 14 oz.||300 lbs.|
|Coleman Quad Chair||$45||Budget||24 x 37 x 40.5 in.||18.1 in.||9 lb. 14 oz.||325 lbs.|
|YETI Trailhead Camp Chair||$300||Comfort||30 x 36 x 25 in.||17 in.||13 lb. 5 oz.||500 lbs.|
|Helinox Sunset Chair||$170||Comfort||38.6 x 28.7 x 23.2 in.||18.1 in.||3 lb. 4.8 oz.||320 lbs.|
|Kijaro Dual Lock Folding Chair||$45||Comfort||26 x 35.5 x 37 in.||20 in.||9 lb. 8 oz.||300 lbs.|
|REI Co-op Flexlite Camp Boss||$90||Comfort||29.5 x 24 x 24 in.||14 in.||2 lb. 14 oz.||300 lbs.|
|Dometic GO Compact Chair||$150||Comfort||32.01 x 28.74 x 24.52 in.||15 in.||9 lb. 6.2 oz.||280 lbs.|
|REI Outward Low Lawn Chair||$90||Comfort||23 x 24 x 26.5 in.||10 in.||6 lb. 9 oz.||250 lbs.|
|Alps Rendezvous||$60||Comfort||14 x 20 x 24 in.||6 in.||6 lbs. 13 oz.||300 lbs.|
|ENO Lounger DL Chair||$150||Comfort||23 x 32 x 37 in.||3/10 in.||4 lb. 10 oz.||250 lbs.|
*Editor's Note: "Height" refers to the measurement from the ground to the seat bottom.
Camping Chair Buying Advice
- Categories: Comfort, Budget, and Lightweight
- Double Camping Chairs
- Build Quality: Seat Fabric and Frame Construction
- Weight and Folded Dimensions
- Ground-to-Seat Height
- Seat Back Height
- Weight Capacity
- Stability: Leg Design
- Storage: Cup Holders and Pockets
- Other Features: Swivel, Rocking, and Reclining Chairs
- What About Backpacking Chairs?
Categories: Comfort, Budget, and Lightweight
The term “camp chair” encompasses just about any type of chair that can be folded up, squeezed into a car, and carried to your destination, so your first order of business is narrowing down your intended use. True “comfort” camping chairs—provided you have the space in your car—can be large and luxurious. They have taller backs, are farther off the ground, and offer the best support and stability. In addition, they have the most features, from cup holders to storage pockets, and some even have a recline option. Because weight isn't a major factor, you can get a well-made and comfortable camping chair at a reasonable price—starting at around $50 and reaching as much as $300 for the YETI Trailhead. Top choices from this category include the REI Co-op Skyward Chair, Alps Mountaineering King Kong, and GCI Outdoor Kickback Rocker.
Some people only go camping a couple of times each summer, or just don’t want to spend much on their camp chairs. The good news is that we’ve had good luck with budget models that start at $40 and sometimes dip down to around $25. The Coleman Quad Chair, for example, often is available for less than $50 on Amazon, offers high levels of comfort and support, and has held up well after years of use. It’s true that budget frames generally aren’t as well built, the seat and back may use thinner materials, and stability and features tend to go down with price. But so long as you stay away from the true bargain basement offerings, our budget category is a totally viable place to shop.
For those who want to minimize the amount of space that camping takes up in their car, along with those who don’t need the highest levels of comfort, the lightweight category is where weight and packed size become the top priorities. All dimensions of these chairs shrink dramatically, the fabrics and frames become a lot thinner, and they’ll pack down small enough to strap to the outside of—or sometimes even squeeze inside—a backpacking or hiking pack. The compromises make them less than ideal for camping and everyday use, but the streamlined design is popular among minimalists and when space is at a premium. Popular models in this category include the REI Co-op Flexlite line and Helinox Chair Zero.
