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. We've put a wide range of chairs through the wringer and below are our top picks for 2023, which run the gamut from budget to premium and include a number of fun designs that rock and/or recline. For more information, check out our detailed comparison table and buying advice below the picks.
- Best Overall Camping Chair: REI Co-op Skyward Chair
- Best Budget Camping Chair: Coleman Cooler Quad Chair
- Best High-Quality and Luxurious Camping Chair: Yeti Trailhead Camp Chair
- Best Rocking Camp Chair: GCI Outdoor Kickback Rocker
- Best Lightweight and Portable Camping Chair: Nemo Moonlight Reclining Chair
- Best Loveseat for Two Campers: Kelty Low Loveseat
Best Overall Camping Chair
Dimensions: 20 x 31.25 x 31 in.
Seat height: 14 in.
Weight: 7 lb. 3 oz.
What we like: A very well-rounded and long-lasting design at an excellent price.
What we don’t: Not the cushiest or most supportive option.
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.
Our biggest gripe with the Camp X was its short (10.5-in.) ground-to-seat height, which made it difficult to get in and out of the chair and wasn’t all that comfortable to sit in for extended periods. Thankfully, REI addressed that problem with the Skyward, which sits 14 inches off the ground and has a much more natural seating position. Those with taller and broader builds can step up to a more supportive option like the Alps Mountaineering King Kong or Coleman Cooler Quad Chair below, which have higher backpanels and larger seats. That said, we’ve found that both alternatives are bulky when packed and take up a surprising amount of space in the back of your vehicle, especially if you’re 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 Budget Camping Chair
Dimensions: 24 x 37 x 40.5 in.
Seat height: 18.1 in.
Weight: 9 lb. 14 oz.
What we like: Cheap, comfy, and comes with a built-in drink cooler.
What we don’t: Overall build quality reflects the bargain-basement price.
Coleman is practically synonymous with affordable camping gear, and their Cooler Quad Chair checks most of the boxes we look for at a hard-to-beat price. For just $40 on Amazon at the time of publishing for the red colorway (the other colors are slightly pricier), the chair boasts a comfortable padded seat and backpanel, an easy-to-tote build that folds down quickly for transport, and functional storage that includes a beverage holder, side mesh pocket, and namesake cooler built into the left armrest. If you’ve been tempted by those ultra-cheap, $15-$20 camp chairs beckoning on the internet, trust us: The additional cash is worth it. The Coleman’s steel frame and burly fabrics will outlast its flimsier competition by years, and the chair’s longstanding popularity lends a lot of credence—we see these chairs everywhere, from beaches to parking lot tailgates and campsites across the country.
What complaints do we have about the Coleman Cooler Quad Chair? As with most budget designs, overall build quality is a noteworthy compromise: The chair doesn’t feel quite as comfortable or confidence-inspiring as pricier alternatives like the $80 Alps King Kong or $100 Kelty Deluxe Lounge Chair below, 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 just around $10 more (colorways vary on Amazon), the Kijaro Dual Lock below weighs a little less and has a higher-quality construction, although you forgo the built-in cooler. All told, we think the Coleman outperforms its price tag and is 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 side table for $70.
See the Coleman Cooler Quad Chair
Best High-Quality and Luxurious Camp Chair
Dimensions: 30 x 36 x 25 in.
Seat height: 17 in.
Weight: 13 lb. 5 oz.
What we like: Extremely durable and comfortable with Yeti’s typical attention to detail.
What we don’t: Eye-wateringly expensive and overkill for most campers.
At the extreme opposite end of the spectrum from Coleman’s budget-friendly Cooler Quad Chair is Yeti’s unapologetically luxurious Trailhead. As we’ve come to expect from the brand, the Trailhead exudes over-the-top quality and a keen attention to detail. Everything has a very sturdy and high-end feel, from the supportive but breathable FlexGrid seat fabric to the hardwearing steel frame and wide feet for stability on softer ground. Despite the robust build, the chair is still very easy to fold down and retains the sleek and streamlined appearance that Yeti is known for. And perhaps most importantly, the Trailhead is supremely comfortable—if you anticipate spending a lot of time in your camp chair at sporting events, concerts, or out in the woods, it doesn’t get much better.
