Nemo Stargaze Reclining Camp Chair

Price: $250
Dimensions: 27 x 37 x 41 in.
Weight: 8 lb. 11 oz.
What we like: Well-executed rocking function, solidly built, and easier to set up than the prior version.
What we don’t: Very expensive; comfort dropped with the latest update.
See the Nemo Stargaze Camp Chair


Camping chairs are a fairly static category with few noteworthy innovations each year, but New Hampshire-based Nemo came up with a very intriguing design in their Stargaze Reclining Camp Chair. Now in its second iteration, the Stargaze offers a hammock-like experience with the ability to rock or recline depending on how you position your back and feet. We've been using the latest version for over a year and have mixed reviews: While undeniably fun and versatile, we found it difficult to sit upright without feeling pitched forward. It’s also very pricey at $250, although Nemo did streamline the setup process and widen the seat to accommodate broad shoulders (two common complaints with the original model). Below we outline our experiences with the Stargaze. To see how it stacks up to the competition, see our article on the best camping chairs.

Table of Contents


Comfort and Dimensions

Nemo’s Stargaze Reclining Camp Chair is an unapologetically premium design that places a big emphasis on comfort. In essence, it combines the functionality of a recliner, hammock, and rocking chair in one, with a mostly mesh body suspended above an aluminum frame that allows you to swing back and forth, tilt back, or sit upright depending on where you place your back and feet. The swinging motion is smooth and gentle, it’s relatively easy to lean back and fully stretch out, and the large headrest is nicely padded and offers good support (bonus: It’s easy to move up or down with a Velcro backing). Finally, the mesh along the body is thick but impressively breathable. It’s worth noting that the prior version used more mesh along the sides, but I’ve never experienced a sweaty back, even in temperatures in the 80s Fahrenheit. And the chair has been quick to dry every time I’ve left it outside in the rain, which has admittedly been fairly frequently.

​​Nemo Stargaze Reclining Camp Chair (eating dinner at camp)
The Stargaze allows you to swing, recline, or sit upright depending on how you position your back and feet | Credit: Jason Hummel

In terms of dimensions, the Stargaze is generously sized and stacks up well to other popular comfort-focused camp chairs at 27 inches long, 37 inches wide, and 41 inches tall. Another important spec is ground-to-seat height (the measurement from the ground to the bottom of the seat), and the Stargaze is at the lower end at 12 inches—for reference, we've found the sweet spot for comfort to be in the 15- to 18-inch range. This results in a hammock-like feel—you have to fall into the chair to sit down and generate some momentum to get back up, even when using the armrest bars for support. The dip in the seat also means that it’s hard to sit upright without feeling pitched forward at an awkward angle, which wasn’t as pronounced with the prior version. Not everyone will have the same experience, but at 5'6", I didn’t find it to be a very natural-feeling position.

Leg Design and Stability

The Stargaze’s leg design sacrifices some stability to allow the rocking function, but it’s still pretty reliable and balanced overall. The four legs—connected to the upper portion of the frame via a horizontal, pre-bent pole—are thick, robust, and spread far enough apart that the chair feels secure even on rocky, uneven ground. At the top, the seat connects to the arms via a small metal plate and sits solidly in place—I’ve never had any issues with the locks disengaging unexpectedly or the seat detaching from the frame in any way. The Stargaze does fall a little short of more standard designs like Alps Mountaineering’s King Kong in terms of all-around support and structure, but Nemo incorporated all the moving parts very well, and I’ve never felt tippy or off-balance.

Nemo Stargaze camping chair (leg joint closeup)
The Stargaze is solidly built, although support is a step down from many traditional designs | Credit: Sarah Nelson

Weight and Packability

Weight and packability aren’t top considerations for most campers—they matter much more for backpackers hauling their gear miles into the wilderness—but we appreciate when camp chairs are easy to carry and stuff away nicely in a trunk or roof box. In this case, the Stargaze checks in at 8 pounds 11 ounces (the original Stargaze was notably lighter at 7 lb. even), which doesn’t feel overly cumbersome to shuttle short distances but is on the heavier end of the camping chair spectrum. For comparison, you can shave considerable weight and bulk with a simplified option like Nemo’s own Moonlite (2 lb. 2 oz.), which reclines but doesn’t rock. The same goes for more traditional designs like REI’s Campwell (8 lb. 2 oz.) and their streamlined Flexlite models, which range from 1 pound for the minimalist Flexlite Air to 3 pounds 7 ounces for the headrest-equipped Flexlite Camp Dreamer. That said, the Stargaze starts to look a lot more competitive when pitted against other premium and feature-rich models, including Yeti’s Trailhead Camp Chair (13 lb. 4.8 oz.) and GCI Outdoor’s Kickback Rocker (10 lb. 9.6 oz.).

