The 10 Best Camping Chairs of 2021
Take a load off Fanny
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If you’ve ever found yourself sitting on the hard ground or crouching on a wet stump, you’re aware of the inherent value of a camping chair. Perfect for outdoor concerts, backcountry campfires or a day at the beach, the best camping chairs offer support without worry.
Lightweight, rugged and comfy, these do-it-all seats have come a long way from the rickety chairs of old — though not all camp chairs are created equal. From spacious loveseats to ultralight stools, we’ve compared them all to find the perfect portable chair for every scenario. Here are are our favorites.
The Best Camping Chairs
Editor’s Pick: Alps Mountaineering King Kong
Only the King Kong offers a blend of durability, comfort and value that’s worthy of our top pick. Yes, it’s heavier than the competition at 13 pounds, making it one of the largest and most heavily padded chairs on our list. But it’s well worth it to have the support of its 38-inch back, wide base and 800-pound limit. The steel frame pairs with 600-denier polyester fabric that makes the chair comfortable for hours, and side pockets provide plenty of room for essentials. A wondrous balance of comfort and value for well under $100.
A Lighter Alternative: REI Co-op Camp X Chair
Though it bears a slight resemblance to those cheap portable chairs of your childhood, the REI Co-op Camp X Chair is a surprisingly comfortable and versatile seat. Weighing a shade over seven pounds, it’s also nearly half the weight of the King Kong, so there’s no struggle when setting it up. The armrests are height adjustable and the mesh fabric is breathable, making it a joy to sit in after a hike in the heat. An extra-large cup holder won’t secure smaller drinkware, but it fits a one-liter Nalgene bottle (and that deserves recognition). It’s also more durable than it looks thanks to reinforcements that lend support without pinching or creating awkward pressure points.
Best Lightweight Chair: Helinox Chair One
This Helinox Chair One is a splurge but it sets the standard by providing best-in-class comfort, durability and portability, not to mention a stylish, unique look. The lightweight fabric is mated to an aluminum frame that’s incredibly easy to set up and take down at a moment’s notice. And, once it’s loaded into the included storage bag, you can throw it in your backpack for on-the-go seating. Though it isn’t as light as its sibling, the Helinox Chair Zero, our testing found it to be more comfortable over longer periods. Not to mention it only weighs two pounds. Score!
Best Campground Chair: GCI Stadium Chair
Picnic tables are great for short-term seating but hours on a wooden bench spells trouble for your back. That’s where GCI’s Stadium Chair comes in handy, fitting on a bench or bleacher to give your back a break. A rotating L-clamp locks the chair to the seat and folds up like a beach chair for easy transport. Nylon mesh pairs with polyester to improve comfort, uprading a traditional seat into one that’s worthy of your rear.
Best Two-Person Camp Chair: Kelty Loveseat
We never thought a camping chair could support two butts until Kelty revealed its comfy Loveseat. Weighing 16 pounds, this lovable juggernaut offers plenty of room for you and your friend, partner or canine companion. The seat is wide and supportive with features that include cup holders, adjustable arms and a steel frame. And the back is straighter than the Low Loveseat, though we still find plenty of comfort whether we’re camping or relaxing on the patio. This model also has a higher base that’s easier to get out of (and easier on the knees too).
Best Luxury Camp Chair: Nemo Stargaze Recliner
The luxe, versatile Nemo Stargaze Recliner is part recliner, part hammock and part rocking chair. Setup might take a little longer, but it’s worth the effort when the suspended aluminum frame allows you to relax for hours. It also swings back and forth, rocking you gently to sleep by the campfire, and positions upright when you just want an everyday chair. Comfort features include a padded headrest and armrests, and the Stargaze comes with a designated cup holder and phone pouch so everything you need is close by. The narrow frame is less inviting if you have broad shoulders, but this remains the Cadillac of camping chairs.
Best Rugged Camp Chair: Yeti Trailhead Chair
Yes, Austin-based Yeti builds more than our favorite camping cooler. It also designs storage bags, apparel and camping chairs. Between the brand’s two available models, we prefer the Trailhead Camp Chair that features a packaway frame and carrying bag for on-the-go seating. In classic Yeti fashion, the overbuilt construction is nearly indestructible and refreshingly simple — the chair locks in place via color-coded tensioners on the back and arms. Unlike most camping chairs, it’s also UV-rated to prevent materials from breaking down in the sun. Yeti added a removable cup holder that supports your go-to Yeti drinkware or a cold one after a day on the trail.
Best Beach Camp Chair: Helinox Beach Chair
Any of the camp chairs on this list will make do at the beach, but if that’s your go-to destination, then you may want dedicated furniture for the sand. Helinox’s Beach Chair has wider feet to prevent it from sinking, and it’s lower to the ground like a traditional beach chair. The back is also higher to promote endless waterfront relaxation, and the storage bag converts to a pillow so you can snooze until sunset. Unlike most cumbersome beach chairs, this one is lightweight at three pounds, reducing your load to and from the parking lot.
Best Camping Stool: REI Co-op Trail Stool
Sometimes, the best seat in the house isn’t a seat, but a stool. This three-legged companion is light enough to pack on short hikes and sturdy enough to support up to 200 pounds. When it’s time to break down the campsite, simply fold the stool and sling it over your back with the attached shoulder strap. Leave it in your car to ensure there’s a place to sit no matter where your adventures take you.
Best Camp Chair with a Footrest: ALPS Mountaineering Escape Chair
Lounging around camp is always easier when your trusty chair has a footrest, and the ALPS Mountaineering Escape Chair is the perfect camp chair for the job. The integrated footrest adjusts to fit your height and removes easily when you’re not reclining. Though it lacks other defining features that might help it stand out (such as a durable construction or a storage pocket), the Escape excels where simplicity is concerned. Set up, kick back and reconnect with nature before you inevitably doze off.
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