Now to address the elephant in the room: At $300, the Yeti Trailhead is tied with Nemo’s Stargaze below as the most expensive design on our list by a sizable margin. It’s true that overall comfort and build quality are immediately palpable and virtually unmatched, but that will realistically only matter to committed campers who spend significant time outside. And no camping chair is perfect: The Yeti includes just one cup holder, is fairly heavy and bulky due to the focus on durability, and will need to be treated carefully around campfires to avoid holes in the gridded seat from rogue embers. But these are small complaints for an otherwise outstanding camp chair, and campers willing to splurge for the ultimate in comfort won’t be disappointed. Of note: Yeti also offers the Hondo Base Camp Chair, which costs the same as the Trailhead but weighs more and offers less stability on uneven terrain due to the horizontal bars running along the bottom.
See the Yeti Trailhead Camp Chair
Best Rocking Camp Chair
Dimensions: 32.5 x 31.7 x 27.2 in.
Seat height: 17.1 in.
Weight: 10 lb. 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; doesn't include a carry bag.
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. All told, it’s a comfortable and versatile design that we’re quick to throw in the car for everything from kids’ soccer games to weekend camping trips.
Although the Kickback Rocker includes a handle for transport, it’s one of the heaviest options on our list and a bit bulky (we'd love it it came with a separate carry bag). 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
Best Lightweight and Portable Camping Chair
Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 26 in.
Seat height: 10.5 in.
Weight: 1 lb. 14 oz.
What we like: Substantially lighter than traditional chairs with very few compromises.
What we don’t: Deeper seat makes it a little tough to get in and out; lacking in padding and storage.
Nemo’s Moonlight Reclining Camp Chair might look relatively unassuming on the outside, but make no mistake—this minimalist design packs a real punch. At a very competitive 1 pound 14 ounces, the Moonlight is substantially lighter and more portable than most traditional chairs without any major sacrifices in overall comfort or quality. The multi-position reclining system is very well executed and allows you to sit forward or lean back with a simple tug at each side, and the sturdy aluminum frame and seamless mesh seat give the chair a high-quality and confidence-inspiring look and feel. In fact, our testers liked the chair so much that they immediately purchased a second one and convinced friends and family to place orders, too—a clear testament to the Moonlight’s excellent all-around performance.
Overall, we love the simplified design of the Moonlight and think it’s a great match for comfort-focused campers who want to keep weight and packed size reasonable. However, the chair does compromise on plushness with no padding and very little upper back support, and the deeper seat makes it a little tough to get in and out of (although we’ve found the 10.5-in. height to be just about perfect for enjoyably sitting around the campfire). For $100 less, the top-ranked REI Skyward 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—and it’s far less tippy than ultralight options like the Helinox Chair Zero below—but the barebones feature set and higher price tag will be dealbreakers for some.
See the Nemo Moonlight Reclining Chair
Best Loveseat for Two Campers
Dimensions: 44 x 23.5 x 31.5 in.
Seat height: 13.5 in.
Weight: 15 lb. 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 (trade-offs 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. Of note: The collection also includes the standard Lowdown Chair and three-person Lowdown Couch, both of which retain the strong focus on comfort and durability.
See the Kelty Low Loveseat
Best of the Rest
Dimensions: 20 x 38 x 38 in.
Seat height: 18 in.
Weight: 13 lb.
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 lb.). 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 lb. more than the top-ranked Skyward), takes up a significant amount of space in the back of your car or truck bed, and has a decidedly huge seat (one of our 5’10” testers found that his feet were barely touching the ground when sitting down). Don’t get us wrong: This is a supremely comfy and large chair that will stand up well over the long term, but you can cut cost and weight with alternatives like the Skyward, Coleman Cooler Quad, or Kijaro’s Dual Lock below.
See the Alps Mountaineering King Kong
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 and too compromised for most car campers.
Nemo’s Moonlight above is our favorite lightweight and portable camp chair, but you shave even more weight with an ultralight design like Helinox’s Chair Zero. Weighing an impressively low 1 pound even (14 oz. less than the Moonlight), the Helinox is decently 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’s easy to pack down and carry and fits on the inside or outside of a backpack. If you plan to haul your chair into the woods or even the backcountry on occasion, the Chair Zero’s low weight and easy portability are hard to beat.
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, including the aforementioned Moonlight. 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
Dimensions: 27 x 37 x 41 in.
Seat height: 12 in.
Weight: 8 lb. 11 oz.
What we like: Innovative suspended design allows you to swing and recline with minimal effort.
What we don’t: Very pricey and less comfortable than the prior version.
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 (and adjustable) 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 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 priciest option here (along with Yeti's Trailhead above). 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. We also found that comfort dropped slightly with the update—it’s hard to sit upright without feeling pitched forward at an awkward angle. These complaints aside, it’s hard to deny the versatility and all-around fun factor of the design, earning it a respectable finish on our list this season.
See the Nemo Stargaze Reclining Camp Chair
Dimensions: 37.5 x 25 x 24.5 in.