Nemo Stargaze Reclining Camp Chair (sitting by river)
The Stargaze is on the heavier end at 8 pounds 11 ounces | Credit: Jason Hummel

In terms of packability, the Stargaze takes up a pretty considerable amount of space when stuffed away (folded dimensions measure 27 x 7.5 x 7.5 in.). I’ve had no issues fitting it into a full trunk or our truck camper’s crowded storage area, but it does require some strategic packing at times. To be fair, the Nemo does fold down noticeably smaller than the aforementioned Yeti Trailhead (43 x 10 x 8 in.) and GCI Kickback Rocker (39 x 7.9 x 5.9 in.), and I appreciate that the design has a relatively narrow shape that makes it easier to slide into tighter spaces. All in all, the added bulk feels like a reasonable trade-off for the Stargaze’s impressive feature set, all-around fun factor, and high-quality build (more on this below).

Nemo Stargaze Reclining Camp Chair (packed in storage bag)
Weight and packability almost always go hand in hand, and the bulky Stargaze is no exception | Credit: Jason Hummel

Key Design Features

The Stargaze comes with most of the trimmings we’d expect from a camp chair at this price point. As we touched on above, one of its hallmark features is the ability to rock or recline, both of which require very little effort. Additionally, the headrest is nicely padded and easily adjustable for dialing in a comfortable position, and you get functional storage with a stash pocket at each side. The original version included a cup holder on one side and a stash pocket on the other, but the former was built into the seat and was prone to pouring drinks out when rocking back and forth. The good news is that a narrow water bottle will fit in either side pocket, or you can use them to store valuables like car keys and a cell phone (my iPhone 13 fits with room to spare). Nemo also did away with the carrying case’s internal pocket, which was great for stashing small extras like a headlamp, but again, it’s not a huge omission.

Nemo Stargaze camping chair (phone in pocket)
The Stargaze boasts a stash pocket at either side for storing small valuables and accessories | Credit: Sarah Nelson

Build Quality and Durability

The Nemo Stargaze doesn’t come cheap at $250, but the good news is that the chair is noticeably well built and robust, from the sturdy aluminum frame to the well-cushioned headrest. Further, as I mentioned above, the mesh body nicely balances thickness and breathability: I’ve haphazardly packed and unpacked the chair more times than I can count and am never worried about snagging or tearing the materials, and the bottom and back have never grown sweaty even in very warm summer temperatures. After over a year of consistent use, including standing in as a patio chair during a move, my Stargaze is showing no signs of wear: The body hasn’t started to fade despite regular sun exposure, the frame is in great shape with no scuffs, and all moving parts continue to operate smoothly. The latest design does have a slightly less premium look and feel than its predecessor, in my opinion, but it’s still confidence-inspiring overall.

Nemo Stargaze camping chair (logo closeup)
While slightly less premium-feeling than the original model, the latest Stargaze is very well built overall | Credit: Sarah Nelson

Set Up and Take Down

Due to its unique multi-function design, the Stargaze takes a decent amount of time to set up and pack away—especially compared to traditional folding models. That said, Nemo did eliminate one tedious step with the latest version by pre-attaching the headrest support poles—it used to require a good amount of grip strength to slide them into their sleeves at the back. Setup also gets easier with time; I can now set up the chair in under 90 seconds. To summarize: Once unpacked from the bag, remove the frame and insert each metal piece (including the four shock-corded legs and two arms) into the closest hub socket. Next, remove the mesh body and align the two metal plates at the arms with the top of the frame, then slide them into the grooves to lock them into place.

Nemo Stargaze Reclining Camp Chair (attaching seat to frame)
Nemo simplified the setup process with the latest model, which we appreciate | Credit: Jason Hummel

When it comes time to pack up, disassembling the Stargaze is just a matter of reversing the setup process. However, despite Nemo streamlining things a bit with the latest model, it’s still fairly difficult to get the chair back into its case each time—it requires intentional placement to orient each component properly so that the zipper on the bag can close. This isn’t too frustrating if you’re staying in one place for a while and can leave your gear out, but if you plan to move camp every night, the more involved setup and take-down processes can get a little painstaking. If you anticipate this being an issue, we recommend opting for a more traditional and easily foldable model like REI Co-op’s Campwell or Yeti’s Trailhead, both of which can be popped open or stuffed away in a matter of seconds.

What We Like

  • Fun and versatile: The suspended seat promotes a hammock-like feel and allows you to rock and recline with minimal input.
  • Mesh body is very hardwearing and abrasion-resistant but still breathes well and dries quickly.
  • Headrest is thickly padded and easy to move up or down to dial in a comfortable and supportive position.
  • Excellent build quality, including a robust aluminum frame, thick and durable mesh seat, and confidence-inspiring components throughout.
  • Seat is generously sized and wider at the top than the original version, which is good news for those with broad shoulders.