Double Camping Chairs
Double camping chairs, like the Kelty Low Loveseat above, can be a nice choice for couples. Most have two armrests and an open double-wide seat for two, although some resemble two single chairs fused together with a middle storage compartment or cup holders between them. There are some inherent drawbacks with these setups, though. Double chairs are predictably much heavier than their single-person counterparts (the Kelty Low Loveseat comes in at 15 lbs. 6 oz.), which makes them bulky for hauling. Further, they’re often pricier than purchasing two separate chairs. We’ve only included one double camping chair on our list due to the overall lack of utility—we’d rather purchase two separate single-seaters and save a few bucks in the process.
Build Quality: Seat Fabric and Frame Construction
We’ve found that overall build quality correlates with price, but it’s slightly more nuanced than that. A budget camping chair like the Coleman Oversize Quad, which has no business on a backpacking trip, is durable and reliable because Coleman didn’t have to worry about keeping weight down. It can withstand a whole lot more abuse when compared with a lightweight model like the Helinox Chair Zero. Backpacking chairs cost more because they require thin but strong frame materials, like aluminum, which is more expensive than thick steel. That said, the build quality of the Coleman is still lower than the similarly designed but more expensive Alps Mountaineering King Kong.
Build quality is more than simply the frame and rivets: Seat fabric quality also improves with price. Cheap camp chairs are notorious for seat fabrics that sag over time, seams that fray, and mesh that develops holes. All of the models that made our list generally avoid these maladies and are designed to perform well for years. True, we’d expect the cheaper Coleman Quad's fabric to start to fail before the King Kong, but the latter will cost around twice as much and may not last you twice as long.
Weight and Folded Dimensions
The question isn’t if the camp chair folds but how it folds. Some fold flat—and the GCI chairs do so by pulling up as you naturally would on the carry strap. The advantage is the folded dimension is pretty thin (around 4 to 6 inches), but it takes up a very significant 30 x 30 inch square in your car. Carrying it on your back can also be cumbersome, which is why these chairs sometimes come with backpack style straps. The more popular style folds inwards and ends up a torpedo shape that you can slide into a carry bag. The smaller, more manageable dimensions make these chairs easier to carry.
While few people fret over the weight and packed size of a camping chair (camping gear in general is bulky and comfort-oriented), backpacking-ready chairs are a lesson in creative packaging. For example, Helinox’s 1-pound Chair Zero packs down extremely small, with the disadvantage being you have to reassemble it each time. These styles don’t take all that long to set up, but it’s a small sacrifice in time that you make with most portable chairs. For us, we try and keep our packable chairs under or around 2 pounds to minimize their impact on our pack weight. Bringing along a chair is already outside of the typical realm of “essentials,” but 2 pounds can be something worth swinging for a short weekend trek.
Ground-to-seat height—listed as "height" in the table above—is simply a measurement from the ground to the bottom of the seat. For those that frequent concerts or sporting events and don’t want to bother folks behind them, a low seat height is important. That said, a low seat height means a less comfortable position for your legs and more effort for getting in and out. If you’re needing to stay low, a chair that’s 5 to 9 inches off the ground is best, with the lower options obviously the safer choice for a concert venue. And it’s worth noting here that ENO’s Lounger DL above has adjustable legs that can be set at either 3 inches or 10, which makes it versatile for a range of activities.
However, keep in mind that the taller the chair, the more natural the seating position for most folks. Options like the King Kong and Coleman Oversized Quad are standouts in terms of a tall seating height at 18 inches (they’re downright throne-like), but we’ve found the most comfortable chairs have a seat height ranging from around 15 to 18 inches. This is another area where backpacking chairs have to compromise, with most sitting around 9 to 13 inches off the ground. But no matter their height, just remember: It sure beats sitting on dirt.