Seat height: 19 in.
Weight: 10 lb. 5 oz.
What we like: Highly adjustable for dialing in a comfortable seating position; a good value for what you get.
What we don’t: Those who don’t need the reclining function can save with Kelty’s own Essential Chair.
Boulder, Colo.-based Kelty is known for making quality gear at good prices, and their Deluxe Lounge Chair sticks to that formula. Despite its fairly traditional appearance, the chair packs in a ton of practical features, including a reclining back and adjustable arm rests for customizing your seating position. Other highlights include dual beverage holders with dividers that can be used to separate cans or pushed out of the way to accommodate larger water bottles, a quilted seat that’s both comfortable and highly supportive, and a sturdy construction that’s built to last. And when it comes time to pack up camp, the Deluxe Lounge Chair is quick and easy to stow in the included carry wrap, which doubles as a padded dog mat—a unique and really fun addition, in our opinion.
All told, the Kelty Deluxe Lounge Chair strikes a pretty desirable balance: It’s significantly cheaper than Nemo’s Stargaze above while stacking up well in overall build quality (plus, you still get the reclining function) and a nice upgrade in overall comfort from budget designs like the Coleman Cooler Quad. That said, those who don’t anticipate using all the bells and whistles can save with Kelty’s $75 Essential Chair, which forgoes the adjustable back and has just one cup holder but offers a slightly more natural seating position (it’s 16.5 in. off the ground vs. 19) in a similarly durable package. Whether or not you’re willing to spend up for the added features is up to you, but both are quality designs that check all the boxes for most campers.
See the Kelty Deluxe Lounge Chair
Dimensions: 38.6 x 28.7 x 23.2 in.
Seat height: 18.1 in.
Weight: 3 lb. 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
Dimensions: 26 x 35.5 x 37 in.
Seat height: 20 in.
Weight: 9 lb. 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
Dimensions: 29.5 x 24 x 24 in.
Seat height: 14 in.
Weight: 2 lb. 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
Dimensions: 35.8 x 24 x 21 in.
Seat height: 16 in.
Weight: 13 lb. 7 oz.
What we like: Sleek looks that can pull double duty in a backyard, sturdy frame, and easy to fold up.
What we don’t: Not a great value; bulky shape takes up extra storage space.
The third and final REI design to make our list this season is their Wonderland Chair, which was a relatively recent addition to their collection. What immediately stands out is the sleek appearance, with wooden armrests and a smooth polyester seat that give the chair a very modern and classy look (it's a passable option for backyard seating, too). In testing, we were also impressed by the sturdy steel frame and supportive seat that offers a planted, confidence-inspiring feel. Finally, the Wonderland takes very little effort to set up and pack away with a simple but effective folding design and portability via the adjustable shoulder strap at the back (which also clips together to secure the folded chair closed).
Overall, we like but don’t love the Wonderland Chair. Unlike many REI designs, it’s not a great value at $100 and doesn’t stand out in any major way. While we appreciate easy folding process, the curved legs on the chair make it pretty bulky and a little harder to store in compact spaces (and you miss out on a carry bag). Plus, we don't love the single mesh cup holder's flimsy feel, and we’re not sold on the wooden armrests—they do add some modern flair but can crack after extended exposure to the elements (which we experienced with the similarly built Outward Low Lawn Chair). In the end, the Wonderland is functional and good looking, but you can get similar comfort and more features for less. It’s also worth checking out Dometic’s similarly built Go Compact Chair, which is shorter, heavier, and pricier than the REI but a step up in build quality and comfort.
See the REI Wonderland Chair
Dimensions: 14 x 20 x 24 in.
Seat height: 6 in.
Weight: 6 lb. 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
Dimensions: 23 x 32 x 37 in.
Seat height: 3 or 10 in.