What We Don’t

  • Very pricey at $250.
  • Due to the low ground-to-seat height and dip in the seat, we found it difficult to sit upright without feeling pitched forward at an awkward angle. 
  • Setting up and packing away the Stargaze are fairly involved processes, although it’s gotten notably easier with the latest version.
  • Relatively heavy at 8 pounds 11 ounces and bulky when packed down.
Nemo Stargaze camping chair (reclining feature)
While pricey, the Stargaze uses quality components that hold up well over time | Credit: Sarah Nelson

Comparison Table

Chair Price Category Dimensions Height* Weight Capacity
Nemo Stargaze Camp Chair $250 Comfort 27 x 37 x 41 in. 12 in. 8 lb. 11 oz. 300 lb.
Nemo Moonlite $160 Lightweight 26 x 20 x 20 in. 10.5 in. 2 lb. 2 oz. 300 lb.
GCI Outdoor Kickback Rocker $60 Comfort 32.5 x 31.7 x 27.2 in. 17.1 in. 10 lb. 9.6 oz. 250 lb.
Eno Lounger DL Chair $140 Comfort 23 x 32 x 37 in. 3/10 in. 4 lb. 10 oz. 250 lb.
Yeti Trailhead Camp Chair $300 Comfort 30 x 36 x 25 in. 17 in. 13 lb. 5 oz. 500 lb.

The Competition

Nemo’s Stargaze is an undeniably fun and unique addition to the camping chair market, but it doesn’t come cheap at a whopping $250. For a considerable $90 less, Nemo’s own Moonlite retains the ability to recline but lacks the rocking function of its pricier sibling. Other differences include smaller dimensions (including a narrower and much shorter seat), no headrest padding, no storage, and a simplified carrying case. However, in addition to costing less, the Moonlite undercuts the Stargaze considerably in weight at 2 pounds 2 ounces and packs down much smaller. We also found the multi-position reclining system to be very well executed and comfortable and came away impressed by the overall build quality, including a sturdy aluminum frame and seamless mesh seat. If you’re limited on space or plan to carry your camp chair for longer distances, the Moonlite has a lot of appeal. 

Nemo Moonlight (competitor to Stargaze)
Nemo's Moonlite lacks the rocking functionality of the Stargaze but is substantially cheaper and lighter | Credit: Brian McCurdy

If you like the rocking function of the Stargaze, it’s also worth considering GCI Outdoor’s Kickback Rocker. In this case, GCI utilized 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 impressive given the $60 price tag—and the system moves smoothly without impacting stability. When it comes time to pack up, the GCI is quick to fold down and easy to tote via its attached varying handle, which is far more convenient than the Nemo’s multi-step setup and take-down processes. The Kickback Rocker is heavier than the Stargaze at 10 pounds 9.6 ounces, fairly bulky for hauling, and boasts smaller dimensions, including a noticeably narrower seat. But it’s hard to be overly critical at this price point, making the GCI a great option for those who like the Nemo’s fun factor but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg.

GCI Kickback Rocker (competitor to Stargaze)
The GCI Kickback Rocker is a viable budget alternative to the Stargaze | Credit: Jason Hummel

If you like the Stargaze’s shape but don’t necessarily want the ability to rock or recline, hammock brand Eno sells a unique alternative in their Lounger DL Chair. As with the Stargaze, the Lounger’s seat is suspended above the frame and offers a deep, relaxing feel. You also get a functional feature set that includes a cup holder (which the Nemo lacks), two cargo pockets, and a pillow. We also love the adjustable leg system that can be extended to 10 inches at camp or folded down to 3 inches for beach outings or concerts. However, that’s about where the praise ends: The Lounger DL uses thin fabrics that are noticeably less robust than the Stargaze, the triangular layout of the legs detracts from overall stability and comfort, and there are a lot of moving components—even more than the Nemo—to set up and pack away. Whether or not the Eno’s cheaper price tag is worth those downsides is up to you. 

​​Nemo Stargaze Reclining Camp Chair (camp scene)
Enjoying dinner at camp while testing a variety of camp chairs, including the Stargaze (middle) | Credit: Jason Hummel

A final option to consider is Yeti’s Trailhead Camp Chair, which boasts a traditional folding design in an ultra-premium package. Right off the bat, we’ll note that the Trailhead lacks the fun factor of the Stargaze, and it’s also much heavier at 13 pounds 5 ounces. But it has one major advantage over the Nemo: ease of use. Compared to the fairly involved Stargaze, the Trailhead expands and stows away in seconds and takes very little effort to set up and pack away. It’s also highly comfortable with a stretchy but supportive seat and features the top-notch build quality that Yeti is known for—everything from the steel frame to the wide feet and beefy armrests have a very sturdy and reliable feel. Again, it’s hard to deny the Nemo’s versatility and innovative build, but the Yeti wins out in convenience and comfort for $50 more. Finally, if you like the traditional shape and design of the Trailhead but don't want to spend so much, Alps' popular King Kong is a much more wallet-friendly (albeit less luxurious) alternative.

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