Seat Back Height
As with seat height, seat back height is a consideration for concerts. But for general use, it’s also a great indicator of back and neck support. Backpacking chairs aren’t known for providing great support of your back—they’re too small and focused on trimming weight to cover much more than the top of your lumbar. The chairs with the best support will be the large camping chairs that we've touched on in the sections above: Coleman's Oversized Quad, Alps Mountaineering's King Kong, and Kijaro's Dual Lock Folding chair.
Many camp chair manufacturers provide a “weight capacity,” which can helpful in a number of ways. At the high end of the spectrum, the burly Alps Mountaineering King Kong has a very healthy 800-pound maximum, while the lightweight Helinox Chair Zero is listed at just 265 pounds. Importantly, the size of the seat tends to correlate with weight capacity, as does overall stability, so we find this spec to be somewhat useful. In general, comfort seekers and larger campers should stick to chairs with higher weight capacities, and minimalists and those who want to bring their chair longer distances from their car won’t be as concerned with that number. And it’s worth noting that weight capacities are provided by the manufacturer, and we haven’t had the opportunity to verify each one. In general, we’ve found that manufacturer-proved specs often tend to be generous, so we don’t recommend pushing the limits.
Stability: Leg Design
Backpacking chairs are much lighter than traditional camp chairs, but they also often sport different (and non-conventional) leg designs for easy packability and weight savings. This frequently has a major impact on stability compared to ultra-solid, standard camping chairs like the REI Co-op Skyward or Alps Mountaineering King Kong. For example, a crossover camping/backpacking option like the Helinox Chair Zero is easy to rock back and tip over due to its thin legs that are connected to the middle of the chair rather than the sides. Depending on your needs and how far you plan to haul your chair from your car, it’s worth considering how much stability and support you want. In our experience, if you don’t need an ultralight model, traditional camp chairs offer the most foolproof structure.
Storage: Cup Holders and Pockets
Camp chairs are not feature-rich items, but storage is one area where a few thoughtful extras can be really handy. Let’s start with beverages. Cup holders are a must for a chair that’ll be used for camping—ground-based beverage storage is a camping faux pas (and inconvenient). Some of the larger models include side mesh pockets, which are great for items you need close at hand or want tucked away, including keeping your stuff in place on a windy beach day. And Coleman's Oversized Quad takes it to the next level with a small built-in cooler. Backpacking models eschew most if not all of these features. And the reason is rather obvious: There’s little need for them when precious ounces matter. But if you don’t have to haul your chair very far, we recommend making storage a priority.
Other Features: Swivel, Rocking, and Reclining Chairs
Recent growth in the camping chair market has led to a dizzying number of unique designs that swivel, rock, and/or recline. We included a number of fun options on our list above, including NEMO Stargaze Reclining Camp Chair (which reclines, rocks, and swings), NEMO Moonlight (which just reclines), and GCI Outdoor Kickback Rocker. In terms of downsides, more moving parts almost always come with added durability concerns and a more involved setup, and you’re paying more for a specialized design. In our opinion, tried-and-true models like the REI Co-op Skyward, Alps King Kong, and Kijaro Dual Lock have much wider appeal, cost less, and are all most campers need. But if you hate sitting still or just prefer something a little different, there’s no denying the added fun factor.
What About Backpacking Chairs?
This article covers camp chairs, which generally are heavy, comfortable, feature-packed, and meant to be carried short distances from your car to a campsite, ball field, or concert. However, we did include one model above that’s sometimes used for backpacking: Helinox's Chair Zero. Instead of weighing upward of 10 pounds or more, the streamlined design checks in at 1 pound and packs down small enough to fit in the water bottle holster of your backpack. Crazy Creek’s Original Chair (not included here) is another option and more packable than the Helinox and competitors like REI’s Flexlite Air, although the legless design is far less comfortable. In practice, most serious backpackers we know don’t bring a chair along—the extra weight is notable, and it’s often easy enough to find a stump or log to sit on. But for short backpacking trips or those who want the option to use their chair both while camping and in the backcountry, the models listed above are prime contenders.
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