Weight: 4 lb. 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
|REI Co-op Skyward Chair||$60||Comfort||20 x 31.25 x 31 in.||14 in.||7 lb. 3 oz.||300 lb.|
|Coleman Cooler Quad Chair||$40||Budget||24 x 37 x 40.5 in.||18.1 in.||9 lb. 14 oz.||325 lb.|
|Yeti Trailhead Camp Chair||$300||Comfort||30 x 36 x 25 in.||17 in.||13 lb. 5 oz.||500 lb.|
|GCI Outdoor Kickback Rocker||$67||Comfort||32.5 x 31.7 x 27.2 in.||17.1 in.||10 lb. 10 oz.||250 lb.|
|Nemo Moonlight||$160||Lightweight||20 x 20 x 26 in.||10.5 in.||1 lb. 14 oz.||300 lb.|
|Kelty Low Loveseat||$140||Comfort||44 x 23.5 x 31.5 in.||13.5 in.||15 lb. 6 oz.||400 lb.|
|Alps King Kong||$80||Comfort||20 x 38 x 38 in.||18 in.||13 lb.||800 lb.|
|Helinox Chair Zero||$150||Lightweight||20.5 x 18.9 x 25.2 in.||11.5 in.||1 lb.||265 lb.|
|Nemo Stargaze Camp Chair||$300||Comfort||27 x 37 x 41 in.||12 in.||8 lb. 11 oz.||300 lb.|
|Kelty Deluxe Lounge Chair||$100||Comfort||37.5 x 25 x 24.5 in.||19 in.||10 lb. 5 oz.||325 lb.|
|Helinox Sunset Chair||$170||Comfort||38.6 x 28.7 x 23.2 in.||18.1 in.||3 lb. 4.8 oz.||320 lb.|
|Kijaro Dual Lock||$55||Comfort||26 x 35.5 x 37 in.||20 in.||9 lb. 8 oz.||300 lb.|
|REI Co-op Flexlite Camp Boss||$90||Comfort||29.5 x 24 x 24 in.||14 in.||2 lb. 14 oz.||300 lb.|
|REI Co-op Wonderland Chair||$100||Comfort||35.8 x 24 x 21 in.||16 in.||13 lb. 7 oz.||300 lb.|
|Alps Rendezvous||$60||Comfort||14 x 20 x 24 in.||6 in.||6 lb. 13 oz.||300 lb.|
|Eno Lounger DL Chair||$150||Comfort||23 x 32 x 37 in.||3/10 in.||4 lb. 10 oz.||250 lb.|
*Editor's Note: "Height" refers to the measurement from the ground to the seat bottom.
- 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
- Camping Chair Cleaning and Maintenance
- What About Backpacking Chairs?
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 Cooler 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 Nemo Moonlight, REI Co-op Flexlite line, and Helinox Chair Zero.
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 lb. 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.
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 Cooler 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 Cooler 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.
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 Cooler 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.
As with seat height, seat back height is a consideration for concerts but also a good indicator of back and neck support. As expected, taller designs like the Alps King Kong, Yeti Trailhead, Kijaro Dual Lock, and Coleman Cooler Quad offer excellent support with full back coverage that extends up to the neck for most campers. However, keep in mind that this spec doesn’t always tell the full story: Nemo’s Stargaze, for instance, has a 37-inch-tall back and boasts a well-padded headrest, but the suspended seat makes it hard to sit upright without feeling pitched forward, which can lead to discomfort—especially around the lower back—if you’re sitting down for an extended period. At the least supportive end of the spectrum, lightweight designs like the Helinox Chair Zero and REI Flexlite Camp Boss are too small and focused on trimming weight to cover much more than the top of your lumbar.
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.
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.
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 Cooler 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.
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, like the Nemo Stargaze Reclining Camp Chair (which reclines, rocks, and swings), Nemo Moonlight (which just reclines), and aptly named GCI Outdoor Kickback Rocker. Kelty’s Deluxe Lounge Chair is another unique option with three positions for reclining the back, and Eno’s Lounger DL boasts an adjustable leg system that allows you to extend the legs to 10 inches or shorten them to 3 inches, the latter of which is great for concerts and beach trips.
In terms of downsides, more moving parts almost always come with added durability concerns and a more involved setup. The Stargaze, for instance, requires assembling and disassembling several components and organizing them in a precise way in the carrying case, which takes much longer than the quick and painless folding method of traditional alternatives. In general, specialized designs cost more, too: The Stargaze is a steep $300, Nemo’s Moonlight is $160, and Eno’s Lounger DL costs $150. Even Kelty’s relatively affordable Deluxe Lounge Chair is $25 pricier than their non-reclining—but otherwise very similar—Essential Chair. 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.
Most of us don’t put too much thought into caring for our camping chair, but taking a few precautions can go a long way toward maximizing its lifespan. After each trip–or at least once or twice a season–it’s a good idea to clean off all dirt and debris by hosing your chair down and scrubbing any remaining problem spots with a soft bristle brush and hot water mixed with mild soap. Make sure to rinse thoroughly afterward to eliminate any residue and either air dry or pat down with a fresh towel afterward. Whenever you store your chair, utilizing the storage bag (most designs come with one) will help prevent unexpected wear and tear from other gear in your car or garage and keep dust from building up. If possible, it’s best to store it in a cool, dry area away from direct sunlight to minimize fading over time.
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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